I realize I’m much better at expressing myself in words. In writing. I work slowly and methodically and sometimes without aim. I let the words guide me to the meaning I’m looking for and the lines lead me to how I truly feel. It’s smoother than talking and honestly more truthful. I guess I’m practical, cool, and rational this way.
I’m Chinese by heritage, but American by birth and socialization. The blending and the clashing of these two identities often lead me to wrestle through thoughts with writing.
Occasionally something or someone crosses my path and they’re too interesting not to write about! This is the random category, the proverbial kitchen sink, read at your own risk!
Summer 2014 was intensely beautiful. Thanks to coincidental connections from a professor, I found myself on the way to Paris, all alone, for a 2 month internship with a cell biology research group. In other words, I would spend most of my summer learning how to take care of microscopic worms and gingerly poking their microscopic gonads with a microscopic needle in the name of science. (Actually they’re doing some really rad science, more on that later!).
Before I left, my father told me to keep a journal. “Whatever, so old-fashioned,” I think to myself. 24 hours after jetlag has finally worn off, drinking in new sounds, smells, sights, I regret not listening. For the first time since plunging into draining college life, I’m seized with a desire to write again. Some crafty finagling later and I have rigged my 4″ moleskin planner into a blank recorder. Thoughts can now freely fly, captured in tense, minuscule script, across dates, appointment times, and scary outlines of study plans for past OChem exams. I’m so thankful I did. Now my patient scrawl has captured the raw emotion of first impressions. The little black book has uncomplainingly prostrated itself on the surfaces of the train seat, hostel table, lab bench, sandy beach, church pew. It has gathered the pink-tipped feathers of wild flamingos, safeguarded the numbers of a couple players in Barcelona, holds the cards of a lacemaker in Belgium. It was become my best and only souvenir. Now, 12 months removed, I think it is time to crack open its worn pages, some of the anecdotes too funny, or too wonderful to keep in unedited form, before my memory fades.
16 months after my first trip abroad, I’m returning for more stories. I’ll be teaching in a small town called Bourgoin-Jallieu in central-eastern France and probably writing in the meantime.
My birthplace. Research and roundups. Guns and gasoline. Barbecue and brisket; beer and bars. Sun and swamps. Monster trucks and Mexican tacos. Bigger is better?
Think, opposite of Texas.
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