Monday, December 13, 2010

Talk to me

Interviews are like therapy. When you get in that room, a person you know nothing about, and who knows nothing about you, asks you questions for 45 minutes to an hour, and basically just listens to you talk. While you go on and on about yourself, the interviewer tries to read between the lines to get clues about the "real you." But instead of trying to diagnose you, or fix your problems, an interviewer, unlike a therapist, tries to determine whether or not your personality and your experience would make you a good match for the position they're trying to fill.

And afterwards, the person being interviewed learns something about his/herself. And feels relieved. And exhausted. And like he/she has accomplished something. Then getting the job, like getting "cured," may or may not happen. But one finds out with time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby, don't hurt me

When I was in high school I signed up for an elective called Video/Film. I was the only honor roll student in the class (because honor roll students are far too busy taking AP European History and other more rigorous courses), and honor roll students all tend to know one another (know your competition!), so I didn't know anyone going in. It was mostly guys, mostly slackers, watching clips from important movies, learning how to operate a video camera, using cool camera and film tricks, and editing film the old fashioned way--on a machine, NOT on a computer. I was so into it. I loved coming up with ideas for our assignments: make a commercial for a product, shoot a music video, create a public service announcement (PSA).

My group included my petite, ambiguously ethnic self, a very large Hispanic male, a tall, thin, pale Caucasian male, and some slacker I can't quite picture clearly. I led my team on a Night-at-the-Roxbury-themed project to convince our fellow students to clean up the school. We used the famous song - What is Love? - to create a head-bopping PSA, in which we all starred, simultaneously head-bopping away as we pretended to throw away trash, that apparently was so good that a little later the instructor played the PSA for the entire school body during our morning announcements (our brand new school had a TV in each classroom where we would watch the announcements daily).

They would re-air the PSA several times over the next few years. Then I graduated. My younger brother, who graduated from the same school 3 years after me, told me that they were still playing my PSA 3 years after I had graduated, and 5 years after we had made the thing.

I wonder if it still comes on every once in a while, and how staticky and distorted the tape must be from the wear and tear.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sock it to me

Sometimes when I get dressed I like to shake things up a bit. Take one foot, and put on my sock, followed by my shoe. Then do the same with the other foot. Similarly, you can dress your entire bottom half (undies and pants), then start on the top half, or vice versa. I also like to take the opportunity to test my balance. I will put on my sock and shoe while balancing on the other foot. You look silly while getting dressed, but it's amusing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I am 28 years old and I am learning to drive. Stick. Because it is the only car my husband and I have, and it's been the only car we've had for 4 years now. So, it's high time I learn to drive it. Especially because we're in the midst of football season and I am stuck at home every Sunday unless I want to bike it, hoof it, or metro it. Also, husbands can only take so many trips to the mall (when you're still in courtship mode they actually seem to enjoy it, but then things change).

In an effort to broaden my horizons and deepen my knowledge of world events I have started reading The Economist, a British news/economics magazine that is better than anything similar in the US. I think the magazine is great, but I kind of wish that there was an American edition available because the grammar bugs the heck out of me. They spell "Mr" without a period at the end! Eg. "Mr Yellow is mellow, but Mr Brown must go down." And they spell "loath" as "loth," they say "take a decision" rather than "make a decision," and they have a strange way of conjugating verbs sometimes, but I have that issue with American English as well. I used to think that the only differences between American and British English where the extra "u"s (i.e. "colour") and "s"s instead of "z"s to spell stuff ("stabilise")but boy was I wrong. I am always learning something new. Whether I like it or not.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I am going to a wedding today, on 10.10.10. I know several people getting married today, on this auspicious day. I think of how I have only been to a handful of weddings in my life, and each one has been so different.

The first one I don't remember because I was three: I was the flower girl at my own parents' wedding. Then when I was a teenager my oldest brother got married in a tiny Vegas chapel by a very unfortunate-looking chaplain. I remember we took a limo there, and during the ceremony I cried my eyes out I was so touched. My mom married again a few months before I did. It was at the church I used to attend when I was in high school, and the reception was at her house. I helped her pick her dress, and during the ceremony I lit a unity candle with my new sister-in-law, whom I had only just met.

Then I got married, and it was good.
A few months later, one of my friends from college had an Indian wedding in Connecticut, with Indian food, Indian music, and Indian guests. My husband and I sat at the non-Indian, college friends table. The colors, smells, sounds, and traditions were amazing. Later on that year, my brother-in-law got married in Chile, where the pastor never showed up and someone had to step in and impromptu marry the bride and groom, and where an aged pseudo-pop star hijacked the wedding by crooning for an hour. His music was not conducive to dancing.

Months later my husband and I were in Serbia, at a beautiful Orthodox ceremony with Roma music and incense and strong brandy sipped from 10:30am onwards. Now I am in anticipation of today, a Jewish wedding of two special ladies in a chimney in Georgetown.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Test your religious knowledge and see how you measure up. According to this article, atheists and agnostics know more about religion than folks that regularly attend worship services. The quiz is about religion in general.

I missed 2 questions. I never cease to be amazed at Americans' general cluelessness. The religion poll is just one small example. Most US-born Americans would not pass a citizenship test if they had to take one. We have no problem revising history to suit our purposes. We might not know how to define exactly what we believe, but we believe it strongly.

That's why Colbert is so good at what he does, and so funny. I can't wait for his march/rally in DC next month.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A pound of flesh

A girl loaned me her boobs once. It was one of the greatest acts of kindness I have experienced. It happened 11 years ago but I still think about it from time to time. I was competing in my 2nd and last pageant (*hallelujah*). The dress we all had to wear looked like a heavy duty black trash bag that someone had cleverly fashioned into an evening gown and festooned with sparkly sequins. Again, the dress wasn't our choice. Leading up to the pageant, I met a girl who decided to take me under her wing. She gave me makeup and hair advice. She didn't try to sabotage me, counteracting the old beauty queen stereotype.

At the time, I was feeling ok, but I was working a part-time job and in the middle of finals and AP exams, and had lost weight since my last dress fitting. And when I got dressed and began to despair that the dress was falling off my over-stressed, thinner-than-before-frame, she simply presented me with a small box containing an extra pair of chicken cutlets (trade secret, but now not so secret), and all was well. Not only did the dress fit better, but I was given an extra boost of confidence to boot.

