Anna Curtis: Wannabe gypsy

Anna during our photography lesson
Anna and I both attend a weekly photographic class that we’ve signed up at Mizzou’s Craft Studio. We had an photography outing today to Columbia Cemetery, and I have no idea where it was. It was also my first time at a cemetery and it was a whole-new experience for me to be with the spirits at dusk!

Anna kindly drove me to the cemetery and we went into a pretty interesting conversation about cultures. Coming from the Cream City of Milwaukee, she dreams about wanting to travel around the world and visit places beyond America. She’s been to some places in Europe but she wanted to go to more places, stretching from the African continent all the way to Asia.

In fact, she confesses that she doesn’t see herself all that American and cannot relish herself retiring anywhere in this country. Well, she doesn’t like pizza, how un-American can that be? Unfortunately, when she had the bowl of Mac and Cheese, I knew she was still, in some ways, American. (Sorry to all Mac & Cheese lovers!)

She hopes to be able to study abroad in Argentina, place of the sexy tango dance. Argentina is definitely on my to-go list too!

I realized Anna is not alone in this wave of students who want to study abroad. I’ve heard it from many friends whom I’ve talked to and most of them will easily list Europe as one of their top destinations.

I would have to admit that I was shocked in my first few lessons when I realized that most people here have yet to leave America. Some never went to New York before, some never left MIzzou and some never took the airplane before. But many college students have YET TO, but WANT TO visit as many countries as possible.

In Asia, my conception (I try not to speak for everyone) of Americans used to be that they are well traveled and globe trotters, probably because corporate America seeps into all our societies. Yet in reality, only the corporates did, not so much the Americans did.

Somehow, the desire to move beyond our comfort zone and explore the other parts of the world is something that transcends nationalities, races and gender. Perhaps it’s because we’re all at the age of transition into adulthood, at the point where we feel a overwhelming sense of restlessness about what we have at hand. We need some change to feel our existence, to have an aim to work towards and something surprising to look forward to.

Change becomes an entirely different concept as we grow older. I overheard a middle-aged man talking to his friend in a cafe about his trip to Japan. He hated the food there (calling sushi sticky rice) and was put off by the concept of having to use the ‘two sticks’ to eat.

I like the way Anna talked whenever she mentions about wanting to travel around the world. Her zest and energy towards exploring uncharted waters makes me think of her as a wannabe gypsy.

Pictures taken by Anna at the Columbia Cemetery.
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6 thoughts on “Anna Curtis: Wannabe gypsy

  1. I like your Anna person, Jie Yi. I too feel like I am not so American and am planning a future in China, with a career in a profession with high demand there: English teaching! I think exploring other cultures beyond my horizons is far preferable to staying here, on the other hand, if there is a group that always says “I want to go to Europe” first, then I’m in the group that says it last. I say “Asia or bust!” South America doesn’t interest me to much either. No me parece que estara’ demasiado interesante.

  2. I love your opinion. I thought American may know the world better than we Asians before, since they are easy to get to other countries without worrying visa. But now I know that they are looking foward to chase dreams in other countries just like what we Asians doing here. We are the same. Go, dream chasers!!

  3. i cant engage in intellectual exchange..my brain is imploding. great blog, love reading what you write. keep enjoying yourself and keep seeking new adventures. wish i was with you turning the pages of great adventures!

  4. i think in Asia we experience, or should I say suffer from, “white envy” that makes us want to get out of our comfort zone and explore the western land. Perhaps westerners are less motivated to do that unless they’re adventurous and like traveling. But we don’t necessarily have to like traveling to make us travel – just thinking that everything is gonna be greener on the other side is enough to push us out.

    1. Interesting but conversely, I think people in America have greater economic restrictions compared to us, lucky kids, who get the opportunity and the monetary ability to travel out.

      Imagine the huge college debts that most people have to bear once they graduate.

      I tend to believe that because we’re from a small country, it makes us think big because everything near us seems to be repetitive.

      When you’re in a bigger country, you have grasp with what you have around you and have lesser time for the outside world. What’s at home is enough to keep you busy all the time.

      1. You make a lot of good arguments Jie Yi! To Leandra: It is my experience that while, everyone sits on the outside, looking in (“white envy”) we sit on the inside looking out! I want to go see all the places that are completely different from my culture which dissatisfies me so! The grass is always greener on the other side, no matter which side you’re on.

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