love what's yours: a facebook rant

comparison is the thief of joy. such a simple statement, but so hard to remember sometimes.

in the past weeks I've seen people share this Huffington Post piece on "Gen Y" more times than I thought I even had facebook friends. and then some people posted this guy's response. or they posted both! your friends probably did too, right? and then all your other friends dove in supporting or totally against and had epic and sometimes nasty battles in the comments.

I'm the kind of person who tries to stay out of controversial comment wars. I'm also the kind of person who tries not to post anything too controversial. given the places I've lived over my 28 years I've made friends all across the rainbow of political and theological spectrums. I understand that people have a right to post what they want, to exercise their freedom of speech. and I understand some people feel they need to inform everyone else, and others still- just enjoy a good argument. but I don't think I've ever seen a single person be convinced to change their mind/opinion/political position based off of someone elses' facebook comment.

regardless of why people share these things, and why I generally refuse to comment [pun intended] on the situation...

the initial Huff Post piece had a valid point about the construction of artificial or exaggerated "realities" that we see on facebook. something, to be honest, I realized a few years ago while sitting at a bar with friends one evening.

we were talking about facebook and how annoying certain people can be. and how- yes, we admit it- we can be jealous of these people sometimes. "why does she get to go on so many tropical vacations?" or "look at his new car/tv/house..." or "I feel like every day she posts something about how amazing her job is" and we get in the habit of comparing our lives to theirs and it ultimately feels like we are lacking.

stop and consider a few things. first: you are only seeing what this person wants you to think their life is like. they have complete discretion on editing things out and adding things in. what they are projecting as their life is only the highlights they choose, not the whole story. you don't know what is going on in the background, or even if what they say is true.

people lie or exaggerate on facebook for a lot of reasons. they may post about a "great 5 mile run!" that in actuality sucked. they may be depressed and trying to put on a happy face. maybe they are just trying to keep up with the number of "my husband/baby/dog/life is awesome" posts that their friends share. or... they might just be liars.

you also have to think about the things people don't post. if you are having issues with your job, but are "friends" with some coworkers, you likely won't share that information. if you were diagnosed with an illness or going through a divorce, you might want to keep it private. if you are feeling lonely or homesick, but don't want your parents to worry about you living over in Taiwan far from home you won't share that either.

[I concede that there are some people who share these kinds of things, even those who share "generically sad" posts that seem to be fishing for sympathy. but that's a whole other issue.]

think of it like watching a movie trailer. sometimes the movie looks incredible, and then you realize after you see it that they put all the good stuff in the trailer.

and sometimes, people really DO have awesome lives. and maybe they take them for granted [and that annoys us.] here's the thing: we are all individuals. what's important to you is not the same as what's important to me. so when we see others taking for granted the things we value, we get upset.

or maybe someone is thinking their life is awesome but it's not what we would call awesome. I know that not everyone understands what Husband and I are doing over in Taiwan. how could I give up my career? all that money I was making? move so far from family + friends? my stainless steel kitchen and cupboard full of sprinkles? heck... my walk-in closet? it's ok not to understand everyone else. I don't get why people get hair extensions or go on cruises or eat low-fat cream cheese. I mean, I understand why but I just don't get it.

the point is: the only reliable source of happiness is accepting and enjoying your own life and what is around you. comparing to others can only detract from that. you have to love what's yours. something I've been working to remember and attempting to infuse into my way of thinking. and I hope the next time you check your facebook feed, you will too.


the book that convinced me to write a book

I'm a little late to the game on Eat Pray Love. I remember when it first came out and everyone was raving about how "you have to read this book, it will change your life!" usually when someone tells me that, it very much makes me not want to read the book. I actually went to see the movie with a friend... and was not that impressed. according to my friend, the movie was not anywhere near as good as the book. but it still didn't convince me to pick it up.

fast forward to this past june. Husband and I were visiting some of his co-workers who were leaving Taiwan and heading back to the states at the end of the school year. they were encouraging us to take any and all books off of their shelf- and the shelf too, actually- to lighten up their shipping load. [free/cheap stuff from moving friends = total #expatperk] most of the books were history or teaching related, but there were a few novels. Eat Pray Love was one of them... so I figured why not take it?

