Happy year of the bunny rabbit and hello from New York City! I am so, so happy to be home after three weeks away! Calling New York City home is a very new thing for me! But this year I am resolving to keep calling it home!
I think it’s hard to call a place home when housing feels so precarious—I rent and can’t afford to buy. Renting is power imbalance at the whim of landlords and rising prices. But I’ve been trying hard to teach myself that home is not a physical place, but people. And the self. Therefore, New York City is home for me, one of many, because of the way I feel here and because of the loved ones I have here. I want to keep building a home in NYC. Not made of bricks and nails and glass panes, but of community and love and people.
Walked along Buttmannstraße (Buttman Street) in Berlin, saw the word on the street sign, laughed because I am an immature child.
My friend M texted a hilarious and deranged yet ideal teletubbies photo (below) in our group chat with zero context. I then sent along the photo to other friends because I loved it so much. I am trying to be both Laa-Laa and Dipsy.
The most delicious mandelhörnchen from Vollkornbäckerei Hartwich I’ve ever had in my life, which I promptly split in half to share with loved ones. I love mandelhörnchens because they’re my mom’s favorite. Growing up, we’d drive to the bakery in my hometown and buy one to split as a special treat. Pastries are love tokens.
Techno in Berlin. Yes, cliché, I know, but 19-year-old-mentally-unwell-techno-club-rat-Jade would be so proud of 26-year-old-perpetually-too-tired to-go-dance-but-at-least-she’s-mentally-well Jade that she finally got to rave there.
Visited The Lemke House, or the Mies van der Rohe Haus, the last house designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Germany before emigrating to the USA. The lovely house is incredibly small and modest compared to his other works, like the beautiful Neue Nationalgalerie which I also got to visit, and in my head I can’t stop calling the house ‘bb Mies',’ which is just rather silly and delightful to me.
Teared up while reading Larry Mitchell’s The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions on my flight home. Every page is a vitality, including the ones not written by him, like the quote “I am still here because I have also been held, in these moments of despair…” from Tourmaline’s preface, and the sentiment from Morgan Bassichis’ introduction that this is a book “waiting to be passed around among friends.”
Seeing my friend E’s face illuminated soft orange by the glowing sunset 30,000 feet in the air, Kevin Chen’s Ghost Town in her hands while she stared outside the airplane window. Tenderness.
This quote from the perfect Virginia Woolf’s Oh, to Be a Painter: “Let us hold painting by the hand a moment longer, for though they must part in the end, painting and writing have much to tell each other; they have much in common. The novelist after all wants to make us see. Gardens, rivers, skies, clouds changing, the color of a woman’s dress, landscapes that bask beneath lovers, twisted woods that people walk in when they quarrel—novels are full of pictures like these.” Oh, to be a painter!!! Maybe someday!!!
Landed in NYC and immediately headed to my friend C’s apartment for her bunny Lunar New Year celebration, where I wore bunny ears my friend S had brought for me. I hugged friends and gave them cards I got for them in Berlin. These are friends I consider very dear, who I had met incidentally at C’s apartment months ago for her mid-autumn celebration. Chinese holidays are always lucky and prosperous.
A cute selfie of my parents taken for the new year, one of those typical old person selfies where their faces are much too close to the lens so they look bug-eyed and distorted, but the photo’s existence of their smiles makes it the most beautiful joy I’ve ever seen.
Since I’ve been away for holidays and travel, I haven’t seen many friends in about a month. I messaged my friend A about how I missed her, and she responded (just now as I write this newsletter!) with similar sentiments, with an added message about how our friendship love language goes beyond face to face interaction, because every time she interacts with art, from writing to painting to foreign films, she thinks of me, so it doesn’t feel like too much time has passed. I’m so very tired and overwhelmed and underslept, but her messages made all the exhaustion dissolve for a bit. I know she’s reading this, so hello, A, I love you! Thanks for making me smile.
Ugh, what a cheesy lovey-dovey newsletter this week. I won’t apologize. Bad feelings happened too, but that’s not what this space is for. So I’m off to fold Lunar New Year dumplings with friends. Wishing everyone a comfort meal tonight, tomorrow, and every day after.
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