Friday, April 28, 2006

The Diasporic and the Minor

Tuesday, 7 pm.

As usual, Prof. H made his final remarks, classmates hurriedly packed up their laptops, papers, notes, and handouts. Someone grabbed the last piece of cookie, another person tripped over an extension cord. I, though not the first one to walk out of the door, quietly made my exit before the end-of-the-class round of chattering had a chance to begin.

Bathroom break, iPod check, refilled the water, down the echoing stairwell. 7:10 pm, out of WJH.

The American Empire as invisible imperialism. Bin Ladin as the contemporary Hadrami leader waging a pan-Islamic war against the thriving American Empire. Pseudo Middle Eastern specialists busying themselves advising ineffective gov't policy to the white house, the whole countrymen on fire in temper with the rising gas price. The haunting of history, the deja vous from the ancient. "You're History!", the Americans like to say. This time, they themselves have become the biggest victims of History, and we don't even know how History is going to finish them.

Walking against the wind tunnel outside the WJH, I turned on my iPod. A familiar melody in soft Mandarin voice froze all the remaining thoughts in mind, silencing the world around me.

Hadramis the diasporic? I'm sorry folks, when was the last time you went home? Don't talk about the diasporic discourse with me. You can't even handle a 24-hour plan ride just to go home. Nor would you ever understand what it feels like when sometimes you could only remember what home looks like through that iPod tune.

April 18th, 7:15 pm. Nothing felt like home. Not that yellow cottage house down the road, not that nicely mowed lawn. Not the happily blossoming red, orange, pink tulips by the road, nor patches of purplish bell-shape blossoms. Not the sunset, the dim sky, nor even the slightly moistured air. The road was too empty, the sidewalk too straight, passengers too few. Nothing looked like home.

Me and my music, melodies from home. Don't talk about the diasporic with me, folks. B/c this is diasporic, I am diasporic, this moment is diasporic.

7:16 pm, the diasporic continued.


I spent some time giving my arm and my hand a thorough look the other day. No, nothing was wrong with them. My arm was still strong, hand still dry, the faded scar on the middle finger remained intact. Nothing was wrong except a tiny scratch on the back of my hand which I had no idea how I got it from. But I continued to look, for a long time.

I was checking my skin color.

Yes, this color that others call yellow. True, I don't claim to have the fairest skin tone nor facial complexion. Although the other day in class I discreetly turned around to look at my neighboring white friend. My skin and hers, l looked back and forth. All I wanted was to do was a little comparison, or maybe an affirmation. My skin and hers ... darker and lighter. Then I turned the other way to look at another Asian friend of mine. Her skin is lighter than mine, but darker than the other.

What is the difference? Since when have I turned color-blind?

Utterly confused.

This color that others call yellow, and this color that others label as white. What is the difference? Maybe it's time to consult the ophthalmologist's point of view?

I cannot tell the difference between my skin tone and another's. But I've been called the "yellow" since birth. Some people can't tell the difference between their skin tones and the others, but they are called "black," "red," or "brown." And b/c of being born "black," "red," "brown," or "yellow," as if we/they are nothing but a bunch of pigments on a painter's color-mixing plate, we/they are at times destined to be used or defined or regarded as nothing but pigments, subject to the painter's own fantasy and imagination.

Interestingly, the painter often calls him/herself - white.

The other day at Dado a white young man asked me if I'd like to grab a cup of coffee with him. I didn't have to look up to know what was boiling in his mind. As I turned around to answer his intrusive question, the look in his eyes confirmed my speculator before.

To him, I was nothing but yellow. Ok, maybe beautiful, but more so, exotic, and intensely exotic b/c I am yellow.

"No, thank you." I said. "Plus, I already am drinking coffee."

Although that really wasn't the worse. At least I could still win myself a title of being "exotic" whereas others who are dubbed "black" may be viewed as "criminal," "brown" as "third-world," or "red" as "primitive." Comparatively speaking, being "exotic" b/c I'm yellow isn't the end of the world.

