CAPTURING MOMENTS || JULY 2016
- Happy 26th birthday to me! Quite possibly the only birthday I will celebrate in Vietnam so I had to go wild and out. Being here for five months and being slow to the friendship game, it was a beautiful surprise that almost everyone I invited made it out and I got to ring in twenty-six years on earth with 25 new friends by my side (I rounded out the calvary as number 26! Fortuitous? Y/Y?) Burgers, bootleg booze, and bunch of booty bumping 😉
- Fourth of July celebrations complete with Taiwanese baos by way of England with fellow Americans
- So many birthday parties! True #LeoSeason antics and I honestly could not be thrilled to have this many people in the pride.
- A SURPRISE PHILIPPINES BIRTHDAY TRIP!!! WHAT WHAT?! My uncle bought me a RT to Manila in honor of my birthday and it was an unexpected, very much needed reunion with family members. Interested to know what’s poppin’ in Manila? Check out my Manila ‘Whereabouts’ guide here.
BIRTHDAY SQUAD, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam @ 8:18 pm
DOUBLE CUP LOVE: ON THE TRAIL OF FAMILY, FOOD, AND BROKEN HEARTS by Eddie Huang
While the West anchors identity in the autonomous mind — “I think, therefore I am”– Asian identity is the sum of our judgements of other people: “I side-eye, therefore I am.”
Sypnosis: In the follow-up to Eddie Huang’s “Fresh off the Boat” memoir released in 2013, the Vice Personality and founder of Baohaus is back with more in-your-face ponderings about himself in relation to the world at large. It’s been three years since last we’ve seen Eddie Huang and he’s finally in a good place. With a successful restaurant under his belt, a bestselling book on shelves, and the star of his own wayfaring TV show, life couldn’t get better. Then he falls in love with a white girl and suddenly, identity crisis is on overdrive. Finding himself at a crossroads, he journeys to China to get some answers in where else, but a kitchen. With his brothers Evan and Emery at his side, he attempts to reconnect to a culture that he’s only ever been able appreciate as his legacy, not his reality. From brothel feasting to stomach woes, doggy encounters in the marketplace to meeting up with rap zealots, it’s a story about family, love, and food, with a little bit of soul searching in the mix in order to be our most authentic selves.
So I’ve been a fan of Eddie Huang’s ever since I first learned about him via VICE but when ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ (the TV adaptation) hit the airwaves and the controversy started floating around that he disapproved of how much it deviated from HIS story, it was then that I really started paying attention to him. I read the ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ memoir right before I pounded through ‘Double Cup Love,’ which in a way, really helped to set the stage. The memoir readthrough was a long, slow grind while ‘Double Cup Love’ was a short and sweet intake of what I had already come to love about Eddie Huang. But while the memoir is more about his upbringing, his sophomore book reads like a travelogue. It’s easier to digest his musings, most of which are about race and his identity, when he’s actually in situ. I preferred this book better but its hard to compare when they feel like two separate, but related, entities. As an immigrant myself, I really related to his struggles of trying to make meaning of something he felt like he was an expert in but still was disconnected to (ie. his Chinese/Taiwanese heritage.) A lot of his struggles mimic my thoughts when visiting the Philippines. I mean, back in the States, I’m a hardcore Filipino — I eat Filipino, speak Filipino,* act Filipino — but in the motherland, I feel like there’s a divide between me and my brethren. But I commend his openness to and seeing how he fits into the dynamic and history of his country. It is very much a story about coming home in a way. And of course, on top of his attempts to reconnect to his roots, there’s also the element of food that I am so in love with. In ‘Double Cup Love,’ we finally see Huang as a chef whereas in his memoir, he doesn’t fully actualize that’s what he wants to do until he arrives to that conclusion near the end. Food is his gateway into China; the tool he uses to dissect it, inspect it, interpret it. He proves, as many before him also have, that food is a language of a people and if we take the time to understand it, we gain a cultural fluency that doesn’t need words. The food speaks for itself. All in all, one of my favorite reads of the summer. Read both books because while I believe that ‘Double Cup Love’ can stand on its own, the preceding title will help you really appreciate his story even more.
* I know that ‘Filipino’ isn’t a language, just using it stylistically — ps, I speak both Tagalog and Ilocano
ON THE INTERNET
- The future emerges in this hyper-digital video presenting a vision where virtual reality has imprinted itself onto the real world. Shot on location in Medellin, Colombia.
- In Italy, the old school practices of cutting one’s hair with fire are still burning brightly. Meet the barber who keeps the tradition lit.
- When her husband didn’t get a visa for their honeymoon, she went without him anyways. The results? A number of entertaining snapshots from the women who honeymooned solo.
- Ann Morgan set out to read a book from all 196 official countries and the discoveries of her yearlong project have been expressed in her TED Talk. #travelgoals
- Want to map out a United States bucket list via the most instagrammable locations in each state? This list has got you covered.
UP NEXT MONTH: The last month of my yearlong ‘month in review project.’ xoxo Izzy