Cambridge is beautiful in the cobble-stoned streets and small quaint shops and massive, ornate facades of the old colleges in the center of the town. The best parts of Cambridge are behind closed walls, the private grounds of colleges, grass that can't be walked on, bordered by hedges and trees that manage to be both perfectly trimmed and forgotten. Plush deep red carpets, dark wood-panelling, and endless shelves of books no longer register as decadent; so long as there's a scratch or a bit of dust, you can write it off as routine. My brother's come to visit me a few times now. He told our mother that it was a fairy-tale land.
Weaknesses include live music and street food.
I'm currently based in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia and have spent the last five years in and out of Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia.
Once and future grad student. Research interests include: primates, hominid evolution, fossils, & bones.
MPhil Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge.
BA Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Bristol.
Non-profit professional & conservationist.
Worked in fundraising, administrative strategy, team-building, field logistics, data processing, communications.
I had heard about the piece long before I ever saw it. It was one of my mother's epic stories, one that I'd latched onto as something between metaphor and birth-right. My parents got it from the source - the wall itself. The wall had been built the year my mother was born; it fell the year I was. By the time we got there, there was still enough of it left that, as my mom tells it, half of Europe was there to party and hack off what they could.
My brother takes "not standing out" to an entirely new level. He takes my simile and turns it into a metaphor. He is dignity and assimilation. I don't really travel with dignity. (Backpacking through "exotic" destinations "off the beaten path" kind of beats that out of you. Courtesy? Yes. Dignity? Hah.) "I would hate that, hate living like you do," my brother tells me. "Don't you hate being seen as a foreigner?" He spits out the word 'expat' the same way I say 'tourist'.