berlin, expat, Uncategorized

Stray Cats (Notes from Berlin)

My first floor Tucson apartment was infested with stray cats. At night I heard them scratching, screaming, fucking beneath the basement floorboards. They made stray cat nests next to the heaters and swaddled cat-babies in the alleys. The ghetto-living was punctuated by a shattered window next to my bed, which looked starkly into a dusty […]

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crime, Uncategorized

Street Fight

A couple weeks ago, I rear-ended an Audi, a mini-van, and a Mexican guy in a Neon. Not in separate accidents: at the same time; a four-car-pile-up. It was near the same intersection where I saw the train suicide a couple months ago, about ten minutes after another car was smoked by a passenger train. […]

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motorcycles, travel, Uncategorized

The Writing on the Wall

I once dated a guy because he rode a Ducati. At least, it seems now, this was his most attractive feature—also, the one that makes the relationship seem appropriate upon reflection. It was college and Joe was my first real “motorcycle boyfriend,” so I took complete advantage of the fact that we were living in […]

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travel, Uncategorized

Getting There

In travel, I have learned to appreciate the act of “getting there,” the inherent differences in modes of transport, the adventure of self-navigation, and the disorientation of arrival. Air travel, while having the transcendent feel of lift-off, always comes with the most complications: organization of liquids, security, timing, shoe-removal, passport control, customs, general airport racket […]

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Uncategorized

That Time I Got Sober (& Why I Relapsed)

Five years ago I quit drinking, a decision that coincided with a trip to Japan. My travel companion was an avid member of NA and AA so we enjoyed our sushi without beer, attended alcohol-free concerts and went to bed early. Quitting drinking was more of an experiment (lasting precisely a year). I liked being […]

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Uncategorized

Animal Instinct

One night in New York I was riding the subway from the Lower East Side back to Queens. Sitting at the end of the train and facing the car, I made eye contact with a large, rough, broken looking man, standing by the sliding door. I was going to smile, but after noticing the intensity in […]

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Uncategorized

Lost in Translation

Residing in a non-native English speaking country inspires linguistic and communicative innovation. Whether ordering a coffee, directing a cab driver, or when trying to convey larger ideas, like, “No, I do not want to go out with you,” expression demands the creative and the savvy. After seven years of formal Spanish education and years of […]

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children, travel, Uncategorized

Fingerprints

On a sunny London morning, a woman careened towards me with a baby carriage, smiling and bouncing with happy. I had just spilled hot coffee down my arm and the front of my shirt. Often, my awakening to children and babies is forced—an occurrence delivered with high-pitched screams and tension, for me, most evident, while […]

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Uncategorized

Spinsters

Given the formality of customs in Asia, the Vietnamese are surprisingly unreserved about personal interrogations. From most, I received the following line of questioning: 1) How old are you? (29) 2) Are you married? (No) 3) Do you have a boyfriend? (No) This was usually followed by a longer conversation, where I am forced to […]

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Uncategorized

Homeless

In a string of masochistic decisions, I decide to quit smoking while traveling: first in Bali, then in Thailand, then Vietnam, now in Turkey. So far, I am unaccomplished; it is the one routine that can bring me stability, comfort and familiarity regardless of the changing climates, languages, smells and general feeling of strangeness that […]

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