(I’ve been sending periodic emails to all of my students from the past 2 years. If you no longer want them, let me know If you want to read my previous emails, I’ve been archiving them on my website: https://markdangerchen.net/2020/06/03/letters-to-my-students/)
Earlier this week, I saw a post on Delish for an apple pie with a cinnamon roll crust. That looked amazing and, thus, it came to be, along with brussel sprouts, stuffing, and mashed pos. Without having to deal with family or friends, the favorite parts of the meal (i.e., sides and dessert) could receive the attention they deserve. That’s the key, I think, to life as well. You have to make do with what you can, and, sometimes, like this year, it is more constrained than usual, but that comes with the realization that you can also look for new opportunities and silver linings. Rarely do new constraints come without new potentials.
Anyway, I just wanted to say two things:
1. We’re living in a particularly absurdist time where it can feel like you’re going insane as different people you care about are so completely at odds with each other or totally disregarding science and healthcare workers. The pandemic is worse than it’s ever been and it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better even though vaccines are on their way. Make no mistake, we will lose many more loved ones before this is all over, and, way beyond the death toll, we’ll have millions more suffering from neurological complications that might last their whole lives. On top of that, even without the pandemic, we still have the existential threat of climate change and the centuries-long injustices of colonialism, unchecked capitalism, and ongoing systemic racism and xenophobia. Yes, the fight for everything right isn’t over, and, though our endurance is constantly tested, we have to regroup and keep on fighting. Also, jesus christ, avoid people like the plague because, hold on, it IS a plague.
2. I’m thankful we might be turning towards compassion for others again, and I believe Biden does truly care about all of us. I think we’d all be better off if we all cared for each other rather than just for our own tribe. I’m frankly surprised this isn’t actually a given in America because I remember being taught this value as something to be proud of as an American. In fact, I think the ultimate test for a society is how much its individual members care about strangers as much as they care about friends and family. I think we’re all connected, but, on top of that, I really appreciate the personal connection I make with students, colleagues, and friends. So thank you for being in my life. Drop me a note and let me know how you’re doing, or play a game with me online some time!
Anyway, I hope this message finds you well and that you’ve been finding some respite over the long weekend. But I also know that some people don’t have secure home lives the same way others do. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll always be here for you if I can.
P.S. Things to watch or rewatch: The Social Dilemma, Queer Eye, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bake Off. Go Sounders. Stay playful.
P.P.S. If you have book/movie/show/game recommendations for me, lemme know!