“Matcha Latte, oats.” I walked into Old Country Cafe on the street of 34th at the west side.
“Old style, sweetheart. You get it.”
Peter has known me by now. Same as Ally. I turned the hidden cafe into my daily office, and I only drank the oat milk matcha latte, like a crippled witch crawling into her grave before she turned into a glowing young lady after that magic dose.
Born and spent my early years in Shenzhen, the ultra-modern tech city in southern China, I had spent considerable time pondering about my identity capital. Shenzhen was the new city of the new. It is the headquarter of DJI, the most famous drone company. It raised great companies like Huawei, Vanke, Tencent, whose founder graduated from the same high school as me. However, for the first generation that grew up in skyscraper structure, I could hardly count for anything that was my own.
“So you are Chinese. Tell me more!”
The question of many Eastern-mystique seekers pained me. I could detail how my friends and I spent days in shopping malls watching Avengers or showed off our coolness by getting into nightclubs under-age.
In Travels with Charley – In Search of America, John Steinbeck has set off a mockery yet profound trip to search Americanness. Spending many years in New York, he suddenly realised that he did not know his country outside of the Big Apple as much as his country had known him.
In New York, London, and Paris, I sent my feet adrift to look for cultures. Stupid as I was, I skipped schools and saved money for the trip. Standing on the crossroad where you cross everyday, I saw the baristas who gave me the same matcha latte everyday. I heard the story of the supermarket vendor that came to the city 10 years ago and had a baby.
Culture is a part inherited, and a part learned and chosen. Just like style is an education, the book one reads, the inspirations one take on, culture is idiosyncratic on the collective horizon.
Most importantly, one has to continue investing in this identity capital.
I know a few my urban friends become “Japan” “Persia” or “Peru” fans and chose to drink matcha or eat dates. Whatever they had the kink on, let people have the will in.
I knew I wanted to share the real facet of the culture, arts, and style, or whatever term one would want to describe the evolution of minds and society.
URBANITE is about these stories:
1. I write about the findings originate from NY, London, and Paris. I write about culture, arts, fashion, society, Economics & Business, love & freedom, and their history.
2. Take the reap from Irvin Penn, I write about real people.
3. A style. Unchangeable, classy, positive style.
The first article of an URBANITE, is here.