One fine day

One fine day in our future, when time comes,
As I sit in this chair, where will you be?
I confess I fear my heart to grow numb.
How once we were we, how we could be me.
Hello, goodbye. With a handshake and smile.
Thus how you greeted me on our first day.
I only wished to stay but for a while.
If time here is up, what fee should I pay?
Can I, my dearest, may I, my love, just..
By your side, like a butterfly, reside?
Small and unintruding, making no fuss

I will protect you just like a warm glove
And shower all your years and days with love 12.11.2015

Leaf-like flowers
Flower-like time

Funny how even as the memories fade with time, the feelings felt in those moments remain long after I have forgotten words and fragmented images. Feelings I once felt for one moment, one person. How we, now me, are living, I confess I expected as much from mine own self. Not only numb, but as I have come to see, this butterfly has flown far from where it started. While nothing is susceptible to change, I still hope for a lasting love. Just as oxalis weeds bloom never-ending, so I hope my love re-roots after every rainfall. So I hope it grows. Reaches all across the world. In a place with the right soil and temperament and pollinators so I hope it grows.

 

 

 

 

Writing a story that has yet to be told

Staring down the roadwing

I bound towards the green glow with gusto. I pedal with all my might, not knowing when the traffic light will turn. Time is ticking. Curve around the impatient Ford Ranger waiting to go. Steer away from the big Dobermann barking across the street. Smile and say “Hi!” to its owner. It’s something I do every day, yet each bike ride is a new experience. As I head to unknown places, I absorb each landscape to build upon my ever-changing biography.

When I was younger, my family rarely took vacations or went anywhere. My days were spent at home doodling dragons in the sky and joining Bilbo’s procession through the Misty Mountains. Through my bedroom window, I would count airplanes and chronicle the life story of the people who walked by.  My room was a safe sanctuary where I could travel around the world in 80 seconds and still be home in time for dinner.

The world was so small.

The world was so small, but as I grew up, I took liberties to open it wider. Rather than write fiction about other people, I wanted to narrate my own adventure. My dreams for my own adventure came together this summer: I challenged myself to bike to all 23 San Jose Branch Libraries. Although I was afraid of being on my own in foreign streets, I biked on them anyway. I biked fifteen miles from South San Jose to downtown. I biked in 100 degree weather and in the frigid morning air. I threw myself into the world to find out what I would learn from my own adventure.img_2130

I met some of the nicest people on my journey: the strong man who helped put my bike on the lightrail rack, the deaf woman who gave me directions, the friendly jogger who replied, “Hello! How are you?!” I also endured the harshness of others: the rude driver who honked at me and cut me off, the drunk pedestrian who yelled at me to get off the sidewalk, and even the no-faced thief who stole my blue bike with the pink lock and tattered basket. Unconfined to my small room, I discovered my life to be an uncharted map.

linh    The more roads I travel, the more open-minded I become to different people in my community. The light is green as long as I’m willing to pass it. As I explore more pathways in college, I will gain even more knowledge on people and their behaviors. Even as I bike down the street, I sometimes shirk from my responsibility, different people, and impatient cars, but overcoming that fear of the outside world is also part of the experience.  Now, I don’t see the world through a pane-glass window. Now, it is through my knowledge of people I encounter and my experiences that steer toward the outline of my story.

 


This is my personal statement that I wrote for my college application and I’m not surprised at how much I still resonate with each sentence I wrote back in high school. Everything as it is now: my want for adventure, my love of learning through people and places I go, my everyday biking experience – it is all unchanged. In learning sociology, I think I am able to gain the knowledge in understanding human experience and learning more about the outside world in general. There is so much to learn, yet so little time. I sometimes feel this way: I want to learn. I want to improve. I want to sleep. I want to be still. It is hard to satisfy all these things in the time being. As of now I am forgoing sleep and catching up on Durkheim to write this post.

A drama once told me this quote.

The truth is always painful,

that’s why I sometimes close my eyes in front of the truth.

 

Perhaps I am turning like that. Biking along, I see things in the world that are not right. I see people getting hurt, people being scared, people unable to move forward. And I, though my heart hurts, I am still. This whole time I was biking. I never got off. And stopped.

I think it was because I was on a bicycle that was fully pumped. Pumped with faith, love, friends, family. I saw others on bicycles that would crash into cars and bicycles that would even be stolen. Personally I’ve had 9 bicycles stolen, but every time, I would have a new one to ride. (My thanks, Steak) When you are riding a bicycle, it is not easy to stop, for it is so fun to ride. When you get used to riding a bicycle, it is hard to walk because you are itching to ride again.

