Archive for the ‘ ENCOUNTERS/ OBSERVATIONS ’ Category


After having stayed up late the previous night, I woke up still very much in the daze of sleep. I went through my morning routine: brushing my teeth, taking a quick shower to wake myself up, and making a quick breakfast. It was Monday but somewhere in my mind, I was still asleep, still drifting about the night before. I had no goal in staying up, no homework to be done. I merely stayed up because I could and I knew well that I would regret it the next morning. Like procrastination, I put off what I needed most, and I knew of the consequences. Why do we do these things to ourselves?

I walked to class, half-asleep. The weather was somewhat warmer than I expected, I noted as I waited for the walk sign to change. I walked past all the usual characters: the workers, the tourists, the students, the homeless. Outside the McDonald’s on Wabash, there is one homeless man who jingles his cup of change like a bell, and wishes everyone a blessed day. He looked at me and says, “stay up”. Suddenly, my sleepy spell is broke. I think about all of the things I have to do and I think “stay up, do what you can, do the best you can”.

I looked back at the man and smiled. I may have not gotten much sleep the night before, but I’m up early and the day just started. If I can’t start it with a chin up, then why start it at all?

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It was somewhere down State, while we were filming the last portion of our film project, that my group witnessed the car accident. Following one of the crew members cut through a busy crosswalk, our attention was diverted to the sounds of the accident. Have you ever seen a car accident? It’s a bit of something surreal and you can’t look away. It stands perhaps as an idiom to the question of destruction as beauty.

The accident was small and no one appeared to be hurt. Minutes later, one could hear the sirens from the fire truck as it approached. I thought about all of the sirens I’ve heard since I’ve been in Chicago. How many car accidents happen in a day within the city? How severe are they? I thought about the fact that most car accidents happen in areas that you’re used to driving in. And I thought about the two accidents I’ve been in. The first one when I was seven. I was in the car with my brother in law and we were driving to see my sister at work. The car that hit us went on a red light and nearly pushed our minivan off into the freeway traffic below. The second one was when I was 19. I was leaving my school to drop off a package for my mother when I accidentally hit another car at a stop sign. In both accidents, no one was hurt.

Months later, when I met my boyfriend, he text me asking me if I had been in an accident near the college. I found out his coworker was the guy I hit. That has to be one of the strangest coincidences of my life. I think about all the strange coincidences that dotted our relationship, that dotted my life, and the accidents that dot the streets of Chicago everyday. Continue reading


Walking around in the Chicago night with the friends I’ve made, I notice the smoke wafting through our group. I watch it draw out from the cigarette held between fingers and passed from one to another. I watch the smoke, how it dances on everyone’s shoulders and hair before vanishing into the warm air. It dawns on me then, nearly everyone that I’ve made friends with smokes. In my group of friends back home, almost no one smoke, and some are are even against smoking. They dislike the taste, the smell, how its scent clings onto thread, and how unhealthy it is.

A few blocks later, another cigarette is lit and passed around. I don’t smoke for all the obvious reasons. I find it unhealthy, expensive, and unnecessary. But then I can’t seem to explain those moments where in great stress, I think to myself about how I want to drop everything and get a pack. How in the heat of a moment, in the frustration of an argument, I just want a cigarette. I think that goes to show what kind of thoughts cigarette companies and the media have placed into my head. My boyfriend jokingly predicts I’ll start smoking in Chicago. I deny his claims but it does make me ponder on how an environment and its inhabitants can change a person and their habits. I start to wonder what kind of things Chicago will do to me and I wonder if any of these changes will be permanent.

We jay walk across the street to get to the train station. Two people linger behind, taking the final puffs before stomping the cigarette out. Where do all the stomped cigarettes roll to? At the party, everyone is smoking. I take a long time finishing my only can of PBR.

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