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Remembering 2009 ~ A List of Firsts

As we say hello to a new year, we wanted to begin 2010 by remembering 2009 through our list of firsts, whether they are only small things that we can say we've done once or significant milestones in our lives that have made our family better. Some things we have already shared through the blog {which also started last year} but some are just appearing for the first time.

Title banner photos from left: Redbirds baseball view of YMCA on Madison, favorite photo of Atticus observing artwork during Trolley tour night, signage at Memphis Central train station, and ferris wheel at Chicago Navy Pier.


Clanjamfry ~ A Scottish Festival
Ever since we moved to Memphis six years ago, Christopher had always wanted to go to Clanjamfry, especially since he is proudly of Scottish descent. As the photos show, we were surrounded by men in kilts. We also attended the Sunday service with his dad and brother to see the Kirkin of the Tartans.


Gonerfest 6 ~ A Music Festival presented by Goner Records, Memphis
I love music and am punk by heart. Ever since I heard about it three years ago, I had been dying to go. It was high energy, and I saw several cool ideas for tattoos like the one below. In a related first, we also attended Rock for Love, a benefit concert for the Church Health Center where all the local talents performed.


Memphest ~ Memphis' Own Fair with the relocation of the Midsouth Fair
We thought the first Memphis fair might have been a bit secluded but we still enjoyed ourselves to make up for everyone else's seeming lack of excitement. Atticus had his first candy apple here.


Zombie Walk ~ Annual and International Event
This is where Atticus' fascination with zombies and all things scary began. I think we'll participate this year. We've been practicing our zombie walks.


Broad Avenue Art Walk ~ Annual Event in the Broad Ave Arts District
We knew that the district was thriving as an art community but we didn't realize the amount and variety of talent. The gallery with muppets and comic book character paintings really caught our attention.


Rural Studio ~ Auburn University's Design-Build Studio
Atticus visits the place where his mom and dad grew close. It was an incredible place for me to learn about noble architecture so visiting again brought it all back. Below on left Atticus is also sharing his zombie impression.


Chicago ~ Visiting for the First Time Brings Many Firsts

Atticus and I rode the train for the first time. Here he is waking up just as we enter the edge of Chicago. The fourth day we were in Chicago, I attended Neocon for the first time to see the latest in furniture and interiors. We couldn't miss out on the Chicago style hot dog and Chicago deep dish pizza either.

We saw incredible works of architecture including our first Frank Lloyd Wright building, the Robie House, although it was closed and rainy the day we visited. We had a great time overall but we doubt we'll visit again as it's scratched off our long list of cities to visit.


Independent Bank Germantown ~ First LEED certified building in Shelby County
I was very fortunate to have worked on this project before leaving LRK Architects. It was my first LEED project which I was able to dig into much of the documentation effort which then helped me pass the LEED exam. It received the LEED silver rating although it was planned to reach the minimum level of certification. See it next time you pass the busy corner of Poplar and Germantown Road.

In a related first, I finally started taking my ARE {Architecture Registration Exam} and passed! I plan on knocking the other 6 by the end of this year.

Special thanks to Jason. Photo by Jason Weeks.


LOOK Photography Exhibit ~ My First Solo Photography Exhibit
I was so thrilled to finally share some of my photographs from Cambodia, my home country. It just made me happy. Look for it at the Majestic Grille downtown Memphis before it leaves January 6. I'm still working on getting prints setup for online orders.


Hound Dogs Refreshment Cart ~ Christopher's New Business Venture
One of the biggest firsts for Christopher was taking a chance at starting his own business, making his own hours, and getting out of the cubicle! He's a friendly face in downtown Memphis serving locals and tourists just the same. Hound Dogs is gone for the season but who knows what the warmer months of 2010 may bring.


Missions Cambodia ~ Helping the People of my Home Country
The most significant set of events this year began with my turning 30, remembering where I came from and what Cambodia had suffered just before I was born. It became my mission to understand more about my culture and my family's story, which I posted throughout the month of April.

Soon after I took this on, my dad told me he was trying to go on a mission trip for the first time and in his heart he knew Cambodia was where he would serve. He didn't have the funds to go so I decided to take on my attempt at a benefit concert and auction. It was probably the hardest thing I've done this year but I can't believe how much closer I am to my friends and family. Thank you all again who helped with the effort. I appreciate everything so much more, and when it comes to challenges, bring it on. I can never come up with an excuse good enough to not attempt something.

May your New Year be filled with many firsts, big or small. You'll always learn something.
Have a blessed 2010!

{2 Photos above right by Long Kuoy. Photo on far left is a polaroid of my family when we arrived in the Thai border refugee camp after fleeing Cambodia.} Photos by Sophorn unless noted otherwise.


  1. oh what a wonderful year we have had! other firsts we forgot to mention...sophorn meeting famous movie maker craig brewer, memphis's own harrison ford(no not that one. of skiptracers fame), andy stucky(writer & scene stealer of skiptracers), christopher meeting hasheem "the dream" thabeet (perk of working at the majestic grille). LYC

  2. Yes Harrison Ford is his real name. His stage name is Porter Harris. He was super sweet. I also met Gina Neely of BBQ/food network fame. but she reminded everyone that she's just a regular person. I like meeting motivated people who's hard work and savviness pays off. I can learn something from that.

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