And comparatively speaking, I wouldn't have to grow up in a crime-ridden inner city kid going through metal detector at school everyday just b/c I were regarded as "black." Nor would I have to be deprived of equal learning opportunity at school b/c I were called "brown," or to live at the fringe of the society, both geographically and politically speaking, b/c I were seen "red." Even compared with some of my other "yellow" fellows, I would not have to encounter the humming of "chin-chang-chung" song b/c my very first utterance of American-accented English usually silences those people's humiliating tunes.

9/10 times, at least.

Everytime when #1 bus zooms down Mass Ave and halts suddenly at the Central Sq. bus station, I see this familiar scene: a few African-American men and women, some middle-aged and some old, shivering in the winter cold. On a sunny day they may be cracking a joke or two with one another, but when the rain pours, they could barely keep any part of their body dry. One by one as they finally get on the bus, some would mumble about how bloodily freezing the weather is and some would wonder what happened to the 15-min interval schedule. At that moment, only question in mind:

Just b/c they are black?

梅ちゃん at 10:19:00 AM


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Difficulty of Labeling

Question: If *one day* May-yi is to become to a great writer of her age and writes in ENGLISH - and let's not be concerned about the content of her writing for the time being - which of the following type of writer would you consider herself as:

a) A Chinese/Taiwanese writer
b) A Chinese-American/Taiwanese writer
c) An American writer
d) An Anglophone writer
e) A cosmopolitan writer
e) None of the above
f) All of the abvoe
g) No idea ... Who cares?

Now, if the question is revised to be the following: If *one day* May-yi is to become ag reat writer of her age and writes in CHINESE - again, not taking into consideration of the content of her writing for now - which type of writer would you qualify her as?

a) A Chinese/Taiwanese writer
b) A Chinese-American/Taiwanese writer
c) An American writer
d) An sinophone writer
e) A cosmopolitan writer
e) None of the above
f) All of the abvoe
g) No idea ... Who cares?

Cast your votes please!

梅ちゃん at 1:14:00 PM


Wednesday, April 26, 2006


「女心と秋の空」- some unknown Japanese idiom.

I think it's better to change it as, 「我が心と(ボストンの) 春の空」。


One of those days when you wish you could just fastforward life by a month or two.

夠囉,這個24小時內趕三篇 reading response 的日子。暑假你也快點 fastforward 吧!!!

正在趕 MA Thesis 的諸位姐妹們: 加油! 苦日子快過了!

梅ちゃん at 5:36:00 AM


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Diaspora as Missions

"While the British diaspora took the form of an empire, the Hadrami diaspora took the form of a religious mission. In this, the Hadrami diaspora had vastly greater universalist ambitions than did the British. It brought together not just peoples fromt he homeland, but peoples in destinations throughout the Indian Ocean as well. Here, Hadramis played a major role in the expansion of Isalam, and conversion stories in the region often begin with the arrival of a Harami religious figure. In their marriages with local women, Hadramis and their offspring became Swahilis, Gujaratis, Malabrais, Malays, Javanese, Filipinos. They became natives everywhere. At the same time, the men and their offspring continued to move throughout this oceanic space, for reasons of trade, study, family, pilgrimate, and politics. Throughout this space, a Hadrami could travel adn be put up by relatives, who might be Arab uncles married to foreign, local aunts. Many men had wives in each port. In the arc of coasts around the Indian Ocean, then, a skein of networks arose in which people socialized with distant foreigners as kinsmen and as Muslims. Like the British model, movements in the Hadrami diaspora brought together hitherto separated peoples, though not in an empire, but in a religion instead. Like the Jewish model, they began as a homogeneous diaspora, but like the British, they ended up a composite."

- Engseng Ho, "Empire through Diasporic Eyes: A View from the Other Boat".

A very inspiring passage, somehow. How I wish to take a time machine and go back to that time of age to witness such a great movement of diaspora.