I must start learning to walk again. And feel how it is for others to walk, instead of bike. 

Alviso Branch Library

This post is 5 weeks overdue. Did you have fun reading about my adventures around town? I guess… I never wanted the dream to end. But as time continues to pass me by, I can no longer afford to stall this last post of Biking to the City of My Dreams.
Silhouette
Although the time has passed, I still remember that day clearer than I remember yesterday.

Alviso Branch is the farthest away from home. I took the lightrail to downtown but as I approached the Metro/Airport station, I had to BOUNCE as soon as I saw the police coming to check for tickets!

(Yes I didn’t pay that morning. Bad Linh!) So I shot out as soon as they walked in.

Good thing? They didn’t catch me.
Bad thing? I now have to bike the rest of the 5 mile road down North First Street to reach the library.
Good thing? I get to ride the rest of the 5 mile road down North First to the library (:

At some point I realized I was reaching a new threshold to another world. As I crossed the bridge from one country to another, the land welcomed me with a gushing breeze.
KReeeee
There’s not much to see here, it’s a small population of San Jose.
It’s on the edge of my universe.

There’s much to see here, the Guadalupe River Trail starts here.
The peaceful grains of dead grass sway with the wind.
The sky was never so blue, the sun never so bright.
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I’m sorry, I accidentally mistook that temple for an ice cream place….

Finally, the Alviso Branch Library.
Alviso Branch Library
It’s a small-town library. Unlike Educational Park or Almaden, it’s not grand or sophisticated or anything like that.

It’s small and sweet. From the outside, I see the paint peel off the bottom. Inside, the library is probably as big as the Carnegie branch. It’s great though.
Alviso branch 1
I wanted to end my trips in a grand way, in a grand place. But, despite its size and age, it still is a grand library.

Someone posted on Bascom that a library shouldn’t be judged by its looks or feel, but by the content of its books.

At the Alviso Branch, I read this great book called Deadline by Chris Crutcher.
[synopsis: Given the medical diagnosis of one year to live, high school senior Ben Wolf decides to fulfill his greatest fantasies, ponders his life’s purpose and legacy, and converses through dreams with a spiritual guide known as “Hey-Soos.”]
Butterflies
The story resonated in my mind so much that I later bought my own copy. You guys should check it out. Crutcher manages to be funny while also keeping a reflective, thoughtful tone.

After I left the library, I toured around the area.
Guadalupe River
I don’t know where the road leads me to. I could flow down into a great sea or I could trickle into a dead end.

But, like water, like time, as a biker and a person, I can’t help but just keep going. No matter where the road takes me.

This trip was quiet. Today was quiet. Most endings are quiet.

As I bound for the road home, the streets silently embrace me in familiarity and strangeness. This beautiful place I never knew is already leaving me so fast.
American Flag
Have you ever had that feeling? That something so simple could move you so easily?

So. I’ve been to all twenty-three libraries in San Jose. I’ve breathed in some really good memories and been through some crazy ride all this time, but I actually did it guys.
(And don’t worry, I paid the fare for the ride home)

Every library has a different concept, but they all have the same theme:

Flying.

Be it fluttering butterflies, falling leaves, or doves taking flight, the central concept of flying was introduced in every library.

Many animals fly, but humans can’t. Not literally of course, but figuratively, we can soar as high as Mount Olympus if we wanted to. If we tried hard enough.

After two months of trudging through stairs, bridges, dirt, and San Jose, I’ve finally started to fly.

My first challenge has already been accomplished. I finally biked to all 23 libraries.

The second? I finally got my bike up on the rack this time.
Bike at lightrail
What’s my third challenge you ask? Figuring out how to write a poignant personal statement out of the best summer adventure/challenge ever.

Right now, I’ve barely reached the base of the mountain. Tomorrow begins the uncertain climb and the rest of my life I might be dangling off a dangerous cliff until the inevitable fall, but to not let that happen, I grab the handholds tightly and take a new step each day until I reach the top.

Thank you, reader, for joining me on this journey across the San Jose Public Libraries this summer. It really was a ride I will never forget.

Evergreen Branch Library

My plans to travel to East Carnegie Branch were foiled by my father who insisted I stay at home on Saturday else he’d revoke the family’s pho eating privileges. (We eat out every weekend)

Therefore, that post has been delayed, however, I did go to the Evergreen Branch Library on Monday afternoon!

