Da Vinci on Accomplishment

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." 
- Leonardo da Vinci

All the Food I'm Dreamin' Of...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A list/ode to all the good food that I've been cooking up these past few weeks:

- Veggie clearinghouse soup
- Pressure cooker madness! Chili and potato soup, each in less than 20 minutes
- Pumpkin and squash casserole
- Molasses bread
- Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies
- Spinach and pea pasta in cream sauce
- Pumpkin oatmeal
- Herb and goat cheese omelettes
- Homemade stovetop granola and yogurt

These delights are not only my procrastination, but my comfort throughout the week. So, readers, what deliciousness have you been dreaming of?

Work and Relaxation

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm trying something new today! I wrote my blog post and then read it aloud (speech-like) in a podcast format - this time it's on activist work and relaxation. I've done this before with fictional stories, but not as much with creative non-fiction, so this is my stab at it. Let's hope that after a few tries I can get into a more natural speaking rhythm! Transcript after the jump.


Visual: In the Library

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Library books in Dhaka University

The First Thought

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Trust the impulse." - Professor Panek (on writing down your first thoughts)

12 Little Forms of Self-Love

Thursday, September 20, 2012

1. Making art for the sole purpose of making something.
2. Knitting.
3. Trying out a new exercise. (swing dancing club, hurrah!)  
4. Making a list of hopes and fears.
5. Slowly eating something delicious.
6. Doing only as much as you can and not pushing past that.
7. Watching a TV show that's been off the air for years. (Murphy Brown, I'm looking at you!)  
8. Floating around the internet looking for nothing in particular.
9. Closing your eyes for an instant (or a half hour, whichever you prefer) and focusing on your breath.
10. Hosting a 1-2 spontaneous dance party.
11. Listening to music from your childhood. (N*Sync sing-along, anyone?) 
12. Trusting yourself as your own guide.

The Thing I Never Thought I'd Love

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Every morning at 7:40am, I crack my eyes open to the early darkness of my single room, plunge down from my lofted bed, and unsteadily march towards campus.

I don't have a class. I'm not really a morning person. But I arrive at school at 8am and make my way down to the Barnard athletics department, still somewhat groggy, to plunge myself into the water and swim laps for half an hour to start the day.

Your question is probably "why?" It doesn't seem very appealing - to dunk yourself in cold water and exercise straight away in the morning. But since I have started working to save the Barnard pool from being closed this year, I've gotten more and more attached to that space. Attached enough to beat back my morning sleepiness and start swimming there every day that the pool is open, at the only time that I'm available to before all the hustle and bustle of the day.

Visual: Goat Reaching for Sky

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


(Somehow this didn't get posted on Sunday, so it's going up today! More written content later)

A Quote on Kindness

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Unknown
(brought to my attention by my roommate Lea)

The Recipe of Too Much Life and Too Little News

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Here is the recipe to being overstimulated:

1. You wake up and immediately start thinking about Facebook messages and leftover homework.

2. You have a to-do list three miles long every night, telling you to flit from room to room in the morning and lay back in the evening, only to find that there aren't enough hours in the day.

3. You get email alerts on your phone from the New York Times about the US ambassador to Libya being killed and quickly delete them so you can return to turning in forms and making meetings.

Homesick without a Home

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm taking a rest ("air quotes") day today, but that doesn't mean I don't have something for you to read! Check out my article on separating from home while at college printed in the Columbia Spectator. Here's an excerpt:

I’ve heard it called the “learning edge” by Pam Phayme, Director of Barnard’s Office of Diversity Initiatives—that place where you feel like you’re stepping out onto the precipice of your comfort zone. You’re not falling off, completely unmoored from everything you know, but neither are you completely secure in the comforts you’ve enjoyed before. Taken in an academic context, it means that you’re willing to entertain new thoughts and take on new experiences. It’s similar when separating yourself from home: you push your own boundaries to avoid stagnation. This will look different for everyone and isn’t determined by such arbitrary factors as days spent on campus or off.

Individuality and Feeling at Home

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I stare down the long dark tunnel trailing away from me, searching for the two pinpricks of light that would indicate the train's arrival. Standing on the platform, watching the express pass by me and watching the frozen faces of passengers on their commute home, my stomach became soft, dropping like an empty sack to the base of my abdomen and resting there. The city I live in is a place where you catch these kinds of snapshots every day - the thin black man on the subway scowling into his newspaper or the young Asian woman frying eggs in her pink bra through the apartment window.

It's been written about before. In movies, they try to use it to symbolize human isolation - how we can be so close, but so distant from one another. Bleak urban life. The tragedy of the commons. But in some ways I find it refreshing, that we can carry on our own complex lives and others can catch snippets of them with just a casual glance. That our trajectories are shifting away from each other, even though we live in carbon-copy apartments just one floor above. I'll say it again: it's the complexity that allows us to see that we are not all part of a hive mind or a machine. Our communities must be forged, not taken for granted by being near one another.

This is the absolute opposite from the situation in collectivist cultures.

Thriving on Pressure

Monday, September 10, 2012


Back on campus now, I'm in what I consider a very safe environment; I'm able to take on my everyday roles and feel bonds of community without really having to seek it out. Most people speak English, so I don't need to learn to communicate. We go to our favorite restaurants and know how to work the subway system. Vulnerability isn't forced upon me, as it was in Bangladesh, where everything - right down to the beds we slept on - required adjusting to. But that threshold of vulnerability, I realized, is what keeps me growing. Which means I seek it out here.