梅ちゃん at 2:08:00 PM


Saturday, April 22, 2006







梅ちゃん at 12:57:00 AM


Friday, April 21, 2006



從小到大就未比同齡之垃圾男人少用功,讀到了哈佛博士班卻還常被怪罪為focus不夠。三小時的壓力狂寫得著個A+的成果,到了垃圾男人身上卻被誤為只是一時拗到的小聰明出頭。偶爾天馬行空地做做成為偉大文豪的美夢,卻不一會兒被鄰座的垃圾男友視為對自我極限理解不夠而無聊的黃梁一夢。明明下課固定去soup kitchen盛飯端菜收桌子拖地板,周日一早與千萬的睡蟲奮戰之後奔跑著去Sever將動詞變化形式寫滿黑板,卻在滔滔發表自己欲為人民服務的遠大志向時被潑桶冷水看做偽善。

好聲好氣地提出的內心要求,卻總在兩秒鐘之內因「功課太多書本太厚考卷改不盡workshop去不完」的理由而被拒絕接受。想要在能沾染大學生青春活力的Lamont館中享受一下日劇男女主角之K書找書隔桌偷看對方的快樂時光,卻為了滿足男人要悍衛當TF的老練成熟與誓死不與日劇掛鉤等姿態的垃圾要求而獨自轉陣到Dado Tea吹風。驚喜著大樓外六個月以來難得一見的藍天白雲花團錦簇春光四射春意蕩漾而撒個嬌邀請對方離開一扇窗戶都沒有、唯一的通風口又不work的office去外走走,猛地又被貼上了個任性無理要求太多標準太高的標簽而被輕易地攆走。「Wait, one hour ne ~」女人再撒一個嬌。「Please please,你知道我有多少work嗎?」丟過來的又是一個緊皺到不行的眉頭。


受了氣的女人莫明其妙地被像垃圾一樣地倒掉;真正的垃圾男人卻坐在電腦桌前自憐著已受了傷的自我ego。平時如何也只能single task的男人突然在緊要關頭立刻master一邊敲打著給討論課的問題清單一邊說分手。原來可以開開關關的還不只是門旁的電燈開關;被判定了是任性、無理、煩人、要求太多的女人的情感也可以像關掉電燈一樣「咚!」地一下就此在垃圾男人的心中消失的無影無蹤。





梅ちゃん at 3:31:00 PM


Thursday, April 20, 2006


I believe that God DOES send angels to cheer us up at the lowest moments and to remind us in the most discreet way that He's there and He cares.

And these angels are called friends.


Out of the blue at 9:30 pm as I was walking home, I got a call from a friend in town whom I haven't seen for the whole season. "May-yi, 大忙人!Where are you?", he shouted, almost numbing my ear lobes.

"See who's calling! ... Just walking home," I laughed. 大忙人?不過在糊塗地過日子吧。

20 mins later, M showed up at my door with a big pot of 麻婆豆腐 in hand. 「晚餐煮太多了,就想拿過來給你吧!」


Walking into Lamont intending to search for S, I ran into CY burying herself in the books. 5 mins later, we had a great conversation under the dim, blue sky on the stone steps of Lamont, and she for the first time shared some of the most inspiring thoughts with the greatest clarity and humor. Together, 3 of us were off to get some pho, spiced up by their 整晚的賣力搞笑。真的,連S的「耶~哦!」冷笑話都覺得非常好笑。


Out of the weirdest urge I wrote dad an email in the afternoon, at first just wanting to give him my positive feedback for the article just published on udn news today and giving him heads up on the happenings in life. A few hours later, two of the most encouraging emails in history popped up in my mailbox:

"Dear May - I forgot to tell you how I have felt about your writings on various things in your blog entries. Honest to God, I think you can become a very, very good writer, besides becoming a good academic. You have the writing talent: a tender heart, a pair of very observing eyes and the discipline of writing consistently. Your third culture life experiences is a gold mine for writing. I am saying all of these not to flatter you or to encourage you as a father to his daughter when the latter is somewhat confused or feeling low. I mean every word that I have said."

"I have been reading your bloggings ever since you alerted me of their existence. I know you have been feeling confused about academic pursuits vs. creative writing lately. Most of the graduate students have become like you in various stages in their graduate school years. So, your "problem" is quite general, nothing to be worried about ... I just read that this year's Pulitzer prize for fiction went to Geraldine Brooks for her book, March. It is a book about the father of the four sisters in The Little Women, who was a pastor serving in the army during the American Civil War. I think Ms. Brooks is associated with the Radcliffe College now. The Pulitzer prize for general non-fiction went to Caroline Elkins, assistant professor in the School of African Studies at Harvard. You may wish to talk to them (if they will receive you) for advice regarding the question of studying literature vs. pursuing creative writing."