I didn't start reading it until we were in Thailand [photo above was taken in our hotel room the day I finally opened it.] I think less than five pages into it, I knew everyone was right. this book could change me, if I let it. Elizabeth Gilbert's writing was so easy and captivating. I instantly identified with her "blond-white-girl in a very non-blonde foreign country" dilemma of not being able to blend in, but still wanting to be respectful of the local cultures. the way she was describing what it is to travel... that was my life she was writing. and her complete honesty about everything just blew me away.

I blazed through the first section of the book. and then tried to slow down my reading so the book would last a little longer. I didn't finish the second section until we were back in Taiwan, and saved the last part until I was here in the states again. it wasn't intentional, but once I realized it, it was hard to ignore. in the book, she travels to three countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia. I ended up reading the book in three countries: Thailand, Taiwan, and The United States.

the best part of the book, aside from her writing, is the journey she takes. not just geographically, but her own personal transformation. I found a lot of similarities to my own expat experience. I haven't gone through a messy divorce [thankfully, and I don't plan to] but I certainly made some serious and life-altering decisions when I left my job. and everything that follows when you abandon life as you know it and leave for a journey that's mostly unknown... she nailed it.

in fact, it got me thinking that if she can write a book about her life and travels... I could probably do that too. I mean, I already write a blog. how much more difficult could a book be? kidding! I worry that maybe my life isn't interesting or dramatic enough. but I think good books aren't necessarily good because of what they are about, but how you write them. we all have stories that deserve to be told.

and, believe it or not, there are stories you haven't heard. there are some things that just feel too personal to post on the internet. sometimes I tone them down or scrub them clean of emotion and you get the tour guide version. sometimes I write them out full-force in draft an then never hit "publish." but reading this book made me realize that there is a way to put those things out there in the world, honestly and authentically. [don't ask me why the idea of printing the words on paper seems less embarrassing, but it does.]

a part of me wishes I would have read Eat Pray Love sooner. that I would have realized how much I love writing sooner. but I believe this book found its way into my life at the right time. seven years, five years, even one year ago I wouldn't have gotten it like I did. I think my being an expat gave it a whole new level of meaning to relate to. I love this book for a lot of reasons, but mostly because this is the book that convinced me I should actually take that idea that's been bouncing around in my head for a year and go for it. this is the book that convinced me to write a book.

or at least, to try.


life lately

with a little over a week left in the states, I've been trying to fit a lot into life lately. between the full moon, 40 trips to Target, and trying to subtract from my to-do list faster than I add to it, I'm feeling pretty scatterbrained. what I haven't been doing? editing photos. keeping up with blog reading. sleeping enough. so how about a list for today's blogtember post? and some fall-looking instagrams? ok.

1. running errands and shopping like a madwoman on a mission. when we moved to Taiwan last summer I thought I was prepared [at least wardrobe-wise] but I was soooo not. and I had this idea that "if I'm not going to wear it in the next 2 years do I really need it?" so I donated 98% of the clothes I didn't take. which meant a lot of shopping this summer for basic things like tshirts and undies which, yes, they do sell in Taiwan. but not cut for my American curves.

2. trying not to be overcome by packing anxiety. our travels while abroad have significantly improved the way I pack, with my greatest accomplishment being our weekend trip to Hong Kong. [I packed a long skirt, a pair of shorts, a scarf, a jean jacket, and 3 tshirts.] but having only 48 hours between our trip to Thailand and heading back to the states, and the fact I was suffering from some seriously evil flu bug/food poisoning at the time means I basically grabbed stuff and threw it in a bag for our trip home. that usually means you bring too much, and I totally did. combined with all the shopping [for both me + Husband] it means I'm checking a 3rd bag, and even so I'm probably going to be close on the weight. the good news? my first bag was successfully packed and is already ready to go!