The way there was quite exhausting. Although it was closer than the Hillview Branch, I felt like the road would NEVER END.
kids
I perilously passed the crowded streets of South King Rd and dangerous Asian drivers. It was quite a delirious ride.

Half the time I was asking myself, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF.”

“WHY IS IT SO FAR. WHERE IS THIS LIBRARY.”

Until I finally reached it. This is my reaction.
Exhausted
The Evergreen Branch Library. Contradictory to the image that “Evergreen” brings to me, Rich houses in the hills, the library is quite the opposite.
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As soon as I entered, I was invited by a hundred different voices and a large number of yelling as parents chased after their children.

It’s definitely a lively place.
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On my way here, I spotted a dog running in the streets.

It fearlessly ran past the giant truck that threatened to squash it and blankly aimed straight toward the freeway bridge.

I was afraid for it. So I followed. But it just kept going faster thinking I was chasing it! So in the end it disappeared from my sight.

I wonder if the dog ever found its way home?

Where does the road stop?

I finished Requiem by Lauren Oliver yesterday. That ending was, I’m sorry for my language, TOTAL BULL. It didn’t even end.

What happened to the resistance? Did they win? Lose? Did she get back with Alex? Did Raven really die?

Oliver leaves much to be desired and I didn’t feel complete at the end.

The same thing happened with a movie I watched on Sunday. The boy didn’t even get over his stuttering in the end, which leaves me wondering, WHAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT?

So many open-ended endings. But, they MUST have done it on purpose. Why do these people write such endings?

Thinking rationally, maybe they didn’t want to tie up the loose ends. I should write up the ending myself. Is there ever such a thing as the right ending?

The road never really ends.

Road goes to road, rivers flow to seas to deltas to oceans and come back again.

Heck, we all end up in the same place anyways.

ANYWAYS. Speaking about roads, the next road I take is to the Educational Park Branch Library!

Hillview Branch Library

I tried to go early today but an exhausting 2 hours later, I am just reaching my destination.

On my way, I absentmindedly kept going straight. straight. straight. (It’s 4 miles of straight road) I am SO LOST. It can’t be THIS FAR!

This is a new place. I pass Happy Hollow, Spartan Stadium, Viettown… I pass the most ancient parts of San Jose; the bricks feel like they’re about to fall apart and wildflowers outgrow their boundaries.
Wildflower
Yet, after the stretch of archaic factories are also blocks of newly constructed plazas and fine eateries.

Finally, I reached the end of Story road and the beginning of the hills and figured, “This can’t be the right way.”

So I U-turn and backtrack my way to the turn I forgot to make.

There it is! My golden chalice. The shining beacon of libraries!
Hillview Library
The Hillview Branch Library kind of reminds me of West Valley. Inside, it is very spacious. Indeed, everything here is like one size bigger than Pearl xD.

I think they have a circle theme going on here. The library itself is like a circle and everything, although spaced off, seems to point to the entrance atrium, like a half circle almost.
Hillview atrium
In actuality, it’s shaped like an edged-off right angle but the interior has no angles really.
Wood
It’s very warm(not literally, all libraries have AC thankgod) and loud. Many families take their young children here and they run around having fun. You can hear them from across the library! But I had no trouble finding a place to settle down.
Butterflies
Now I’m SURE that they have this butterfly theme going in all the libraries.

I spent my time wisely here reading The Handmaid’s Tale.

Right now, Ofred is conflicted. She aimlessly goes through the days without a single thought. Her body lives in the now, but her mind and her heart live in her lost past. She lives in her memories of her husband and daughter.

Everyday I feel like her.

Dumbledore once said, “It’s not wise to linger in the past and forget to live.”

But, that’s not always true. Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward.

That was me today. So hey, when you’re lost, whether on a roadtrip to the library or to LIFE, it wouldn’t hurt to go back and see what you missed.

Speaking of moving forward, Saturday morning I’ll be travelling to the East San Jose Carnegie Branch Library!

PS: (Congratulate me please. This is the farthest I’ve biked yet! A total of 15 miles is no small endeavor for a non-athletic girl like me!)

Pearl Avenue Branch Library

Getting here was no biggie. I took my sweet time and left the house at precisely 2: 35PM. Maybe I should have just biked all the way there from home. Pearl was not even a mile from the lightrail station.

Last month, my friend Jayle told me that if I count a hundred airplanes, I can make a wish. Today, I was on 95 airplanes.

95 airplanes in the sky. Coming home.

