My Mother the Foreigner

If you can’t understand, listen.

My mother and I look nothing alike, so much so we were all convinced there was somw shady adoption business going on. We have opposite personalities but somehow we became best friends after surviving the teenage-daughter vs. mother battlefront.

I love her eccentricity and the fact that she raised me in a foreign country but didn’t let me abandon the child-torturing russian lessons that made me bilingual. So while my sister and I were learning languages both old and new, my mom took English lessons at night. For years, she tried her best to assimilate to an entirely different culture, but it was much harder for her than it was for us. Even now, any communication points to the all-obvious fact that she is a foreigner, which always leads to the judgement that she should’ve “learned English a long time ago.” I’ve watched my mother receive eye-rolls and ignorance throughout my entire childhood. She’s forced the speak louder so that people will even turn an ear, until they determine she’s too intellectually incompetent to have a conversation with. The most heartbreaking part is that they won’t even try to listen. I see them turn away as soon as they can.

We’ve been in Europe for a few weeks now. My mom gets treated like a different person. Here, where they respect the hundreds of cultures from hundreds of tourists, they listen to her. She speaks softer, and I see a side of her that I haven’t been able to for many years. I’ve been feeling proud of the fact that we’re actually from Europe, and I can see my pride being mirrored in the respect of strangers around me. Waiters and drivers have been laughing at her stories and ASKING her questions about her life. Here, she’s a bright sun making people smile.

I hate the fact that when we get home, American strangers will act like being an immigrant is an embarrassment. I’ll have to order for her at restaurants and she’ll quietly sit back, because she knows that when her American sounding daughter speaks, her family isn’t being judged. America has truly given us everything, except the chance to feel pride on behalf of our culture.

Please, if you don’t understand, listen. Watch the charades re-ask what you don’t hear, and enjoy the tea that my mom will undoubtedly offer you.

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We’re all flying idiots

I don’t think I’ve ever had a flight leave on time yet every time I’m flabbergasted that it’s late.

Airports are one of the worst places. The only happiness that occurs there is outside the airport doors, where happy people are happily reuniting. On the other side of those doors, people are stress-waiting in line, using whatever mind control capabilities they’ve acquired over their lifetime to make their flight leave on time or for their water bottle with just over 100 ml to make it through security.

The staff are notoriously the most unhelpful employees in existence. But who can really blame them? I couldn’t genuinely be considerate to the 134th person that incessantly complained about their worst day ever.

AND THE CHAIRS. Tell me, if you were building an airport, a place where people notoriously get stuck for hours, wouldn’t you build-in reclining chairs or something? No, no you’re right it’s expensive, it’s not like people are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars to fly. Luckily I’m a pretty little person so airplane legroom isn’t a personal concern, but my heart goes out to all of you giraffes with bruised knees.

Also, when did airports enter movie theater pricing territory? Let me tell you, the airport has NO business charging $6 for a water, unless you consider people hauling luggage pleasurable viewing experience. (I say this as I’m standing in a 40 minute line for my $7 Matcha Frappuchino).

The only thing airports are good for is witnessing adults do things that would otherwise seem bizarre. The guy sprinting desperately towards the gate? He hasn’t ran since since 1966. The woman sleeping on the bathroom floor? She’s been at the airport for four days now and they’re naming a parking lot after her.

The question is: Are we flying idiots to dare take on this wicked place? Yes, because that one girl in that one movie met her boyfriend on there. And also, there’s the whole life-changing perspective part. Even though nothing is in your control, you take on the stress and the germs and the crying babies for 9 hours to land exactly halfway to your dream vacation spot, where your connection left hours ago and left you to join sleeping bathroom girl.

Anyway, hopefully my plane leaves on time (it hasn’t). And hopefully I get my drink before it leaves without me (it did).

P.S. I understand the privilege of traveling and I am really grateful for the chance. Sorry for the spoiled brat perspective.

The Pinky Promise

I wonder where in the history of promises did the pinky make it’s debut.

I’ve been contemplating the concept of attachment. Ranging from things, ideologies to parents and friends, it’s one of the things that might actually have an affect on everything I do in my life. It’s like mentally making an affectionate pinky promise with something, and then having to decide how long I’m gonna keep it.