3. squashing in as much family/friend/food time as my schedule and stomach will allow. I won't be seeing these people for another year, so hanging out with them while I can has been taking precedence over things like laundry and packing. also. I've been eating everything I won't be able to get back in Taiwan: gluten-free burger buns, bbq pulled pork, Jimmy John's unwiches, real ranch dressing, real bacon, spinach greens, gluten-free beer and bread and pizza etc etc. [good thing I bought new yoga pants.]

4. getting excited to start the everyday happy e-course. am I a little crazy to sign up for a 6 week course that starts the day before I fly back to Taiwan? maybe. but I think it will help me adjust back into expat life, and Melyssa is just plain awesome.

5. looking forward to heading back home to Taiwan. if you couldn't tell from me mentioning it in every paragraph of this post. it's been great to be back, but I soooo miss Husband. and Din Tai Fung. euchre nights. watching movies with Husband. having my own space... my chevron wall and my chalkboard wall and my red desk in my office. seeing dragons everywhere. not having to overhear everyone else's conversations. trying new restaurants with Husband. driving my scooter around all the traffic instead of having to wait in line to turn left with all the other cars. and well, Husb you get the point.

so basically, my life lately has turned into one big countdown to Taiwan. what's going on in your life?


cats of Thailand, part 3

here's a light and fluffy post for you: more cat pictures from Thailand. because, who doesn't love kittens? [also, is it sad this is my third post about cats from Thailand? wait... don't answer that.]

we came across this guy during our last visit to Railay and he looked really familiar... maybe from this post?

he was just a baby last time we saw him! I have to say seeing him all grown up and healthy made me really really happy. he was sitting on the stoop of the mini mart that I had seen him in before, so obviously the owner is taking care of him.

this little one was so sweet. she followed us for a bit and ran right up to be pet. I contemplated scooping her up and taking her with us... but I don't think customs would have been cool with it.

also, please note that while I love cats and will occasionally pet stray ones I see... I always wash my hands thoroughly afterwards and NEVER approach a cat who looks hurt, scared, or mean. mostly, I just take pictures.

I mean... how do you resist taking a picture when you come across cats cuddling? answer: you don't.

[for more cats click this post and this post]


storytime: dinner party drama

disclaimer: I only have two weeks left in the states. I'm trying to pack in seeing as many people and soaking in as much Michigan fall as I can before heading back to Taiwan, so posts may be sparse form here on out. that being said... today's blogtember prompt was a creative writing challenge [we were provided with the first line] and I just couldn't resist. I love to write and between this blog and my journal I write a lot about my life. but it's fun to write pretend things from time to time. my storyline is not the most original, and it's not complete, but I took what first popped into my head and just ran with it.


dear readers: a love letter

I seriously thought about writing a love letter to coffee for this blogtember topic. or maybe to my camera. [ok, and also maybe to my cats.] but I decided to write a love letter to you instead: my readers, all different kinds of them...

to the people who comment: you make my day when I see your notifications in my email. I think anyone who blogs understands how much a blogger loves a comment, especially the good in-depth ones or the ones that let you know your words spoke to someone. thank you commenters for your support, for your insight, and for your beautiful words.

to the silent readers: I know you're out there. I'd love to know you better, but I understand. I've been one too. thanks for reading anyway, I love you just the same. 

to the people who don't know me in real life: I love how the internet can lead us to like-minded people, thousands of miles away, and let us connect. some of you have become "real" friends even though we've never "met." and some of you I don't know yet, but maybe someday I will.

to the people who DO know me in real life: I know most of you don't comment, but every time one of you tells me you read my blog, my heart smiles. [my face, too. but it goes all the way down to my heart] for those who have told me I'm a great writer or a beautiul photographer or even an integral part of their morning routine... thank for for your love and support, it truly means the world to me.

to my fellow expat bloggers: thank you for showing me I'm not alone in trying to understand the complexity of living life in a foreign culture. you gave me a niche to call home, and you've shown me a thousand new places to add to my travel wishlist. 

to the people who used to read my baking blog: to be honest, I'm surprised you stuck around. but oh so glad. I may not have an oven anymore, but my life is still filled with love and [a little bit of] butter.

to the people who just started reading: thanks for stopping by. blogging challenges are a wierd time to find a new blog, but I hope you like what you see and decide to stick around.



seven things + three awkward photos : a self-portrait

1. this is me. sitting on a giant piece of driftwood, on the shore of Lake Michigan.

