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My name's Kevin and I'm from Long Island, NY. My Chinese name is 邊策; a friend gave it to me because it sounds the same as 鞭策.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
I couchsurf because doing so is a bit outside my comfort zone. I'm generally a pretty reserved and quiet person, but couchsurfing puts me into a kind of crucible where I have to open up. Couchsurfing is like medicine in a sense. If you get stuck in a trap of doing only the things you want to do, you will never grow.
I am also a good listener and I find that people have good stories to tell when I am traveling.
I study classics and linguistics at college. I'm also very interested in philosophy, especially from the Medieval period. If I ever have a question about something I will usually go see what Thomas Aquinas has to say about it. Ancient cultures, like Rome or China, are also super cool to me. I think familiarity with the languages surrounding my interests is one of the best ways to engage with them.
Because old things are near and dear to me, they can be a running theme in my life. My current avocation is to assist the archival librarian at my college. I remember being heartbroken after learning that nearly all of Sappho's poetry and many Ancient Greek plays have been lost in time. I wanted to help to prevent this kind of loss from happening in the future, so I applied for the job. The everyday tasks an archivist does are less heroic than the things that scribes and monks had to do in order to write manuscripts before the time of the printing press, but the work definitely makes you feel like you're a part of a long tradition of preserving knowledge. It also really makes you appreciate the literature that did manage to survive up to now.
I love music; I'm trying to learn how to sing Gegorian chant, and I'm always excited to see live shows. In fact, I think the latter is the best way to meet new people in a new environment.
Lately I've been pretty intrigued by Jaques Lacan and psychoanalysis in general. Looking at that kind of stuff can really expand your perspective.
Music, Movies, and Books
I love the poetry of Ovid, because it's pretty easy to read compared to Virgil, and there is still a high level of artistry. Other poets I like are Catullus, Dante, St. Ephraim, Elizabeth Bishop, Octavio Paz, St. John of the Cross, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Seamus Heaney, and Thomas Kinsella. I used to write poetry but it doesn't come as naturally as it used to.
I think everyone should read The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. He is a brilliant writer and so many of the dynamics and struggles he faced still seem relevant to the contemporary world. In addition, he's accessable and humorous. The book has definitely been very influential in my life and outlook.
When I first got into music I was obsessed with Bob Dylan, and ever since I've maintained an affinity for the surreal. I love psychedelic music like Jefferson Airplane, Faust, and Mercury Rev. The Olivia Tremor Control is my favorite band. Lately I've been listening to alot of Alex G.
Beyond that I'm really into jazz and hip-hop. I like Charlie Parker, Andrew Hill, JJ Johnson, George Benson, and McCoy Tyner among others. As for hip-hop, I like Kool G Rap, Quasimoto, DJ Quik, Soft Lipa, Poor Righteous Teachers, and Edan.
I've been trying to get more into opera lately and I find Verdi appeals to me greatly.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
I'm going to cheat and post acouple amazing things.
I saw Television and Bootsy Collins on the same bill when I was in Shanghai.
I sang a song with my college's choir about David and Absolom in La Sagrada Familia (the cathedral in Barcelona that looks like a rotten tooth). It made a very devout woman cry.
I climbed the yellow mountains in China and saw the sun rise from on top.
I went to the top of the WTC before it fell.
Teach, Learn, Share
I want someone to teach me Taiji or Qigong while I'm here in Taiwan. I could teach you how to... scan Latin poetry?
Countries I’ve Visited
Countries I’ve Lived In
China, Taiwan, United States