George Syrop

Writer / Designer / Traveler

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Mom came home after a long day with four cold slices of pizza to feed the inept men she’d left at home like baby birds. Dad and I scrambled to the kitchen, dividing and heating our pieces on separate plates before joining her on the couch to start the latest season of “Dear White People”. Mom asked me a question in Chinese and I responded in English.

“Why don’t you answer her in her language, George?” Dad asked.
“Why don’t you learn Chinese?” I shot back defensively.
“I should, but I still don’t understand why you don’t…”
“I don’t want to entertain this conversation right now.” I replied.

Dad was genuinely curious and I felt bad for answering him sharply. There was too much to unpack in the few seconds between his question and pressing play on the remote, and I didn’t know where to start. What sounded like a simple question touched on my relationship with Mom, a shared language I...

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Love Economics

Every date I went on during my year-long stint in Los Angeles reminded me of the economic nightmare we live in and how I’ve been conditioned me to assess potential partners. Nearly every face I swiped right on and had the fortune of meeting in person was job-hunting and/or living at home with their parents. I was working as a designer for a small startup at the time, which meant my entire livelihood depended on my company’s ability to convince capitalists to give us their money. The ridiculous size and nature of my income compelled me to pay for most dates, an act of camaraderie with whichever liberal arts graduate I happened to be seated across from. It didn’t make sense that my date should spend 10% of their monthly budget with some stranger when I was being paid more than most of my high school teachers (and some of my college professors) because I was fluent in keyboard shortcuts and...

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Eulogy for California

It’s hard not to feel a sense of pride growing up in the Golden State. The weather rendered seasons obsolete. The people and politics, progressive for the most part, set the tone for what our nation could become if we celebrated our differences instead of demonizing them. Our Central Valley became the country’s breadbasket, ensuring virtually any ingredient was always in season. We had nature that made other continents green with envy: forests, deserts, mountains, and lakes that transcended imagination and yet somehow still managed to exist. An America within America; the state of overflowing opportunity made all the more salivating by its storied mythology: the gold rush, Hollywood, the Castro, world class public universities, and (for better or for worse) technology. California came to epitomize the zenith of the American Dream. Who cared about a white picket fence when your backyard...

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They imagined towers one hundred stories high and built them.
Witnessed estates become states when settled.
But the mansions and monoliths keep migrating;
despite having tamed the Wild West.

Whose destinies are left to manifest?
What land is theirs to take.

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