Posts from the “Life” Category

For Truth of Yes and No

Posted on 23 January 2016

We enter our dark Seattle apartment after a day of flying across the world. We mildly half unpack, we look at the internet, we go to sleep. The next morning, I wake up. The next morning is a week away from the beginning of a cascade of horrible news. This morning is a week away from the memorial. This morning is five mornings away from flying much of the way across the country, for reasons I wish I could obliterate. The anxiety rustling in my chest, in my throat, on the series of planes to Mandalay was not the usual travel apprehension. It was the bristles of a real fear: what if it happens when I am here? When I am all the way…

Kto Znayet, Who Knows

Posted on 12 October 2015

I used to walk the streets of Saint Petersburg, propelling myself forward at a strident pace. Sometimes, passerby would stop me and ask me for directions. I told them I didn’t know where I was, where I was going. I’ve seen people travel to Russia with an image in their mind. A romantic image: a dark but gorgeous, majestic place, literary geniuses winding their way through the lamp lit streets, symphony notes hovering in the air, poetry in the wind. A harsh image: never ending Soviet apartment blocks, grey sky, grey streets, grey faces, a hush all around, a terror gripping you, reaching out from every pulled-aside curtain in the window. A chaotic image: mafia men roaming the streets, lawlessness abound, money exchanges on…

A Sharpening

Posted on 27 July 2015

“You seem more confident now. You don’t care about what others think.” Lingering words. One of my two beloved German professors earnestly leaned toward me in the crowded and noisy bar, a show likely happening in the background. Amid the clamor, my brain questioned whether my ears really heard what they so wanted to. But my ears were right. He was right. I had just studied abroad in two different countries, I had traveled through central Europe by myself, couchsurfing for the first time. I felt different: a little larger, a little sharper. Young, and navigating my way through my early college years with the constant self-questioning, “am I cool enough? Do I look good enough?” I know I’m an odd duck, but odd…

The Flood

Posted on 31 May 2015

Under a tree I sat, brow inevitably furrowed. My eyes felt red. I looked around at the greenery. It was not too cold, not too hot. Large flowers, and an avocado tree, were not far. I was in Kenya. But I was miserable, I seethed, I felt trapped in this place, in my skin. I picked at a piece of grass then threw it as far as I could. Sexual harassment had, long ago, gotten very old for me. I would say I was used to it—the waiting to cross the street while men leaned out of a truck and hollered, the walking home from class briskly and hearing whistles despite my headphones, the shielding my face as men laughed, sticking cell phones in…

The Gaps Between Us

Posted on 19 April 2015

There are some things, many things, I cannot wrap my mind around. I had found myself in western Uganda. Yes, I hadn’t exactly planned this, but my internship work sent me. The same day I was told it would be good to visit the forestry college in Masindi district, I was on a bus to the region bordering Lake Albert and the DRC. In the dark, I was shown into a room, and left for myself until the morning. What appeared to be a flying worm buzzed near the light and I shivered, trying as hard as possible not to be squeamish but, failing, retreated under the covers beneath the mosquito net. Morning came and I had no water with which to shower. By now,…