Hi. I'm Chris

Before I really get into who I am and what I envision this blog to be, I want to quote Kate Chopin.

[Edna] let her mind wander back over her stay at Grand Isle; and she tried to discover wherein this summer had been different from any and every other summer of her life. She could only realize that she herself – her present self – was in some way different from the other self. That she was seeing with different eyes and making the acquaintance of new conditions in herself that colored and changed her environment…
— The Awakening, Chapter XIV

I hope that this 2017 Summer will affect me in a similar manner as Edna’s did. When I compare the way I viewed my world on May 14 to the way I will view the world on August 21 (Beginning of USC school year), I hope that I will “see with new eyes” and be capable of doing things I never would have imagined possible. My summer’s theme, beyond the 4 weeks of Bookpacking, is discovery, and I am expecting my Backpacking experience to be a great starting point for the adventures that lie ahead.

Where I was:

When Andrew explained this course to me back in October, I was drawn to a couple of his value propositions:
  1. The opportunity to create a multimedia “Bookpackers Guide” to New Orleans
  2. The opportunity to rekindle an enjoyment for reading

I study Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation at the USC Iovine and Young Academy. My program aims to develop the ability to think and create across disciplines and practice innovative problem solving. My emphases within the program are Visual Storytelling and Audio Design, so the opportunity to create a multimedia reflection of my time in New Orleans excited me. Additionally, the premise of Bookpacking, reading literature on the road and discovering the worlds these stories take place in, excited the idealistic romantic within me. Bookpacking is an innovative practice, combining flavors of cultural studies, literary analysis, history, primary research, and travel. It seemed a wonderful practice of the interdisciplinary skills I have been studying over the past three years.

My Junior year closed with a time of apprehension and slight stress from an enormous wave of planning I had to get done: straightening out my plans for the remainder of the summer after Bookpacking, planning the animated film I am producing next year, ideating on my Academy capstone project, and working on a Fulbright proposal. After a crazy last week of school, I managed to move out of my apartment and pack for this trip ~4hours before our 7AM call time. As our plane flew over the beautiful American Southwest, I tried to simultaneously catch up on sleep and finish reading A Confederacy of Dunces, and those who know me well know that I am a terrible multitasker.

Where I am:

Within a few hours in Louisiana, I was met with this:

The sunset over the Mississippi River bayous was something to behold for a lifelong Angeleno. The sky's golden blue gradient, intertwined with the sun's sparkle off the heads of swamp shrubery, dazzled me. I had never seen so much water everywhere! The water seeped out of the ground along both sides of the road, and I didn't know where it was coming from. My eyes were heavy and my brain was quite sleep deprived, yet the scenery captured my attention the entire drive from New Orleans to our team’s beachside home on Grand Isle.

Throughout the drive to Grand Isle, I saw small, rundown, riverside shacks that families lived in. I remember passing a family on its porch; the children skipped up and down the steps; the momma held a toddler baby; and the father sat on a rocking chair, sipping a beer. Their front lawn was marshy, their house's paint was peeling, but they were chillin’. I tried to envision just how different my life was from the lives these kids would live. What were their dreams? What kind of education would they receive? And most importantly, would they ever taste Korean food?!? As our Mercedes Benz luxury van strolled alongside the Louisiana marshland, I continued chewing on these thoughts.

There is no question that the environment, weather (#humidity), and lifestyle of Southern Louisiana is far different than my life in Los Angeles. But what really makes this place so different than my home? I hope by capturing and analyzing the aural and visual stimulants of this area, I can discover some of these unique elements. Join me in discovering the sights and sounds of Southern Louisiana.