It reminds me of my friend's flip-flop story. Sharing is something so simple and so universally kind and human.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pet peeve

Why are we supposed to put two spaces after each sentence? Does anyone do that? It is standard in government writing, but why? It's so obsolete. With the advent of word processing (i.e., no more typewriters and their monospaced typefaces), the practice has been rendered obsolete. I learned this in 5th grade. Why hasn't everyone else learned this? Every person I've met in DC has looked at me like a crazy person when I've told them that
it isn't necessary. But the double spacing is a waste of time, and a waste of space. It's so frustrating! I feel like a crazy person. At least my husband agrees with me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Test eaze...1,2,3

When I took the GRE 6 years ago I promised myself I would never take another *stupid* standardized test again. I thought that I was in the clear as far as testing goes, because in the real world it's not about tests but about brains, skills, being in the right place at the right time, etc.

I was wrong.

If I want to start a career as a foreign service officer I have to take a special test for it, which is run by the ACT. The same ACT I took when I was 16. Along with the SAT, the AP exams, and the who's-it-what's-its I took my junior and senior years in high school which, when I look back now, just seem like a hazy fog of frantic test-taking, not necessarily my carefree years.

During those non-carefree years I used to make sure to wear my special, lucky black hoodie on the days I had a test to take. I stupidly wore the hoodie once when I helped to paint my brother's new house and thus ended up getting eggshell-colored paint on it. I threw the hoodie away. I shouldn't have thrown it away, though. A little paint wouldn't have taken away the hoodie's natural powers --and if I had the hoodie now I could have worn it to take this test I have to take sometime in the next several months. I could use some luck. The failure rate for this particular test is 80%.

4/30/2012 edit: Actually, the passage rate is 40%. And only 3% of the people that take the test end up becoming an FSO. I like them odds. Still haven't taken the test. I had discovered that it would be a good idea to study, so that's what I kind have been doing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The kids are alright

I have been observing that the people in my area that have kids are so old. I don't feel like I could be a part of their club yet. If I were to live in other parts of the country I would see much younger couples with kids and babies, and I could probably see myself more like them and not feel so weird about the idea of growing my family. I know some pregnant people, and I know so many people getting married in the next year. We are growing up.

I can't wait for my friends' wedding in a few weeks because it's going to be in Serbia. Serbian weddings sound wild. The festivities are supposed to begin at 10:30am and they proceed until at least 4am the next morning. I was told by a Balkan coworker to bring antacids and tylenol, because we will be wined, dined, and danced for almost 24 hours straight. I can't wait.

Today I went to a national park and my friends and I saw a lot of children. I felt kind of like we were on a child safari, observing the different shapes, sizes, haircuts, and wardrobe choices. All kids, with the exception of my darling nieces and nephews, are strange and alien to me. Where I live, you don't see many, and when you do they are usually in 1s and 2s and they're just visiting.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Perchance to dream

My mom grew up in the Philippines, speaking Tagalog (Filipino), but when she came to the States she pretty much stuck to English, and got really good at it. She doesn't have a foreign accent at all.

She didn't speak Tagalog with my brothers and me as we grew up, thinking that it wasn't a language worth knowing, really. She was much more interested in us taking Spanish in school and concentrating on that. From what I recall, the only Tagalog word she used with us is the word "muta." Muta is what Americans would call the "sleep" in their eyes, the crusty stuff in our eyes each morning. I never heard my mom say the English equivalent to us. I taught my husband to say muta pretty early on in our relationship. Any kids I might have one day will also learn muta. But I hope my own family could also learn and use other Tagalog words, in addition to speaking Spanish, since that's my husband's native language. Unlike my mom, I believe the more languages, the better. There's always room for more.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sharing is caring

I'm sharing now and it's scary. I'm used to having only 2 people read my blog, my buddy who also blogs, regularly, (you'll note that she's also the one that leaves me comments) and my hubby a.k.a. The Hubmiester. And maybe my dad? Although I'm not sure.


Just got a call from my grandma. I love that woman. And she's also very efficient. Our phone chats are always brief. This one was just over 3 minutes, and we managed to talk about my return from Mexico, my work, and babies. She even wished me a happy Thanksgiving. We don't talk that often. I'm so much better in person.

I don't give good phone.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


It has come to my attention that I do nothing. When trying to account for what I do with my time, I find that my time passes, but I didn’t really use that time to do anything in particular; and seldom anything of note. When someone asks me the dreaded question, so, what do you do in your spare time? I usually say I cook, I read, I watch movies, I like languages.

I cook but I’m not a cook.

I read but I’m not an avid reader.

I have been told that I am a skilled writer, but I’m not a writer. I rarely write anything. I think I’m pretty good at writing emails, but I don’t use email to keep in touch with people anymore. I use Facebook, like everyone else. I don’t tell anyone that I write, or used to write, or would like to write. Somehow it’s easier to say that I watch movies, probably because watching is passive, and writing is active and, to me, too personal to share with someone I barely know.

I believe I’m naturally athletic, but I don’t exercise. I walk every day, but it’s not much, and it’s mostly to get from the metro to work or home. And when I walk, I don’t wear sensible shoes. I wear flats that smush my toes, flip flops that restrict the natural movement of my feet.

I study languages but I’m neither a polyglot nor a linguist. The problem is I study but I don’t speak.

I’m not trying to be harsh on myself, I’m just trying to figure myself out. I think I would like to be a person that does something. A person that has hobbies, talents, skills. I do enjoy life and I have a good time in my spare time, it’s just that I would like to transfer my creativity into activity.

Monday, June 21, 2010

When left to her own devices

Will visit the pie shop 3 times in the space of a week
Will decide to start running, and start doing it every day
Will relish the feeling of her sore muscles
Will pamper herself with foot cream, foot scrub, and foot spray
Will watch random movies fully reclined in a large comfy (faux?) leather seat, ordering her snacks from the server, grinning the whole while from ear to ear
Will get an hour-long pedicure
Will try to read challenging authors
Will take walks in the park, in the plaza, in the neighborhood
Will do all this by herself, while thinking of her loved ones
Will plot how she will pamper them as soon as she sees them again

The author waiting in the terminal

Gets reflective in airports
Is humble to a fault
(Is about to disprove the above)
Loves feeling clever
Is polite to a fault
Worries too much about what others think
Worries too much about others
Pretty much always feels safe
Loves to write, and writes to love
Has a small (but loyal) fan club
Could reach the stars
Is too humble/polite to reach above stars
/Stars above
Feels clever when performing word play
Writes infrequently and spontaneously
Lacks discipline
Fears cliché but is probably not that original
Wants to "speak up" and "be herself"
Has been informed it's time to begin boarding

Hearting Ira

I have a huge nerd crush on Ira Glass. He is so honest, perceptive, inquisitive, and vulnerable on his radio show. I have heard the most incredible stories on This American Life, stories that make me cry and laugh out loud, that make me stay up thinking, that give me fodder for conversation. Lately, when I stream his podcasts online, I hear Ira appealing for money for his wonderful show. I can't resist that man's plea. The thought of this show not being able to continue is unbearable.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The underrated dwarf

Having grumpy moments is a part of life. For instance, I've been grumpy for the past two days straight. I can pinpoint the exact time it started. I was in line to watch Sex in the City 2 (so inferior to the original).

