It’s been a wild past few months.
May was a whirlwind of exams and stress, and I felt like I barely had any time to do anything other than study or worry or just feel overwhelmed in general by Something. Thankfully, June was the relaxing vacation I needed, and I spent my days happily in a sort of daze, without realizing how much time was passing.
Since I’ve been in and out of blogging, I thought I’d do an overall update to catch up on what I’ve been up to in May and June! I’ll of course recap what media I consumed, including books and TV, but I’ll be doing a mini overview of my trip to Thailand as well. It’s my first time traveling in a while so I wanted to make sure I highlighted it on my blog!!
Note: I’ll be talking about food/showing pictures of food.
WHAT I DID
May: May was a big month for me! I had IB exams, which were simultaneously harder and easier than I expected. Some of them went really well, some surprisingly so, while others (math) I am heavily relying on the covid grading curve to help me pass! After exams, though, I finished school and… I graduated!! It felt very surreal, and it honestly doesn’t feel real even now, but I’m very glad to put this all behind me, even though I will still be studying for more years soon. I will never escape…
I also had my last dance recital, which was very bittersweet but very fun! It was right after my exams finished, so it felt extra celebratory rather than anything too sad. I don’t know if I’ll get to be on a stage again, but I really hope I can keep up dancing on my own and maybe choreographing mini pieces throughout the summer! Overall, May was a month of endings for me, which was kind of sad but also very relieving in other ways.
June: Most of the month I spent in Thailand, and I wish I was still there. I miss it very deeply honestly (though I probably also miss being able to be stress-free). I had such a good, restful time, and it was truly so lovely after not having visited in years!
- I have to start by chronicling my travel experience, because we genuinely had the worst luck ever. First, we almost didn’t even make it out of Texas because one poilot got covid and it was uncertain how long it would take to find another pilot to fly instead. Second, our flight back to the US got cancelled… so we had to stay in Thailand for 2 extra days. And third, our checked baggage didn’t make it back home, which was just a terrible way to end the trip. (We got it all back safe and sound though!)
- The trip itself was just lovely, though! I saw family, ate lots of good food, and went shopping often! We didn’t really focus on doing a lot of tourist-y sightseeing since 1) we’ve already seen some stuff before and 2) we wanted to focus on spending time with family, who we haven’t seen in a long time! It was mostly very chill—pretty much the only tourist thing we did was visit temples, which is not even that much of a tourist thing because it’s a norm for Thais—which was so lovely.
- A wild experience was the difference in covid protocols. Thailand still had a mask mandate when we were there, and buildings have machines to check your temperature before you enter, which was new to me. My sister actually ended up getting covid when we got home, and we’re 90% sure it’s from traveling through London where barely anyone wear masks!! It made me so sad to come home and see the difference in attitudes toward the pandemic, honestly.
- Overall, there were so many cool things to experience. I especially loved seeing the beautiful Bangkok skyline, and there was so much good food being sold at street stalls or markets. (I sorely miss that easy-to-access excellent Thai food now.) I also felt like my Thai got better—not just in the usual way of picking up more vocab/being able to speak a little more, but also reading comprehension, since there were so many things in Thai that I could casually read!
WHAT I ATE
I have to have a section about food because it’s THAILAND… I got to eat a lot of my favorite things, but I also tried a lot of new food as well! I am much older and maturer now compared to when I last went there, so even though I remain a picky eater… I was less annoying and more willing to try new things.
Food I love and got to enjoy on this trip:
- bamee nam moo daeng (egg noodles in soup with red pork)
- pla kra pong tod nam pla (fried sea bass with fish sauce)
- khao kha moo (braised pork leg)
- pla salit (I’m not sure how to describe it… dried fried fish?)
- moo ping (grilled pork skewers)
- gai yang (grilled chicken) – photo 3, plate on the left
- fruits like longkong, rambutan, & mangosteen + mangoes & pineapples that are different from what I eat in the US
- khanom chan – photo 2
- woon gati/maprao (coconut jelly) – photo 4
- bua loi phueak (taro balls in coconut milk) – photo 1
- khanom bueang
- salapao sai cream (steamed bun with egg custard stuffing)
New things I tried and liked:
- kuay tiew nam tok (boat noodles) – photo 1
- tod mun pla (fishcake)
- tod mun gai (chicken cake)
- gai haw bai toey (chicken wrapped in pandan leaves) – photo 3, plate at the top
- pad prik khing moo krob (I’m actually not sure if this is the right name but it’s crispy pork with red chili) – photo 3, plate on the right
- khanom krok (coconut pancake)
- khanom thuay
- khao niew sangkaya (sticky rice with custard) – photo 2
- khao kriap pak moh – photo 4
WHAT I READ
May: I should have expected that I would fail miserably at reading a lot in May but… I didn’t. I still obliviously had faith in myself. But I still had a pretty enjoyable reading month, from rereading a favorite and buddy reading a book with a close irl friend of mine!