Usually, we like to keep up our commitments and obligations because well, that’s what we’re supposed to do. Nobody wants a friend that can’t keep a promise. But what do we do when we make that promise or commitment with ourselves?

We’re creatures of habit, we define ourselves by what we know and what we believe in. Attachments to things like ideals define us. They also restrict us from considering other perspectives. I’m locked in with being a liberal feminist. In my perspective, it makes me a better person, but it can also make me seem too affirmative in my beliefs. It’s hard for me to consider another opinion regarding that perspective. I’ll probably keep this promised ideal throughout my lifetime, but I think it’ll be important to always reflect on it and ask myself if I’m holding onto this promise for a true, valid reason.

Also, attachments and promises are sneaky because they make us comfortable. Like for me, living close to my family is always a priority. That sort of attachment is good because it maintains my relationships with people I love, and that makes me happy. It might also limit me in the future in terms of prospective jobs in my career. I find comfort in that familiarity and happiness and the cost of not trying something new. Does that attachment ultimately protect me or limit me?

Maybe the trick in life is knowing when to maintain attachment and when to let go. Like identifying the relationships and commitments that you can hold forever and which ones are causing you too much stress and pain. I just hope I’ll find somebody who’s pinky I can hold forever, because at this point it has just been finger cramps all around.

P.S. Let’s hope my attachment to the gym lasts longer than my attachment to icecream.

Write right

I’m in class right now and it’s absolutely, irrevocably important that I blog right now instead of listen to the lecture that I paid ~$800 for.

I had this assignment in class where I had to start a blog and choose a (more or less) professional topic to write about. This “fake” blog of mine rendered attention within the first few weeks. Actually, it rendered a lot more attention than this blog. It was odd to me because there wasn’t effort, heart or thought put behind the words. I was just typing to hit a word count.

Perhaps, I hit some sort of niche that was underserved. Maybe the audience liked my amateur attempts at photography. I don’t know the reason behind the attention, but the assignment made it clear to me as to why I write this blog.

Sometimes people ask me why I bother blogging when people now watch instead of read. Honestly, I think I genuinely just might be writing for myself. My doses of attention are sourced from a pristine Instagram and my validity is justified through my (in progress) degree. Although it always feels amazing for someone to compliment my writing, there’s a lot more satisfaction in being happy with my own work. I actually dedicated time and thought to something without a direct result? Wild.

I know that blogging sounds like something someone’s younger sister was doing on Gossip Girl in 2003, but it has honestly helped my writing. I have learned how to gather thoughts in this crazy mind and actually put them into sentences. I’ve figured out that I can expel a lot of frustration through this platform and I can see myself doing this everyday.

As always, thank you for reading. Whether I end up being a mom blogger or a reporter for the Times (lmao OKAY Vik), I’ll be happy as long as I’m writing and writing for the right reasons.

P.S. Just to be clear, I wouldn’t exactly complain if I had more readers.

 

Seven Week Itch

Okay so I’ve never seen the Seven Year Itch but I heard it’s a good movie and it made a catchy title so please don’t call me out on using it.

I have seven weeks left until I finish my first year of college. It feels like an eternity until finals, and yet insufficient time to spend with my friends and my roommate in our tiny, now-beloved triple.

It’s all about perspective.

In seven weeks, Kim Kardashian’s marriage had started and ended. In seven weeks, babies develop heartbeats (…I think, thats what the aggressive pro-life posters said anyway). In seven weeks, I’ll forever abandon the label “freshie” and go on to live a long, prosperous life where I don’t evade the “so what year are you” inquisitions. And finally, in seven weeks, I’ll leave my friends, first college memories, and un-dated boys behind to resume living at my mom’s house, where the word “home” doesn’t quite resonate as loudly as before.

I always forget that I’m living the dream, everyday. But now that this dream has a temporary expiration, my nostalgia-bound instincts have kicked in. I’ve begun mentally cycling through moments that’ll make me longingly remember how it felt to actually have a life.