I'm not positive as to why I feel this way, but my inquietude probably has something to do with the fact that I don't know what I'm going to be doing six months from now. You see, I'm going through my "semi-annual" check-up. I like to check up on myself every so often and make sure I'm 1) doing what I enjoy doing or I'm working towards it, 2) happy and healthy, 3) not being held back by anything (fear, insecurity, lack of resources), 4) gaining good experience/learning something, and, finally, 5) on the right path to continue enjoying those perks. So right now, I'm asking myself those check-up questions to help me determine if, 6 months from now, around January 2011, I will still be in good shape.

I'm currently in the middle of the above process, and for whatever reason it's making me restless, tired, and hard to please. For instance, despite having just bought a ticket to see some good friends I feel kind of eh. Despite the fact that my husband is going to visit me in a week, eh. I had some chocolate pie for dessert day. Still, eh.

Hopefully I can psyche myself into feeling non-grumpy very soon. Two days is too long to feel this way, especially over nothing concrete. Life is too short to suffer from long grumpy spells.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


When I sleep alone
I keep the curtains open
So the city keeps me company.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


My mom is here and it was hard to fall asleep last night.
Her snores competing with the dropkicking thunder
Of the season's first rain.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Fear itself

On my third day here I decided to challenge myself and face my fear directly. Driving in Mexico. I was scared of driving here because the drivers here are very aggressive, the roads and signage are different than in the US (i.e., they don't make sense), there are glorietas galore (roundabouts, which do not exist where I'm from), I had never driven in Mexico before (actually, I had once, but most of my drive was spent sitting in line to cross the border), and then there was the time I went to Tijuana with my family and when we came back our car was gone, and then the other time we were in Tijuana and the streets were so flooded that water seeped into our car reaching up to my shins, so besides those anxieties, I was perfectly capable of hitting the Mexican road in a strange new car. Heh.

I was supposed to drive to a party, so at 2pm I attempted to punch the address into the GPS that came with the car, to no avail. The address was not recognized. By the way, that GPS is evil. I thought, well, no problem, I'll just look up the cross streets on my handy little tourist map. Besides, I had allowed myself plenty of time to get to the party, which started at 3pm, so I thought that I would take my time going through the city and taking in my new surroundings. One hour later, I ended up on a strange kind of road, a periferico, where it was impossible to ever make a left turn, for kilometers and kilometers and kilometers. After being stuck on that road for a long time, I decided to take my chances and make a left turn. I eased into the median, noticing, as I did so, that the buses that passed through the devoted bus lanes in the middle of the road got awful close to my car as they wooshed past.

Then, I heard the unfamiliar yet unmistakable siren of a policeman trying to get my attention. He was a motorcycle cop. Feeling surprisingly relieved and, further, justified in my choice to make an illegal left turn, I calmly completed my turn and pulled over on a side street. I had never been stopped by a police officer in my life, and always guessed that if I ever had the misfortune I would undoubtedly burst into tears. I hate breaking the rules, and I especially hate getting caught doing so because on the rare occasions I do break the rules I feel like I have a good reason for it. I showed the officer my identification, explained to him that I was a gringa who had just arrived in the city, on my way to a party full of other gringos, and that I was hopelessly lost (which he could see for himself when I showed him the address for the party). After tsking at my ignorance of the city, at my predicament on the strange and scary periferico road, at my close call with the fast-moving buses, at my being a clueless girl left to fend for herself in his sprawling city, he showed me on the map where I actually was, where I wanted to be, and explained to me how I could get there. He proceeded to elaborate on the general layout of the city's roadways and explained that he would not be writing me up that day. Honestly, I wasn't even worried about being written up, I was just glad to know where I was and where I needed to go.

I pulled away, feeling refreshed from my brief driving break (I had been going for 1.5 hours straight at that point). By the way, there was extremely heavy traffic that Saturday, so everything took about 5 times as long as it would have without traffic. I went in the opposite direction on the damned periferico, missed my turn at a diabolical roundabout, and had to take the road to the very end, where it u-turned at a university (no need to break the law there), until I was finally able to swing around to where I was supposed to be. Kind of. Once I got to the road where the party had been going on for some 2 hours now, I couldn't find the appropriate street number. So I did the old-fashioned thing, stopping at a convenience store to ask for directions (rather than performing an illegal maneuver just to get the attention of a friendly cop who could tell me where I needed to go), and finally got to the general neighborhood. After that it was just a matter of circling around to look for parking and convincing the guards I was a legit party-goer and not a delinquent. No sweat.

That was my ordeal. It helped make me stronger, although it did not completely cure me of my Mexico driving jitters. But I'm proud to say that I know my way around better, that I manage to stay more calm when I drive now, and that my GPS is still evil and cannot be totally trusted (it spends a lot of time banished to the center console of my car). I'm glad I got through that ordeal early on in my stay. After that, everything else is a piece of cake.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


I can't tell you how many times I've been offended here. They're not big offenses - it's mostly invasions of space and privacy, dangerous maneuvers on the road, and cutting in line. Actually, as you will see, most of my problems come down to the cutting. It's similar to how I was offended in Italy, but here I tend to feel invaded with more frequency. Here is my gripe list, in no particular order:

1. I'm in line, and you approach from the side and cut. Or, I'm in line, and you come in from the side and put your stuff on the counter while I'm still holding on to my stuff, effectively cutting in front of me.
2. I'm driving on the road, and you push in front of me quickly, without signalling, without looking over your shoulder, with no concern for anyone's safety.
3. I'm in line and you push in and yell out a question to the cashier, again, cutting.
4. I'm in line and you move up so far that you're literally on top of me. Both men and women are guilty of this, and it makes me uncomfortable. (This happens a lot to me in the U.S. as well, I think I have space issues.)
5. I'm sitting on a bench, and you come in with your entire family, knowing that you can't all fit on the bench with me there, and start bringing out food, spilling stuff all over me, letting your kids run on top of me, until I leave and let you have the bench to yourself.

