I found myself in a Starbucks drive through tonight and traveling through time with the words “tall, nonfat chai”.  All of a sudden I was Jennifer M. Tufts, program assistant for the Confucius Institute at OU-Tulsa.  I was wearing high heels, a fashionable skirt and my favorite green sweater, which complimented by name tag perfectly.  I stopped to pick up my favorite drink for the drive from Midtown to my suburban apartment, having just finished one of many evening events promoting our mission to establish Chinese language programs in OK as a part of a comprehensive approach to education about Asia.  Weird, the power of those few, small words to evoke the memory of a me who hasn’t existed in over a year.  I’m left wondering just how many times did I ask for a tall, nonfat chai in those three Tulsa years?!  And I’m not sure if it’s the chai or the strange mix of science fiction and systematic theology I’ve been reading lately, but I’m also wondering about the insane complexity of identity, the extreme power it yields in constructing reality, and how only a small thing can alter the whole, plunging the psyche into crisis.


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