2. we drove out to the beach grass and sand dunes of Ludington State Park for sunset last night. a place that holds a lot of memories. there was some clashing of childhood ideals and adult realities. again.

3. but it was also the best sunset of the week, so far. did I mention we are back in Ludington this week? well, we are. and this was our fourth cloud-infested sunset. I'm hoping saturday skies prove to be more clear because... I'm going to be taking a photography workshop this weekend with my dad, led by the guys who shoot the "Pure Michigan" campaign. [kindof a big deal.] 

I'm very excited, and a little bit nervous. we are bringing 5 of our best shots for them to critique, and are going to do group review of the stuff we shoot during the sunrise/sunset sessions on saturday. [who, me? nervous about being judged?] I know a decent amount about the technical aspects of photography, but mostly I shoot with my gut and not always my brain. I'm an aperture priority girl, but I'm trying to keep an open mind about manual.

4. you may have noticed things look a little different around here. I may have procrastinated editing photos for today by making new banners and badges inspired by my yellow bicycle shirt. and 45 minutes later, that turned into a new blog design. what do you think... love it? hate it? [let's be honest, you're probably just proud I kept my last design for almost 6 months without changing it on you!]

5. funny story about this photo. I set up in the park by the harbor right after the Badger came in. most of the people in the park were there to watch the boat, or playing on the playground, so I thought I was safe to shoot some undercover selfies. [though, is it a selfie if it's not on your cell phone?] I sat on this little post thing and shot with my remote, then decided to stand up on it for a few shots, and then did some awkward flailing. after, I looked over at the boat you see in the left of the shot. there was totally a man sitting in the... what do you call the "cockpit" area on a boat? anyway, he was in there, and had obviously seen my entire photoshoot in all it's weird and awkward glory.

6. well, let's see. today's blogtember challenge is a self-portrait. you got 2 pictures of me, mention of childhood issues and one of my deepest fears, a new blog design, and an embarrassing story. in list form. I think that paints about the most accurate description of me you can get.

7. oh wait... one more awkward photo. just for good measure.


Detroit // Eastern Market

one tuesday a few weeks ago, my parents and I went down to Detroit's Eastern Market. it's basically an open-air farmers market, selling all kinds of produce you would expect to find [and some your wouldn't]. they have food trucks stationed nearby selling artisanal sausages and gourmet mac + cheese. around the market space are a bunch of shops, mostly selling local Detroit and Michigan goods. they also host tailgating for Lions games, and offer yoga classes during off-hours in one of the sheds.

Detroit has had some hard times, but the market has survived. Detroit is a fighter. and a market selling local goods... well that's not just awesome but an economy booster. I highly encourage you to stop by if you find yourself downtown on a tuesday or saturday/sunday. [if only to grab a jar of McClure's spicy bloody mary mix!]


the moment I knew

one of the biggest turning points in my life was the day I decided we needed to move abroad.

when I say it like that, it sounds like it was a spur of the moment thing. and it wasn't. Husband and I had discussed the possibility of moving overseas for years before it became reality. it was always something likely to happen, that we wanted to happen even. I knew he was open to it and really I think he was just waiting for me to say "go."

well. it was summer 2011 and Husband was in the middle of a 6-week Fulbright study trip to Turkey [wait, does it sound like I'm bragging about my Husband? because I am.] I was in the middle of about 14 work disasters- projects I had spent months on, poured my sweat blood and tears into, and everything was either going wrong or being canceled. our apartment was a pit of laundry and kitten tumbleweeds and dirty dishes. and the Philadelphia school district where Husband was teaching was in the middle of yet another round of layoffs.

I don't remember the exact day and I don't really want to divulge [or relive] the story of what happened at work that day to push me over the edge. but it happened. people talk about hitting rock bottom, and I can honestly say that was the closest I've ever been.