Cutters never prosper!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I bet you think this post is about you

The birds here are amazing. I didn't know it was possible for a large, dense city to have so many songbirds. My first week here I took a walk near where I was staying and I heard some whistling. Being an experienced traveler of Latin American environs, I figured it was some local men tirandome piropos (catcalling). But I soon found out that there were no whistling men around, it was the birds. Little vain old me, always thinking that I must be what all the fuss is about.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I have to post now before I break my posting streak of once every 4 days. I'm learning lots of Mexican slang, especially this weekend. By the way, this has been the loooongest weekend of my life. But not in a bad way. It's just that I feel like I haven't been able to rest since the weekend began. It's because I have a grad school friend in town, who absolutely loves this city, so he showed me and another gringa a good time in the city. Both nights I got home at 6am. I had never done that before in my life. It was fun, but I'm ready to have some alone time to recharge my batteries. My batteries are very easily used up. That last sentence would sound a lot better to me in Spanish, but I try not to make a habit out of blogging in Spanish. I want my brain to stick to one language at a time, and not combine them. Sometimes it's hard to do, especially when I'm in a Spanish-speaking country.

Mexican slang:
Que padre! or Padrisimo! - Cool. The more common definition is father. So when you're saying "how cool" in slang you're literally saying "how father!"
Guey - comes from the word "buey" meaning "ox." Guey is a term of endearment like "dude."
Pedo - literally means fart. But here they use it to say "drunk." As in, "estoy pedo/a." In other words when someone is drunk they are literally saying "I am fart." My nephew would love that! Fart is his favorite word. But hopefully he won't know what it means to get drunk for at least another 10 years, because he's only 3.
Cruda - Means hangover. But literally it means "raw." Ay, guey, que amanecí cruda" or "Man, dude, I woke up raw."

Slang is so weird.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Feminine Intuition

Last night I had dinner with two people I had just met through some colleagues: a young woman and an older man. We talked about our industries, our careers, and our frustrations. The woman talked about how her two bosses made life hard for her, how they held her pending promotion over her head, and how there was a lot of competition and other workplace challenges in general. I asked her if she mostly worked with women (and her field is not a traditional field for women). She said yes.

Her male boss was impressed with my "insight" but I was just sad. I explained that I didn't want to assume that women were making her work-life a living hell, but that was simply the only scenario I could picture when she described her situation to me, even though she used gender-neutral terms like "boss" and "nazi" and "hell."

My intuition told me that this young female professional was having problems in a workplace that was dominated by women. And I was right. I'm not sure what causes these female troubles in general but I really think certain women might bring it upon themselves. I've heard female friends make negative assumptions about their female counterparts at work based on the woman's looks and on how they perceive the woman interacts with their male counterparts. More often than not, an attractive female who gets along better with the male coworkers is written off as spoiled, under-qualified, overly sensitive, and attention-mongering.

We bring this female vs. female attitude on ourselves, and on each other, although it's horrific and unnecessary, because of tradition/unenlightened values/personal competition/jealousy/our own personal baggage. It makes me feel awful because women should be the ones supporting other women and making each others' lives a little bit easier.

Women face enough challenges in life as it is. We could do everyone a favor and treat each other with some honesty and respect, at the very least. Or, we women could surprise the world and maybe treat other women just a little better than we would treat men because we women know what it's like to have menstrual cramps and need a little extra fiber in our diets. It's not fun.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Worth the wait

I realized that if I write today, that would mean I will have continued to post to this blog exactly every 4 days since I arrived in Mexico...

Last night, my opinion of this city totally changed. I met my friend's friend, a local, for the first time, based on my friend's introduction via Facebook. We agreed to meet at 6pm, but at 6:30pm, as I was debating whether or not to just head back to my hotel since she hadn't yet arrived, she showed up. I have been told that Mexican time is half an hour past Anglo time, which isn't too bad I suppose.

We spent the next several hours drinking Mexican beer, walking along a street, chatting in Spanish, but with me mostly listening in Spanish because my new companion was quite chatty. I had traveled down that same street before, in my car, in a taxi, in a double decker tour bus. I traveled down that same street during the day, at dusk, at night. But, this time, I found that street absolutely agreeable, beautiful, enticing.

I vowed then that I would take many more trips down that street, but this time, by foot. I would make my husband and my mom walk that street when they came to visit. I would walk that street when I was by myself. That street made me finally understand what I have heard different people say about this city. This city is not only livable, but probably a little slice of paradise on earth. How appropriate, then, that it is also called the place of eternal Spring, in the most Mexican state of Mexico, and an area that is home to the largest community of expats in the world.

I get it now, and all it took was being willing to hang tight for half an hour in order to meet a friend of a friend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's harder for the one left behind

I love planning trips. When I don't have a trip in the pipeline, I feel extremely restless and distressed. I also love hosting people and creating itineraries especially for them based on what I think they would like to see/do/eat/drink. For my current trip, I didn't do much planning. I'm going with the flow for now. But when some of my family visits, I will create fun itineraries for them.

This is the first time I travel for work. When I lived abroad before, it was mainly for study. Now I'm realizing that when travelling for work, some things change.

For instance, language. I'm speaking a lot of English here. But I'm learning not to feel guilty for speaking English, because at work the main language is English. But at least when I'm far away from work and from coworkers, I only speak Spanish.

Transportation. I can afford to take a taxi, or I can drive, so I don't need to climb onto a bus or hop onto a subway. But public transportation is such a wonderful way to learn about a city and its people. If I never use it, I could be missing out. I think I should make the effort.

Food. Because I'm not living with a host family that feeds me, and am not piss-poor, I can actually afford to get food at restaurants here, but I feel like I need to try really hard to eat the comida tipica of the area. And it would be nice to share some food with some families here, instead of just eating by myself or with coworkers.

Work vs. Study. Finally, I have to tell people that I'm in their country for work, and not just merely to learn and to soak in their culture, their atmosphere, their language, their way of life. I'm here because it's my job. But I also chose to be here due to my interest in all the other stuff that comes with living in a foreign country. I hope I can still soak in as much as I can, and be a good ambassador for my country. I hope I leave a good impression on the people I meet here, and that my overall impact is not only positive for me, but overall positive for them.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Carlos and friends

My very first dinner in Mexico, on my own, I can go anywhere I want, and I go get a burger at Carl’s Jr. I need to explain – I really wanted to have Mexican food. I had heard of the infamous tortas ahogadas, or traditional sandwiches “drowned” in a special hot sauce, but when I went to the place nearby that serves them, they were closed.

