Beijing, summer of 2015

photos by Kathleen and Kristy

My best friend Sheena and I joked that being apart for college wouldn't be difficult for us because it wouldn't be any different from high school. We've never had any classes together since 7th grade, and then throughout my upperclassman years of high school, I was mostly holed up in the art studio, either napping or actually working on projects I needed to be working on (what a foreign concept!).

We don't have the same dynamic as the typical pair of best friends, and it works. On the wonderful occasions we finally see each other again, we fall right back into conversation as if no time has passed.

Back home in Beijing with no responsibilities (no classes, no internship, no job) for a good part of summer, I've mostly been hanging out at Starbucks with Sheena and Ray, and cramming in photography with Kathleen and Kristy, who are sharing their photos on the blog today in this collab!


A year's worth of time is a lot to catch up on, especially with so many changes and so much going on during the first year of college. Meeting old friends over dinner, I bombard them with questions about this exciting new chapter of their life and what they've been up to. With every answer I receive, my eyes light up with second-hand enthusiasm for them, but somewhere in the back of my mind I also feel increasingly distant as it becomes more and more apparent to me how much of their lives I've missed.

Let's fall back into our familiar rhythm. Literally a rhythm. Let's go back to the 798 Art District and jam in empty art galleries like we once did. Of course, a trip there is not complete without grabbing a meal at the Cave Cafe. Let's spend a few minutes trying to connect to wifi because we don't have data plans. Let's spend hours trying to find a song we know all the words to. Let's write a song, but only halfway.

But as much as I wish to rewind and live like we did in the past, we are not the same people we once were. Back then, we were naïve high school students, but now we're in college. Now, we are grown up and super~ mature. So after a year apart, we reconvene in Beijing with our newfound adulthood.

We entertain the idea of going to a Drunk Drawing event. Because we're grown up and stuff. (But it gets dark and we don't want to do anything but get back home and lie in bed.) We have Korean-Mexican fusion at Palms. Because we are cultured and taste different foods and stuff. (Cinnamon 油条 churros?!) We get our second and third piercings at a nondescript corner stall in some obscure market without our parent's permission. (But Mom can you buy me some antiseptic. Also I may need to replace this suspicious looking stud with something hypoallergenic.) We spend our evenings at our local coffee shop to unwind after work. You could call us regulars. (Starbucks, can I get a grande ice water?)

Time is elastic. In the moment it feels like it stretches on and on, but then the moment becomes a memory and time snaps back, and you think, my how the time has flown! According to this digital project on time, "your summer vacation in your first year of college will feel as long as your whole 76th year." Yet when it comes time for me to say goodbye to Beijing once again, it feels all too soon.

Keep up with Kathleen:
Tumblr | Instagram

Keep up with Kristy:
Tumblr | Instagram

PS: 颐和园古北水镇

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