02 February 2009

Just 25 things...

can make one person so different from another. These little lists have been circulating around facebook and have been great fun to read (and write!). The challenge: define yourself in a 25-point list. Well, I'll try...

1. When I was very little, I enjoyed taking my mother's lipstick and drawing all over my face and then eating it. I also enjoyed taking all of her shoes out of her closet and making a mountain of shoes under the piano in the living room. When my little brother was a baby, I fed him a tiny piece of blue construction paper to see what would happen. He threw it up immediately. (I hope my future children will be like my husband and not like me.)

2. When I was a little girl, I wished for an older sister, to be popular and that my asthma would go away. All three wishes came true. I should have been more specific.

3. Most of my teachers felt I was smart enough but talked too much in class. In 7th grade, my squishy, angry teacher picked up my desk and threw it about three feet only to discover I had not been playing with video games and that it had been the kid next to me. She never forgave me for it.

4. Before college, I grew up in Nevada, California and Taiwan, and if you include places I lived in for a month, I'm now living in my 39th home. The place I've lived the longest (so far) was my home in Taipei on Shi Pai Road, where I lived from 7th until 12th grade.

5. I loved TAS (Taipei American School, my middle and high school) so much, it took almost ten years to recover. Only when I moved into the graduate school dorm did I feel I was loved just for being 100% my-weirdo-self.

6. One of life's greatest gifts is connecting, really connecting, with another human being, and one of life's great miracles is when you find those people again, and it feels like only ten days, rather than ten years, have passed. Thank you!

7. I thought I wanted to go into politics when I went to college but decided quickly I wasn't cut out for politics. I spent the first two years of college in DC and felt that had been enough. I told my mom that one went to college to learn how to think, claimed I knew how to think and declared that I was dropping out. That didn't go over well, so I went abroad instead. I spent my junior year in Paris and Geneva, during which I skipped three months of school to go backpacking, and was happy to discover I had enough credit to graduate in 3.5 years. Instead of graduating early, I took the fall semester of my senior year off and went to Capetown, South Africa.

8. While trying to figure out how I could save the world and also be creative, I dabbled in journalism in DC, working for an NGO in Switzerland, advertising in South Africa, graphic design in L.A. and working for an art gallery in New York. After graduating from college, I went to LA to become a cinematographer and ended up an actor, moved to San Francisco when I tired of L.A., went backpacking in Thailand before starting grad. school, then graduated again and taught in a correctional facility for teenage boys in Somerville. Now, I'm a full-time writer.

9. I said I would never move back to the east coast, would never go back to school after college and would never get married. Now, I live on the east coast, have a Master's degree (that I don't use) and am married. Never say never. Unless you want it to come true.

10. I had a small speaking role in a movie with Leonardo di Caprio, directed by Steven Spielberg, and got an imdb page for it. I don't have a wikipedia page and am grateful for that. I like my privacy.

11. I wrote for a travel guide for one summer, covering Croatia and Slovenia. I am glad I did it, but I wouldn't do it again.

12. I tried to start a social enterprise/open a bakery cafe with two old friends and designed a (very simple) website for it. The business never took off, but we are all still friends, and I'd take that over the business any day.

13. San Francisco is my favorite city in the U.S., but I don't have to live there again. I find it difficult to separate the people from the places, but the places where I have been the happiest are Taipei, Taiwan; Geneva, Switzerland; Dakar, Senegal; Moorea and Bora Bora, French Polynesia; and Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Cambridge would be a contender for favorite city in the U.S. if winters didn't involve so many below-freezing days. I know I've lived here too long when I look at the weather and say, "Oh, yay! 28 degrees Fahrenheit! It's getting warmer!")

14. I finished my first novel and screenplay adaptation this past fall and am now working on my second one. (A literary agent in New York is currently reviewing my manuscript, and I hope she likes it enough to represent me.)

15. I love traveling, homemade French Vanilla ice cream and Thai food.

16. My family is crazy, but I love them with all my heart.

17. My husband never ceases to amaze me, and marriage has brought us even closer. I think I just may be the luckiest woman in the world to have snagged my Honey.

18. In lieu of human babies or live pets, my husband and I have some plants and two stuffed piggies named Piggyboo and Pierro.

19. I will have 2.5 kids one day. (I believe in compromise, and I want two kids, and my husband wants three.)

20. I will not really have a half-child, and I would love to live the rest of my life without owning a car. (I love walking, and I hope to live somewhere where I won't ever need or even want one. Like Paris. Or Singapore. Or...)

21. My 10th grade English teacher inspired me to write, and we still email about writing, politics and life, in general. Mr. Krieckhaus rocks my world and has already changed my life for the better. The writers he introduced me to are still the most influential in my life to date: William Faulkner (on my writing), Joseph Campbell (on my spirituality) and Henry David Thoreau (on how I live my life).

22. I saw a student die in October and started a blog, which I continue to publish on weekdays.

23. I've survived three pretty serious car accidents (none of which were my fault). Seriously. Yes, I know the stereotype of Asian women drivers. And yes, I feel I owe the universe for sparing me and giving me more chances at life.

24. Most of the things I love doing most I've never had formal training in: writing, painting, photography...

25. I believe in dreams coming true and working hard until they do. I love life and if I were to preach, I would tell people to take the path that frightens them but refuses to stop beckoning. There is no such thing as failure. There is only another opportunity to learn, reminders to be humble, and trying again. That's the cost and reward of living a breathtaking life. When I lay on my deathbed, I hope to look back on a life that was an adventurous, joy-spreading work of art.

Phew, that was long. Thanks for reviewing my life with me. In return, I'd love to see your list of 25 things. It's a neat exercise that I would recommend trying, if only to see if your life is what you wanted it to become. (And if you don't want to publish it publicly, please email me directly at serendipityberries@gmail.com.)

1 comment:

  1. I so enjoyed reading this. I knew I liked you, I just didn't know how much! You live a life that others can aspire to. Next time you are visiting your favorite city, please look me up!

    And Calvin & Hobbes is the best cartoon everrrrrrr! :)