Taiye Selasi once said in a great speech, "don't ask where I'm from, ask where I'm a local". Here I will tell you both.
I come from Harbin, a little pocket of Russian heritage inside northeastern China. But "I'm a local" in Berkeley, California - the home of my alma mater - and in Berlin, where I got my first job and lived the freest, wildest year of my life. At one point or another, I have either lived in, or traveled to more than forty countries around the world. Whether this has begotten my restless streak or the other way around, I can no longer tell.
Right now I'm pursuing a doctorate in History at Stanford University, where I study the intersection between spatial history and totalitarianism in the 20th century. Alongside academic work, photography is my greatest preoccupation. To me they are both ways of encountering the world - people specifically - in a state of creative contemplation.
I believe in joie de vivre, in ordinary people, in having adventures and treating the senses. When I'm staying put in one place, I read, cook, lavish time on loved ones, and find excuses to go on long drives.