If Berlin Were a Stirred-Up Showcase


“Dein Herz kennt keine Mauer.”

Around this time last year, I was watching a bike light peer through the dusk, wheeling down a dirt path saturated with that evening’s blue-gold color scheme. Sunbeams — all spectral and river-bent and free-falling ultraviolet — plunged into the Landwehrkanal.

My cloud eyes closed for a blink.

Opening again, they revealed a refracted version of what was previously there: a lawn, a path, a canal that flowed like a continuum and ended on the same one.

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An Agreement


A friend once observed that many bodies and forms live in us: heads and hands and hearts and lungs. And feet that we use to keep on walking.

After nearly two years of reflection, I agree.

Those bodies and forms dovetail into the one entire person that we each actually are.

It sounds simple but was by no means a straightforward process;
we were like a lump of unshaped clay at first (thank Earth for giving us even that much), born as funny-looking babies with oversized foreheads. Then we got molded and prodded into an adult-sized human and eventually hardened like molten lava into sulfurous igneous rock.

And so there we were for some time, thinking we’re all shapely and set in stone until an older soul points out that there’s more to us than just the outward form and that our various body parts are interrelated pieces of our overall whole.

Which is some wisdom, man.

But I totally agree — there are definitely sections and subsections to our whole-ness, you know?
And I also agree that changing physical locations can help a person better experience life because it puts them into situations where they’re obligated to use the multiple bodies of themself to cope or enjoy or feel.

The tough part, I figure, is uncovering which specific facet could and should be presented in each context. Like when walking down a dirt road like the one in Muang Mai for example, I would use my feet and eyes but also my ankles and toes to keep me from tripping on the larger rocks and holes. Easy enough. But when conversing in English, I definitely use my head and mouth and lips as well as my tongue and heart to hate and/or accept the person I’m talking with. That’s more ambiguous.

But, again, those body parts exist and are all incorporated into us regardless of what gets displayed on the outside, and that is like the truest affirmation of our clay-like selves I’ve ever heard.

So then maybe I’ll use a different metaphor from now on (like a conglomerate rock or a whitish-tan sandstone boulder flecked with differently sized pebbles…) and continue trying to embrace the forms and entirety of myself and others.

Friend, if you’re reading this, I want to let you know that my life has changed a lot and I imagine yours has too but I miss you like hell nonetheless. I hope you’ve kept your sandals dirty para seguir caminando.

R


And on Tuesday I came to the realization that my biggest “R” is Remember.

Because the actions that our ancestors took directly led to our choices, and therefore, for better or worse, we’re invited to reconcile themselves with ourselves.

In order to do that, I think we’re supposed to remember to perceive people as they were and are, remember their singular goodness as well as their bad. We’re taught to remember that we are not them even though they are, by nature, part of us.

We could also remember that in the beginning there was only what was and that eventually we wilt, our words are written down but lost from time, and the gardens we tended for years on this Earth — both young and old — flourish in their season and then decompose until only mushrooms and iridescent varieties of fungus remain.

Nonetheless,

what will be depends on how we choose to manifest our Remembering through our thoughts, words, and deeds.

I want to honor our human capacity to Remember by just trying hard and giving my damnedest attempt to make the people who inexplicably love me proud. In memoriam, I’m going to keep hoping that my neighbors feel contented and well.

:

‘I had once been bidden, “Stand! Endure! Remember!” and that was what I determined to do.’


For Zyanya

You tell me then that I must perish
like the flowers that I cherish.
Nothing remaining of my name,
nothing remembered of my fame?
But the gardens I planted still are young—
the songs I sang will still be sung!

HUEXOTZIN, Prince of Texcóco, ca. 1484

On Earth: Leaving Here


What a year it’s been.

Around this time last summer I gave up a teaching assistantship in Austria to come to Shanghai and learn Mandarin. Never would’ve guessed that I would get to see more of this country than my own, meet some incredible people, flip my brain upside on a daily basis learning this language, and understand myself a whole lot better than when I boarded the plane at LAX.

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In One Month


A month of sights, meals, and places.

This past month of travel throughout China, Laos, Thailand, and Hong Kong was incredible. I find myself at a lack of words to describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to visit four stunningly diverse locations.

From city to desert to rivers, hills, and plains, much of what I saw and experienced still needs to be fully cogitated.

As such, writings over the coming weeks will focus on my recent travels. I will highlight some locations with full posts, and upload photo galleries for the rest. Having visited eleven cities, it will take a little while to complete. Thanks for your patience.

Essay, Vitae, Resume


Life isn’t your resume.

Floating around in the gray matter beneath my skull are 750+ shape-shifting Chinese characters, 350 lingering GRE words, a dozen grad school application statements and essays, two timezones, assorted emotions, mixed feelings, and a baffled sense of being.

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A Quick Thanks


Now that I’ve settled in and gotten my bearings, I can’t help but think about what it took to get here.

It took quite a bit of time, energy, paperwork, and a 14-hour flight to get me to this very spot. Not least of all, it took the efforts of professors, mentors, family, and friends to help me understand the role I want to fill in the world.

For that, I owe them quite a bit of gratitude.

So thanks for the honest truth. Thanks for being in my corner. Thanks for having a hand in all this — this predictably unpredictable journey. It was a twist of fate that spun the world under our feet exactly enough for us to coincide, and it will be another unfathomable turn of events that will cause us to reconvene.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.