I came home, poured myself a scotch, and wrote an email to Husband that read something like a maniac would write, but the general idea was this: we have to get out of here. 

and of course he was calm and rational and told me that when he came home, he would start applying for teaching jobs overseas.

it took us six months before we actually had a job lined up and knew it was really going to happen, but that desperate summer night was the moment that pushed us from "we should move abroad someday" to "we're doing it." as terrible as that moment was, it was what we [or at least I] needed to tip the scales.

[the photo above, by the way, was taken on the streets of Boston about an hour after we accepted the job offer.]

it's still upsetting for me to think about this and write about this. but what came out of that awful low point in my life- us moving to Taiwan -has been a blessing beyond belief. that moment of desperation forced me to make a decision I had been scared of making. everything I've done from that point forward was because I decided that leaving was better than staying. and because of it, I have gained so much. new friends, new experiences, new life... everything. I can be married to my Husband, not my job. I have free time to think, to write, to travel. I've become a completely different person. a better person.

earlier today I was freaking out about my fantasy football scores from this weekend. my mom said I seemed stressed, and I realized... the only stress I have in my life now comes from fantasy football? I've got it pretty good.

I know we haven't yet fully seen the benefits of our decision to move abroad. our adventure is still happening. but already I wouldn't trade it. it took going through hell to get us here... but here is a very good place to be.


a thirst for adventure is close to your heart

have you ever heard of the Jung Typology Test? it's a test that reads different tendencies in your personality and rates your preferences for extraverted vs introverted behavior, or whether your actions are based more on thinking vs feeling. at the end of the test they give you your 4-letter type, along with percentages to tell you how strongly you exhibit each characteristic.

some people take this test in college to see what majors they should apply for, or which jobs they would be best suited to. other times, workplaces use this test to help gauge how everyone will work together. OR you could [like me today] be taking this test as a part of the blogtember challenge.

how you take the test is simple: read through a list of statements and click "yes" or "no" based on if they are true for you or not. towards the end of the test, I came across the phrase "a thirst for adventure is close to your heart." and I fell in love with it. I'm not sure I can describe how happy it made me to click on the "yes" and whole-heartedly feel it was the true and right answer. adventure is not just close to my heart, adventure is my heart.

I kindof want to just leave this post at that...but you probably also want to know what my type is, right?

Introverted 56%
iNtuitive 62%
Thinking 1%
Judging 33%

I've taken this test a few times in the past decade. usually I fall into the INFJ category [but I've come up with ENFJ before] and my Thinking/Feeling scores are always almost too close to call. this time was no different - with only a 1% difference pushing me into the "T" category - so I've pulled lines below from both the INTJ and INFJ types that I feel really describe me:

When it comes to their own areas of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms.

...they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations. 
>>> me trying to date? hello, awkwardness.

Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.

INTJs are idea people. Anything is possible; everything is negotiable. Others may see what is and wonder why; INTJs see what might be and say "Why not?!"

INTJs sweat the details or, at times, omit them. "I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts" could well have been said by an INTJ on a mission.

INFJs, like many other FJ types, find themselves caught between the desire to express their wealth of feelings and moral conclusions about the actions and attitudes of others, and the awareness of the consequences of unbridled candor. 
>>> why I blog, but I don't blog everything.

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." 
>>> I never thought to call them "soul mates", but I do have a few people in my life who would qualify based on our instant connection and how we just GET each other. [in fact, now I'm going to start calling them my soul mates...]

While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type. 
>>> quiet, alone time is SO necessary for me!

...there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.

Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. 
>>> translation: I can write a kick-ass email, but the voicemails I leave are epically terrible.

I think the results are pretty accurate. and while the INFJ in me isn't sure I want to share all my deep dark secrets, the INTJ really enjoyed this little bit of self-introspection. but now I'm curious about you... what's your type?


living the dream

if you read this blog, you know that while my current country of residence is Taiwan, I am back in the states visiting family + friends for two months. and you also know that the month before that I spent traveling around Taiwan and vacationing in Thailand. [including time spent on my favorite beach, above, in Railay]

so when I saw today's prompt for blogtember: if you could take 3 months out of your current life to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? I thought, well I'm already doing it.