Then again, it’s not like I have Carl’s Jr. all the time when I’m home. It’s been years since I had Carl’s. They don’t exist where I’ve lived for the past 5 years, and when I go back home to California where those restaurants do exist, paradoxically, I don’t have time for fast food. But let me tell you, my Mexican American fast food experience was not what you’d expect. The restaurant was beautiful. It was chic, trendy fast food atmosphere at its finest. The service was by the book, from the cashier’s sincere words of welcome, to his counting out my exact change. Then there was the pickle, jalapeño, and salsa bar. And when my order was ready, another employee brought my food to me as I lounged on one of their couches and basked in the restaurant’s awesomeness, and asked if I needed anything else besides ketchup. When I got back to my hotel room and opened the bag, I noticed that not only was my food piping hot and fresh-looking, but that not a thing was out of place. Masterfully, the good folks at Carl’s made sure that every single fry of my order stayed obediently in its paper container.

The apple soda alone would have been enough to justify the trip. I need to invent apple soda in the US. I don’t understand why it isn’t prolific in the States. Carl’s Jr. may have originated in the States, but judging by my experience here, Mexico has made it its own.

By the way, the portions are huge. Although the patty isn’t as thick and char-broiled as what I remember from my previous experiences at Carl’s in the US, I ordered the smallest combo and I’m pretty sure it would equate to a normal combo in the US. I’d hate to see what the large combo looks like in Mexico.

The greedy traveler

It’s funny what becomes obsolete the second you touch down in a foreign land. What was once familiar and necessary becomes, as soon as you pass through customs, a mere annoyance and burden. In my case, I don’t feel quite right in my new surroundings until I get a chance to purge my wallet. I remove the student id card I carry around for movie discounts back home, the grocery store bonus card, redundant credit cards, old receipts, and finally, my own domestic currency, which isn’t exactly rendered worthless but (most likely) isn’t common currency in the new place I’m in.

I relish the moment when I find myself alone in my hotel room, carefully arranging my new currency in monopoly-money piles, learning the shapes, colors, and textures of the bills so when I make my purchases I can tell if I’m getting the correct change without being so slow and obvious about it. I calculate the small change in proportion to the large bills, greedily wishing that my small change pile will only continue to grow and thrive, therefore hesitating to come to the aid of a fellow traveler for fear of squandering my small change due to someone else’s lack of proper planning.

I cannot stress the importance of small bills and coins. Small bills are indispensable for tipping, buying popsicles and other street foods, and purchasing incidentals. If you only have larger bills, you are stuck with a) not tipping a helpful person; b) giving that helpful person a sum incommensurate with the services so kindly rendered; or c) buying a cartful of rapidly melting popsicles.

Once you start collecting the change, it’s hard to stop. You’re making five trips a day to the pharmacy or the convenience store to purchase nominal toiletries and drinks because you know those establishments are the ones that are more likely to have change. Your wallet grows thicker and your pockets heavier and bulkier from the change you accumulate. And then, just when you thought you could never have too many small bills/coins, you find yourself with a severely bloated wallet and bag that digs into your shoulder due to the excessive weight of the ungodly amount of legal tender you have succeeded in hoarding.

While travelling abroad, collecting just the right amount of change and small bills becomes my obsession and my art.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Read a little dream for me

I have a strange relationship with books. Sometimes I go on book binges. Other times I go through book droughts. I rarely ever buy a book, and when I do, I have to buy it on sale, or as a gift for someone. I almost exclusively read what I consider to be “great books,” rarely “wasting my time” with the mediocre, and the same goes for movies and television shows. The only exception would be when I read non-fiction, usually biographies or autobiographies, and books on economics, history, or sociology. Then, I only need to be interested in the subject matter and not so much the writing style.

I grew up borrowing books from libraries rather than buying them in a bookstore, but since I left my hometown in 2005 I don’t think I’ve even stepped in a library (except for the grad school library, which was small and academic, and which I used as a study hall). So, for the past 5 years, I’ve been pilfering books from friends and relatives. When on vacation or staying at someone’s house, I tend to read what I find in the spare bedroom (Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue), or books left behind by strangers. Buying books used to be prohibitive in my family due to the cost, but even now, when all of us are doing better financially, we rarely buy books that aren’t on sale at Costco. Unfortunately, to date none of us can boast an impressive, or even semi-decent library of any scale. Hopefully one day that will change.

My husband and I agree that someday we’d like to be the proud owners of a library with built-in, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookshelves filled with our favorite books. We both love to read, and I think we’re both a little inconsistent with our reading habits, although since my husband bought his eReader he’s pretty much working on a book (usually science fiction) at any given time and he’s usually able to go through them pretty fast.

From elementary to high school, I would borrow the maximum number of books allowed by the library, sometimes just grabbing what looked interesting from the cover, other times going by lists of “great books” I’d found somewhere. On the weekends and in the summers, when I didn’t have to wake up early for school, I would read sometimes until 4 or 6 in the morning. During these all-night reading binges, I’d fall asleep and dream that I was still reading, and I would read entire sentences in my sleep, seeing the page before me, and the sentences in themselves would make sense but often when put together with other dream sentences I would read in what felt like incoherent circles. In high school, inspired by my tenth-grade English teacher’s advice, I kept a master list of my favorite books. I need to find that list and continue to add to it. I think I read the greatest books during my high school years, and that’s when I learned to be impatient with any books that weren’t “classics” or “instant classics.”

College turned reading into a chore. For the first time in my life, I was forced to read books because they were assigned and because I had to write papers on them. A lot of the books weren’t great. A lot of the non-fiction stuff was mind-numbing. I picked up the Harry Potter series along the way, and other “children’s books” recommended to me by my friends, because they were quick, engrossing, funny, and clever. They were the complete opposite of the books I had to read for school.

These days it’s not uncommon for me to start up to 11 books at a time, finishing them one by one, or not at all if they don’t past my rigorous test of not being mediocre, or if they were just boring. I’ll also make serious literature leaps: yesterday I spent the morning reading two volumes of a Canadian comic book (Scott Pilgrim), and by evening I was working on a 1000-page posthumously-released Chilean noir novel featured in the NY Times’ 10 best novels of 2007 (Roberto Bolaño’s 2666).

My relationship with books goes through stages, and is constantly evolving. It’s similar to my relationship with and commitment to writing. I want to make the effort to stop my writing drought. We’ll see how it goes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shout outs to my alma maters

This clip from the HuffPost calls my first alma matter one of the 10 preppiest colleges in the US (and thus, probably, the world).

