Posts filed under Travel

On My Southern Drawl

I don't know when or how it started to happen. Words that are one syllable have been drawing out into three, or four.

"Ohh way-eh-ell." [Oh well.]

"Thaa-yat looks soooo ba-yad." [That looks so bad.]

"Aww ma-yen." [Aww man.]

To the point where everyone I meet giggles and repeats whatever charming thing I'd say to them.

"Eat a bayag of diiii-ucks." [Eat a bag of dicks.]

But at 29, something I'd been denying my entire life suddenly appeared. I developed a bizarrely thick Southern accent that would insert itself into my daily speech without warning.

This is especially pronounced by the fact that I am Asian-American.

It's worth mentioning: English wasn't my first language. I didn't learn a lick of English until I was nearly four. And most of that was from television. 

So I had always assumed my accent, if any, was broadly American. I talked like Sesame Street puppets. Like Nickelodeon cartoons. Clearly, I would be immune to the influence of the lazy tongue, the elongated syllables.

Yeah, nope.

One of my more spendy hobbies is traveling, venturing to different parts of the South, island hopping, practicing my French language skills, but this strange affliction has started to kill my usually large sense of wanderlust.

Georgia, and the thick Southern country accent, are associated with backwards, uninformed and unintelligible stereotypes. I'm really not sure if I can feel worldly, if everyone I talk to might think I'm dumb as bricks.

But at the same time, it's deeply satisfying. Sometimes I'll be chattering away, not even realizing I've slowly started sliding until I am already halfway in, and since I've gone so far, I might as well just really dig into it. Take that leisurely, deliciously slow pace and really stretch out every single word.

"Fuuuhk yoo four-ehv-urr." [Fuck you forever.]

Hmm. Now that I think harder on it, maybe it's how I soften rude things I say. Swears are cuter when drawled out, real long, right?

Posted on March 27, 2015 and filed under Travel, Culture.

That Time I Killed A Bird With My Car

"What kind of ungodly creature shits white?"

- Keiko Green

It was snowing, hard. Having grown up in the Deep South, driving through a snowstorm in pitch blackness was never a situation I had ever encountered, much less planned for.

I was worlds away from home. I was in almost-Europe with my best friend and world travel partner-in-crime. It was our second full day in Iceland, and the natural wonders did not cease to disappoint. Like the sun setting at 5 p.m., and a bright clear day transforming into the inside of a snow globe.

As we were both well-traveled and turned our noses up at group tourism, we were on a self-guided choose your own adventure tour of the country. That day, we drove halfway around the island to see a lake. The drive was long, but far from boring. The landscape glimmered and shifted in the distance, transforming every few minutes. 

Endless wonder is exhausting, sometimes.

Hours later, we arrived.

Jökulsárlón: a lake filled with glacial icebergs

But a quick looksee and hot chocolate later, we were done. Which meant we had to go back the way we came. An hour later, the sun went down.

For hours, we drove back through winding roads with no lights. Just little dots of reflectors guiding the way. And then it started snowing. Hailing. Times-Square-pillow-fight-proportions-of-down snowstorming.

So we were driving blindly, slowly, not knowing if the dark outside of the reflector strips was a vast plain with frozen cattle or a steep cliff leading to certain death.

Then it came out of nowhere--a gull-sized bird tried to stream across the road and slammed into the windshield.

And that's when it spilled out of my mouth.

"I hate birds."

Startled by the thwap, my copilot was already bewildered.

"...what?! What the fuck?"

"I hate birds," I said again, slowly, calmly.


"They shit white. And their bones are hollow. If you see one run over on the road, they're COMPLETELY FLAT. What is this witchcraft? And they look like dinosaurs. I just don't like them."

We kept driving, finally cutting through the storm into our lodging for the night.

Every now and then, she laughs, out of context, "I still can't believe you hate birds."

Posted on January 13, 2015 and filed under Culture, Travel, Photography.

2013: Amazing Experiences, Incredible People

To all the haters that always say every year, "This year sucked, next one has to be better," I have to disagree. Even a traditionally horrible experience in hindsight, is at the very least interesting, if not totally amazing after the fact. I personally thought 2013 was the best year ever, and life is only getting better all the time.

Top moments of the year, in no specific order:

Getting caught in a torrential downpour in Chicago. There were people streaming down the streets. At the time, it felt like the worst. But if you watch the video, we're all smiling hard.

Hogsmeade at Twilight.

A cheap but effective high: casually wandering Harry Potter World during my birthday, and being escorted to the front of the line for every ride. Because birthday! I haven’t celebrated very hard in years, so being rewarded for being born was so nice! It's an unexpected but always welcome surprise to have strangers try to make your day.

Obviously my second favorite moment.

Watching my sister transform into a beautiful bride, supernaturally calm and unfettered leading up to her special day. Favorite moment, while getting ready: "Can you go steal me some bacon?" She calmly eats several pieces of thick-sliced maple-flavored bacon in her perfect hair and makeup, somehow not mussing either or her dress.

Finding myself at a happy hour with coworkers I’d never spent time with outside of the office before. Immediately becoming great friends, filling my workdays and social calendar with the most brilliant SnapChats, non-sequitous IMs, and obscure games. 

Seeing Belle & Sebastian again after 7 years, standing in a crush of people against the barricade, in a light drizzle, alone, swooning.

He wasn't really so glum.

Staying at the office until midnight, eating a burrito and drinking beers. While talking to my long-distance crush via headset. While wrapping every piece of furniture in my favorite EVP’s office with tin foil. Favorite favorite: making a giant crane out of foil as the pièce de résistance.

I always win. In this case, my prize was a new favorite friend.

Going to the arcade with a new friend, and running around like hyperactive children. It was just like being on a first date, where we told our friends afterward, "I had the most amazing time! I want to see him again." That night sealed it: he’s now my work husband and greatest confidant.

Wandering down the rabbit hole, staying out till all hours. Following the adventure storyline to the end of each night has led to secret after-hours bars, tours of beautiful homes, all the chicken sausage I could ever consume, Bagel Bites and Wii tournaments in vacant apartments, dogs petted and cats held, in-depth conversations with Uber drivers about the intricacies of the service, and often waking up with my hair in a tangle.

Zooming down the street I live on, super fast on my bike, because all the streets were closed. Feeling confident enough to ride through parts of town I’d never attempted before. Eventually landing on a patio and eating endless pizza and drinking beers with an unlikely, but incredible grouping of my favorite people.

Bi-Rite + Tartine = <3

Walking down 18th St in San Francisco with my younger sister, immediately following a successful half marathon run, eating artisanal ice cream and carrying a tres leches cake she had special ordered for my birthday.

Approached a complete stranger at the best party at SXSW. We danced, we raised our eyebrows at each other when we spotted a girl who had literally lost her shirt, we climbed on stage and danced some more. I never expected to see him again, it was a perfect night. Now we talk every single day.

Running together.

Running alone.

Although I’d been running for several months, with a few races peppered throughout the year, I hit my first runner’s high in September. It coincided with the period of time I was talking to someone new for the first time since being single. I felt like I was floating.


Following a dumbfounding breakup from my then-boyfriend of nearly five years: being swallowed up not by infinite sadness, but engulfed completely by the nuances of all my previously neglected friendships. This year I grew closer than ever to my best friends, reconnected with the most treasured people in my life, and charmed many new ones.

May 2014 bring just as many memories, just as much magic, even more moments to celebrate.

Posted on January 2, 2014 and filed under Dating, Photography, Travel.