Saturday, April 26, 2008

Giving Pheebs the 'stink eye.'
Inside the Chinese Historical Society headquaters during our late night tour.
Holding a scroll while this truly hilarious elderly man did backwards calligraphy at the CAM dinner.
Phoebe's bruise, 'Chinita.' She received this little beauty when she fell down a stair on Sylvia's front porch.

Today will go down in history as one of the greatest days of all time. Because this day, my friends, I did more than my fair share of LIVING.

Pheebs and I awoke to sunshine and blue skies here in LA, and the nicest weather we have had so far. We showered, dressed, crammed down some breakfast and jumped on to the metro. We did our best to look nice today because we were invited to a fundraising dinner for the Chinese American Museum. We spent most of our day running around, helping to prepare things and enjoying the ride.

Today, as I am sure Phoebe has already mentioned in her post, we were privileged to meet Corky Lee. Corky is one of the foremost movers and shakers in the Asian American community, he is a photographer with a long history of activism. He was charming in his eccentricity, and had plenty of wonderful stories to entertain us. He actually spoke at Colorado College about three years ago, though unfortunately neither of us met him in that context. When Corky talked about the old days, and almost getting arrested while demonstrating his eyes lit up and the energy he emanated was infectious.

As Corky was sharing his life experiences with us I came to a powerful realization, I am LIVING. All of these wonderful seemingly random adventures that I am fortunate enough to embrace are making up the fabric of my own personal story. This time in Los Angeles has brought it all into such sharper focus...I am creating a life that I am proud to call my own. The people at CAM have been amazing, kind and shown me that pursuing what you love and have passion for has incredible rewards. Our interactions with them have been wonderful. Not only are they each incredibly knowledgeable about their fields and the history that surrounds them, they are also the nicest and most sincere group of people I have had the pleasure of working with in quite some time. They seem truly happy. The idea that such a complete and passion driven life is possible is pretty powerful at this juncture, and I am going to chase these feelings of fulfillment as far as they will carry me.

The CAM dinner this evening was also a great experience to add to the day. Pheebs and I found fulfillment in separating raffle tickets, chatting with Chinese American community members, making boba tea runs and laughing at all the madness that filled in the space in between. We marveled at our combined inability to understand Cantonese as well. When we were finally seated at our table we met Eugene Moy, an enthusiastic board member of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California. We got to talking with Gene about our research and he lit up immediately and offered to take us over to the Historical Society as soon as dinner was finished.
Would you believe that Phoebe, Eugene, his wife, Steven (CAM's grantwriter), Pauline and I took an impromptu tour of the Historical Society's archives and offices at 10pm this evening? It was nothing short of incredible. I could not stop smiling! Gene showed us boxes full of artifacts from the Union Station dig that unearthed most of the original Los Angeles Chinatown. He also gave us a brief glimpse at some personal correspondence between a Chinese pioneer Asparagus farmer and his brother circa 1930. It was AMAZING. Furthermore, he was sweet enough to lend me some books on the Mexicali Chinese, who I am very interested in pursuing further research on. What a night!

Being here is incredible. Each day gets better and better. Tomorrow it is off to Venice Beach in the morning, In and Out Burger in the afternoon and a formal dinner with the CAM folks in the evening...we are truly LIVING.