And this is a really funny clip from SNL. If you watch real close, you'll see my 2nd alma mater featured in the background. It's around the 2 minute mark. "Sarah Palin" is calling SAISers part of the "elite."

I have mixed feelings about these schools I attended. I have a lot of complaints about both of them, but I'm happy/proud to have graduated from them.

First, looking back, these schools were waaaay to expensive for me. Especially the 2nd one. It'll take me many, many years to pay off the student loans. I should have known better - that's why they can afford to be elitist. But I guess it taught me to continue seeing things from different angles, not just one, and to keep being myself. The elitist queen that I am.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recipe becomes reality

I know this isn't a food blog, but it's my blog, so I'm bound to talk about food and recipes every once in a while. I invented a recipe! After years of thinking about it, I've finally just gone ahead and made it. Here it is.

Take a pork tenderloin, rub it with sinigang mix (tamarind soup base), it doesn't need to be marinated, and throw it in a 350 degree oven for 35 mins. Let it rest with a foil over it for 10 minutes. Cut it up, and eat it.

I served the roast sinigang tenderloin with pasta, green beans and tomatoes with a dash of oregano, a drizzle of olive oil, a healthy dose of salt, and a big splash of lemon. Buon appetito!

Diets are still for chumps

My loving spouse pointed out that I don't appear to be very understanding to people who want to go on diets. He thinks I should blame "the man" more than "the people." And I do think the whole diet industry deserves the bulk of the blame (no pun intended). But I also think that people should take responsibility for themselves. I'll throw my spouse a bone. Maybe I am a special case because I find nutrition very interesting and I also enjoy fruits, vegetables, and cooking.

I learned pretty much everything I know about nutrition from my high school health class. I took it during summer school and it was by far my favorite class ever. We learned about the birds and the bees, STDs, nutrition, and other things. It made me want to become a nutritionist, especially one that works on projects around the US and abroad to figure out the best way to feed people that don't have a lot of resources. It also made me aware of food labels, calories, and the US food pyramid.

Maybe I should cash in on my nutrition interest and become part of the industry, preaching my no-nonsense approach to food and eating!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Diets are for chumps

I probably have no real place saying this* (which is why I have a blog) but I have always thought that diets - it doesn't matter which ones - are lame and don't work. Maybe I'm missing the point about diets, but I think it's dumb for one to spend time and money purposefully denying oneself certain foods in certain quantities and/or to try to fool oneself into thinking that doing this will make one lose weight.

People on diets spend an inordinate time talking and worrying about food. They talk about how much they like certain fatty foods but they can never eat them again because they are bad for them. And of course, it's natural that they fall off the wagon. Or is it on the wagon? But what they really need is to learn basic nutrition. People aren't taught nutrition - it's not common knowledge in the U.S. In other places, like in Italy and Japan and France, where it seems like people are doing well re: their obesity rates, there's a strong food culture/history.

But what's even worse about dieters and diets is the whole diet industry behind it all. All those individually wrapped, enticingly-labeled bars, shakes, bars, cereals, frozen meals, etc. The bottom line is that they are processed foods created in a lab. Why isn't it more natural for us to simply grow food, rinse some of the dirt off, peel it, and sometimes cook it (for the harder-to-process foods), and just stick it in our mouths and chew? I mean, good grief, what IS soda and why do people drink it as if it's water?!

And I do treat myself to random treats like those infamous chocolate sandwich cookies and ice cream and potato chips. After all, we do live in a modern society full of such edible wonders so I would just be denying progress if I didn't indulge once in a while. I'm glad I never really developed a taste for/dependence on processed foods. Hopefully that means I will never have to diet.

And don't even get me started on "going to the gym."

* I have been told that I have been blessed with a fast metabolism, which is true, because I do eat a lot, but I truly believe that eating well trumps metabolism.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Early spring day

There are so many things in my life to look forward to.
- Having babies some day. Smart, beautiful, curious, well-behaved, grounded, confident, multilingual babies.
- Career. Work abroad, politics, climbing the ladder, choosing my next steps, getting paid for it.
- Travel. Niagara with husband, Montreal, Paris, Japan, Portugal, London, New Zealand, overwater bungalows...
- Activities. Learning Farsi/Arabic, Tagalog, perfecting Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian...
- Bike rides
- Trying delicious, crazy new foods/drinks I have never dreamed of - like the lard chunks cooked in milk my Croatian friend described to me
- Wearing perfect dresses on perfect days
- Enjoying random kindness of/to strangers
- Self-deprecating humor
- Meeting/ spending time with true friends
- Living: In new/different countries, houses, making plans and taking detours
- Living at peace with myself
- Having that falling-in-love feeling about life.
(Written during my lunch hour, in the sun, in the park, while in a really good mood. I'll read this over again periodically to remind myself that I am LIVING)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Growing pains

So, it just happened. I get to go abroad for a few months, and I'm very excited. All I can say is, be nice to everyone and work really hard. At least, in this situation, because I work with awesome people, it is possible to be recognized by a) being nice and b) working hard. Yay! That's how I got this opportunity. Even though I haven't gone yet, I'm plotting my next opportunity.

For the first time in my life, I am seeing myself as a career girl. I'm not just doing a job for experience and/or money. I'm investing in my career, and thinking in terms of "career moves." I'm taking advantage of the opportunities my current job has to offer, and thinking of how they could fit in to my larger career goals, how they might make me more marketable, or help me move into a different field. For example, I'm studying Farsi on my job's dime, so that maybe one day I can work on Middle East issues. And I'm thinking of how my husband and I can live/work abroad as a team. When I look at my job this way, as an investment in a career, a 30+ year-long trajectory of 40 hour work weeks, it makes what I do on a daily basis more exciting and meaningful.

I think about how hard it was to get to this point. I think about my first day at my first grown-up job, and how, after orientation, when I was left to my own devices, and I was given my first assignment, to formulate a written response to a request, my gut was telling me to run away as fast as I could. I felt like I didn't belong in a cube, at a desk, in front of a computer that wasn't mine. The cube was dull and lifeless, I was surrounded by strangers, and I didn't have a definite end date, like I had always had for school. I felt like all of my previous work/academic experience made me unfit for this job, because in all those years I went to school I never learned how to sit in a cube and be a worker bee. Instead, I was taught that I should strive to be original, and explore ideas that intrigued me, and that my ideas were important, and interesting, and that I should try to understand other perspectives to enrich my understanding of a particular topic. But the most basic knowledge, the stuff I learned in kindergarten and at home, is pretty much the only knowledge you need to be a good worker bee: play nice and follow directions.