- Time is a Mother Ocean Vuong // so so beautiful… I liked his first poetry collection more but these poems were still so good! [no rating]
- Picture Us in the Light Kelly Loy Gilbert // I forgot how good this book was. I’m going to hav eto ★★★★★
- Kaikeyi Vaishnavi Patel // the beginning was stronger than the end for me, but this was fascinating! reading it with a friend familiar with the original story also made it so much more fun and interesting. loved the exploration of Kaikeyi and her questionable choices ★★★★☆ [3.5]
June: Surprisingly, I was able to read while in Thailand, but it definitely was the plane rides that gave me lots of reading time! I’m sad because I didn’t read my nonfiction pick for Asian Heritage month, and then I was like well now I HAVE to read my nonfiction pick for Pride month now… and I did not. Overall, my Pride reads were disappointing, which is so wild because I feel like this happened last year as well…? The gay books are letting me down I can’t believe it!!!
- The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James Ashley Herring Blake // read this in one day—Ashley Herring Blake truly never disappoints, and never fails to make me cry! a beautiful story about not letting your past define your present/future ★★★★☆
- La Bastarda Trifonia Melibea Obono // too fast-paced and underdeveloped for me but… I really loved the themes of queer found family and community, especially during Pride ★★★☆☆ [2.5]
- Notes of a Crocodile Qiu Miaojin // the book I took months to read! I’m glad I finished because I did understand things a bit more and ended up rating it a bit higher than I would’ve had I DNFed but… still mostly boring and hard to connect with ★★☆☆☆ [2.5]
- Light From Uncommon Stars Ryka Aoki // well-written (though there were some weird writing choices) and excellent themes! I just didn’t connect as much as I thought I would ★★★★☆ [3.5]
- To Break a Covenant Alison Ames // so impressed by how genuinely creepy this was… I loved the weirdness of the girls/friend group but I also did feel a bit less invested in them than I wanted. but very cute sapphics <3 ★★★★☆ [3.5]
- If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again Zen Cho // I can’t believe I got teary over a silly little short story about a silly little dragon but… this was such a comfort to read about love and always trying even after failing! ★★★★☆
WHAT I WATCHED
- Everything Everywhere All at Once: Absolutely incredible and made me cry multiple times!! I loved the fascinatingly strange nature of the fantasy aspect and how whimsical it was at times, the underlying message fighting the idea that nothing matters because it’s so universally relatable, and the broken but healing family relationships. I also hadn’t expected anything to be gay so that was also a nice surprise that also contributed to my tears!
- Spiderman: No Way Home: Honestly… not that good. I’ve enjoyed the MCU Spiderman movies (I have very low standards with movies fyi), but this one was boring! And I was on an airplane with nothing to do! After one point I ended up watching it just to have something to focus on so I wouldn’t fall asleep. I also thought there was some bad characterization with Peter, which is one of the worst things you can do as a writer, personally!!
- Stranger Things, S4 Vol 1: As I always accidentally end up doing with Stranger Things, I binge-watched this season. There were some parts I thought were lacking in comparison to the other seasons, but I enjoyed it a lot more overall—probably because there was less long-lasting romantic drama than in previous seasons. I think it’s just a fun show to watch, no complex thoughts!
- Business Proposal: My sister/aunt roped me into watching my first kdrama, and… it was so fun! I didn’t think I’d enjoy dramas because I hate overly dramatic things and physically cannot handle sweet romantic scenes on screen. But I liked that this one didn’t take itself seriously all the time, and it was genuinely funny (most of the time). I watched it with my mom and aunt too, which made it even more fun since I ended up laughing more at their laughter than at the actual scenes. Overall, cute and addictive!
My Roommate is a Gumiho: I wouldn’t say I truly watched this kdrama, since my aunt had it playing in the background and I would just tune in whenever I wanted, but I’m including it here anyway because I did watch most of it! And I did not like it. I hated the main love interests nor their romance, which made it a bit awkward to watch the show since I kind of had to root for them…
(Not me writing more about each movie/show than for the books… I don’t normally watch a lot of things so enjoy this one-time ramble about TV media!)
how have your past few months been? what did you read? any movie/tv show recs?