stuff and things

This is it! We are going to zoom up to the present moment! Remember, I am:

  • Interning in Winston Salem, NC during the week
  • Traveling back and forth to Carrboro, NC for fun and games on the weekends
  • Also with a chunk of my heart/brain with the baby kittens in Virginia. I had a few days off of my internship in mid-September while my preceptor was on vacation and took advantage of the opportunity to see the babes, of whom I’ll share a few photos below
  • Thinking general thoughts about life, which I’d like to share

Let’s start with the life thoughts.

Today was a good day (I write this on the first day of October, 6 days before my 28th birthday. I am prescheduling this post but it is more present than any post I have written in quite some time).

I went to the farmers market and got this crazy coconut turmeric deliciousness:


Then this afternoon I took a long walk with my work wife, Colton, which was fun too. Physical activity is always happiness-inducing.


I count my abundant blessings and I don’t want this post to come across as too snarky, or tastelessly ungrateful. But I also sometimes worry that this blog is a frenzied chronicle of parties and fancy food and not real life at all. So this is a little bit of straight talk and also a bit dark. Don’t be offended, please!

In general, though, this has been a slightly blue time of the year for me. It’s weird to be single in your late twenties facing a birthday. Particularly given that my current internship involves being exclusively around babies, it’s a daily reminder that I’m in a totally different life phase than many people my age. While it’s certainly great that I’m getting this excellent education and bettering myself professionally and really feeling like I’m in the right place; there’s a piece of my life that just doesn’t exist at all right now. A piece of life that rightly or not is viewed as very important in our culture. A piece of life towards which I do feel a certain hormonal pull (and being around babies all day is no joke for the hormones- sometimes all the breasts and crying babies and stuff get super overstimulating and then it’s like I get this oxytocin surge and BLISS OUT. It’s so weird).

Also, dude, it’s kind of hilarious that I am totally opted out of the dating scene right now and am also technically the owner of SIX CATS. Yikes.

I’m also doing a lot of soul searching about what comes next and where I want to live and what I want my job to be. My life has been about school for SO LONG (I began prerequisites for this program in early 2012) that it’s weird to think that school wasn’t the destination, it was just a stepping point on the journey, and now I need to head elsewhere and build a career for myself. And despite having completed a competitive program I still feel so paralyzed in choosing what comes next, as if the next decision I make is going to be a huge deal and put me on a path that I cannot get off and have to keep committed to and follow to the top of the field, which of course is not true.

I also have been eating a bit unhealthily lately; mainly, I think, out of boredom. Riddle me this: what are people doing at 9pm? I don’t have to get up til ~7:30am so it’s too early to go to bed. My evening workouts have concluded by that point in time, and I am fed and watered. Is everyone just watching Netflix? If so that’s SO DEPRESSING! And also, what were people doing at 9pm before Netflix? It wasn’t that long ago that we had passed the Little House on the Prairie time period where life was endless work; but that we hadn’t reached the constant access to media time period of the present. Were people… doing hobbies? Playing sports? Tripping acid (at least in the 60s)? Any 9pm suggestions welcome.

Finally, like I’m sure all of you, my recent thoughts have been unable to escape the current presidential election. At least one person I know has actually had to start anxiety meds. I feel so woefully unqualified to opine about the state of the world (in part because I am WHOA SO PRIVILEGED) but let the record state that I’m feeling real helpless about the state of our country and real unclear about what I can do about it. So I default to trying to do right by a very small group of people in my day to day life (currently, premature babies and their mamas). And voting of course- YOU HAD BETTER BE VOTING, BLOG READERS.

But it doesn’t seem like enough, helping a few babies and casting a single vote. I used to be such a true believer. A frequent volunteer (starting at the age of 16, when I wasn’t even able to vote). A political science major in undergrad. It’s so bizarre that the Bush presidency seems so nonthreatening now. I mean, he had a pretty reasonable position on immigration! He didn’t casually advocate war crimes! And now he runs around being an endearingly bumbling all American awkward dad character! But man, the thought of all that’s happened this year, and what could happen this year’s election… well, I’m hardly going to reveal any new information on this blog. But it’s intense, intense stuff.