Luckily, I can explore my individuality and creativity through the random emails I send my coworkers, lunchtime chit chat, and blogging. Maybe one day I can better incorporate those qualities into my career. At least, that's the goal.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Barbie's dream home

Having a house will probably not happen in the next five years, but hopefully the hubs and I will both have some good work experience under our belts by that time comes and we'll be prepared for house-buying and other next steps. I can picture two dream houses. One house is a cottage-type dwelling, with a garden patio, gynormous kitchen with a deep Italian-tiled sink, in a hipster area of town, a mix of authentic, established locals and cool, social newcomers, in a place with a moderate climate (Chile, California, ok I guess DC but only because there are jobs), with access to a farmers market, and some kind of body of water nearby like a lake or stream. It would be a simple, comfortable, cozy house, and it would smell like espresso and nutella all the time.

The other dream house is a vacation house that I can transport from place to place at whim, a pretty bare-bones place, probably made of concrete, that contains a sink, some hammock hooks in the ceiling, a tiled bathroom fitted with a toilet and a bidet, an outdoor shower with a view to something (ocean, lake, valley, mountains), and a wireless internet connection. I could put the house on a Caribbean island when I felt like going to the beach, deep in the red-dusted interior of Brazil when I felt like escaping a harsh winter, in the Philippines when I wanted to visit my grandma and learn Tagalog, somewhere in Chile so I could spend time with my in-laws and we could all relax together, and anywhere else my friends happen to be so I can visit them. I think of all the impossible things I could want, this crazy dream house is it.

Maybe I could construct a chain of these dwellings all over the world and rent them out to people trying to live the dream. There would be some type of reservation system involved, and the local people that live in those areas could earn money constructing/maintaining/cleaning the dwellings. Yeah, leave it to an American to try to concoct a way to McDonaldize a dream like that.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Next Steps

My husband and I just had a conversation about next steps yesterday. We had a nice serious talk and we ended up with a plan on my next steps. Cleverly, now that I think of it, he got away without drawing up a clear plan for himself - he shifted the focus to my plan instead.

First, I need a mentor.

Also, I need to inquire about going abroad for work. It would be convenient for me because two of my friends (and pretty soon, three) live in one of the places where I could go. It's as simple as me going and asking someone, hey, what's the next step to get there? But for the past month I've been biting my tongue. Next steps can be scary. If I could just take my husband with me, going abroad for work would be perfect. But it's only 10 weeks or so. I know I could manage without him, especially with friends over there.

Now I need to bug my husband about his next steps. He graduated from college 6 years ago, and he wants to get an advanced degree. At this rate, he very well might be the oldest person in his class - the weird guy that has a kid and a whole other life, besides going to school. I remember there was only ONE guy like that in my grad program in Italy and just a) being in awe that a person can still be a student in their 30s with a bunch of crazy young whippersnappers without running away in frustration - don't they know everything by now anyway? and b) wondering how they can balance the expensive business of supporting a family with the very unproductive activity of studying.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go fork yourself

One day last summer, I joined some coworkers to have lunch outdoors in a lovely park with a duck pond. As we settled into our table and took out our lunches, I realized that I didn't bring a fork with me. I excused myself and went in search of a fork. It probably took me 8 minutes to return to that duck pond park, but it felt like an eternity. First I went to the hot dog cart. I waited a few seconds for the few tourists in line to decide what they wanted to order, and I asked the proprietor if he had a fork. He said no. I suspect he may have been lying, because I was not a paying customer (I didn't have a wallet on me, either). I ran to a nearby food court, sure that I could find forks lying around next to the condiment stations, but I needed a friggin' i.d. to get into the food court building because it's a federal building!! grrrr. (no wallet). So I ran in the opposite direction to find a restaurant that would have forks lying around. I found a cafe 2 blocks away. It's a chain where you get soup and sandwich combos. I ran to the condiment/drink station. They only had silverware! No plastic forks! I took a quick look around a grabbed a real fork. I clutched it tightly in my hand, and I got out of that place, feeling extremely guilty. I told myself and my coworkers that I'd "give the fork back someday." Last week I visited the restaurant for the first time since. I didn't bring the fork with me. I use the fork all the time for eating my lunch at work. Maybe one day when I switch jobs, or move, I'll return to the restaurant and bring back the fork. Maybe. Or maybe they can just fork themselves. I got really annoyed and hungry that hot, humid summer day, during my lunch hour, in hot pursuit of a fork. Things like that shouldn't be so difficult! Or maybe they shouldn't put me out so much. Once I finally got to eat, though, with the aid of my stolen fork, and my blood sugar had been restored to normal, I felt pretty ok.

Soy cobarde

I ate meat last weekend. I had to. I'm too polite. If someone wants to share their food with me, I won't refuse them. Unless the food would kill me. I did avoid the bacon when we had pancakes, though. And I cooked a lot of chicken this week for my husband because he needed bland food for his tummy - some kind of stomach bug or something.

So far, feeling good! Actually, this past week I was feeling so happy I surprised myself.

Friday, February 19, 2010

From whence it came

I went for the extremely tangy probiotic yogurt with W. Va. honey and granola.

Last month when I was visiting my mom I thought she had gone slightly off the deep end for giving up sweets along with her church. In my case I don't have a pastor telling me to do it, it's the strange feeling I had kind of on my own. But maybe this was in response to a group of memories/thoughts/ideas/environmental cues my subconscious has been collecting for who knows how long:
  • My mom having gone off deep end
  • Knowing Lent was around the corner
  • Watching Food, Inc., King of Corn, This American Life episode on pig farms
  • Reading Michael Pollan
  • Looking for something to blog about
Anyways, I shouldn't look askance at my mom, but I can tell you that she did not stick to it! She munched sugary sweets throughout my visit. It's ok, it's because I'm a special occasion.

Tomorrow: breaking bread with relatives. Will I, for the first time ever, inconvenience them based on my food choices?! My secret will probably have to get out, depending on what they serve for dinner, and I don't want the deluge of questions - why? but you're not Catholic? huh?

I just know they're going to have chicken or sausage or something.

Today is the greatest

Peanut butter and raspberry jam english muffins for breakfast, along with multivitamin and some weird probiotic drink. Stir-fry leftovers for lunch (this is a recurring theme with me, today's lunch is yesterday's dinner), some green grapes, a few chips. Sushi dinner with husband and friend. Best edamame ever. I was full 2 hours ago, now I'm hungry again. We'll see if I go for the ice cream or the loads of chocolate kisses.

In other words, not eating chicken/beef/pork/etc. = hungry every 2 hours. We'll see if that changes with a little time.

