11 Jan

I’m traveling with my family for two weeks. First stop, Rome. Here’s a letter I wrote to my grandfather, who recently learned the power of email (a big step up for a lifelong typewriting devoté). Photos tk.

Dear grandpa,

We arrived yesterday after a slight delay to lovely, clear weather. On the plane, an Italian guy who said he was in New York to “make myself a happy new year” taught me some words in Italian. He spoke no English, but we managed in Spanish — which seemed to forecast the rest of the trip thus far.

The airport is surrounded by rural farmland, which gradually becomes an urban center, albeit one with short buildings due to zoning laws. What makes Rome special — to me, at least — is that the old is mixed with the new: a turn of the corner casually unfolds into the girth of the Colosseum. A few hills happen to house the settlements that mark the beginning of Rome.

We then found our kosher b&b, which is off the map. It’s kind of nice to be staying outside of the touristy areas. It feels more authentic, though I hate to use that word. There’s even a kosher place near us. After settling in and grabbing a slice of real Italian pizza, we hopped on the subway to the terminai, their big train station. It was large and well-lighted.

After my mother declined a one-euro trip to the bathroom, we figured out how to get on an exposed tour bus (no small feat, if you were wondering.) We did that for two hours, which gave us an incredible view and narrative of this gorgeous city. I especially loved the Palazzo Venezia — located on the Piazza Venezia, it was used as a papal home in the 1500s; then the embassy to the Republic of Venice; then as the home for the fascist government: Mussolini spoke from its famed balcony. Now it’s a museum, whose annex seems to be currently housing a Van Gogh exhibit.

Fewer people speak English here than one might expect. I make due with Spanish — and that vocab book in my left pocket. I’m at the point where I can ask coherent questions in Italian, but cannot necessarily understand the answers the provoke. (Key questions, for your reference: Come fare il taxi? Dove fare il biglietto?) It’ll come…

Then we went to dinner in the Jewish ghetto, where much art was on display.

We’re about to go to the Colosseum. Then the Vatican.



Hello, world (but I typed that in)

29 Nov

Pardon, once more, the extended slumber here.

Life has been full with new jobs, lots of writing, little sleep, and my first apartment. I intend to think up something more worthwhile to say here shortly, as I’m beginning to get into a rhythm. Until then, here’s my placeholder portfolio, if anyone is at all interested in reading my work.

Meanwhile, I’m now catching up on some work at the end of this gloriously-extended Thanksgiving weekend. Of course, I saved it for now. Figures. But what’s funny is that I’m sitting in the same cafe, indeed in the same seat, where I wrote most of my thesis on Othello.

By accident.

Good times.

Some perspective

2 Jun

So basically, the surface area of the BP oil spill is about equal to the size of Israel.

Serious oy vey.

If you superimposed that left floating chunk over the lower half, it would fit. They say Israel is a third the size of the State of New York. But still, this is frightening to see visualized, even with that knowledge. My hopes and prayers are with all corrective measures.

A few parting words

18 May

More commencement stuff soon. But I’m moving out of the dorm now, and I’m not sad anymore. That’s because I realized that you never lose the people you love. You keep in touch with them. You call, you e-mail, you meet up. You carry them with you and within you. I leave with that knowledge. I leave with my heart bursting with love and happiness.

I do not like this.

12 May

This is from the New Yorker website. Even while innocently browsing, they know who I am! Ahhh.

Thanks, Mark Z. Thanks.

Another letter

12 May

Dear Barnard,

I know that our mutually dependent relationship ends one week from today. However, I thought I might clear the air by mentioning that I did not appreciate approaching my dorm after submitting a 20-pager only to feel heat coming out from under the door. Indeed, when I opened it, everything I touched was hot. And I mean everything, including my blanket. The air tasted like the way I’ve imagined a sauna might. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. Did I leave a light on? Something heat-generating, I wondered?

As it turns out, the onus is yours. (Shockingly so, since I am very much a klutz). As I neared the back of the room, I leaned on my air conditioner—and jumped back, slightly burned. Ouchies. Lo and behold, my air conditioner was blowing very, very hot air. I shut it off, and we’re doing okay now, except that I have no air conditioner. This is fine for today, but not for long.

And yes, I know I won’t be here for long. This means my own complaints carry little water. However, this will be an issue for the next person who lives in my room (hence that facilities request). Furthermore, you should care about me because I’m about to be an alumna! And I hear you have a thing for donations…

Anyway. We’re cool otherwise.

Much love,

Giving credit where it’s due

11 May

Dear Online Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide,

You’ve gotten me through some hard times these past few months. For that, I thank you. I hope that you continue to share your magnificent gifts with my friends long after my need for you expires.


P.S. You get honorable mention.