I realize chains are kind of an extreme metaphor, so here’s the awkward context.
The whole chain thing became a joke after my first encounter with real life in my last quarter of college, during a preliminary job interview with a firm in San Francisco that will remain unnamed.
“So, what are you looking for in your first job out of UC Davis?”
Anyone who remembers their college graduation and the impending wave of infinite life possibilities can understand why this was a particularly loaded question. What did I really want to do after college? Something creative. Something that would be challenging on an intellectual and social level. I wanted a job that would let me do everything I was good at in college and more. To take a step in the direction that would eventually lead me to becoming a well-read name in the world print media, a music journalist, a travel writer, food writer, whatever. And obviously something awesome that I can brag about. (Doesn’t everyone?)
Up until this point I’d been searching for jobs that matched this criteria and of course found nothing that would suffice by my standards. So, in a moment of frustration in an interview for an entry-level sales job I frankly never saw myself doing I responded,
“I just don’t want to be another… another chink in the chain.”
COOL, mouth, thanks for that one. I still, to this day, have no idea where that phrase even came from. I probably meant ‘link,’ and the alliteration likely just trumped political incorrectness in my head. I didn’t even really appreciate it for its value in humor until I rehashed the details of this interview a few months later and then realized the mortification of saying that as a Chinese person applying for a job in a heavily Asian city and that even though the word ‘chink’ sometimes slipped through the cracks as a non-racial slur it still might have come off sliiightly offensive… oh well. My cousin Josie found the story incredibly hilarious and, after telling everyone we came in contact with for the rest of the weekend, laughed it off as the perfect one-liner for a blog title. So… this is it, the documentation of my efforts to avoid being, well, just another chink in the chain.
I’m currently sitting in a studio apartment in the Norrebro area of Copenhagen, Denmark. What brought me here? Sheer avoidance of real life… interviewing for jobs, evaluating priorities and miscellaneous life goals, living at home for the whole thing. Luckily, Josie, the smart one in the family and my savior, is doing a fellowship for ten months at University of Copenhagen as part of her Ph.D program, and very very generously offered to allow me to live with her while I dealt with my post-grad funk. I have to ask myself what I’m doing here every day, but I’m assuming that it’s all part of the process.
My hope is that this blog will a) help me answer this heinous question, b) inform my parents what I am spending all my money on and c) maybe, eventually, inspire someone to do something random and off-the-grid-ey like move to a random country and just see what happens.
So here’s to running around in countries where I don’t understand the language, eating in restaurants too expensive to enjoy responsibly, and walking down streets I don’t recognize and learning my way around the hard way. It’ll be an interesting one.
vi ses senere!