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turning dragons into princesses
These days I either write a lot or think and dream about it. It's often supposed to be very structured, which sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out, because if you talk to me, my thoughts tend to go in all directions. I think I am rather flexible when it comes to doing things with other people, but I am very much a perfectionist when it comes to writing. Even if it's easy enough to delude ourselves, I want to believe that the words I use are true. I want to believe that they have power.
Depending on my mood, I can be a quiet person, but once we've created a conversational rhythm, I usually become a lot more talkative. I like to exchange information on cultural outings when I can and explore new places even in familiar settings. I also love questions, so feel free to ask away.
Paris: October 2009 - May 2011
Cambridge, Massachusetts: June 2011 - May 2013
Afterwards, only time can tell.
"STRANGER! if you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me, why should you
not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?"
-- Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
This story is not complete, and never will be, but I will try to tell it all the same. Perhaps some of the many things I have excluded will pique your interest: et voilà, the start of a long, rewarding conversation! :)
I lived in the same Californian city my first eighteen years, at times as if asleep, enjoying the sunshine but always wondering what lay at the edge of this experience. My first move was toward the other coast, the other shore, to join an intimate community of scholars known for its diversity and commitment to social justice. Yes, one can ask, how meaningful are these terms?
I remained landlocked on a secluded campus of Quaker stone buildings and lushly colored lawns, with its looming bell tower and outdoor amphitheatre where one sits on ever expanding rings of moss-covered ledges, interrupted only periodically by the stump of a hollowed out tree. There were no New England autumns here, but I was reminded a little of Tolkien's idyllic Shire, both in beauty and the sense that outside the enclosed world of the student, life was lived quite differently. After a year of growing restlessness I left, burning with questions about displacement, belonging, and cultural identity, many of which subsequent travels to Central America and Vietnam (my parents' homeland) have only fueled. But I realized this truth, and it is simple enough:
Life is lived quite differently everywhere. There is no place or perspective from which one can see it all.
So what has been my way of responding to this? I suppose it has often been to feel hungry for more, though now I'd like to try noticing the particularities of each person's approach to life.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
My references will shed some light on the ones I've had so far, most of which were very positive.
I haven't had much of a chance to offer a place to travelers--the apartments I've lived in have often been too small ;) but that will change, perhaps, in Cambridge. However, I've participated in various meetings in France and in Europe as well as organized several outings in Paris.
"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
-- Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
the difficult yet necessary need to communicate, human motivations, the confusion of feelings, exile, longing, melancholy, quotidian joy
unsayable experiences, beauty, blurring boundaries, paths that stretch to infinity, secret passageways, speaking in person, laughing, smiling, trusting life and chance
ÃÂ¢Ãâ¬ÃÅI thought finally that of all the nostalgias that haunt the human heart the greatest of them all, for me, is an everlasting longing to bring what is youngest home to what is oldest in us all.ÃÂ¢Ãâ¬ÃÂ
ÃÂ¢Ãâ¬Ãâ Laurens Van Der Post
- outdoor activities
Music, Movies, and Books
music :: I am not so good at characterizing my tastes, which ebb and flow like the songs I most enjoy. For me, the words are important, but so are the harmonies. And I don't always need words in order to understand.
The Beatles, Bebel Gilberto, Björk, Caetano Veloso, The Cardigans, Cat Power, Cocteau Twins, Coralie Clément, Devendra Banhart, Elliott Smith, Françoise Hardy, Gal Costa, Joe Hisaishi, Lullatone, Milton Nascimento, Naoko Terai Quartet, Nouvelle Vague, Phoenix, Piazolla, Richard Galliano, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Shunji Iwai, Takeshi Kobayashi, Yoko Kanno
Chopin. Debussy. Puccini.
Tchaikovsky. Wagner. Mahler.
films :: several by Shunji Iwai, Wong Kar Wai, Hayao Miyazaki.
Adaptation, Before Sunset, Closer, Disney's Alice in Wonderland, The Double Life of Veronique, Flight of the Red Balloon, Girl Interrupted, Hiroshima Mon Amour, The Hours, Life is Beautiful, Pan's Labyrinth, Paris Je T'aime, Ricordati di me, The Science of Sleep, Sophie's Choice, Sylvia, Volver, Waking Life, Zhou Yu's Train
books :: I read fragments. I like fragments.
my most recent coup de coeur: Les identités meurtrières // In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong (Amin Maalouf)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), The Art of Travel (Alain de Botton), The Awakening (Kate Chopin), The Book of Salt (Monique Truong), The Case for Literature (Gao Xingjian), Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky), Dictee (Theresa Hak Kyung Cha), If on a winter's night a traveler (Italo Calvino), An Intimate History of Humanity (Theodore Zeldin), The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), Sputnik Sweetheart (Haruki Murakami).
all the world is a stage:
Closer (Patrick Marber), Ciels (Wajdi Mouawad), Eurydice (Jean Anouilh), M. Butterfly (David Henry Hwang), Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw), Shunkin (Junichiro Tanazaki), Summer and Smoke (Tennessee Williams), The Zoo Story (Edward Albee)
Teach, Learn, Share
I am sensitive to the meanings of words and to their connotations. I dislike the notion that English can only be a language of commerce. My relationship with it is not without its ambiguities, but if you so desire, I do believe I could help you speak more lyrically--I am not the one to approach for marketing slogans.
Je cherche avoir une liberté comparable avec le français. Une langue pour moi est beaucoup plus qu'un simple outil pour la communication. Je m'intéresse aux richesses mais aussi aux contraintes de chacune.
I would like to be more "craft-y", but there are so many to choose from! If you know how to make things (anything) let me be your apprentice.
My studies take up most of my time (this semester: historical, psychological, religious), but I enjoy going to cultural events in Paris, especially for theater and contemporary dance as well as for concerts, lectures, exhibitions, etc., depending on what I find.
Countries I’ve Visited
Belgium, Cambodia, Czech Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam
Countries I’ve Lived In
France, United States