Monday, May 9, 2016

Whirlwind in Washington, DC: part 1

So, this is me outside the White House:

And, this is me inside the White House:

And this is my art inside the White House:
the cover of the new book hanging out at the White House

What is going on? Well, I was selected by the White House as one of their "Champions of Change" for Asian & Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling!
Do you see me? 
That meant, after a whirlwind of supplying appropriate materials (the designer my publisher had to get me the high res file of the art in an hour!) and security clearance, we (brought the family) zoomed (really, drove at a snail's pace because of the traffic) to Washington, DC where there was a reserved seat for me:

I stole this sign so I can frame it...
So that I could participate in a Champions of Change panel:
the panel was live-streamed HERE, but I think I sounded like a doofus, so don't worry about watching it
And met all the other awesome champions:
Quang Do, Jason Fong, Fawzia Mirza, Tanzila Ahmed, Leslie Oh, yours truly, Kayhan Irani, Jenny Yang and Selu Alofipo

Then, after that, I rushed over to the offices of First Book, to meet my friend Alison Morris and throw (and I really mean throw as I got lost going to the office and was really late!) on a super fancy (borrowed) dress.  Why? Because we were headed off to a GALA. Yes, a gala--something I have never attended before (fancier than my own wedding)--to be specific the APAICS Gala:
Allison and me!  I am wearing one of the two borrowed dresses I brought with me. I ended up wearing this one because of time constraints! 
Where I met some old friends:
Me and actor Micheal Tow, who while he has had much bigger roles I loved best as Ba in Wheelock's production of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
And celebrities:
It's Hudson Yang, the kid from Fresh Off the Boat! 
But, I have to admit that meeting fellow Champion of Change, Jason Fong was the most heartwarming. 

Because during dinner, his father (Jason is only a high school student! And a Champion! I feel like a slacker!) showed me this photo:
Apparently, four years ago, Jason came to one of my booksignings and is an avid reader of my books! Isn't that awesome? I was so honored!

Then, there was dinner:

which was surprisingly really, really, really good. I was expecting lame banquet fare!

And some honors were  given, including one to Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (Masters of None).  I really tried to meet them but no luck! Oh, well. 

And then last, but not least, President Barack Obama spoke. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yes, the President of the United States was at the Gala:

Such an eloquent speaker! I'm going to miss him. 
I had a pretty good view while he was speaking, but when he stopped and shook hands for a couple minutes, this is all I got: 
No chance of meeting him! Smiley
But, hey, as a Champion of Change, I did get kisses from him! 
the chocolate candy kind, of course. But official presidential ones! I don't think I'll ever open these.

How many people can say that, right? Smiley