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The Year My Life Got Stranger Than Fiction

My 7-Year Pursuit of How To Live A near-death experience, an improbable disorder, and a global quest for answers Dakar, Saly, Kedougou. Marrakech, Fez, Cairo. Chicago, Aspen, Los Angeles. Beijing, Langfang, Hangzhou. And finally, Springfield, Kambah, Ballengarra, and Fassifern Valley… a good whirl around the world… I write from Brisbane International Airport. In one day, I’ll be home. In one week, I’ll be 22. This … Continue reading The Year My Life Got Stranger Than Fiction

The 4 Dumbest Things I’ve Done Around the World

For many years now, I’ve been meaning to sit down and read about astrophysics. Finally, I got around to it. This was no negligible undertaking for a brain the size of mine. It was like vaulting an Olympic bar using a chopstick. Anyway, I come to you with the following takeaways: If just one physics professor had spent five minutes telling the story about the … Continue reading The 4 Dumbest Things I’ve Done Around the World

Interview #1: For the Love of Criminal Defense

August-October 2020 On August 29, after two COVID tests, four hours of driving, three hours of my boyfriend telling me to drive better, and two hours of me telling my boyfriend to can you please stop the heck telling me to drive better (even though he was right, like always, because that’s what love is), I arrived at Hard Way Farm in Mendocino, California. Classic … Continue reading Interview #1: For the Love of Criminal Defense

When I Became an Archaeologist

When I Became a WHAT? To be precise, what I actually became was one member of a herd of semi-indentured servants under the direct supervision of some archaeologists. But I was rolling the exact rocks, scrubbing the exact pottery, and digging the exact dirt that Charles, my supervisor, directed me to, so by the transitive property, I guess I could say I was Charles. And … Continue reading When I Became an Archaeologist

Tiny Tales #3: I Crossed the River Nile on a Motorcycle Scooter

Frankly, I could replace this entire post with a single screencap: Back in March, I spent a week bumpin’ around Cairo: eating twelve-cent meals, chugging fruit smoothies, haggling felucca fares with a guy who added me on WhatsApp and now sends me, at random, snippets of radio talk shows entirely in Arabic. I was thrilled to see Cairo for one reason: Uber.* *Not a paid … Continue reading Tiny Tales #3: I Crossed the River Nile on a Motorcycle Scooter

Dakar Survival Guide for the Everyday Toubab

The Hell is Dakar? Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, a country on the west coast of Africa. I studied there from January to March 2018. I understand that this post is hugely belated. Well, here is what happened: In April, UChicago kicked my ass. In May, UChicago kicked my ass. In June, UChicago ended! . . . and I flew straight to my … Continue reading Dakar Survival Guide for the Everyday Toubab

Lessons Learned from a Crash in the Dunes

This post is Episode 1/3 of the Great Camel Odyssey of 2018, whereby I traversed 3 countries over the course of 3 months in search of one perfect camel ride. It is the second week of my study abroad program in Dakar: early January, dry season, seventy degrees and sunny. During class on Thursday, my professor hands out itineraries for Saturday’s day trip. I don’t … Continue reading Lessons Learned from a Crash in the Dunes

764 Miles, 3 Days, 1 Butt: My Trek Across Senegal

So I’ve been studying abroad in Senegal since January, living with a host family in the coastal capital of Dakar. Around midnight one Thursday, as my friends and I hunkered over the final projects due that very morning, my pal Jon went, “By the way, I think I am gonna do the waterfall trip. You should come.” Said waterfall trip consisted of two overnight buses … Continue reading 764 Miles, 3 Days, 1 Butt: My Trek Across Senegal

Tiny Tales #2: I Met Bidew Bou Bess at a Senegalese Chinese New Year Festival

Amendment: I danced with Bidew Bou Bess at a Chinese New Year Festival in Dakar. Amendment to amendment: I jabbed my hips in arbitrary directions and flailed my arms in floppy circles and fundamentally disgraced both myself and the entire Chinese American community beside Bidew Bou Bess at a Chinese New Year Festival in Dakar. Bidew Bou Bess is a rap trio consisting of three brothers: Makhtar, … Continue reading Tiny Tales #2: I Met Bidew Bou Bess at a Senegalese Chinese New Year Festival