I just remembered, I already had dessert at the sushi restaurant. tapioca and ice cream. Hrmm.

I'm actually kind of craving a banana right now. And I don't even like bananas.

February 17 and 18

After grocery store trip made lovely Connecticut-sourced scallops (only traveled 142 miles from ocean to my plate) with asparagus, arugula, olive oil, parmesan pasta. Next day, I would occasionally conjure up the sweet taste and sigh with nostalgia. I had the leftover pasta, sans scallops, for lunch and was ravenous 2 hours later. I munched on a chocolate brownie Luna Bar and made it home without gnawing the leather straps of my bag. I made two dinners - french fry omelette (leftover from the Peruvian place) and seitan brocolli carrot stir fry with brown rice. Once satisfied, I told my husband that he had survived a day without meat (I had also packed the veggie pasta for his lunch - he ended up eating half an expired snickers bar, one year past its expiration he noticed after consuming half of it and detecting something was amiss). He is still in denial about it. Every day that goes by without him having meat, a little piece of his soul dies, so he claims. I've probably claimed 4 little pieces in the 9 1/2 years we've been a couple. Let's see how many more I can collect.

I was "hungry" a few hours later and had Ben & Jerry's ice cream - some Chunky Monkey and some Phish Food. Animal-themed ice cream.

The Fat Tuesday

Celebrated the final day of excess by coming home from work/school, ravenous, at 10pm, munching on chicken that my husband so thoughtfully brought home for me. Chicken was from our fave cheap take-out place, offering Peruvian style chicken roasting on spits. The idea of becoming a Lenten ouvo-lacto-pescatarian had been percolating in my head, and I secretly plotted a grocery store trip to stock my pantry with some meatless edibles.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Vegetarian

My husband isn't going to be too happy when he finds out about this, but I've decided that for Lent this year I'm going to be a vegetarian. Make that an ouvo-lacto-pescatarian. I'm not Catholic, I'm just looking for something to do and trying to show solidarity with my Catholic brethren and sisteren. I like to call my husband a "Catholic of convenience" because he's agnostic 99.9% of the time but when someone talks about Catholicism in terms of Pope John Paul II or religion as national identity he likes to point out that he's from a "Catholic country" and knows what the religion's about because he has been to mass a few times. I have also been to mass a few times, once in Spanish and once in English, and I had no idea what was going on but I liked it.

My Catholic friends are at their most Catholic during Lent, because they like to talk about what they've given up. Yesterday, they would have walked around with ash on their foreheads, like Mr. Toothy Grin, aka our current Vice President.

But yesterday I read about this calendar and was inspired to fast/pray/give in my own way. And blog about it. We'll see how it goes, but as of today I have been staying strong and avoiding meat. Although tonight, on the way home from sushi dinner with husband and friend I smelled hamburger grilling and I knew right away that I wanted one. This is going to be an interesting 40-some-odd days.

Update: I just saw some articles about a British broadcaster that wondered aloud, on air, whether Biden had bruised his forehead on the ice while attending the Winter Olympics. That's embarrassing. And she's Catholic.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mr. Reubens

I love Pee-wee Herman so much. I’m sure there are still tons of other fans out there. (I found out that he’s still performing live, so yeah, the fans are out there). I remember I used to like him as a child, but even today when I watch him he makes me smile immediately. He is so funny and goofy. I need to look up more stuff about him. I’m watching Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, which was directed by Tim Burton. I really enjoy his work. Recently, while visiting my niece, I discovered that she’s also a fan of all movies Tim Burton. She has fantastic taste and she’s only turning seven next week. I’m such a proud auntie. I think I’ll have to buy her a Tim Burton collection as a gift. It’s worth looking into, especially since her birthday’s coming up. My favorite movie last year was Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is by another one of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson. But it's too soon for it to be out on DVD.

Update on Pee-wee: He’s enjoyed a resurgence since his unfortunate arrest in 1991. Hopefully I can see him in his live show one day, but he might be coming out with a movie soon. Meanwhile, I can still try to hunt down reruns of his old show on TV.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Whenever I want you all I have to do

My husband and I had the same dream at the same time. Well, the subject and some of the characters were the same. He dreamt that we were in the airport about to check into a flight to Japan when I magically gave birth to a baby girl. So his concern is that we don't have documentation to prove that we are in fact the parents and they might call the authorities to take her away and we would get in big trouble for trying to bring a baby to another country (like those missionaries with the Haitian children). Happily, though, it seems obvious to all involved that we fit the bill of a nice family, we are not questioned, and our travel plans proceed without a hitch.

Meanwhile, I was busy dreaming that I had checked into a huge mansion-like hospital full of antique furniture, persian carpets, and plain clothes nurses and doctors because I had what appeared (and felt) to be a bit of a swollen and stretched belly that seemed to be more a result of a large meal rather than a full term pregnancy. Anyway, supposedly I was in labor and they had me relax in one of their well-appointed hospital rooms. After lounging comfortably there for a while it was deemed that I was no longer in labor and they released me. To do what, I do not know.

In the middle of the night, after waking from my dream, I woke up my husband and told him that I had dreamt I was pregnant. And imagine my surprise when he told me that in his dream we had a baby girl. Strange. This hasn't been my first pregnant dream, but the timing for this one was more than a little eerie.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

I have now officially entered my 4th decade. How old does that make me sound?! I can tell you that I am a neon-loving child of the 80s, I entered my awkward teen years in the awkward 90s, I "grew up" in the 00s (a decade I still haven't evaluated), and now here we are in this brand new decade. What will define this decade for my generation, my country?

What can I say about the 00s. To me it doesn't feel like a decade has passed since the magical mystical year 2000. As a high schooler I thought it was so cool to be part of the class of 2000. That was the year I moved across the country to go to college, the year I met that man that would be my husband. College went by way too fast but I can tell you it was fun. Not in a wild way but in a wow, I can really do whatever I want when I want now kind of way. During the 00s I think I was trying to learn about things that interested me and figure out how I can make a living doing things that weren't too terribly boring to me. After college I thought it was my calling to help people so I volunteered a lot and worked with a lot of kids. Then I moved to DC and immersed myself in international relations. Now I've been working in a part of my field I had never imagined myself in before.

The past decade brought a lot of surprises, almost all of them good. It also simultaneously expanded and divided my family unit. I hope that this decade we can become more cohesive. For my personal life I hope for more, mostly good, surprises. So 2010s, please surprise and entertain me. I'm a child of the 80s, you know, MTV generation, ADD, pop culture, instant gratification, so clearly I need to be entertained.