What a busy fall… Unfortunately, it’s become normal and perhaps even desirable to be busy in today’s world. Still, I resist. I relish free mornings and nothing to do on Friday nights. That being said, it’s hard to think of a better adjective than busy to describe my fall. Here are a few scattered updates:
I finally like D.C.
It took me a year and a half but I’ve settled in. I’m growing to appreciate the unique culture, people, and places of Washington, D.C. More importantly, I’ve connected with a group of misfits in the area. This patchwork community includes ultimate frisbee players, people I knew in Chiang Mai, grad student friends, colleagues, and housemates. If I’m honest, the largest category is people I knew in Chiang Mai – most notably of whom is Dan, a law student at GW, who lived in Chiang Mai for two years and left about the same time. He and I get together just about every week, go to various lectures together, and discuss books. It’s refreshing to have someone like Dan who knows my Chiang Mai and D.C. selves.
Ideas are the stuff of life.
It’s no coincidence that I’m back in university instead of working in a “real job.” There’s something in my core that thirsts for spaces where I’m constantly engaging with a host of ideas and perspectives. It’s likely that part of my subconscious believes a “real job” will strip me of being able to spend a couple hours a day reading various articles, books, and essays. At GW, I had a great semester of coursework in predictive designs, qualitative methods, and HRD along with my work as a graduate assistant. I also worked on a couple of academic projects in my free time. I am privileged and grateful.
Mid-semester break to Asia.
A cancelled conference in Macau turned into a fun mid-semester break to Asia. Since my tickets were purchased, I was able to go on the trip to Macau, Hong Kong, and Thailand anyway. This allowed me to spend time with my girlfriend Khai and meet amazing scholars at the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Bangkok. This was my first trip back to Asia after leaving in August, 2014. I’m planning to return again in March.
What an exciting time to live.
Another sign that I’m embracing the life of D.C. is that I’ve become fully immersed in many of the issues of the times: race, police brutality, religion, political correctness, politics, and more! I’ve been reading with a voracious appetite and am having some awesome conversations. I love striking up conversations about current events! I’ve subscribed to a variety of news outlets, and I’ve read some amazing books. I can’t pick a favorite but I loved The Wayfinders by the anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis. See the tab “What I’m Reading” for a full list of books I read this fall. I’m also currently reading a novel called Revolutionary by Alex Meyers (thanks Aki S.) about a woman who dresses as a man and joins the revolutionary war. Meyers brings his unique perspective as a transgender man in a way that illuminates the lived experiences of the protagonist.
To live simply.
I live in a basement in an old row house 15 minutes from the metro in the Park View neighborhood. I ride my bike to work and enjoy the fresh air. I am in a relationship with a remarkable woman. I am filled with gratitude. Recently, I had the chance to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. I was reminded of the enduring struggle for civil rights and the vital necessity of movements like Black Lives Matter. As a straight, white, American, educated male, I am the beneficiary of immense privilege in this society and world. I choose not to ignore that reality and seek to learn more everyday how privilege affects my life and the lives of others. My hope for this new year is to use my life to serve others, live simply, keep growing, and work to make the world a place where all people are treated with respect and compassion.