@misterkchung

Kevin Chung @misterkchung

Places | Travel | House | Latergrams | Storytelling 📍Tacoma, WA 🇺🇸

http://misterkchung.com/

La Jolla, finally, after hearing folks endlessly revere this coastal jewel. Blue skies. Bright sun. The smell of the ocean and the BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK.
@misterkchung

La Jolla, finally, after hearing folks endlessly revere this coastal jewel. Blue skies. Bright sun. The smell of the ocean and the BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK BORK.

I waltzed through the park with frenetic enthusiasm, stepping to the tempo of that contagious Californian sunshine. What could I do, but smile at my fellow dancers who were choreographing this marvelously golden afternoon? I felt aglow as I rounded the fountains and promenaded down the porticos. Alas, it was time to leave, and I made my way past the chapel and toward my exit across the bridge. Hurrying on the sidewalk, I beheld the dreamy light around me cast by the descending sun, then paused. Deep breath in, I leaned against the railing and looked down the valley and out to the city skyline. I was pressed for time, but in this brief moment, I didn't care. I just wanted to be here.
@misterkchung

I waltzed through the park with frenetic enthusiasm, stepping to the tempo of that contagious Californian sunshine. What could I do, but smile at my fellow dancers who were choreographing this marvelously golden afternoon? I felt aglow as I rounded the fountains and promenaded down the porticos. Alas, it was time to leave, and I made my way past the chapel and toward my exit across the bridge. Hurrying on the sidewalk, I beheld the dreamy light around me cast by the descending sun, then paused. Deep breath in, I leaned against the railing and looked down the valley and out to the city skyline. I was pressed for time, but in this brief moment, I didn't care. I just wanted to be here.

I went to Balboa Park with little research and limited time. Innumerable folks spoke of this park with reverence and advised me to visit, so I hastily pulled myself out of a nap and drove over. As expected, I couldn't see it all. I hurried my steps between strollers and flocks of teenagers to as many different landmarks as possible. Around every corner, I found more museums and buskers and stunning architecture and colorful gardens. I merely scratched the surface of this endless destination of destinations, but I'm glad I still went, even if only for a little while.
@misterkchung

I went to Balboa Park with little research and limited time. Innumerable folks spoke of this park with reverence and advised me to visit, so I hastily pulled myself out of a nap and drove over. As expected, I couldn't see it all. I hurried my steps between strollers and flocks of teenagers to as many different landmarks as possible. Around every corner, I found more museums and buskers and stunning architecture and colorful gardens. I merely scratched the surface of this endless destination of destinations, but I'm glad I still went, even if only for a little while.

I went to San Diego last month and was reminded again of how delightful it is to feel that Southern Californian weather. I wanted to be outside, and Balboa Park was a lovely place to explore.
@misterkchung

I went to San Diego last month and was reminded again of how delightful it is to feel that Southern Californian weather. I wanted to be outside, and Balboa Park was a lovely place to explore.

I have been here for four years already.

Weeks ago during a road trip stop at Ruby Beach, I met a charming middle-aged couple from Michigan. They shared that they were enjoying a leisurely exploration of the Pacific Northwest after their two children had recently graduated from university. He asked me how long out of college it has been, and I told him four years. He smiled and then asked if I am where I want to be yet.

I wasn’t sure how to answer. Each year since graduating has pushed me further and further away from the inchoate post-college ideas of my future. Even then, I never had a firm plan beyond a GRE test score and the desire for the space that I felt I needed to grow—however long that would take, whatever growth could look like, and wherever that may be. I moved here tinged with transiency and dreams of fertile soil that would allow me to bloom new colors, until it would be time to seek light somewhere else.

But four years is too long of a tenure to feel transient anymore. Settling into my home in Tacoma feels like the antithesis of the rootless upwardly mobile millennial experience; of moving among major metropolitan areas in pursuit of culture, community, opportunities, and a fleeting new American dream.

Four years later and I'm still here. Grad school never happened. Friends have since moved away and planted roots in disparate pockets of the country. Wedding bells are ringing. Bills keep growing. Family is aging. Even with four years worth of triumphs and heartaches and boring days and vibrant stories, my trajectory continues to evolve in unexpected ways. Just how well can I elucidate my future if it keeps changing? I won’t sugarcoat the bitterness of growing pains.

Am I where I want to be yet?

The couple curiously stood there, sparking with awe at the dramatic landscape around us as I searched for words. They were so wonderful to talk with—so gregarious and attentive—and I dared not temper their ebuillance with the grit of a long reflection. I looked up at them and grinned.

