Why “Airplanes and Time Zones”?


The timeline and trajectory of my life is closely tied to airplanes. My family and I left Taiwan for Vancouver when I was seven. We left Vancouver to go back to Taiwan when I was 13. I left Taiwan for Ontario when I was 18. I now currently spend most of my life in Toronto. I visit my family in Taiwan once a year and have been for the past eight years. To some extent, airplanes have facilitated the shape of my life. In a very physical and material sense, without airplanes, I would be out of touch with a really significant part of my life – my parents and Taiwan.

This intimacy with airplanes also denotes a certain amount of privilege that I hold. It is a very big, loud, obnoxious reminder that I move with some ease in this world.

When I hear an airplane flying overhead, I feel compelled to look up. I always do. When I was younger, I was fascinated with the idea of commercial airplanes actually being a tin can high up in the sky that is shooting hundreds of people across the sky. I don’t think there is anything that profound with my fascination. I think it is simply a matter of mathematics: it’s something about perspective and the idea that something so big in size could seem so small by simply being far away from me. And that that “small thing” could at the same time, hold so many bodies and facilitate so many different lives.


I have important people in my life who live in many different time zones. I think about time zones and time differences a lot. I have to in order to communicate “live” with those important people in my life. Time, for me (and many, many, many others), is not so concrete and fixed. It is a constructed reminder that in the same moment, life can exist so differently; someone is waking up while someone else is just starting a shift at the post office while someone else is having a glass of wine while someone else is dozing off in class while someone else has just died.


I am using this space to think about home, travel, space/time, sanctuary, decisions, family. I will do this through writing and bits of visual art. There may be some drawings. There might be sound sound bites. We will see, I suppose. There may or may not be sporadic posts about something academic (I am currently completing my Masters degree) or something seemingly unrelated to “airplanes and time zones.” But I am sure if I think about it for long enough, I can link almost everything back to planes and time zones.


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