The Trip of Family Photos

In January 2014, I joined a group of volunteers and went to a village in Yunnan Province. Our task was to take and print family photos for people living there. It was sunny when we arrive, and we had to leave one day early because the heavy snow.

Feng Mai

Feng Mai is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems at School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology (as of May 26, 2019). When I was preparing for my applications during 2014 and 2015, he got his offer from SIT and was graduating from University of Cincinnati. He advised me to apply for IS departments in Business Schools instead of iSchools. He answered many of my questions during my application. He encouraged me to challenge myself when all my family members tried to convince me otherwise. When I asked him what I could do for him in return, he told me to help others in need.

Bo Zhang (Shuangshuang)

Shuangshuang is now a full-time instructor at a university and a part-time food editor. I met Shuangshuang in 2014 on the trip of family photos. I am a Libra, and she is an Aries. We became very good friends ever since.

She majored in Psychology. So, we always have topics to discuss. She encouraged me to be myself and not to be confined my originated family. She accepts me being a workaholic as long as I’m happy. She makes sure that I know that some people have greater need for work. She accepts the fact that I don’t please everyone I encounter. She witnesses my growth and improvements in emotional controlling and my better control over life. There is no emotion problem that could resolve with a conversation with her.

According to her, she constantly inspired by my ways of thinking as well.

Ivan Zhang

I met Ivan in 2014 on the trip of family photos. Our trip was then filled with his adventurous stories. He bicycled from the Tropic of Cancer to the Equator alone in 2013. He spent his 20th birthday in a tent outside a police station in India (with permission). Please find more of his adventures here. It’s so cool to be friends with him. It’s cooler to be considered cool by him.

We both are Air Signs. The job I’m crazy about requires me to be in front of a computer most the time, and I still love it. Although, it’s also good to know other Air Signs in person that are living the lives as Air Signs’.

Yu (Raymond) Liu

Yu (Raymond) Liu (刘宇) is a dear friend and we have never met in person. He graduated from Peking University decades ago. He has been busy at saving the world ever since. One night in 2018 Raymond was walking at the Old Town Square at Prague and playing with his camera. A big drunk man reached Yu from behind and put his hand on Yu’s shoulder. Yu thought he was getting robbed, however, the stranger said to Yu that he loves China very much and left.

I had a similar experience in November 2015. One day at 2 am, I was at a bus station at Philadelphia waiting for my PeterPan. A homeless person came, sat with me and we talked. He told me that his name is Michael, he is a veteran, his spot is right at the corner, and I should stop by and visit him the next time I am in town. Before he left, we shook hands and nothing bad happened to me when I travelled from Philadelphia through New York to UCONN in the dark. I hope everything is well for Michael.

** I am authorized to use the pictures below. For other usage, please contact the author Yu Liu (刘宇).

June Lee

June Lee is an SYSU alumnus. We have followed each other on social media since we both were studying at SYSU. He is a programmer and a street photographer based in Guangzhou, China, a city I had lived in for eight years. I find his work sophisticated in techniques. Other than that, I love the city better in his camera. I see lives of all kinds of people in June’s work, the self-conflicting and the encountering.

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Ling Gao (SANLUUE)

Ling GAO (高翎, SANLUUE) is a dear friend. We met when both of us were studying at Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU). We used to frequent MeToo Cafe at the south campus of SYSU. She is an active athlete in swimming, baseball and road cycling. She finds her soul peaceful in creating arts. Now, she does graffiti and illustrations most. Constantly, her artwork surprises me. It feels like we struggle against the same pain, but we also hold hope dearly.

** I am authorized to use those pictures below. For other usage, please contact sanluue@gmail.com.