I’m not gonna lie, I might feel just a tiny bit relieved that I can drop the ball in seven weeks. Living at college has felt like I’m constantly holding my breath, like a single sigh will bring the whole card house down. Relaxing here feels half-hearted, like stress-watching Netflix on Sunday night because, hey its been a hard week but also you know you could be studying for an exam tomorrow. Even now, I had to force myself to take time to write, even though I should be writing essays and going over the rules of French conditional verbs and tenses (it’s definitely as bad as it sounds).

So, I’ve got seven weeks of conflicted, itchy feelings ahead of me. All I can say is, I hope my exams are easy and the parties have cranberry vodka.

P.S. I’ve got seven weeks to get this guy to fall in love with me, any thoughts?

 

Supposed to be

Physically, I’m in my prime years. This metabolism isn’t getting any faster and I’m in the most stimulating mental environment ever (seriously, I’m never ever gonna take harder classes). I have amazing friends, realistic goals, a supportive family, and my health. By all standards, I’m supposed to be energetic, in love, happy, content, and confident. I’m supposed to be thriving.

But, no matter how much I workout or sleep or adjust my workload, I can’t seem to achieve what I’m “supposed to be,” even when everything around me is perfect. Things like unprovoked insecurity and stress always seem to find their way into my life and doubt is always a welcome friend in my mind.

As a college student, it’s difficult to admit I’m struggling. I know a lot of people around me are, but we all keep up this facade as if we’re okay and doing better than the next person. It perpetuates a high-stress  competitive environment that doesn’t help anybody.

Our parents sent us off “to be the best versions of ourselves” and we are… just not all the time. I wanted to write this post because I feel like a lot of people think I’m doing really well. Glad to see the insta photoshoots paid off, but honestly some days are a little rough.

The truth is, I get so anxious it takes me hours to fall asleep because I have an endlessly overactive mind that can’t stop questioning my actions and words. The fact that I’ve never had a true healthy relationship makes my clichéd-teenage heart actually believe I’ll never have one. And, I’m taking an extra year to finish my “easy” major, because I can’t handle the average college workload.

College is hard. It’s a huge mental toll, and even if nobody talks about it, everyone feels it. It’s okay to admit it.

I’ll survive without the perfect college boyfriend, graduate with B’s and find a job without having 15 internships beforehand. I need to stop trying to fill in the cooker-cutter expectations of myself, because a yummy cookie is way more important than a perfectly-shaped one (okay hush I know that analogy didn’t really work out.)

P.S. I’m not usually this emo it’s just really rainy outside and I’ve been feeling gloomy.

P.P.S. Okay so I actually wrote this a week ago and never published it so I am currently on spring break living la vida loca :))))

Smile and Wave Boys (and Girls)

I love being a twin… most of the time.

You know that awfully relatable moment when you see someone wave and you wave back but it turns out they were waving to somebody else? Yes? Okay, now imagine that, but even worse because you have a person that looks exactly like you.

So basically, Veronika (the twin) and I have a lot of the same friends because 1) it’s hard to find cool people and not share them and 2) there’s a very few select people that can handle us, so there’s not enough to call dibs on.

Recently, since Veronika and I have been in a lot of different classes and clubs, we’ve been making separate acquaintances. (I say acquaintances because by the time I befriend someone they usually know I’m a twin, so we avoid The Awkward Situation.)  Since Veronika knows people from her own environment, she’ll often see them around campus.

The issue: those people also see me and they think that I’m Veronika and I have no clue who they are. So we get a situation where a stranger is waving at me, and I know that potentially they could be waving at who-they-think-is-Veronika. To avoid making Veronika look like a jerk, I usually smile and wave to keep up the unknown twin facade.

Sometimes however, they aren’t waving at me or undercover twin, they’re just waving at someone behind me. Which is uh, unfortunate, because I could literally never know. This has happened to me SO many times on campus that I wanted to raise awareness of this very concerning issue. Also, I’m sure my acquaintances wave at Veronika too, but I feel like she doesn’t wave back because sometimes they’ll act real shady the next time I see them.

P.S. No matter how much I smile and wave I will never be as cute as that penguin :’)