Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
|Me + Mom|
Last night, I returned from over a week in California. It felt good to be home.
"Home" is a concept I struggle with. I was born outside of the United States, lived a huge chunk of my life in southern California, and lived most of what I consider to be my adult life in Portland, Southeast Asia, and now Washington DC. I feel like I leave little bits and pieces of myself in the cities I've lived.
For as long as I've lived outside California, every time I've visited, I have always ask myself if I could ever move back. Could I imagine myself doing the long commute in a car to my workplace in x? Actually, could I even imagine myself spending that much time, daily, in a car? The whole southern California dependence on a car would probably kill me a little and moreso Ethan, who bikes everywhere.
But: Could I imagine being able to have weekend dinner with my family at the drop of a hat? And reliable childcare? Diversity? Good food? Constant sunshine?
This internal dialogue has been going on for over ten years.
After weighing every factor, I always come to the same conclusion: "No, I can't. Not right now." That was the answer I came up with last night on the plane back to DC, as my thoughts wandered through the week, to the baby shower that I was foisted on me, to the wedding prep, to my sister's stunning wedding, the driving, the eating, the constant chatter, the warmth of being around people who just know me. It pains me a little to say goodbye each time.
I wonder if someday that answer will change.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
According to a report from the International Labour Organization, only three countries do not mandate paid maternity leave: Oman, Papua New Guinea, and ... the United States!
This is a constant topic of discussion, as I work with a fair number of European and Australian colleagues who never fail to point out, with a look of pity as their eyes sweep over my expanding midriff section, that US maternity leave sucks. "Oh, no, " one German colleague recently said, lips puckered in dismay, "I guess you'll be back working in the fall. In Germany, my colleague x has been on maternity leave for almost a year."
I'm baffled by how women in America balance it all.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Life has been busy this month. By the end of the month, we'll have spent three out of the four weekends in May out of the city. We welcomed a weekend in the District - and it's Ethan's birthday! - so we did what we do best, which is to explore (and eat).
I feel like, at one point in my life (in my childhood or teens, perhaps), my cultural upbringing would have made me turn up my nose at an event like Graveyard Grub, a gathering of food trucks at a historical cemetery in the Eastside of the city. But thank goodness I shed those kind of feelings and associations with cemeteries and sacred places as vacuously solemn long ago.
Over the years, my favorite visits to hallowed/sacred buildings are often those that involve life mixed in - people sleeping in the corners of a red-stoned Burmese temple, attempting to escape the dry, unbearable heat outside; children playing outside of, and Hispanic vendors peddling queso fresco and sugary drinks on, the steps of the church in Mount Pleasant, DC; the birds chirping loudly and flying in and out of windows in a Catholic church in Saigon, Vietnam.
And I was reminded of this cycle of life at this old, stately cemetery, where children ran around, dogs and their owners sunbathed on the green grass, couples explored the rolling grounds, looking for famous gravestones, and late 90s music and Pabst Blue Ribbon were served along with fare from DC Empanada and Captain Cookie and the Milkman.
One of the visits I had - to Wisconsin a few weeks ago, to attend the funeral of Ethan's grandmother - came to mind as I was sitting next to a giant stone obelisk. Having lost yet another wonderful female in our family and anticipating the birth of my daughter in late July, my thoughts were wrapped up in this idea of cycles, of birth and death, and the lives we live in between.