I. fortune cookies

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Starting a new project as of today. Each week, I’m going to try to post a picture accompanied with short prose about an event, a passing encounter, or a mood.

Currently the last week of 1L. S and I took a practice exam, and fatigued by the intensive fact pattern, we decided to head over to this Chinese restaurant before returning to the library. It’s the kind of gimmicky establishment adorned with red lanterns at the entrance and ornate gold tablecloth overlaying circular tables spread throughout the spacious (but mostly empty) interior. A tourist trap for the Greenwich Village passerby, or perhaps a pit stop for the drunken crowds swelling in and out of the bars on West 3rd. It’s the kind of place you stumble upon without forethought, because you meandered too far into this area or you forgot to make a reservation at a Yelp-approved venue in the East Village.

It’s the kind of place that gives out golden-orange colored fortune cookies wrapped in plastic that read “Fortune Cookie” with a depiction of the fortune cookie on the front. And when you crack open that fortune cookie, there is a fleeting exhilaration of revealing the unknown contained in that small token of cultural idiosyncrasy — only in America. Then you share the profound wisdom printed onto that thin, white rectangular piece of paper with your friend, and after exchanging the wisdom you’ve gleaned from these valuable documents, you both ponder over the poignancy of its words.

I don’t know if my fortune will ring true. I’m two exams away from finishing this long, challenging year. Perhaps the profound wisdom that this fortune cookie has really taught me is that I can share the fortune with the best companions. After scoffing at our fortune cookies, S and I went back to the library, struggling together over our practice exam and sounding like two crazy girls postulating over criminal law. If I could rewrite that fortune, it’d probably read instead: “You are lucky because you have chosen great companions.”

 

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synecdoche

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National Gallery of Art

 

i saw this piece at the whitney and was instantly drawn to its deceiving simplicity. by byron kim, this artwork comprises of different colored panels in which every shade of oil paint and wax represent a skin color. the hues of yellow, pink and brown juxtaposed into a collective whole create a liberated sentiment of race and ethnicity — freeing the conception of skin color from the shackles of social and political construct to give each and every color equal status.

each panel is uniform in texture, dimension, and position. no one color is advantaged by its particular physical place in this piece. if one panel is featured in the center, it has just the same qualities as that of the panel located at the lower bottom corner. it is a radical metaphor for race and ethnicity based on a simple artistic vision of clean lines of color.

perhaps this metaphorical humanism founded upon such a simple idea is exactly the kind of message that we need to hear in today’s state of the world, in which we are bitterly divided by increasingly messy, dangerous, and complicated lines that have led us to lose sight of a shared basis of our identities.

a letter to my mom

today is my mom’s birthday, and as a token of my gratitude, here is a short letter to the OG female figure in my life. happy birthday mom, and happy galentine’s day.

*****

dear mom~

remember when i’d sneak into your closet and play dress up with your clothes? there was this one bright red skirt i loved — adorned with a delicate print of tiny black flowers, it was long, flowing, and beautiful, like you. i would clumsily rummage into your makeup drawer and  experiment with your rouge cream lipsticks, while click-clacking all over the bathroom tiles in your black boots. even at the tender age of five, i still recognized your impeccable taste in fashion and discerning eye for beauty.

as i strutted around the house in your black boots, i would tell you how much i wanted to grow up so i could have my own closet full of red skirts and black boots. you’d laugh and tell me i was foolish, because i’d be grown soon enough. you were right, mom. now that i can and sometimes have to wear heels, i’d much rather wear flats. heels can be such a pain and leave blisters on my feet. rouge cream lipsticks get messy and leave stains everywhere. flowing red skirts are only socially acceptable for dates and special occasions. being a 25 year-old woman isn’t an easy course, with its myriad of societal rules and customs, blisters and lipstick stains, misadventures and detours.

for all the times we’ve fought and cried together, you’ve reminded me again and again that girls grow into strong, passionate women who work hard to achieve their dreams. we must find and ardently chase after what we hold dear, and our revelations about our mistakes and flaws will only teach us to become better versions of ourselves. wherever there was potential for growth, you would empower my sister and me to explore and commit to that potential. for all the times i’ve lost and fallen, you’ve stood steadfastly behind me, guiding me to move forward because there are more beautiful, lovely things to be discovered out there.

thank you, mom — for supporting me, for believing in me, for waiting on me, for loving me, and for teaching me to become the woman i am today.

with all my blessings and love,

mc

city lights bookstore

march 2015.

Here I spent an entire afternoon submerged between the wooden bookshelves, a sunny and warm afternoon that should have coaxed any San Franciscan into a day of lazy and haphazard exploration outdoors. The day that had been perfectly set up for a day of exploration became a day meant for idle strolling and pleasant chit chat.

Instead of going to a stand-up comedy show at Doc Rickett’s, I made a detour. I ventured into your space and became mesmerized by your books. I rediscovered my passion for European literature and philosophy, immersed myself in the pages of Sartre and Kundera and Kafka, and eventually mustered the strength to detach myself from that celestial corner of the bookstore to explore other unknown parts. Books on relativity, art and faraway places waved cheerfully at me as I passed from shelf to shelf. Philosophy and the humanities pulled me into their warm embrace over and over again, as I traced my fingers over beautifully composed poems.

I explored almost every inch of that bookstore, all three stories, on that sunny and warm afternoon that lapsed into dusk when I finally stepped out to the real city lights adorning the intersection perched atop San Francisco.