Dear bright-eyed bushy tailed expat-to-be,
You’re on your way. I don’t know who you are or what kind of person you are or where you’re from or all your reasons for trying to escape from your life, but one truth is self-evident: you are escaping from something. You may not realize it, but there’s something inside of you that is willing to uproot itself in order to get away from something. It could be a bad relationship or a dull life or reality or a job or a rut or your family or something you are not even aware of yet; something that arrives and hits you 6 years after you’re already back, smacks you in the face with its blatant obviousness. And you’ll go back in time in your head and rethink everything and synapses in your brain will rewire. And that’s fine. Synapses in your brain will never be the same again anyway.
But here’s the thing: whatever you’re escaping from will come back to you. You can’t escape it forever, no matter how far you travel or how long you stay away. Because when you uprooted yourself and took off, you forgot the soil that still clings to you and the molecules from the earth which composed your being as you grew. Funny thing is, you’ll never find a place where those roots can settle in again – they’re like square pegs trying to fit into round holes. It will seem like this is the place where you can live forever, where you can build a life. But that earth and those stars will always seem foreign to you. The constellations are not the same as they were back home when you were young.
So you’ll come home, eventually. But your roots no longer fit there either. The ground has shifted and changed – or maybe you have shifted and changed – and other trees are in your spot. The constellations are the same as when you used to look up at the stars and dream as a kid on warm summer nights, lying flat on your back on the grass in your backyard and thinking about your future, your life, your adulthood – but you are not the same. You are no longer that willfully oblivious child.
So you’re stuck, like an insect preserved in amber, neither here nor there. You either stay on in that place you once used to call home and let it break your heart over and over again, or you travel again, further out and longer between, until you stop feeling and you stop remembering, and the broken heart is replaced with the newly-made contentment of a life well-lived.
When you’re a writer, ideas flit across your mind on a daily basis. Some are fleeting and ephemeral, difficult to pin down and wrestle. Other flesh themselves out slowly, taking time to shape themselves as clay on your potter’s wheel.
Then there are days when ideas smack you in the head, over and over, insistently, until you give up and allow them escape onto paper or computer screen. An entire day filled with a confluence of events that isn’t so much a gentle nudge from the universe as it is a goddamn shove off a cliff. As Ray Bradbury once said,”you’ve gotta jump off that cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” Continue Reading
Last week, this blog turned 1 year old. 1 year older, 1 year wiser. In so many ways, the blog has helped prep me for what already seems to be a year of incredible change.
Life has been strange these past ten years. The cusp of my 20’s never prepared me for the turmoil of my 20’s themselves. The cusp of my 30’s made me feel like I’m prepared for anything. Continue Reading
This is hardly the first time this blog talks about love. Nor will it likely be the last. Love is that mysterious thing, elusive and difficult to grasp, even when you’re in it and especially when you’re out of it.
But being that this blog is all about the past, present and future, about change and technology and ranges of intangible human emotion and ways in which they’re all connected, love and its ever-changing rituals (and therefore our ever-changing attempts to understand it) seemed an apt topic. Continue Reading
Science and I go way back. Take for instance my very first pick-up line.
In 5th grade, I had a crush on a boy with black hair, a widow’s peak, and freckles. I was tall for my age and he hadn’t had his growth spurt yet, but he’d thrown the ball to me in a game of classroom catch and we were friends. My limited 10-year-old understanding of romance said that this was meant to be.
I was a curious child – I asked a billion questions and knew my way around an Encyclopedia Britannica. So when my dad told me that yellow mucus indicates an infection, the information stuck. When, one day in class, the boy came to throw something out while I was blowing my nose at the trash can, I sought to dazzle him with science. I blew my nose, looked at the tissue, grinned at him and said “Look! My snot is yellow! That means I have an infection!”
(Epilogue to this story: despite his disgusted look and the fact that we never really became a couple, my approach to boys is the same as it was in 5th grade. I try to dazzle them with knowledge and then verbally push them over in sandboxes.)
Here’s the thing: most of the people I know end up choosing in life. They choose love or practicality, passion or comfort, fight or flight, the pull of one identity over another. And in most cases, they choose either science or religion.
But what if you’ve chosen not to choose? Continue Reading
The last time I moved away from home, I knew I was eventually going to come back.
That seems like an innocuous enough statement, but one that I’ve been thinking a lot about this past week. Mostly because of Mars.
OK let me backtrack to preface this in a way that makes sense. There are two pieces of pertinent information here, one a sort of general human thing, the other a more ethnically specific one: A) my life has unfolded like a series of Russian dolls coming apart and B) a South Asian life timeline can be very different from the norm. Continue Reading
Last night, I watched a ladybug circle a light in the kitchen. I’ve seen insects do this before, but something about the way the ladybug whirled about the light was mesmerizing. It would fly in ellipses like a planet around the sun, and every so often, touch lightly upon the light, get singed for a moment, and return to its orbit. Repeat. Continue Reading
Autumn’s come early this year, fitting after what’s been, for me, a truly Bradburyan summer. This was the year that commercial spaceflight took off with the successful first mission by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, news that registered barely a blip on people’s radars…but this may be the year we look back on as redefining spaceflight and I want to remember it, to capture it the way Bradbury’s Douglas captured moments in “Dandelion Wine,” like fireflies in summer jars. Continue Reading
As a writer, the search for perfection ends up being the bane of our existence. A while back, after a steady two years of writer’s block, I moved to Germany. At the time, I believed the change of scenery helped unblock me, that new experiences gave rise to some of the best writing I had done in a long time. But it’s more about giving yourself the time and the room to write, and being consistent in your writing. I was writing everyday because I made myself write everyday – I look back on the old blue journal from this time period, and yes, some of it is crap, but some of it is not, and all of it is a perfect time capsule of that period in my life. It serves as a reminder, if nothing else, and as a source to plumb material from. Continue Reading
In exactly one month, I will turn 30.
See, you’re doing it too! I can practically hear you doing it. Something as subtle as one raised eyebrow or a slight widening of the eyes, an uncomfortable shuffling of the feet. Or something a little more vocal: “The Big 3-0!” you’ll boom. Or “wow, the dirty thirty!” My turning 30, it seems, holds more weight, more momentous heft for everyone else than it does for me. Continue Reading