All posts by smellslikestrawberries

An ode to anyone walking to work this Monday

This is an ode to all working women and men who need to be somewhere today.

Because you need to take care of business, Because you need to take care of people,

Because things need to move forward.

I walk in the morning with thousands of people heading to work, to fill tasks that need to be filled.

To all the people who are in charge,

who have to think about the greater cause, who walk under July’s summer sun and take care of people and things and matters big and small.

Who have little humans that take up most of their days, who go from place to place and dedicate most of their time and effort towards everyone else.

Who sometimes get migranes at 7pm.

This one is for you, I am proud of the workforce, and I hope you are proud, too.

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A love in letters

I wonder sometimes how it would’ve been

if I only had letters to send to you instead of little sentences of love

I wonder whether you would’ve held on a little longer

until you got them.

I wonder if maybe if it weren’t so easy to talk to you,

You’d want to talk to me too.

I wonder how much we would’ve missed eachother’s voices

Back when there were no voicenotes to leave

Back when talking to you would’ve been a little more difficult,

would’ve taken a little more effort

than simply locking my phone shut.

Maybe letters would’ve sufficed

Maybe letters would’ve made you miss me.

How I wish I loved you in letters,

maybe you would’ve loved me too.

Stories from Paris: Ping Pong, then and now.

My father liked playing ping pong so much that he bought us a ping pong table when we were younger. So when I was around 15 we had set up the table in a small backyard that used to attract visitors, even though the visits were rare, but many of them did happen around our ping pong table, whenever we had guests over.

I remembered literally screaming and sometimes banging the racket on the edge of the table because my brother was learning faster than I was, and he was a sour winner so he would very often rub it in my face. Like all the time.

My dad would teach us the ‘mechanics’ of it, the same way he learned it from his teacher, and how we should go about playing, and what to do in some situations when the ball hits a particular part of the table, and how to smash and the fact that we should’t smash all the time in order to keep the game alive. He explained this, as he held the plastic ball firmly, his racket in his right hand, arm repeating the motion that I should be mirroring; “that way”

“see”, “it’s like waving at the table” and he swayed his arm again in a slightly circular motion. “This is how you win” he used to say in elation, as the adrenaline clearly pumped.

That was 7 years ago, he explained to me how to win, but the number of losses in those matches were significantly higher than the wins.

I was coming home from work at around 7:30pm when I noticed that the neighborhood family-friendly park was open. Through the metal bars I saw a man motioning the wave with his right arm. He looked at his opponent and mumbled words I was not close enough to hear. He looked serious about what he was talking about, but something about the way he was explaining it was very calm and understanding.

I couldn’t help but walk over to see the game, and sure enough, the game was not to be missed.

The Japanese man I saw through the bars, wears a red polo with white horizontal stripes, beige pants that seemed one size bigger than his, and beige sandals. His hair as grey as the sky that day, he had his bags and belongings on a side bench next to mine.

His opponent, a 10 year old French boy with big red bruises on his knees, evidence of his enjoyment of other sports I assume. He looked different than the other kids in the playground. Most of them were very aggressive and loud. There were 5 boys that were a little shorter than he was, playing football right behind him, and the ball sometimes flew over his head and through the gaps between his legs, that were usually spread apart, and passed under the ping pong table, but he stayed quiet, concentrated.

He smashes and then misses the second time, as the ball seemed to hit the floor far more times than it did the table.

“No” The Japanese man says. He tries to mumble why, in very broken French, and the boy could understand about 12% of what the man was trying to say. The boy looked at me in a confused but amused state, I giggled back and he understood that I understood his misunderstanding of the explanations, but the man was so persistent to explain the mechanics of the game that he used other means to get his point across. Soon enough his whole body was used as a tool to explain the How To’s and and Do’s and Dont’s of the game.

He took the ball in his left hand and held it in front of him, for the boy to see. “C’est comme ça, un, deux, trois”. He said.

The boy understood, took the instructions and applied them in his next serve. The more the man explained the game, the easier it got for the boy to understand, the better his game got. The boy sent many balls to the bushes and trees nearby, and sometimes the man did too, but the boy would always be the one getting the ball. At one point the man’s open bag drops to the floor, and the boy immediately goes to catch it, and put everything back in its place. There was a lot of respect given to the man by the boy, who now saw him as a teacher. The man clearly appreciated the care the boy showed towards him, and tries to teach him to win. The more times the boy won the match, the happier the man was.

I was not able to see the end of the game but they were clearly both enjoying themselves.

“How many times have you played against him?” I asked the boy.

“This is my sixth time” he said, his cheeks red from the backs and forths behind the ball. The man smashes and the ball hits the edge of the table and flies off, making the boy lose one more point.

“and it won’t be the last” he grins.

 

Kinetic sand

She held it in her hands like kinetic sand, watching it drip through the gaps between her fingers to the white floor she sat on, between her legs.

She tried to shape it into things that made sense. It seemed like it took form into something different only for a few minutes until it crumbled back into pitch-black kinetic sand, moving in random motion.