I can’t catch up on the state of the world from NPR because all they do is talk about Trump and I can’t listen to it. I go to the gym and see the big screen TVs and tense up; first time in history someone’s blood pressure is raised instead of lowered by regular exercise. I see all the memes posted on Facebook and cringe as I try to scroll quickly enough to not have to read anything in the horrifically vicious comment section. Just… just… WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYTHING?! While even the best electoral scenario will hardly clear things up- I think at this point America is in a phase like when you’re in the middle of deep cleaning your fridge and realizing how deep and vicious and thick the grime is- the worst case election scenario is truly, truly frightening to me and it should be to you too.

And now…

Let’s take a detour from all those thoughts and look at some kittens.

My time at home in Virginia with the babes was so blissful. They are getting so big and surprise surprise are still so so so so cute.


Either they’re sleeping preciously like this in the pictures… or ,they’re partying. As my mom says, when they’re in their room and she’s down the hall or downstairs she said it sounds like a “disco bowling alley”.

This guy is particularly wild, though you’d never know it by his sleepy face.


Want to learn more about their individual personalities? Want to ADOPT ONE? Good news!


Their adoption site is here! Yay kittens!


One more picture just because it’s hard to stop


When I was home with the lil babies I also visited with my friend Jaclyn, who’s interning at the surgeon general’s office in DC cause she is so smart! I met up with her in the suburbs and taught her about Korean bakeries. Shaved ice yaaaaasssss.


Chocolate mousse cake with adorable tiny topper yaaaaasssss


Then it was farewell kittens, back to North Carolina, and the Winston-Salem to Carrboro commuter life.

And, shortly thereafter, time for a visit with my dad, stepmother… and two Chinese foreign exchange students who are currently living with them. A few ventings thoughts on the visit.

  • Our dad is more engaged in parenting when he is paid to do it (like by rich Chinese parents who want their kids going to American schools). My sister and I should have chipped in more cash when we were children!
  • That being said, engagement is relative. I met everyone at a restaurant for dinner one night and was like, “Where is Dad?” and my stepmother was like “*sigh* He’s at Auto Zone.”
  • He was at Auto Zone because though my dad has six cars (!) some of which he has bought sight unseen on EBay (!!!) none of them actually seem to work properly. Having busted pieces of metal in his garage/driveway/spilling into the street is one of my dad’s greatest loves. I think he’d be deeply disappointed if he had a single, properly working car.
  • We did have a nice day walking around UNC’s campus. The foreign exchange students are sweet girls and seem interested in the American college experience.
  • The gang’s last day in town was the Carrboro Music Festival, which is always one of my favorite days of the year. My dad went to Home Depot and then listened to football on his car radio until we were ready to leave (…) and I took my stepmother and the girls into town and we had a bit of fun. Below you will see my friend Sarah dancing with Dancing Bruce, who we watched outside Weaver Street Market.


And then my relatives hit the road, and I frankly got to heave a little sigh of relief and enjoy the music festival. (Er, and apparently then the transmission quit on my dad’s car in Richmond and they took a $140 Uber ride home, getting them there at 2am. CLASSIC!)

I, meanwhile, meandered through Carrboro, running into basically everyone I know at various music venues. My favorite buddy was this little party animal, who I haven’t seen in way too long.


I suppose there’s something to be said for being out of the parenting phase of life and instead getting to play the role of Cool Aunt Ileana. Little T had skipped her nap and had an unfamiliar schedule at the music festival. It was delightful and hilarious watching her giggling uncontrollably and stumbling around like a frat boy on a Saturday night.

And here’s the thing, despite the snark of this blog post, I really, without a hint of irony or defensiveness, love the life I’ve built. And that’s perhaps why I’m feeling so angsty, because it feels precarious.

  • Will all the good friends I’ve made here take off on the marriage/family track and leave me behind? (With my cats, LOL)
  • Will I end up feeling incomplete and unsatisfied because I haven’t found romantic love?
  • Will I not live up to my “potential” in my career? (<< that is a super dangerous and dumb thought but it’s around)
  • Have I not built enough skills to be a successful adult out in the real world?
  • Am I too busy thinking about what I don’t have/watching Netflix at night/not seeking out romantic love/not doing extra things to build my career and wasting my youth?
  • Will America be left a pile of smoking rubble?

Wisdom welcome 😀


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