Lenny Letter: Wild Swimming with my Doppelgänger


I swam in a freezing cold lake in Scotland. But it took a long time to get here.

It began in August. First I had to go to Berlin, meet my doppelgänger, ride a bike through German suburbs, swim in a lake and then fly back to London.

Read about that part in Lenny Letter.

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Jessica and Jessica – I’m the one on the right with bangs/ fringe. Jessica J Lee is the one with her hair in a half bun

Then, this past week, I finally managed to swim in a loch. I was only able to do this by frantically texting my doppelgänger. Thank god she was awake –  Jessica J Lee coached me via Whatsapp messages from Taipei. She is a very kind doppelgänger.

Her advice: go slowly, exhale out as you submerge, it takes 30 seconds for it to stop being painful and swim for 45 strokes.

I managed to get in the water and not panic by saying to myself over and over, “you can do this” and”you can’t feel your legs but that’s totally fine” and “there are no sharks in Scotland” while blocking out the sentence “BUT THERE IS AT LEAST ONE MONSTER WHO LIVES IN A LOCH.”

But I survived! Swimming in cold water feels like daggers, but in a good way. You should try it! But also, don’t do it alone.


Not pictured: my struggle to pull my body out of the lake and onto the pier. Also not pictured: the person who helped drag me out of the water

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Want to read the memoir that I co-wrote with my friend Rachel about living in Beijing and Paris? It’s called Graduates in Wonderland. We sporadically blog about random things here.  


I met David Sedaris

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About ten years ago, I got a letter in the mail when I was living in Australia (the first time). I opened it and all it said was, “I’m so sorry I missed you. – David.”

That was it. No other evidence of who it was, except that the return address on the envelope was from Paris.

So a man, named David, was in Paris pining for me and he had tracked me down in Australia to tell me. But he was locked in a tower with no wi-fi or electricity, so he could only scratch out this letter to me, just to make sure that I knew.

Later I told this story to Rachel and she informed me that it was she who had sent the letter and that the letter was from David Sedaris, whom she had met at one of his book readings. I actually think I like the real version better than the imagined. I’m so sorry I missed you, too, David.

I finally met David Sedaris the other night in London…

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David would. Except he’s a self-confessed luddite who can’t type.