Its particles covering parts of her body until she could no longer see what was underneath. She covered her arms and smeared it under her eyes and on her cheekbones,

pitch-black sand grains on her hands and feet, going up the length of her arms and her legs.

she found a little space in the room which was not cluttered and sat on the ground, legs nearly crossed and hands moving the sand from one to another, playing with its texture as her eyes followed the sway and head shadowed left to right,

she sat there thinking whether her sadness will ever amount to something,

can she create any form of structure in her life based on what was between her hands?

it always fell to the floor and broke the illusion every time.

How do you build a fortress when all you’ve been capable of holding are grains?

What feels good

Sometimes things feel good

Like reading the little sign that says Project Submitted

like hitting the 15k mark on an essay

like correctly Harvard referencing the last reference

Like saving your Word file as a PDF

Like finally feeling your mind clear up from the clutter of excel and referencing and p-values

like stepping into the shower with boiling hot water after you recieved your confirmation email

like hot water filling the whole bathroom with little heavy white clouds

like sitting in your warm bathrobe completely naked for a while

like submitting your final project the night when you conveniently do not have work tomorrow, because people decided to celebrate Labor day by not doing labor.

Happy early labor day to those who like moments when they are quiet.

I know 36+ other students who just took a really deep breath of relief. Hope you guys are doing well!

 

 

 

Read me if you need to understand what matters

How Many people live in the world today

– 7.442 Billion (2016)

How Many people live in Paris, today

– 2,241 million

How many people are staring back at me, right now

Sometimes your only company is your mirror. It’s your eyes looking back at you. Looking back at the mirror. Looking back at everything that has happened right up to this point

This face to face

This me to me.

From connecting, to connections: an autobiography about my perception of my surroundings thus far. 

When you are in kindergarten, you connect in playgrounds. From when we are only a few months old, we are put into classes with a few other few year olds, and are encouraged to play, to share, and to discover one another. To connect in the harmless and innocent way few year olds do.

and then you’re in high school, and you connect in classes. You are put into classrooms where you are encouraged and expected to connect with people who are also around your age, going through what you are going through, turning in the same papers you have to turn in, sometimes earlier than you, sometimes a little later. Most 5-6-7teen year olds want to connect during those times. Some 5-6-7teen year olds are desperate to connect at those times.

and then you get to university and you start connecting in levels. You either connect on that I-want-you-to-meet-my-parents level, or that let’s-take-a-vacation-together level. You also connect at this-is-my-first-coffee-with-you-but-let’s-never-do-this-again level.

That let’s-hangout-sometime-level, that I-see-you-in-the-halls-but-I-don’t-even-know-your-major-and-I-never-had-the-time-to-try-to level. That-he-looks-cute-but-I-think-he’s-way-younger-than-me level.

That sister level. That stranger level,

That I-only-met-you-that-one-time-at-a-local-bar-but-we-really-hit-it-off-and-I-never-saw-you-again-level. That I-wished-I-met-you-sooner-level. That I-wish-we-never-met level. That I-will-probably-invite-you-to-my-wedding-someday level,

and many other levels leading you to suddenly leave your university with half a heart and most importantly, half a conversation. Half a laugh because of all the time you thought you had but here you are on a plane back home. You left so many conversations on hold back then that you were sure you were going to continue. There were many more nights to be shared, and many more sways I would’ve liked to have.

To anyone feeling like they left in the middle of the conversation, just letting you know that I did too. I think more than a few did, even if they don’t admit it openly in a blog post. On the upside, you can still hear them when you go back. but how can you understand anything with only half of the conversation?

Here I am looking at my only companion today, my sweet one in 2 million (could be romantic, could be very, very sad); completely flabbergasted at how apparently participating in the “adult-lead” world means that connecting slowly turns into connections, where people don’t advise you to “be friendly” in classrooms anymore. You just, exist. You’ve been launched into the world, and apparently “connections” are pretty much 87% of the people you know, and you just collect little meaningless connections like tokens you can add on your Linkedin profile to prove to the face of the earth that I know people. I connected. I’ve been connecting my whole life and we’ve connected so hard that they endorsed me.

I really hope that once you get to that stage of your life when you are in constant contact with adults, and have contracts to sign and have to worry about something called “time management” and “house tax” and “passing out at 10:30 because your mind says 22 but your body says nah fam a little over 45”; I really hope you’d’ve connected by then. Because (besides personal achievement and goals and inner peace), it is the only thing that will matter, and that will ever feel real. Genuine care, love, warmth, passion, desire, pride and the pure joy of seeing someone else succeed because you love them so much it physically hurts you, that is the only thing that will ever feel real.

Everything.

Else.

Goes.

Including (but not exclusive to) your money, your apartment, your car, your money, your job, your vacation, your money, it all goes, don’t worry, if you decide to save it not spend a dime, your government eventually will! lol JK pls don’t kick me out. 

Anyway your money goes!

what was the point of this again? 

Oh, right!

It’s just funny how the only real thing you’ll ever experience has colors and shapes you’ve never seen before. Life has a real funny way of showing you what doesn’t matter right in front of your face and on your radio and in your car and on your screen, and leaving everything that actually does, to your precious imagination.

I only hope my memory lasts long enough for me to remember you after you’ve gone. I hope you will remember me, too.