First Gen Guilt

There’s a mistaken belief that America remains the “gold mountain” it once was for many immigrants. Being the token American in the family, there’s this expectation that I would give back and possibly sponsor others to gain a foothold in this land of plenty. My lack of money/inability to fulfill dreams comes off as improbable and disrespectful when it’s a known fact that I’m given so many opportunities and freedoms others wish they had.

My Experience with Harassment in Istanbul

Solo travel can be an eye-opening, enriching experience. You can have some truly amazing conversations with locals or deep moments of self-reflection without distractions. On the other hand, solo travel can open the door to some extremely frustrating incidents, such as this one time I was forced to buy a carpet I didn’t want.

In this post, I look back at my trip to Istanbul and address some lingering fear and anxiety from the harassment I experienced.

The Sad Closure of Lishui’s Only Walmart

Word leaked about a month ago that Lishui’s Walmart was to close on April 16, 2019. A document in Chinese that was shared on wechat sent shock waves through our town. While Walmart hasn’t always had it easy breaking into the Chinese market, it had grown to become a beloved store in Lishui.

The Strays of Istanbul

While walking around the city, one cannot travel more than a few steps without coming across one of the many cats and dogs freely roaming around. Over the course of my time in Istanbul, I learned that the city has a history of treating its strays well, but it wasn’t always so. During the early 20th century, many cleansing campaigns were implemented to rid the city of unwanted animals (mostly dogs) that represented noisy disturbances, dirt and danger from diseases, such as rabies.

On the way to Shigatse!

“You let us know, we can find you a bush or something,” Gelek said over his shoulder from the front seat, “restrooms on the way are not so clean and can charge one or two yuan.” “Oh, lovely, thank you,” I muttered, looking out from the window of our van at the vast dry open…

Where the Earth meets the Sky

Morning, American breakfast? I woke up about half an hour before my alarm was to go off at 8am, confused about what time it was since it was still pretty dark outside. I learned later that sunrise doesn’t start until about 8:30am. Looking in the mirror was slightly jarring my first morning in Lhasa. Oh…