I begin this update from Asiana flight 212, Seoul to San Francisco. This flight and ones like it have become again a home, an office, and a strange method of commuting. The last update to this page was written in January of 2009, from a sunny studio in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. That was in the second half of two years dedicated to writing, and since then I have returned to work, spending large sections of each year on the road.
A previous line on this page, written only a few months after moving to SF, claimed that “I am enjoying the west coast”, and this is still true. As a boy born in the rural hills of the east coast, California represents something of a strange land, at times both more familiar and less than Tokyo or Shanghai. Like Houston, it is similar enough to where I am from that the differences are what sparkle.
Here in 15C it is strange to remember how I once assumed these flights would become rarer. Strange because I’ve been to Shanghai five times this year, far more than Los Angeles or New York.
This page is meant as some introduction, rather than a record. Yet it is a record, for in reading previous versions the things I notice most are those out of date. Here, then, is an attempt at both.
I have been fortunate enough to live in the United States as an adult during the presidencies of Clinton and Obama. I moved to Tokyo in 2001, shortly after college graduation. I left New York for Japan on the seventh of September, before the world changed. I moved to China two years later at the peak of the SARS panic. That was an empty flight, from Tokyo to Shanghai on the 18th of August 2003.
I moved back to the States after that first year in Shanghai, landing in August of 2004, politically hopeful but under no illusions. I left again just after Thanksgiving, determined to discover how to remain abroad. That trip, once again poor and excited, stands out amid all the others. In so many ways I’ve succeeded, and all the visits to China this year, more than a decade later, are a testament to the career built on that determination.
I moved to Houston to share a small apartment with Tara in September 2008, excited and willing to work for it, in all senses of the word. Five years in China ended on a high note, and I was happy to have little to do. Biking to the Obama volunteer office to make calls to the East Coast connected me to both Houston and the country.
In the summer of 2009 we drove much of the west coast, spent a summer in the mountains, and moved to San Francisco with the fall. Six years later we’ve moved twice more, been joined by a furry cat, and continued working hard on getting better.
As I edit this from our small one bedroom in the Mission with the furry cat next to me, I am finally understanding how good these years have been to us, despite the injuries and because of the hours in motion. Our exact position would have been a surprise when I last updated this page, but the general sense of progress matches what I hoped for.
Contact is welcome, wil at this domain. Thank you for reading.