Truly the most comforting emails ever. 老爸,很 up to date 喔!


Beating against the odds of a very inconsistent internet connection, I logged onto MSN in the morning and saw my friend Y online. "Mind if I steal you for an hour for coffee just to chat?" I asked. "Why not make it lunch?", she suggested. 1.5 hours later, I sat down in front of Y, feeling as if I've found my long-lost twin sisters, dumping my mind out on her.


(沉默30秒) ... 「嗯,好想去永康街吃小吃喔 ..."」我說,接著只聽到Y 一陣爆笑。







Meanwhile, a few reality checks of the day:

1) As I was yet able to tidy up my tear-ridden face today at Thai restaurant with Y, a friend's husband who happened to sit down at a table nearby informed me of a remorseful news - The new-born baby of a colleague in the department has just suddenly past away and the couple has returned back to Prague. No specific details, and no knowing of how they are doing. I can't say at all that I could even attempt to understand the enormous amount of pain and sense of loss that the couple must be going through. No, not even having read Oe's "A Personal Matter" and getting a glimpse of his struggle with a baby born of brain hernia.

2) CY told us at dinner about the passing away of one of her respected professors back in Taiwan who got his first stroke at the age of 40 and eventually died from a surgical failure. He had the choice to prolong his life in a complete paralyzed state for a few more years perhaps and he too had the choice to take the risk to give the surgery a try. The latter choice was taken and the family bore the consequence. Perhaps the only slight comfort of the story was that as the son of the professor shared, the moment before his father was pushed into the surgery room, he saw a glow of light surrounding his father and a peaceful smile emerging on a already paralyzed face. An Illusion? A divine revelation? A message from above? The answer is clear to me, at least.

The evanescence of life, together with the beauty of life always bearing the infinite possibility of dignity, honor, love and hope despite the end in sight, is the reality that we are living in now. It's not a perfect reality and there's no perfect ending. Yet within such imperfect reality I'd still like to believe that there are perfect moments of everlasting dignity, respect and love that eventually take precedence over this reality of imperfection.

Without this belief, I cannot keep on going. And without having found an answer to the source of such perfect moments, I too cannot keep walking. Pastor Gary shared with us in private the other day how he feels that without the hope for heaven - not a place for hallmark-looking angels or diseased souls dressed in white robes to frolic around above clouds BUT a place where all the injustice and wrongdoings of the world may at last be set right - he cannot go on waking up in the morning and finding the worldly injustice and suffering staring coldly at him. And today, I just want to thank all my friends, the God-sent angels I'd like to believe, for creating and sharing those perfect moments of love, care, and infinite compassion for me.

A perfect moment is possible, however short or fleeting it may be.

梅ちゃん at 4:17:00 PM



A little boy sits in a room, an European-style room, carpeted floor, and wooden furniture. A single light on the table, the sun beaming through the closed window. Maybe some smooth classical music in the background, and a book in hand. The air is warm, the room temperature just right, the boy, lost in deep thoughts as the book takes him into the deepest corner of his wildest fantasy.

A little girl walks into the room, flinging the door wide open. A white hat in hand, a pink dress with flowery patterns that fits nicely onto her body, the girl steps in, making little disturbing "click-click" sounds with her low-heel shoes.

"Hey," the little boy looks up. He looks at the girl. Cute, attractive, full of spring colors. But a little too splashy for this quiet room maybe.

"Hey," the little girl replies. She looks at the boy. Cute, studious, full of a scholarly spirit. But a little too absorbed in reading maybe.

The little boy goes back to his reading, though in the corner of his eye, he sees the little girl poking around in the room and eventually moving herself close to the window.

"What a beautiful spring day. Mind if I open the window?", the little girl asks.

"Sure, as you like," the little boy replies. At this point, his eyesight too becomes growingly attracted to the beaming sunlight outside.