It has been an interesting four years, I tell them. It has not been quite what I thought it would be… but I’m okay with that.
@misterkchung

I have been here for four years already. Weeks ago during a road trip stop at Ruby Beach, I met a charming middle-aged couple from Michigan. They shared that they were enjoying a leisurely exploration of the Pacific Northwest after their two children had recently graduated from university. He asked me how long out of college it has been, and I told him four years. He smiled and then asked if I am where I want to be yet. I wasn’t sure how to answer. Each year since graduating has pushed me further and further away from the inchoate post-college ideas of my future. Even then, I never had a firm plan beyond a GRE test score and the desire for the space that I felt I needed to grow—however long that would take, whatever growth could look like, and wherever that may be. I moved here tinged with transiency and dreams of fertile soil that would allow me to bloom new colors, until it would be time to seek light somewhere else. But four years is too long of a tenure to feel transient

I love the dynamic spectrum of colors of Tacoma throughout the year (except when the only color is gray for weeks with no respite). And when the skies refract this cotton candy dreamscape, the Tacoma Aroma seems to dissipate.
@misterkchung

I love the dynamic spectrum of colors of Tacoma throughout the year (except when the only color is gray for weeks with no respite). And when the skies refract this cotton candy dreamscape, the Tacoma Aroma seems to dissipate.

The luminescence from the indoor lights through the glass facade compound the hues of golden hour to create a dreamy urban landscape–if only for a little while.
@misterkchung

The luminescence from the indoor lights through the glass facade compound the hues of golden hour to create a dreamy urban landscape–if only for a little while.

Took the family to this classic spot, and it never disappoints.
@misterkchung

Took the family to this classic spot, and it never disappoints.

I walk to my car in the midnight light, and it is damn cold. Quiet. I glance to my left, down the hill and over the bay, at the lights from the Port. It’s a bleary mirage that reminds me of fireflies back in Michigan, delicately illuminating a summer evening. But already, it is October, which I have come to accept as the time of year when the sun sets too soon, the leaves drop with the temperature, and plastic skeletons sit next to carved pumpkins. I was never one for decorating, but I welcome the change of scenery at the grocery store entrance. Soon enough, the seasons will cycle again, and at the magic strike of midnight, the pumpkins and skeletons will turn into LED reindeers and inflatable snowmen, and the evening sun will be replaced by flashing bulbs strung from porches and rooftops. But not yet. I’m getting ahead of myself now. The year is winding down, sure, and tonight, so am I, back in my car, driving home. It’s far past my bedtime.
@misterkchung

I walk to my car in the midnight light, and it is damn cold. Quiet. I glance to my left, down the hill and over the bay, at the lights from the Port. It’s a bleary mirage that reminds me of fireflies back in Michigan, delicately illuminating a summer evening. But already, it is October, which I have come to accept as the time of year when the sun sets too soon, the leaves drop with the temperature, and plastic skeletons sit next to carved pumpkins. I was never one for decorating, but I welcome the change of scenery at the grocery store entrance. Soon enough, the seasons will cycle again, and at the magic strike of midnight, the pumpkins and skeletons will turn into LED reindeers and inflatable snowmen, and the evening sun will be replaced by flashing bulbs strung from porches and rooftops. But not yet. I’m getting ahead of myself now. The year is winding down, sure, and tonight, so am I, back in my car, driving home. It’s far past my bedtime.

An autumn walk in Olympia.
@misterkchung

An autumn walk in Olympia.

Y'all. My mother is the cutest. 😭
@misterkchung

Y'all. My mother is the cutest. 😭

A narrow vista of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
@misterkchung

A narrow vista of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

I rolled the first stroke of paint on my dining room walls earlier this year, and immediately felt aghast at the sight of such a bold color glistening in its contrast to the then-grayish backdrop. Having grown up with white walls, I felt that choosing any color that isn't within the anodyne spectrum of white/off-white shades would be too large of a commitment. Too much of a statement. After finishing my first wall, I muttered under my breath,
@misterkchung

I rolled the first stroke of paint on my dining room walls earlier this year, and immediately felt aghast at the sight of such a bold color glistening in its contrast to the then-grayish backdrop. Having grown up with white walls, I felt that choosing any color that isn't within the anodyne spectrum of white/off-white shades would be too large of a commitment. Too much of a statement. After finishing my first wall, I muttered under my breath, "Oh wow. This is very red." But I continued on to the other walls until I was enveloped by this warm color. The paint soon dried to its matte finish, and I redressed the room with its ornamentation and furnishings. To be honest, I didn't love it during the first few weeks. I kept thinking: "This is very red." My acclimation to colored walls was slower than expected. As I spent more time in the room, I became more confident in my choice. It was a relatively easy but importantly conspicuous step in making my place feel like my own. And, since

Anytime I get the chance to show my friends around Tacoma, I appreciate this city even more. (📷: @mack_nz_)
@misterkchung

Anytime I get the chance to show my friends around Tacoma, I appreciate this city even more. (📷: @mack nz )

A sunny weekday afternoon in Pioneer Square.
@misterkchung

A sunny weekday afternoon in Pioneer Square.

The sunset over Tacoma as seen from my neighborhood on two separate evenings.
@misterkchung

The sunset over Tacoma as seen from my neighborhood on two separate evenings.

I was greeted by stunning vistas when I arrived, then shortly after, accosted by heavy rain. The weather may have impeded my hiking ambition, but at least I got to see this.
@misterkchung

I was greeted by stunning vistas when I arrived, then shortly after, accosted by heavy rain. The weather may have impeded my hiking ambition, but at least I got to see this.

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