My Perfect Life

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Sunday evening is the best time to daydream about your perfect life, mainly because you know in the back of your head the hell of Monday is just hours away. I’m lucky enough to have the infrastructure for that so-called-perfect life: I have a home I love, and a neighborhood I adore, both which could serve as the foundation from which I’d build my perfect life around, if I were ever able to do so. What I don’t have is the economic freedom to pursue that so-called perfect life, but still, on nights like tonight, it seems to be all I can think about lately. If I could, here is how I would start and end my work week: Continue reading

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The Curious Thing about Self-Awareness

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As I prepare for my vacation to South Korea, I am bombarded with curious questions from friends and colleagues about my upcoming trip. Do I have any family there? (Not that I am aware of since I was adopted by an American family as an infant.) Am I afraid of the political situation with North Korea? (North Korea has been a constant threat to South Korea so much that the average South Korean is not that worried about an attack from the North. Besides, I’ll be staying with well-connected people who have ties to the US Embassy in Seoul, the US Army, Navy and other security entities.) Will it be nice for you to finally be in a place where you will physically blend in? Yes! And the most curious of all questions I have fielded, Do you think you’ll find your dopplegänger there? Continue reading

Breaking Down and Floating Up

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It’s been a tough week. Actually, it’s been a tough month. So tough that to my horror, I found myself silently in tears on the bus ride to work Thursday morning. It came out of nowhere, and I was horrified when I realized what was happening. It’s not like I was sobbing in a fit of hysteria, but there were definitely quiet tears streaming down my face. I did what I could to pull it together. Act like an adult, I told myself. Grow some thicker skin. Don’t be such a child, and pull yourself together. And while that sort of worked, it wasn’t what I needed to truly get back on track; it was only a temporary fix that was just long enough to stop the tears. The stress, frustration and disappointment continued to hound me throughout the week. Continue reading

Why I Stopped Watching the Oscars (Grammys and Super Bowl)

Even before social media and the Kardashians, there was this pressure to keep up with the trend setters. We called it “bubbler talk” back then. Were you “in the know” enough to keep up with conversations at the office watering hole? It very often separated the cool kids from the dorks, even years after those tortuous rights of passage days called “high school.”

I spent years trying to keep up, both in college social circles and internships. But then I did something really crazy in my life. After graduating from college, I joined the Peace Corps and isolated myself in the Chui Valley of the Kyrgyz Republic (aka Kyrgyzstan) where electricity was spotty, televisions were far and few between, and mountains surrounded me in three out of four directions. Entertainment took the form of “guesting” which was exactly as it sounds—hosting guests or being guests and, if you were my host family, spending hours eating, drinking, singing and eventually getting shit-faced drunk on the nastiest vodka you can imagine—all in good humor, of course. Continue reading