A sweet, gentle spring breeze flows into the room. Thin curtains begin to dance, swing, and twirl in the air.

The little girl sticks her head out of the window, taking a deep breath. "Ah~" she said, just taking the moment in.

The little boy can't help but putting his book down. He gets up from his chair, walks over to the window, and too takes a peak at the spring field outside.

"It is beautiful," he smiles, closing his eyes, too taking the moment in fully.

A minute later, the girl suddenly kicks her shoes aside, climbs up the window frame, and begins to stick one of her legs out. "Wanna go out for an excursion?", the girl, after balancing herself on the window frame, now having one leg dangling outside and one leg dangling inside, turns around and asks.

"Now?" The boy hesitates.

"Yeah, now!", the girl says, her face blossoming with a bigger smile, her left hand stretching out.

"Come on, the day isn't going to sit here and wait for you forever! Let's go!", the girl urges again.

"Umm ..." says the boy, still hesitating. He's got a great story awaiting him to finish. He's not so ready to leave the faithful storyteller behind.

The girl wants to go out and enjoy the spring weather. She wants to go out, in her pink, flowery dress and white little hat, greet the very first flower on the branch, stick her nose as closely to the ground as possible to smell the fresh scent of the soil, and to dance in the flower fields till her body is too exhausted that she'll just collapse to the ground and start imagining invisible angels frolicking within the cotton-candy clouds high above ground. She, however, wants a company. And she wants the little boy to be her company.

The boy too wants to go out. He too wants to step out and enjoy the early spring. He, however, has a great adventure to finish in the pages, and he's so close to finishing. So close that he perhaps could afford to miss a beautiful spring day outside, even if the girl may hop out of the window any minute and never come back.

"Will you stay in the room with me till I finish the story?", the boy asks. "Spring isn't going anywhere."

"Will you leave the story behind for now and enjoy the day with me before the sun goes down?", the girl asks. "The book isn't going anywhere."

How shall the story end?

梅ちゃん at 6:28:00 AM



Walking out of the apartment and seeing the apple trees blossoming with hundreds and thousands of white, 5-petal flowers, I thought - this might be my last spring in Cambridge.

Not that I ever have any dying passion for marathon, but knowing that it too may be my first and last chance to witness this renowned event in the country, I hopped on the bus and joined the crowd cheering for those who participated in the Boston marathon yesterday. Asian, black, white, Hispanic; young and old, male and female, foreign visitors, overseas travelers, temporary residents, Boston locals. A true mixture of participants, but all with one and only one goal in mind - till the finish line.

If the finish line is something physically visible, would that make it easier for the participants to keep running, knowing that the race is at least a certain number of distance and WILL end somehow, sometime, as long as the feet keep running? What if one neither can see nor knows where the finish line is? How is one supposed to pace oneself, to have a slow start, an steady run in the middle, or a strong and explosive dash at the end?

"If they can do it too ... if that 80-year-old lao3 gong1 gong1 can do it, I can do it too!", my friend J utters, with a beaming smile.

有信心真好。可是,somehow 看到那位努力跑步的老先生,我覺得我當下的心境比他還老。

Murakami Haruki is known for a long-term marathon runner. I of course didn't have the honor to see him dashing through the finish line, but I know for sure that he ran yesterday, as he's run for all the years in the past. Flipping through the notes that I took during his public lecture sometime in last fall, words/phrases as follows grabbed my attention:

"A novelist is someone who dreams while wide awake, someone who determines to dream, to put his dreams together and package them into words."

"The value of fiction lies in the its ability to warm the hearts and minds of people, all over the world. The deep and enduring is the power of narratives. And the sharing of such a feeling is what may help or comfort us in the future ... Not an instant solution, but ... believing in the enduring fictionality."

In the same lecture he too talked about how marathon has helped him develop stronger self-will and persistence for his writing career. He describes ideas like flashlights, showing up at the most random hours, the most random moments. If you don't capture them at the moment, they are gone, forever. They too are like a cluster of wild beasts, and a writer is like the trainer of such beasts. Once the ideas start running, they take on their own life form, and the writer has no choice but to keep writing, jumping on the roller coaster along with these beast-like ideas, following them until they at last surrender under his pen. It's a roller coaster ride that entails no definite duration nor end. But those who stick to the end get to see the dawn of a beautiful piece of narrative coming to life.

