A Book of One’s Own

I free myself from my cashmere cape and drape it around my awkwardly high chair.  Perching from this vantage point, I face the rectangular table, nested among letterpress tools, jars of utensils, and shelves of carefully filed stamps. I am here without guarantee of return. Having submitted a waitlist request a few days ago, I … Continue reading A Book of One’s Own



"Bonana-appetit!" the young man expatiates as he turns to the window on his left. I look too, and indeed, there is a man facing the street, biting into his banana. I appreciate the pun and I pass the young man who said it. A few paces later, I hear him turn to his companion, and … Continue reading “Bonana-appetit!”

“Je suis…” A Note on Identity

This semester I took a leap and started a brand new language. Français. I already know how to exchange greetings, talk about going to class, and I know how to express the different genres of books and movies. Today I said in class, "Je suis chinoise et americaine." Why is this a big deal (for … Continue reading “Je suis…” A Note on Identity

A Week Among Midshipmen (USNA)

The summer before senior year I participated in the United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar. I had no idea what to expect, except for something very different from what I have known. I had never been anything military before; I had no connections, no experiences, no education, no expectation. Going past the point where no … Continue reading A Week Among Midshipmen (USNA)

How the Sun Family Does Movie Night

After dinner, Friday night, while dishes are still being put away, the Sun family kids often are inclined to gather around the television for a civilized pow-wow. On our 10moons movie-streaming box-device, we scroll through pages and pages of movies with a slight worry that a decent picture will never be found and that we … Continue reading How the Sun Family Does Movie Night

What It’s Like Being A Hipster (sometimes)

If I say that I'm a hipster, that means I'm not a hipster, right? Okay, so I'm not really a hipster, but sometimes I can point to a cultural phenomenon and say, I was into that before it got cool. Without further ado, here's a list of the things in life I innocently enjoyed before … Continue reading What It’s Like Being A Hipster (sometimes)

Children Invent Things: Venice, Determinism, Bach

Before I knew that there was a country called Italy, before I knew the word philosophy, let alone Plato or Socrates, before I had touched classic literature or become addicted to the internet, I liked to daydream. I still do, of course, that's a pastime that will never completely leave me and is probably essential … Continue reading Children Invent Things: Venice, Determinism, Bach

Embrace the OCD

I will admit it. I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I like to shove things into corners, to stack things meticulously, to prevent disorder. It’s as futile as it gets, resisting. I like to spend hours in our family’s tea cabinet, sorting out the different leaves and dried flowers. I’ll know in an instant if someone has … Continue reading Embrace the OCD

The Sacrifice of Silkworms

Silkworms, like butterflies, have to die once at the risk of not living again, only they are all the more unselfish. We want the butterflies to hatch a second time to admire their beauty, but we boil the silkworms when they are the most defenseless and turn them into thread. If our own death is just another step in the life cycle, will we have used up all our silk before we have gone? Will we be brave enough to? Are we dedicating all our waking hours to growing, not necessarily physically, but in intellect, strength, character? Yes, perhaps the silkworms understood the risk of their last endeavor just as well as we do, when we fear using up all our talent and energy that we have now for the possibility of something not guaranteed in the future. But there's perhaps a greater risk not to try.