People watching

Kites in the sky, ocean in the background, you haven’t changed one bit since I dallied on your coastline as a naive, gawky teenager. Something about summer suppresses self-judgment. It is often more fun to leave fears and doubts indoors and let it all hang out among a sympathetic crowd of half-naked strangers.

Stay classy, OC.

Photos on the road

Apparently summer is just not conducive to blogging, at least for me. In the past two or so months, I’ve been busy dashing back and forth between all sorts of places and Beijing. Memorable cities, mountains, people, conversations…just very memorable.

Hong Kong
JB, Malaysia
Gansu (甘肃)

And a few shots of the great wilderness that was Southern Gansu:

Morbid curiosity

I am glad; I was surprised when my mother asked me on the phone this morning, do you actually want to come home? I answered of course, without hesitation, because of course I wanted to go home, and sit with my parents, and rest for real for the first time in months. Home is a different beast: when enough time is spent away from it, on your own, taking care of yourself, those moments when you are home, those precious few moments in the long span of time, those are appreciated.

My mother seemed genuinely surprised to hear it, as if she felt guilty for dragging me away from Beijing, from this place that isn’t home. I feel like there’s something a bit off with that reaction. Perhaps I haven’t been as good about missing them as I could have been, perhaps I’ve given off the utterly incorrect impression that my happiness involves being far, far away from them. I wonder if they realize how much I would like to be able to take them with me on my adventures, and how unfeasible that is.

Regardless, I will miss Beijing, the same way that I miss nearly every city I leave. Except, I guess I’ve already decided that I will miss it quite a bit more, and have set the right things in motion in the right avenues to ensure my return. I mean, why not? If I like it enough, why can’t I decide to stay? Things are totally happening here. And I’ve always been a bit too attracted to drama.

I joke often with friends, that the moment I land in the States, the moment I set foot outside of the airport, all those wonderful memories of living in the States will flood up and fully immerse the appeal of Beijing, leaving me wondering why I ever decided I wanted to come back. What a reversal that would be.


Location: Yanqing, China

Bloodless sagittal sections

Mistakes are rarely awful and for the most part, rather pleasant in retrospect, at least in the rather liberal definition of the word. My 2010 was riddled with these types of mistakes: mistaken identities, mistaken words, mistaken meanings, mistaken impressions. Some of these things I will catalog in some dark recess of my brain and call upon in times of profound need, but most of them I will let slip with a laugh and think of with ironic fondness from time to time.

It is already December 31st, and the new year is my ???, the year of the rabbit. What this means, I have no idea, but I know that it matters significantly to people here. It’s my quarter life mark; hitting 24 is supposed to signify something important. I feel young, I feel like things are here for me, especially here, in Beijing, where parcels of some substance, rather immaterial, are rife for the taking. I’ve never felt this way living in the States, where markets are already so saturated, stabilized, and singly established that the only thing I had ever really considered doing was to go to school and work on science and technology. I don’t know what these thoughts mean, I don’t know how I’m going to act on them, but sometimes, seedlings are enough to start something.

So, roll on. Roll on, 2010.


Location: Beijing, China

Once in a while, one needs an invigorating scrub

Some ordinary morning, waking up lazily at a bit past nine in whatever timezone I happen to be, shuffle to the kitchen in bare feet in the middle of winter, albeit not cold at all, scarf done a feast of vegetables, raw, preserved, sauteed, boiled, all spicy, all delicious; greet a friend I haven’t seen in what feels like forever but has only really been a few months, and catch up on what it is to be friends again. I have to say it was worth the hectic <3 day trip, the mis-scheduled plane ticket, and all sorts of other comical travesties, like when that girl at the airport spilled an entire cup of coffee on my phone (which isn’t even really my phone) and tried to use her sweatshirt to mop it all up.

It felt nice to get away from a big, big city for a few days, and wax in the comfort of a friend’s house, feeling deliciously pampered and lazy. It was nice to take in an entire city from somewhere decently high up, and actually be able to see to its edges without all the buildings disappearing behind a cloudy wave of small particulates. Moments of immense immaturity were suffered over by speckles of emotional clarity. Ah, vacation! What you do to me.


Location: Cheongju, South Korea