Where you are from?: Davis, California
Where you currently live: Taipei, Taiwan
PacRim trip/year: 1996-1997
College Major: Religion, Asian Studies
Occupation: Graduate Student
Research/370 Topic: The relationship between religion and music in Classical Indian Music and Japanese Shakuhachi flute.
Best PacRim memory: singing surreptitiously with the monks in the fields behind Ratu monastery
Best care package item: The Romeo+Juliet soundtrack cassette tape
Best item brought with you on the trip: Pente
Something unique about PacRim: walking back down the mountain from the fire matsuri before sleeping on park benches and a strip mall doorway in Kyoto with heated cans of tea in my pockets for warmth
Where you've returned to: Hanoi, Hoi An, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Beijing, Chengde
Favorite Food on PacRim: Café Sua Da / Masala Dosa
Favorite Place: Hampi
Concluding Remarks: Pacrim disoriented and reoriented me in some very profound ways. Something Kirk Huff said recently that I agree with 100% is that nearly every aspect of my life right now has grown out of Pacrim in some way or another. It really cannot be overstated, there is such a momentum behind that experience. Right now I am a Ph.D. candidate writing my dissertation on medieval Chinese History, living in Taipei along with my wife Nicole Richardson (whom I got together with halfway through Nepal on Pacrim!). My decision to first take a Chinese History class from Suzanne Barnett, a Chinese language class from Sun laoshi, and add an Asian Studies major to my Religion one, were all influenced by my experiences on Pacrim. Deciding to talk Nicole into teaching English in Taiwan after graduation grew, in turn, out of that, and then grad school grew out of that. Now here I am thirteen years later, still immersing myself in street food, temple celebrations, backpacking, crazy hikes, the complexities of intercultural contact and the ambiguities of identity that emerge from them. In some ways, Pacrim never really ended.