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Paint the town red | Stephanie's Oct 2023

I can’t believe it is already November, aka year end soon. As expected, October flew by in a flash, with so many memorable moments and core memories. This month was eventful and definitely one for the books. -- Stephanie



It’s crazy how a month is both long and short. Short in a sense that it isn’t the longest period of time~3-4 weeks, but long enough in that so much can happen. As I reflect back on my calendar this month and notes, so much did indeed happen. It feels so recent yet also so long ago lol all the events of this month made it feel much longer in a good way. I feel like I really spent this month to the fullest (maybe a bit too full bc now I am sick with a sore throat haha jokes aside).

The start of the month was such a high, I had the chance to reunite with Jin for our annual besties trip -- Austin this year! We had endless things to talk about and catch up on, ate a lot of good food, and spontaneously got tickets for ACL. In a way, I feel like this trip really followed the theme of this year for me, existing in the moment. Lots of things happened as they came, whether that was searching up where to eat the first day, speaking with strangers on their life stories, hopping around Rainey with not one destination but just the vibes, enjoying ACL for what it is vs sticking straight to schedule (which despite my shoe breaking lol a miracle happened) and Odesza did not disappoint with the throwbacks. Never a dull moment together when we reunite!

For the rest of the month, I was in SF but it feels like so much happened in the weekdays. It’s interesting because earlier in my career (and life in general) I’d look forward to the weekends, but this month I truly got to really enjoy the weekdays as well -- life felt v full in a good way! I got to catch up with Tammie a couple times, from attending random innisfree pop ups to visiting Tiana together (on a weekday too)and I feel like everyone really opened up on a deeper level this time. Not sure if it’s because of our age or time, but it was a nice catch up, sentimental in a way as we’ve known each other since HS, but we also got to open up about who we are in present day. It’s interesting because leading up to this month I had somewhat drifted from both of them, no big argument but more or so over time because we don’t all live near each other proximity wise to always catch up and the drive is a bit far - so I was a bit worried about how the catch up would go, but it went much better than I thought and we all learned more about one another. I am thankful for friendships like these where we can grow differently, but still come back together.

October is also the month of my mom’s birthday so I was happy to have some dedicated family time and to just celebrate her. We went to SJ and had a little kbbq/hot pot moment, I felt like such a mom doing all the cooking lol but it was v fun bonding with my parents and sister during the time. Afterwards we went to Viet town and my dad surprised my mom with a durian cake from one of the viet bakeries there lol I thought that was so cute :)

And then comes Halloween.! I feel like leading up to halloween/halloweekend I was a bit stressed and wasn’t too excited for it, friends from varying groups were asking me about it so I kinda felt pressured to do something. But then as I brought people together it was fine, but then people kept tryna change plans and then I was stressed again and kinda just didnt wanna do it altogether and just be at peace and stay home lol. Anyway things worked itself out and I was happy to see people I know become fast friends:) I was also able to meet a couple new faces who I surprisingly found out work quite literally across the street from me haha. As y’all know I was *obsessed* with Kiss me more by Doja Cat, and also just love a lot of her songs in general. As a joke, Ashley and I literally was talking about this a day or two before, what if we try to look for tickets a few hours before the show on the day of to score cheap tix? I thought of it as a hehe ha ha joke but then actually got invested and made it happen haha. Felt like I was living a Hannah Montana moment, went to work with my work approved costume, had some office festivities, then busted a mission to get tix (and at $46!) and did a whole outfit change and prepped for doja cat lol what a day but I had so much fun. (again maybe a little too much fun as I am now sadly sick). The next few days I had another Hannah Montana moment that I won’t get into now as that happened in Nov, I’ll save for the next entry. But halloween was a success and I feel like I truly maximized time to its potential.

Social life aside, then comes work. There definitely were stressful moments, I’m possibly juggling the most # of project workstreams that I have in a while. I’ve also had my share of being annoyed (especially the same person I will not name lol), but as I look back on the month, the most memorable moments are positive. I finally* wrapped up phase 1 of this ambiguous project I was given all the way back in May. So wild how much time passed, but it was really gratifying to check off this first phase. What made it even more special was the relationships I developed along the way, for once, we actually held the read out in person. After, we all had lunch and it was all laughs and such. My initial worries about this project, and working on this ambiguous project, has brought me here to this lunch table full of people who easily became fast friends. I felt very full in this moment at work.

And then comes my almost non-existent romantic life lol. So at the start of this month, I finally broke things off with Tom (not his real name but if ykyk). I just didn’t feel the type of connection I think I’d feel if I was interested romantically, so I didn’t want to waste his time any more and communicated. I’m proud of communicating my thoughts, but I did feel bad. It’s crazy reflecting how I met Tom back in July, and while I don’t regret it nor do I feel like I wasted 3 months of time. If anything I feel like I learned a lot in these 3 months not just with him, but within myself, and slowly healing my avoidant self, I can’t help but feel guilty like I wasted his time. Modern day dating is so interesting how you can be present with someone and then kinda just move on lol to be fair 3 months is still a short amount of time. Anyway it’s interesting because at that point I wasn’t really looking to meet anyone new anymore because I knew my October would be jampacked and Nov-Dec the holidays will be packed and kinda don’t want to start dating either, but someone I matched with a while back actually started a convo. We shall call him Wesley (not his real name but ifykyk) and I don’t know how to feel, he’s v different than the usual guys I’ve gone for, but I’ve very much been enjoying our conversations. It’s been challenging me to think deeper and differently. Alls to say I don’t know if I just happen to like the same things as Wesley, or Wesley himself. I also question if that is the same for him. Anyway I’ll possibly meet with him soon so we will see how it goes. Modern day dating is so interesting and idk if I’m cut out for it haha but I am proud of myself for learning to be more open

Lows + Lessons:

Family: Other than me getting sick, a big low for me this month was feel like I haven’t truly been present with family. These days having very full weekdays, I feel even more guilty not spending time with family. I feel like because I’ve been out more, they’ve been more observant too? Like when I come home and all I feel like they’ve been making remarks and it has just been tough in a sense that I feel like I do deserve it, but at the same time I wish they could just let things go. I can’t keep living my life for others but the thought of leaving them behind also hurts. I’m still

trying to figure out how I can best balance both my wants and theirs.

Communication + Relationships: This is not necessarily a new lesson but repeating the same old lessons lol. But seriously communication is key, and I am not the best at communicating my feelings. I feel like being more open to dating has really forced me / put me in situations to be a better communicator, in which it does feel good to articulate my point across. As for relationships, not just romantic ones but friendship, work, and family -- I feel like this month was so full not just because of the events in my life but because of the people that are in the events. I remember the past years when all I’d think about was work, and now with my birthday coming up (as I look back on prev years) I truly am grateful to be in a privileged position where work doesn’t consume my whole life and mental space, and that I’m able to cherish the time I have with the relationships and people I care about . (A more heartful reflection to come next month during my birthday)


My pick of the month: Austin

Hands down annual besties trip :)

Thank you all for another amazing month. With spooky szn officially over, can't wait for all the holiday festivities. I am a bit nervous with my birthday coming up (sigh getting old), but I am excited for all that's to come with what I already have. Giving you all a warm hug and cheers to the winter season ahead.

Chat soon in Nov,

-- Stephanie


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