Same principle - till the very end.

Even if it's the very last time.

梅ちゃん at 12:45:00 AM


Tuesday, April 18, 2006






梅ちゃん at 10:53:00 AM


Tuesday, April 11, 2006




なるほどね。There are a certain things you just never get to learn in class.

Google rocks.

梅ちゃん at 2:37:00 PM









Quote of the day - "To live a question is already to enrich onself of elements besides the answer." (Patrick Chamoiseau in “In Praise of Creolity“) At times questioning is more important than the answer, and to live in a question is the endeavor to never settle easily with what is imposed or understood or figured out by others.

值得感謝的事 - 藍天、溫暖又帶一點嫩草香的微風。一早起來與地球另一端仍不停努力找尋自我的朋友短暫的對話、眼前仍溫熱的咖啡。愛我的朋友與我愛的人。乾淨卻深刻思考過後的文字。


梅ちゃん at 4:33:00 AM


Monday, April 10, 2006





可是三位一句話,一個聲音也沒有出的Blue Man卻能在短短的兩個小時之內抓緊整場觀眾的心,傳遞無聲背後藝術強大與活躍的生命力。被高估的或卻是口語有聲溝通的力量?


梅ちゃん at 4:24:00 PM


Sunday, April 09, 2006





忠於自己, yes I know. 不過在找到忠於自己的方法之前我只想好好珍惜這一刻,因為下一秒鐘我的心情可能又要跌到谷底。


梅ちゃん at 3:46:00 PM










高中時代的counselor曾讓我看過一個圖片,一個孤獨瘦小的人,獨自站在山谷的最低處,迷惘。"So what do you think his next step would be?" She asked. "I'm not sure, he seems to be looking up and searching for sun," I replied. "That's right, and in order to see more of that sun, this person has only one choice - to start climbing that slope that leads him out of the pit of the valley, don't you think?"

I nodded.

"In fact, that's the only option left for him anyway, isn't it? Either he goes forward or backward, each step he takes he's one step away from the pit of the valley. Each step would only take him closer out of the valley pit. When the worse has taken place, the next step would only be better, even if just by a tiny fraction.


When everything crashing down, 起碼還嘗的出嘴裡嚼的這片芒果干的酸甜滋味。


梅ちゃん at 12:48:00 AM


Saturday, April 08, 2006













梅ちゃん at 3:45:00 PM




If you are in a game where you disagree with the rules of the game, do you choose to exit and find another game that may better fit your interest, or do you decide to stay and somehow arouse all the rest of the players to alter the rules of the game?

What if before you have the power to revolutionize the game rules, one day you wake up and realize, oops, you have already become one of them, playing the same old game according to the same old rules, same principles, never to challenge the real validity behind it anymore, simply going with the flow, staying in for the sake of staying in, pursuing after self glory and fame or a tenureship of security?


I'm utterly afraid.

Or the other side of the story might be, before you have the power to change the rule of thumbs of the game, you have been determined to be "unfit," "incapable," "not smart enough," disqualified or simply ostracized if not kicked out by the rest of the game players?

Who are they to decide the value of my personhood, as a human being who have just as many non-academic emotions, feelings, thoughts, fonding of things, interests, values, and beliefs as academic ones?

I am not a Harvard student. That is not my identity. I am not an intellectual graduate student, that too is not my identity. I am a human being, and despite my intellectual capability or how smart I may sound or write or appear to be, I remain living, legitimately, even if I don't write smart papers, make smart comments, sound like a snobby doctoral student, counter-argue or deconstruct other people's comments or heart-felt thoughts, tearing them down to nothingness in a course of a one-hour section, as if I have any right to really do so or understand a fraction of what others have put into their work.

This is not supposed to be a lego game where we can just build and rebuild a castle.

