The never enough excess in Paris

Paris is noisy, but not loud

That clamorous background noise on the métro somehow calms your racing heart

Paris is busy, but always time for a cig or café

The smell of swirling cigarette smoke from a Parisian woman always matches her perfume

Paris is functioning, but always on the edge

Aging cracks on the pavement are such minor flaws compared to the marvelous façades

Paris is musical, where you dance from dawn to dusk

Les ponts and La Seine are your Parisien getaway right around the corner at any hour

Paris is old, but vibrant and youthful

For the old and the young, you wouldn’t exchange a day in Paris with anything

Paris is romantic, in all possible ways

A single lingerer is enchanted with the city like every affectionate amoureux passing by


The flaws, the affections, the kisses, the drunks, and other excesses

It is never enough

Avant toi, je ne connaissais pas bien l’amour.

Alfred de Musset a un jour prononcé la célèbre phrase: “La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le rêve. Et vous aurez vécu, si vous avez aimé.”

Je pense à toi. Paris est toujours une bonne idée.


13 hours and 12,576km

If you do not know the correlation between the two numbers above, cherish that ignorance.

Sometimes these numbers vary depending on the time of the year, but they all come automatically into my head.

They represent, only visually, the distance between me and my beloved family. Don’t be fooled, because they don’t actually tell you much about the feelings of finally realizing every fleeting moment that I am actively away from my family. It is exciting, sad, joyful, relieving…it is complicated and cannot be condensed or summarized.

Today is the most important reunion celebration back home, but we are exactly 13 hours and 12,576 kilometers apart. A tremendous thank you to the powerful 4th generation wireless network, so I could at least pretend to be celebrating with my family.

5:50am, the world on the East Coast is mostly asleep, but I run out into the hallway to pick up my sister’s video call.



“Hello? Can you hear me?”


The joyous noise from the other side of the screen compares to my almost-soundless side at 6am is always overwhelming. The jumping electrical dots on the screen penetrate through my mind and magnifies the distance between me and my family. Screenshots of my drowsy eyes and their bright-dazzling smiles become our annual family photo on the  Lunar New Year’s Eve. A bunch of silliness and a light touch of melancholy. My grandma couldn’t hear me so well, and I joking ask for my red envelopes know that they only wish I was there with them. The call ends abruptly because they need to start the first dinner of the year. Silence returns to my room and the day is just slowly waking up. No matter how many years gone by, it never gets easier but only becomes more routine-like. I used to not dare telling them I miss them on the New Year, because, well , some kind of teenage timid and stubbornness.

Of course, it is not all regrets. I have found many other families scattered around this wide wild world. The only difference is that I cherish my new families knowing the strength of kindness, and I stutter when I want to profess love and gratitude to My Family. How ironic.

I couldn’t say this enough, shyly, loudly, whichever touches your heart.

I love you. May joy and health fills our year!



City stories

We are not the same person in different cities

The noise in the city; the pace of the city

The what’s there and what’s not there in the city

change our perception and influence how we act.

Or perhaps, we are indeed the same person

but we reveal different sides of ourselves

and enjoy being ourselves with incomplete stories

wide and free; calm and controlled.

A kiss that speaks more than words

A glass of fine wine with a hint of tipsiness

An evening with friends who hide nothing

What are the moments that bring out the best version of you?


It wouldn’t be fun if you knew all my secrets.


île Saint Louis

Chére Som,

Thank to our initial ignorance, unsuspecting of its desirable nature, so that we had the incroyable luxury to have île Saint Louis as our first home in Paris. We were unaware of the ardent love that we soon devoted to this petit île that has everything we need to live in both dreams and reality. Little did we know that it is the island that every Parisian, or tout le monde, dreams to go home to every night after several glasses of wine by La Seine. Little did we know that luxury of having Notre Dame as our guardian angel soon became the most irreplaceable view both leaving and coming home. Little did we know the addictive sinful pleasure to walk out of our apartment under the envious gaze of the tourists on our island.


Needless to say, we fell in love with this island immediately. It was too easy, and we felt no shame of the cheapness of our love, because no one could have resisted it.

Île Saint Louis is the heart of Paris, but it stands perfectly by itself as a floating recluse from urban pollution. People take une promenade on the island to escape the noises and crowds but still get to enjoy the enchanting murmur of La Seine. We indulged ourselves in this endless promenade every single day. The choice to stroll through our island is often an end of itself, and we didn’t need to use our desire for the sinful pleasure of Berthillon as an excuse. We found ourselves trapped in the melody of the guitarists singing on our favorite pont Saint Louis, almost too often. Pont Saint Louis connects our lives and souls with our Parisian home and obsessions, and we rest our soul and love in one of those love locks whenever we passed by the sidewalks. We spoke to teenagers playing football with our broken French, and we sit in the cold chatting with a Colombian musician who was, too, falling for the beauty of Paris and struggling to obtain it as part of his real life. As if, love for Paris is our language to connect our souls with the rest of the world.


You and I. You and I, how many times had we listened to the chattering of La Seine and wished the nights will never end and the days will continue.

Ma tiny Chérie, tu me manques et notre vie sur notre île me manque toujours, comme toi.




The missing

This city tosses worries into the Mediterranean Sea

and delights strangers with music under the silver moonshine

Where everyone has voices louder than my drunken self

and smiles brighter than the glazing sun


We climb up stairs that lead to nowhere

but somehow we reach the top of the ruins

I wake from the sound of popping wine crock

and it is not too long until our drunken voices hover above the city

Frankly, wine isn’t the only thing that creates magic here

So is the nakedness of our honesty

We continue to laugh hours after the bottle is emptied

until the city is covered in layers of honey

Even the morning is pleasant here

the sun rises just like in every other city

I wake up just like in every other day

it just doesn’t feel the same


I am not sure if I miss the tireless waves

or I miss the gentle kisses of darkness

Aren’t they virtually the same after all.

Still Myself

I was unprepared

unprepared for the sudden lost of joy

unprepared for the feeling of lost

unprepared for the feeling of being misplaced

I was prepared

prepared for my departure

prepared to return elsewhere

prepared to leave a piece of me here


I am not whom I thought I would be after all these preparations and unexpectedness, at least I am not thinking the way I thought I would be thinking. I am not acting too differently, though, but that is just when I am occupying myself with drives to go somewhere else. I feel misplaced, but I am not sure anymore if I am in denial or indulgence.

Many emotions in my head are reverse from what I thought I would be having. Piles of paper scrambled on my desk and I stare at them, motionless. This is only a few minutes of my day, but significant enough for me to notice my changes. I don’t even know where to start on finding myself back, because I was unprepared for losing myself in the process of returning to where I was quite happy to be. What went wrong? I love changes, and I love how they stimulate my thoughts and joy. So what went wrong?


Nothing, nothing went wrong. I am still myself.

I still look for the first beam of sunrise

I still move hidden nuts of squirrels as a prank

I still look forward to the first snow in this beautiful town

I discover surprises on my way home

I capture fleeting moments that catch my eyes

I write, I draw, I film, I run, I laugh


I am here for a little while, and every living moment is a miracle.

I am ready for my next venture, to see somewhere, somewhere in this beautiful world.