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Food, Travel, Design and the occassional wordiness

Waiting August 13, 2018


I’m waiting for days to become more meaningful. To hear from people who will make me happy. I don’t know who they are. I am waiting for you to wake up. I am waiting for you to come back from work. I am waiting for you to come visit. I am waiting to read the books I’ve been meaning to. To walk the streets I’d planned on. To call the people I said I would. To write to those I should. To do all those things I once told you about and all those I didn’t. I am waiting to feel better.
I am waiting to meet someone new. I am waiting to stop wasting time. To start feeling like me again. To be motivated. To do things. I wait, while I do other things. While I lay on the floor face down with a debilitating migraine for days. But I’m not waiting because I’m in pain. I wait because I can’t seem to get up.

I want the rage to melt into sadness and I wait for my sadness to gather enough momentum to push me forward into space. I wait to hear from you, I wait for us to go back to where we were, to who I was, while I scrub the steel in the kitchen and the corners of the stairs and the grease off the glass because I can’t scrub you off my hope and off my habit of waiting.
I wait for your name to pop on my phone.

I wait to feel motivated again. I wait to get to a point in the future where things are brighter where time is not wasted where simple words like love and connection are abundant and I am productive again and I am off the floor and I am not in pain and I am not waiting.
I want to get up and move. Up. Away.

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Once an ‘International Student’ February 7, 2017


I met my husband for the first time during International Student orientation at grad school. Then we went for ice cream. We dated, we traveled, we loved, we fought, we married, we have 4 beautiful children- 3 of them are fur-kids, adopted, pets- if you insist, whose American families had disowned them.
You see, like dozens of our closest friends, we were once international students. Scratch that. Between him and me, we’ve been international students 3X, over 10 cumulative years and hold 4 advanced graduate degrees from a pretty fancypants institute we hold (super) close to our hearts. And today, established in pretty awesome jobs in pretty awesome cities, we’ll tell you #imalreadyhome
Utterly grateful, that we both had the money and brains to go to school anywhere. But fate brought us here and #gladweshowedup. We are so grateful that this school and this country we now call home, has enriched our lives beyond measure and blessed us with communities that are now ours to love and build on. This community today is an international global milieu that is so much like the cosmopolitan hometown I once grew up in. So vaguely familiar, yet so utterly different. Hygge* & hujug**, lonely and chilling, rewarding and freeing is the concept of home- a word, only travelers know how to articulate. The feeling that #imalreadyhome is like the feeling of your own couch but sometimes, it is also a feeling of occasionally having to defend yourselves to well-meaning strangers.

I have many immigrant friends, many of whom moved for work, for marriages, for families (or away from families) among a variety of reasons…But I tell you, some of us are different; we are not better or special by any means, but we have all gone through a common set of things that tied us all with one common thread.
This handful of us packed our bags as kids, fresh out of high school or college, some quitting our first jobs going back to school to sit in semicircular large halls. We left everything that was familiar and comfortable, left the comforts and smells of home, left our mothers and our friends, our learnings and earnings, our lives as we knew them, to come here and recreate something we had no clue about, some of us even more than others.
No matter which university we came to, or dissertation we defended, or specialization we graduated with, or department we aced, or airlines we flew in or which country we came from we all pushed our boundaries, competed with our own selves, we created our own lives, we were international students and over decades and generations, we shared a quiet exhilarating experience. We managed to reach out and today… #imalreadyhome

I’m among friends, I’m in my community of peers, doing what I love, creating beautiful things, making change, making ripples in my mid-morning cups of coffee (that you proudly import from all over the world, some of it from my native land) with logic and dissent. I am fighting in my own little ways to pay those cocoa and coffee farmers fair wage and I’m also striving so your dairy co-op in rural Vermont gets their fair share of profits too. And I can do that because I care, because #imalreadyhome

(If you let it) My science makes food tasty, my design makes you happy, my stories make you think. We all have our roles carved out. Some days we will nod and some days we will wave, because that’s what neighbors do. Some days, we will cherish and some days, we will cope. And I will be here if you need me and also if you don’t, because #imalreadyhome Will you also pick up a sign and walk a mile, to defend logic and science and the rights of others less fortunate than you? Will you stand up for my rights and those of our planet? Will you repurpose more and recycle right?

I will always try to want less and waste less, so our Earth stays greener longer for your children and mine; I will always walk more and drive less so our kids can breathe better. I will always try to gift handmade. I will always want less and waste less and ask everyone to do the same, no matter which country we live in, because this Earth is our home and #wearealreadyhome

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This is written in acknowledgement of the tremendous amount of privilege I have and also in gratitude to my school and international student community at schools everywhere who make the transition from home to new homes easier. From there on, what we do with our lives, is often up to us. In the recent episodes, it is very easy to get angry and point fingers at everyone and forget the kindness we have received; which in my case has been profound and many times more than any negativity or prejudice, which I have also received. Let it never be said that prejudice doesn’t exist and didn’t exist. It always has and so does all the other ‘good stuff’.
#imalreadyhome is used purposely as a solidarity statement with other immigrants in line with http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/immigrants-respond-to-trump-by-declaring-imalreadyhome-on-twitter_us_588b6f7fe4b0303c07533a65 as a response to recent immigration ban and growing normalization of xenophobic attitudes. Xenophobia towards international students bother me the most, because when I see them I see a vulnerable 21 year old me (and so many more like me) with nothing but packed schedules, too overwhelmed to even feel homesick. So much apprehension, so many mistakes, so much good and so many accomplishments lay ahead of you, dear young international student…If you’re one of those 17, 18, 21, 25 year olds traveling alone to study in a new country, just know, you’re not alone.