Where is respect, true respect? This is not supposed to be a game coined in the seemingly fabulous title of "intellectual discourse," "dialectic exercise," or "philosophical rethinking." B/c there's really isn't anything glorious or fabulous about this exercise. It's ugly, and it doesn't make sense to me. 不要再用美麗的言詞來包裝這虛假的遊戲。

沒有真理?If anything and everything may be argued, counter-argued, constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed, what is left behind is nothing but broken pieces without coherency. Are we really approaching the truth or just becoming farther and farther away from it?

There is no truth? Then how am I even supposed to live my life, to even wake up in the morning and make my very first decision of the day? Upon what principles shall I guide my actions, interact with people, treat others with decency instead of shattering them into pieces? Should I even try to greet other people, let the elderly take my seat, close the door behind me gently, or observe any office/school policies? Anything may be challenged right? So why not start with challenging the rules of games in this academic institute?

Wait, am I ready to be a martyr?

A group of prospective students just walked by. They are on a tour, and I know what they are all thinking: wow, what an opportunity to study in one of the most prestigious universities in the world! "Just hold on a sec," I wanna tell them. "Just don't get swept away by the fame and let it take mastership of your life."

But I know they wouldn't understand, till they too have become participants of the game.


梅ちゃん at 3:54:00 AM


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Quarter-life Crisis

Back from trip to Europe. Great trip, awesome sightseeing, a ton of museum visits and a ton of walking. Got blisters on both feet by the 3rd day yet mad foot-trekking didn't end till the very last day. Wish I had more time Amsterdam. The first night was rough, dealing with jetlag and the feeling of loss being in a big city of sex, clubbing, and drugs, yet later on it still turned out to be my favorite (not for the aforementioned reasons of course!). Brussels was great too though came further down the list of "favorites." Leiden and Bruges completely captured my heart, whereas Luxembourg was a rather disappointment (maybe due to constant downpour of cold rain and empty streets on Sunday?). Anyway, if I ever got time I'll write more updates on some of the highlights about the trip or even post a few pictures.

I'd wanted this trip to be more of a relaxing one, yet at the end I still ended up dragging myself to 5 different cities and turned everyday into a 16-hour non-stop traveling. Being alone, though, allowed me a lot of time for personal reflections. One thing that really stood out to me is that traveling alone in your late 20's just isn't the same as traveling in early 20's. Somehow there was more yearning for company this time, and I couldn't stop envying the people traveling in packs or with loved ones/families around me. I may be able to travel alone for the next 10 years or so, but I no longer know if that's still the preferred way of traveling by the age of 40.

Still trying to get back to the flow of things back in Cambridge and had a few hours of solid studying this afternoon. Yet, something itching was nibbling me inside. The sense of fear, confusion, and continual wondering on what I am doing here. Yeah, what in the world am I doing here? In Cambridge, in this program, in the purpose of studying and the general meaning in life. Is this where I can be who I am the most? Is this what would empowers me to achieve what I want to achieve eventually? What kind of sacrifices or compromises would I have to make along the way to reach the final goal? Am I willing to make such sacrifices or compromises? Is this what God wants for me? How does faith come into play and what happens when faith conflicts with the culture of this environment? Where does one draw the line? What would life look like if I were not here but elsewhere?

Questions and choices and wonders ... My roommate reminds me that I perhaps am going through some kind of quarter-life crisis, reflecting upon all the things done and experiences gone through, and reexaming whether this is truly the step to take or to be in. Around the same time a friend of mine whom I graduated from college together with just sent me an ultra-sound photo of her baby girl today. She's totally at a different stage in life now whereas I'm still trying to figure out who this so-called "the one" is (if there is such a thing as "the one"). It seems infinitely difficult at times to find that one whom you truly truly love, yet when seeing those who are already married, I again wonder how they have done it all. Is life sometimes just easier for some people?

These days, I just feel that to be able to find that one you love whom you're able to make the decision to spend the rest of your life with him/her is nothing but a pure act of miracle from God. So many factors and variables have to work out perfectly in order for that union to take place. Truly incredible.

Same thing with career calling, passion, things and goals wanna achieve in life. Taking one step at a time, I tell myself. Yet, sometimes, even that one step is so hard to take.

Perhaps the key is simply to keep walking.

梅ちゃん at 3:15:00 PM