The Pearl Branch is pretty small compared to the others. Bookshelves are everywhere and tables are tucked between aisles and alongside the warm-toned walls.
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I love how all the libraries have this nature, plants, flowers, animals thing going on. And then they all have some form of weird art.
Pearl has an upside-down pyramid and I’m not sure all those scrawlings actually mean anything.
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Everywhere I walked, the library was packed. I finally decided to set up camp on a small corner of the teensroom.
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I was briskly typing up my wonderful report of Joyce Ellington when suddenly my laptop goes BLACK. All efforts to restore it were futile so I brought back up:

The Handmaid’s Tale.

I was just finishing the part where the Commander sticks it in when my eyes linger to a pair of tan legs walking in front of me, then to my right.

I look at his profile from behind. Sturdy legs strengthened from biking. Strong arms trained through extensive hours of gaming. He wears an old hat. Black, scrungy (yes it’s not a word) hair. I’d know that shadow from a mile off but I continue my reading. It’s too good to be true.

Until it becomes true.

Today, he walks toward me. It’s like a dream when I look up to see him.

If you were here long enough, you’d know that I had lost a friend a while back. But as we’re talking, it seems like the fight never transpired. As if it was just a minor rift in our space and time.

And then he’s gone.

I can’t let this great opportunity escape. I pack my bags frantically and race around the library trying to find him. He’s not here. No. Not there. When I run outside to the street, I don’t see him. Just as I walk to the library to search again, he walks out. I take my chance, “Are you hungry? I’m hungry. Let’s go eat.”

— The first picture I took on my camera was my octopus, Phillip. The second picture on my camera is my best friend, Phillip. We’re eating at Panda Express. Then. And now. 96 airplanes in the sky. —
Phillysteak
I walk him home. To tell you the truth, I stalked his house yesterday after my lonerphase at Joyce. I stopped across the street looking into the window where I knew he’d be.

97 airplanes in the sky.

Who knew the next day I’d actually see him in person? And talk to him? And laugh and smile? We arrive at his house 3 hours after our encounter at the library. “Do you remember our old handshake?” He asks. And just like that, a simple gesture worth so much more. An unspoken pact of friendship.

98 airplanes in the sky.

But this isn’t the end. I still haven’t apologized yet. Next time I see him, I’ll make amends.

99 airplanes in the sky.

The last time I counted airplanes, nothing happened. But maybe this time, Jayle was right. As I turn to my block, the last plane flies home.
My first miracle has come true. I wonder what else lies ahead in my travels…

Speaking of which! I’m off to the Hillview Branch on early Friday morning! And it looks like this time I won’t be able to get off with anything LESS than 5 miles of biking… T_T

Joyce Ellington Branch Library

(I’m actually writing this while at the next library on the list:)

There’s an interesting quote I heard in a drama recently.

“Being lonely means you need someone. Being solitary means you need no one. Like standing on the Himalayas alone and blocking all the wind.”
-Monstar ep.8 (21:00)

I felt like that today. Me and my bike. I’m solitary. In a place where no one knows me, I am at ease.

Today was a good day for biking. Cars were forgiving when I felt reckless. A boy waved hi to me on the street. ^_^

The Joyce Ellington Branch. Its architecture and design is vastly different than the surrounding area.
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Out of all the libraries so far, Joyce is the most crafty I’d say. The interior is decorated by hanging paper fan decorations and handmade flowers.
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In the children’s section is a giant butterfly mural. Not only is it beautiful, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that all the creatures are from childhood stories like Red Riding Hood, the three mice, squirrels in Snow White.
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Because every childhood memory should be complete with a wicked witch. They drew the scariest laughoutloud evil mastermind ever.
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Around 4 my stomach began to grumble and gargle. Near the library is Japantown. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been there before.

My first thought was to go to Kumako Ramen. This place holds special memories. When I arrived, the owner said it was closed and would open in an hour.
At first, I’m let down. My good feeling of being solitary is gone.
Now, I’m glad. If it wasn’t, I would be eating. Alone.

So I went back to the library, ate my riceball so I wouldn’t faint and … plopped myself right in the teensroom and ensued a sweet nap until 5:20!

I usually don’t dream. I usually don’t remember either.

I am running. Running in the dark. From what I don’t know but I know that stopping won’t be in my best interest.
I’m running so fast I trip on my own momentum. Falling on my face, I turn and roll over just to fall into a darker abyss.
Stars shine a million lightyears away and I’m falling endlessly…Just when the stars shine brightest, I plummet into a soft body of brown feathers.

When I come back to the restaurant, I’m not hungry anymore. Next time I return, I won’t be alone.

Next post on the Pearl Avenue Branch Library will be up soon!