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*Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special.

** Hujug (hu-Joog) is a Bangla word meaning craze, or impulse usually fueled by passion for something fun

 

 

TRAVEL: When Broadway was a Prairie January 1, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Unstreamlined @ 11:13 pm

(Written on our cross country train trip May 24 2012)
From where I was sitting, he looked 75. Maybe not a train enthusiast, he surely was a believer in traveling long distance by train. Throughout the years he had traveled along almost all the routes Amtrak and some of canada rail as well. From his stories, it seemed that he had quite a few children, all my parents’ age and grand kids and he had traveled with and encouraged them all to noting travel but travel to far away lands.
This fascinated me, because he was from Lake George area in NY and in my experience living in western NY, he represented a demography that didn’t believe in moving or seeing counties other than their own. This was what one of my WNY coworkers called the hunting-fishing-NASCAR watching-Obama bashing-FOX news watching people who believed that China and Mexico was taking away their precious livelihoods.
“originally from the city” he said ” when Broadway was a prairie”. He had driven far and wide when he was a truck driver. Showed me a stackable train car and a new house being constructed in the horizon. In short, everything that technology had changed and thus robbed his community of employment.
When Broadway was a prairie, he said that driving into Rochester, the sky was laden with smoke from all the factories and people had jobs. Now the air is clean and there are no jobs. Apolitically and decidedly unbiased, I felt bad for him. Is it other people’s greed or his age, that makes all progress seem backward?
Conversations turned toward his recent Alaska trip and to his God-Mother who many years ago (When Broadway was a prairie) taught him to travel, took him to Lancaster, PA and introduced him to Amish cheese and rye bread. And all was well again. As long as we have parents and God parents to cart us around and as long as grand-parents like him are willing to pass on to their grand kids the travel bug, communities will grow, thrive and frankly go places – despite white collar greed, clean air, Mexican labor and Chinese manufacturing… Oh and of course everything technology.

 

Imaginary friend December 10, 2016

Filed under: Mouth full of potatoes — Unstreamlined @ 10:25 pm

You are not a memory, you are an everyday ongoing thought. You’re the imaginary friend, my grownup mind conjured from ashes of disappointing reality. You’re the voice that laughs at my jokes. I can physically feel your smile too, telling me ‘lonely in a crowd’ might not be such a terrible thing after all. I can’t wait to tell you all or some of the things I want to tell you about today, about now, while I am in the company of others.
On days where I’m perpetually rolling my eyes, which really is most days, yours meet mine at the back of my head for a wink and a nod.
You see, you’re my imaginary friend. You might live in the bodies of real humans and in IM profiles of my contacts occasionally but you flit around often and much. You’re unpredictable when you’re in someone’s body but when free you let loose and are so much nicer.
You’re not ideal by any means, nor do you always know the right thing to say or do at all times. But there’s comfort in imagining a conversation gone awry too. Because God knows I fuck up even in my wildest dreams.
You’re part nostalgia, part hope. You’re part wonder, part disgusting, exact sameness.
Sometimes you’re just silence. Sometimes you’re quiet. Sometimes you’re rehashed real words from people around me, regurgitated.
Sometimes you’re exactly what I hyped you up to be, sometimes you’re way beyond what I ever thought you could be (what 33 year old has imaginary friends after all?) And sometimes you’re just dead disappointing. You’re my imaginary friend and I’m thankful for your company.

 

Protected: Travel: London Day 2  November 24, 2016

Filed under: art,travel — Unstreamlined @ 10:12 pm
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Protected: Travel: Manhattan: Foodie’s Family Weekend August 18, 2016

Filed under: travel — Unstreamlined @ 6:43 pm

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Losing mind August 9, 2016

Filed under: Mouth full of potatoes — Unstreamlined @ 11:44 am

When things start to slip from your mind at 32, it is so far from pleasant that self deprecating humor just peed in its pants and left the building whimpering. Add that to the life of someone who used to pride on her wordsmithing and ability to thread words through logic and humor through profound tongue in cheek ‘gotcha’-s. And you got a big blank gaping losing game of Hangman.
Here it is. I can’t talk. I can no longer write.
Just like one day, I couldn’t sing. I can no long talk now.

So one day, what if the counting is gone too? And then the colors? The sharp angles dipped in gritty muddy waters?
Words are forming but not quite right. The memories are forming but to someone else. You know the feeling and you are saying a million things beating around the bush but you can’t really get to that really juicy red bright right berry sitting right there, but not quite, slightly out of your reach, slightly out of focus, within your intention but not quite.
What would you do? Where would you go? What do you want? Who do you love? What would you have done?
The push and pull and the deep deep prod.

 

 
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