[I don't want to rub it in anyone's face. I don't want to be one of those look-at-my-life-it's-so-awesome-be-jealous people. but I feel it needs to be said I fully realize how awesome my life is, and that I am truly truly grateful to have the freedom to spend my time this way.]

are there things I would change? sure. I'd love for Husband to have been able to stay with me in the states. I'd love to have unlimited funding while I'm here so I could rent a cabin up north and fly all my American pals up to hang out for a week, drinking and sunning and catching up. I'd love to have spent a few weeks in Turkey or Italy or California before heading back to the mitten. or, you know, to win the powerball...

but seriously. I've been able to spend the last few months traveling the world, vacationing on exotic beaches, and also seeing the people I love. working on my tan, eating amazing food, snapping endless photos, cuddling with my kittens. that's pretty awesome. in fact, I don't know if I can come up with something I'd rather do more than that.


a family history in postage stamps

I spent all afternoon sifting through my Papa's stamp collection with my Dad. one of the great things about being at home - where I grew up- is that I have access to all this family history. my Dad has literally put together giant binders full of documents and clippings and photos. when I was thinking about this first post for blogtember and the idea of "where I come from" I had this grand scheme of digging through all that history to show you, quite literally, who and where I come from.

but I should probably also tell you that just last week Phyllis and I had a heart-to-heart about blogging. and I should probably also warn you that when and if I follow the prompts for blogtember, I'm going to take them more as an inspiration and interpret them in my own way that may not make sense to anyone but me.

so, the stamps. I never even knew they existed until last week when my Dad pulled them out to start sorting. the collection is one of the few physical things of value that my Papa - my Mother's Father- left when he passed away. and even though I didn't want to get sucked into my Dad's "project" I couldn't help it.

because the stamps are so interesting. because I kept recognizing names of places I've been, or places I want to go. because I saw names of countries I didn't recognize and I suddenly wanted to google them and find out where they were, or what they are called now. and... come on... Sun Yat-sen and Abraham Lincoln on a "Leaders of Democracy" stamp issued by the ROC [Taiwan] in 1959. how could I not get involved?

and so I sat and helped sort the stamps out by country. let me tell you, my knowledge from living in Asia came very much in handy. and the fact that Husband is a geography teacher and I've gleaned a little knowledge from him as well. that I can tell the difference between Spanish and French and Italian, was raised Lutheran enough to recognize German, my Mother-in-law lived in Pakistan, and when I was  ten I developed an obsession for all things Egyptian.

we couldn't decipher them all- like this awesome sword-wielding lion. but hey, I can't read Arabic. no one's perfect.

edit: huge thanks to reader Jenna who lives in the UAE and asked an Arabic-speaking friend to decode this stamp. apparently it is written in Farsi, not Arabic. the lion and the sun are symbols for the Persian Empire, which would be modern Iran. mystery solved!

but slowly the envelopes marked in my Grandfather's handwriting became covered in both mine and my Father's scrawl too.

and that, in a very roundabout way, is who I am and where I come from.


great white city

[I can't look at pictures of Chicago without hearing this song, so you may need to listen to it as you read.]

my favorite thing about Chicago? breeze that sweeps in off the lake. most cities smell like cities: trash, sweaty people, roasting hot dogs, dirty pavement. and that has its own kind of charm. but Chicago was a breath of fresh air.

New York will always be "my city" and Philly has a special place in my heart. I love Detroit because I grew up in Michigan and- come on, it's Detroit- but Chicago has grown on me. when I graduated and moved to the east coast it seemed like ALL my classmates wanted to stay in the midwest. I literally tried to find someone to take a job in NYC and they all turned it down for places like Grand Rapids and Omaha. I couldn't understand it. and the only ones who wanted to move to a big city wanted to move to Chicago because it was so cool.

well, turns out Chicago is pretty cool. the architecture, the lake, the food, the art, the people... it reminded me a lot of Philadelphia with all the neighborhoods spreading out, but the people definitely had more of a midwest charm. Philly has an attitude [and I love it], but Chicago is pretty chill. a little more laid back, a little more down to earth.

more to come.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...