Tuesday, February 11, 2020


First: I am so happy to announce that, for the third year in a row, I’ve been chosen to exhibit my artwork at the Chicago Public Library during May to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This year, I’ll be in my own neighborhood’s branch: Logan Square! Thank you, CPL!

Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile.

Second: I know I haven’t been updating this blog much lately, and that’s an understatement [she says as she sheepishly looks at the post numbers by year in the Archive sidebar]. (Like, my last real post was a contextless but wistful one about my college reunion.) So I’ll simply bring you up to speed with my most recent adventure.

Last month, my parents and I traveled to Patagonia, where we rang in the new year. Going there was on my personal bucket list, which people have been asking me about since 2008 because of Dreams of a City, and I’m usually cagey with my answers, but now you know one of them.

Patagonia was, without a doubt, one of the best trips we’ve ever had. My mom said it was on the same level as when we went to Egypt (coincidentally, the same year I started my aforementioned mapping project), and my dad said—while we were standing in the above spot in Torres del Paine—that out of all the places we’ve been to, Patagonia is the most beautiful. I’m inclined to agree.

San Carlos de Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina. First full day of our trip.

Yet even more than the grandeur of the landscapes and wonder of being in such wilderness was the beauty in the human connections. Music, passion, dancing in the heat, late nights overflowing with wine. Beautiful souls, rollicking laughter, finding that most things—and not just the age-old human desire to be near mountains and bodies of water—are universal. It’s summer in the southern hemisphere and all of it was the epitome of summer’s bittersweetness, fervent and fleeting. “Only connect,” that literary-reference-learned-as-a-teenager-turned-tenet-in-adulthood, comes to me again, and it couldn’t be more suited for a space where it’s a reflex to pass your mate to all your friends old and new and everyone drinks out of the same metal straw, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to enter a brand-new decade.

Volcan Orsono, Los Lagos, Patagonia, Chile.
The ferry (one of many when crossing the Argentina-Chile border)
turning a bend and revealing this was unreal. New Year's Day.

(Even the imperfect was perfect. Like that time one of the many buses we’d take for the Argentina-Chile border crossing broke down before it reached us so we waited in the shade around a replica of Che Guevara’s La Poderosa II. Or that other time the trailer carrying our luggage broke and we bonded while stranded for four hours at a rest stop in Villa Tehuelches and then in our [absolutely lovely and lovable and hardworking and total sweetheart of a 23-year-old Argentine tour] guide Esteban’s hurry to finally leave… left behind Sonja from Vienna at said rest stop and didn’t realize it until the bus was already minutes away while driving at full speed. (We made a frantic U-turn to get her back.) It was straight out of a movie; it had us cackling and clapping; it was glorious.)

The mighty Glaciar Perito Moreno, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares,
Patagonia, Argentina. This is the third largest ice field in the world
(the first and second are in Antarctica and Greenland). 

I loved it all, and I already miss Argentina and Chile dearly. (I missed them as soon as our plane took off from Buenos Aires and my mom said “goodbye, Argentina” and then I whispered it and felt a swell of sadness, but still.) Naturally, I took a ton of photos (and yes, still with my little 5s) and have shared a few of them (33 photos/photosets) on Instagram. They’re also organized on my Tumblr with tags for Patagonia and Buenos Aires. (And if you enjoy scrolling, they’re also on Twitter and Facebook.)

Life is art; paint it with the world.

Mt. Tronador right after crossing the border from
Argentina's Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi to
Chile's Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Morales. Patagonia. New Year's Day.

Happy 2020!

Candid of my parents taking it all in.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile.

P.S. In case you missed the previous post, the call for artists for my next group show is up!

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