“It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately filling up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.”

Embracing all of the spaciousness of this last summer low-country getaway.

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My parents, the first community organizers I’ve ever known, helped me throw a giant dinner party yesterday (possibly the best of all time) for my nearest and dearest Durham community. They drove 12 hours down from NY and spent an entire day cooking and preparing just so that my friends could “know their cooking.”

Also grateful for friends who showered my Mom with flowers and my Dad with red wine (they might never stop talking about how sweet y’all are) and a beautiful summer day to finally christen our giant party porch. Thanks Dad for always reminding me of a simple but vital lesson: “Take care of your community and they’ll take care of you.”

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“In Vietnamese, the nickname for a person’s life partner is “my home”. So, for example, if someone is asked, “Where is your partner?” they might say, “My home is now at the post office.” If a guest said to someone, “That meal was delicious. Who cooked it?” they might answer, “My home prepared the meal” meaning “My partner cooked the dinner”. Every one of us is trying to find our true home … [and] when you’re in a loving relationship, you and the other person can be a true home for each other.” (- Thích Nhất Hạnh)

Grateful to be back in one of our favorite places on this earth, Mui Ne, the land of fairy streams and fairy dreams // layers upon layers and gradients upon gradients of fairy dust // where our off-the-beaten-paths to private sand dune worlds and secret beaches still remain.

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My first ever research site visit and research storytelling job in Vietnam was for a non-profit social organization in Saigon called, “The Centre for Promotion of Quality of Life” (or “LIFE Centre” for short). LIFE Centre’s mission is to promote and enhance the quality of life of vulnerable people and communities through research, training, and implementing cost-effective, sustainable and high impact programs. Much of their work and research is LGBTQ-targeted and gender inequality focused.

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In April 2018, I headed to Vietnam for my first ever sponsored health disparities research / humanitarian photography work trip. It felt like such a personal and professional milestone, to get to go back to Vietnam and do what I love for a place and community that I also love. It was also my 10th trip back to Vietnam in 11 years. That very moment I touch down on land never stops feeling special, like I’m arriving home again and again.

First stop: Saigon.

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Late winter beach trip / vastness & emptiness / iridescent hours / from the beach world to jurassic marsh world / sea textures during l’heure bleue / the earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.

[Travel Diaries from Bald Head Island, NC | March 2018]

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