Courtesy Kristina Wong
(CNN) – What a beautiful place this is: the Swiss Alps, the plains of Nebraska, the tropical seas of the Dominican Republic.
By the time I grow up, I want to have traveled to all these places, but I’ll be 70 years old when I get there. How’s that for lofty aspirations?
Today, I’m traveling the States to see if I can get there. But more importantly, I’m traveling to prove that I could do it. It’s a global discussion.
I’m obsessed with the kitchen. You can just see the flame in the corners of a stove. Cooking is all about symbols and symbols being woven together, as it was centuries ago.
Cooking, like globalization, doesn’t just happen in the kitchen but around your dinner table.
As my aunties do their laundry, a hot iron overhandforms a cloth — and we look at it as a pure sign. We have them hanging on the wall, a reminder that what we do matters, that it matters now more than ever.
I’ve never cared much for clothes, my knives is my best friend. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother while she was dying, and I am surrounded by many nieces and nephews, and friends. Everywhere we have clothes, it’s a reminder to care about how we care for our souls.
More and more, I’m able to have a conversation with other people. People care about the things that matter the most to them. It’s connectedness, it’s being in touch with your hands, making food and spending time in their hands.
When it comes to food, world events are coming around the corner, and I want to prepare things in case I’m needed.
Every place that I’ve been to, in all the food cultures, people there are always using cast-iron pans to cook their meat or fish. And I’m seeing that presence around me. We stand at crossroads all the time in all of life, and sometimes that leads us off a cliff.
I want to make sure that I’m in a position to buy these products when they’re on sale — if it comes down to some extreme situation, I want to have the basics and safety.
I get these boxes with text that says, “Vegetable oils should be used in combination with other oils and/or other fats to form a thick base suitable for cooking with.” They are playing their part.
Sewing with my aunties
The globalization story on American news is so routine. But that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of their minds. When we start looking at more subtle things in people’s lives, it’s heartbreaking.
My mother passed away, and I thought, “My mom worked hard, put me through school, why can’t I do the same for my children?” It seems like so long ago that that question was the universal question, but it has never gone away.
For the first time, I have a hard-wiring that tells me I’m supposed to be a mentor, not a parent. And I’m free to have this conversation.
I’m a working mother and a freelance journalist, and I love to travel, and meet people. I’m in a privileged position, but I want everyone to have that ability. The core belief behind Why Not Maps is that we’re all invited to share stories and open up our minds in a way that we never have. It’s hard to get something that’s free when so many people want it.
I could have gone to New York for a week, but for some reason, my heart is in Iowa. I visit and spend time at my friend Austin Butler’s home. It’s a studio, it’s beautiful, but there’s no product on the shelves. I don’t walk into any restaurant, and I don’t see the owner’s name on the menu. If I’m gonna have a conversation about a brand, I want it to be a story.
I don’t know if there is a brand. What I want to have — and I know I am a brand — is a story. When you do a survey with almost everyone of my generation, there are two common things they think of: whether they’re gluten-free, or whether they’ve taken cancer drugs. The energy around those conversations has diminished over time, and I want it to.
I haven’t talked to a single parent out here who feels she’s a perfect parent, and she’s not striving to be perfect. I feel like a parent doesn’t have to be perfect, and a lot of my friends don’t. I need to understand their struggles, and I want to be there for them