Happy Valentine’s Day!
I hope you felt some love today, no matter how it showed up.
Actually, I wish that for all of us. Every day.
The most romantic thing I witnessed today was a wedding I saw at the Tet Festival, in Costa Mesa, and it was an explosion of color and confetti and fireworks.
#360, Attend an ethnic festival
The three day lunar New Year festival was held at the OC Fair and event center. The event is put on by the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations, so there was a great deal of youthful energy on display.
When I arrived, an adorable gaggle of students all squealed for me to enter through their particular lines. It was a very warm welcome.
Several people were wearing traditional Vietnamese clothing and Vietnamese songs were being sung over the loud speaker. Between the songs, the Vietnamese emcee would speak in his native language, words that seemed to be an attempt to rally Vietnamese nationals to some political end. People were in a New Year’s kind of mood, so they were too busy having fun to pay close attention.
Unlike the Scots festival yesterday, nearly everyone at this festival had a camera and they were all snapping away. Since people were posing anyway, I sometimes just snapped over someone’s shoulder. I was standing with a few photographers, at one point, and they were all complaining about the “ugly light”. It was very hot and middle of the day, so photo conditions were definitely challenging.
These lions were working hard at the festival and were seriously overheating in their furry costumes. Students would run trays of ice water to them every 15 minutes or so.
When they started to look like this, someone new would jump in.
The wedding was difficult to see because it was blocked off by bamboo, people, and flags. I waited with a professional photographer and I had a great time watching to see what he would take pictures of. As he would close the shutter, I could see the images pop up in my mind and I would think, “Oh yes, that’s good.” I didn’t really know how to get the shots, but it was instructive nonetheless. When the bride and groom popped out of the crowd, I had one picture left on my memory card (rookie move) and I caught their smiles.
I asked a young man if he was enjoying the wedding and he said, “Sure, but for me it’s all about THE FOOD.” I was feeling pretty overheated, so I made my way over to the food court. There were several stands selling regular fair food like burgers and potato chips on a stick, but there were great Vietnamese options too.
Everything looked delicious. Though I’m not sure what kind of soup this place was offering.
I bought a mango chile lemonade and a grilled pork bahn mi. Both were great. These nice families were enjoying their food too.
It was a great day, despite the heat and “ugly light”.
I love multi-generational festivities and today was a great example of one. There were little satin clad kids being led by frail looking great-grandparents. Or both would roll by in a wheelchair being pushed by teenagers.
Families, in general, looked happy and would nod and smile and say, “Happy New Year!” as they passed by.
#21, Try a New Restaurant Each Week, 7/52
Yesterday, I took a nice break during the day and had lunch at the Chelsea Chowder House and Bar on the Queen Mary. The patty melt was good, the view was even better.
#211, Listen to a Weekly Podcast, 7/52
This week I listened to Chewing, a new podcast from Louisa Chu and Melissa Eng. This is their premiere episode after their Chewing the Fat fame. Here’s a link.
#127, Perform a Weekly Random Act of Kindness, 7/52
When I left the Maloof house earlier in the week, I saw an old guy standing on his front lawn trying to wave down cars as they sped by. I stopped to see what was up. As soon as I pulled over, he came running to the car. I said, “Hey! Where’s the fire?”
He laughed, and started telling stories. I realized he just wanted some company. He seemed at least as old as my Grandpa Homer, who is 94, but he seemed insulted when I suggested that which was a bit amusing.
He was a proud Marine and told me that the love of a good woman and having nine children had given him a happy life. He shook his fist at the cars that drove by too quickly, and asked a bit about me. We chatted for about 15 minutes. I told him that I had to leave to meet my aunt. He wished me well and said, “Sweetheart, stop by again. Please.”
It was nice meeting him, but I felt a little sad that he should be so lonesome at this stage of his life.
#14, Watch one Annenberg Iris Series Lecture each week, 7/52
I watched Morgan Heim’s lecture called Fearless Acts. If you are fond of saying that marijuana is organic and should be legalized, you might be interested in hearing about the topic from a conservation photographer’s point of view.
#364, Do a Weekly Photo Shoot, 7/52
I took LOTS of pictures this week. I took over 800 photos at the Scots Festival (and I had about 25 keepers). I took a good number at the Tet Festival too. It was great taking photos at exciting events, but I find I learn more when I’m trying to capture a single subject and experimenting with different settings over time.
#222, Sing the National Anthem
Before the Grand Parade at the Scot’s Festival, we sang the Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen.
#119, Attempt a new recipe each week, 7/52
So… I didn’t really make anything new this week. With the kids traveling, I pretty much just ate lunch on the road and ate popcorn for dinner. But I did develop this recipe in case you missed it.
Have a great week!
320 days to go!