I believe life can give second chances. I'll take mine in the form of two New Years.
The first day of 2015 really did feel like an initiation: back on the Big Island, I stood with my feet in the Pacific beside to two wildly wonderful women friends. That elusive feeling of "home" washed right through me, familiar as the salty current. With my feet now back on land, I'm preparing to welcome in New Year's #2, the year of the goat (or, as that four-legged caprine is called in the Philippines and Malaysia and Indonesia, the kambing).
Still, there is a past year to recap, much like years in review for 2013 and 2012. Life has channeled my energy away from posting this past year. Both this blog and my backyard garden are quiet and somewhat overgrown. But it feels good knowing there is this a place to return to once the season shifts.
2014 was a different kind of year. It was hotter, drier, and more turbulent than before. It peeled back the connections of food, climate, and the survival of our communities, and especially in vulnerable places like the Philippines. I was proud to step forward with the Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES) as they joined with the growing and global climate justice movement.
2014 also was full of a rediscovery of Filipino foods, arts, and culture. I worked with an amazing team to put "public health" and "popup" in the same sentence, using a themed popup dining series called Sariwa! (Fresh) to connect Filipino foods and health (see: coverage in UC Berkeley's Eat.Think.Design and KPFA's APEX Express special).
2014 showed me just how our community is vibrantly exploring who and what we love, from Kommunity Kulintang's Manilatown series to the Filipino Food Movement's Filipino Foods festival in San Francisco. We are also building for the next generation, as I learned while cooking binatog with the amazing youth and families of the rising family cooperative Sama Sama.
It's impossible to encounter a field of chilies without picking some.
2014 was also full of colorful, vivid moments that will linger. Those moments of gleaning chili peppers with friends and harvesting olives brought a kind of elusive, focused peace that can be hard to come by in the city.
When harvesting olives, be sure to carry a big stick and bring lots of friends.
And so what's ahead for 2015? I'm happy to share some new projects- I'm stepping in as the new Food+Agriculture co-editor for Hyphen Magazine. Perhaps the biggest personal milestone to come is finishing up the final stretch of a Master's in Public Health Nutrition at UC Berkeley, where I've been intent on learning how to better link traditional foodways and food knowledge to the field of public health.
I hope I can channel lots of kambing energy to tackle the year ahead. I remember from my one season living with dairy goats, just how they are born ready to run, even on that first day. They are intelligent and stubborn and hardheaded. Their voices are impossible to ignore. They can and will eat almost anything, whether poison oak, or the finest fall apples.
2015 promises to a big, bright year. I'll take all the sassy, stubborn, and steadfast kambing energy I can get.