I just want to clarify something about what I posted yesterday. I was hashing my “eureka” moment over with the friend I’m sharing a hotel room with last night, and realized that I forgot to stress the irony of this realization. I’ve actually known about this whole alienation from the American landscape for a long time, now – studied it in college, wrote papers about it. But all of that seemed distant and far removed. I don’t think I ever really applied it to myself till yesterday. And I’m not sure why I did. Thinking about it now, it seems like a huge case of “DUH.” I’m not sure why I somehow thought myself so connected to the landscape of South Jersey. Perhaps because I’ve always wanted to claim it (though of course I guess I realize now that I’ve never been completely successful in doing so). I mean – for goodness’ sakes – the speech I gave at my high school graduation even used my sadness at the district’s chopping down of a large grove of trees from in front of the school in order to add on to the building as a metaphor for change. And of course, afterwards, most people told me they couldn’t understand what I was talking about. Apparently I used too many big words or something like that. (Granted, of course, the fact that I was rather given to flowery language in high school – but I’d still like to think that the speech made sense to more than just me, and the teachers who coached me in revising and delivering it). All that aside, however – I’m finding yesterday’s discovery kind of funny, in its wake. My friend, when I described it to her, said, “but – you knew this – haven’t you talked about this to me before, many times?” Which was when I realized (CLUNK!) that yes, I have spent the last 2 years researching, studying, writing about Asian American alienation from the American landscape. I’ve known this intimately – in the abstract. And on the page (or rather, on other people’s pages). But somehow it never struck home in my own heart until yesterday. I’m so incredibly glad that it did, but I still can’t figure out why it took me that long to “get it” . . .