The reason I have this blog is simple – I love creating something out of nothing; and everything I make represents how I see things and what I enjoy in a moment in time. It’s almost the four-year anniversary of my blog now, and this project is one of the most special.
I spent a couple weeks in my hometown in Beijing in August – the longest time I’ve spent there in about six years. In the last few days, I collaborated with a photographer and took a walk in the area in which I grew up. I’ve moved around quite a bit in my life, and while this wasn’t the street that I was brought to when I was born, it is where I truly consider my home. It had all my earliest memories. Our home and my elementary school are merely five minutes apart by foot. It seemed a much longer walk when I was little and preferred to stay away from school, even though I excelled at it. The courtyard of the home we lived in shared a wall with a park, which somehow actually seemed bigger when we walked around this time. Most of the photos are taken there.
Before I met with the photographer, I was not sure I could express to him the vision in my head. Partly, it can be hard to verbalize something vague that you’re picturing in your head to someone you’ve never met before. Also, I was not sure I could express myself in equal depth in Chinese as in English. As it turned out, his vision aligned with mine better than I could ever explain in words, and his talent and style elevated whatever vague vision I had in mind to another level.
A struggle I’ve faced in my adult life has been reconciling the different aspects in my upbringing. I’ve often felt lost. I wonder what my purpose is, and if anything I do is meaningful if I’m thousands of miles away from some of the people dearest to me. I guess I just wasn’t sure of my place in the world. This was a big reason I took the initiative to take time away from my regular life and spend time in China. I thought these photos could serve as a nice souvenir for my summer. I never expected that they would help me answer some of my biggest questions.
It was a beautiful Saturday when we visited the park, so everyone was relaxing doing various activities – badminton, chess, mahjong, playing with kids, chatting. My photographer was interested in the contrast he saw between me and the scenes in the park and that became the theme of the photoshoot. While observing these scenes and talking to some people there, I knew that I did not fit in anymore. Yet I also didn’t feel excluded. I felt peace and warmth. Home will always be home no matter how far I have gone. There is no need to “reconcile” the different parts of me. If I like who I am, then I like all the different parts of me. They all just simply exist together, and they all make sense.