Everything that I feel summed up

I loved this article from Thought Catalog: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/44076315/posts/1037417230

“I want to never be committed to one place, one routine. I want to wake up with different sunrises and say goodnight to different moons. I want to find the magic, the mystery, the beauty in every difference.”

I go and I go not only to satiate my wanderlust, but to help to fuel and feed yours too.

 

Mexico, how did we never meet? Parte Dos: The D.F. & Guanjauato

True Story.
True Story.

I know I’m writing this post way later since my Mexico trip back in October 2015, but don’t they say that when we take all these photos, the chances of us going through them are very low?  Well, I am putting that to the test and finishing this blog post.  I promised a part 2 of my trip from October.  That part 2 stayed in my drafts, so I decided to finish it up.  Now that I’ve moved across the ocean again to South Asia, re-looking at this trip feels so different. Life is now back in the grind and is ready to move at a thousand miles.  I am excited about it, but yet another opportunity to slow down is something I relish.

Many people are usually either overwhelmed by or deeply in love with big cities.  I tend to be a faint heart in between.  The love points of a big city are the following:  some level of anonymity, different types of people, things to do constantly, and keeping a foot in a culture that strokes my pseudo-intellectual snob side.  At the same time big cities can also mean being so far removed from the rest of the country and people in which the city is located, feeling like a small fish in a big pond, cranky commuters, and long lines for everything “cool”.

Then, there are the small places.  The ones that present so much charm and potential because of their very sweet people and appreciation for all things local.  I talked about Morelia in my last post because I had a quick weekend there with a friend. I decided, therefore, to visit another small city in Central Mexico, Guanajuato, but for more time.  I also decided that since things were more laid back and there was not this looming pressure to see 50,000 museums, I could spend a week learning some basic Spanish.

I figured I would do something a bit more interesting in my two and a half weeks: visit one big city and one small city in Mexico.

Continue reading “Mexico, how did we never meet? Parte Dos: The D.F. & Guanjauato”

Mexico, how did we never meet before? Part 1

Spending my teenage years and going to college in Texas, I always understood the concept of Mexico.  I always thought I would go one day probably.  I did not think about the cities or the states I wanted to visit.  I just knew it was nearby and I was already so close with the exposure I had to Mexican culture through friends in Texas. Boy, was I wrong.  I somehow did not think much of it because I was so obsessed with just crossing oceans and continents to travel.  Many people say, “Well, there are amazing places in the US with similar landscapes.  Explore that.”  I get that, but this itch is a different one.  It is not always about landscapes.  It is just about this entire system outside of what I know.  Mexico was just near enough to fulfill it.

I had a friend in Mexico who I recently met while she was on a work trip to DC. We talked forever, and she said, let me know when you come to Mexico.  Usually, in such instances, you think – “Sure.  Not sure when it will happen, but thanks for the offer.”

I did take her offer.

I started in Mexico City for a few days, mostly just interested in getting some yummy tacos, setting up a little, and enjoying the nightlife.  I found the LGBTQ scene extremely impressive and while the machismo culture is very much alive in many parts of Mexico, the outlets were endearing.  I also came to learn – you can put salsa in anything.  Even beer, known as michilada.  See below.

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We didn’t spend too long in Mexico City my first few days because were were going to come back anyway.  For a weekend, we spent time with my friend’s family in Morelia, located in the State of Michoacan.  All I can say about Morelia – CHARM.  Tons of it.  My friend’s family was incredibly warm and despite them only knowing Spanish, I tried to use my combination of whatever small hints of Spanish I knew from a childhood in South Florida and Texas combined with a ton of Google Translate (thank goodness, I have decent pronunciation skills in Spanish).

As for Morelia, the city has expanded quite a bit from what my friend mentioned to me, but there was still a very “small” feel to it compared to Mexico City.  It’s small but quaint and adorable.  It was one of my most endearing city center walks with my friend, as we recounted our careers, our relationships, and then sat around and people and couple watched.  I couple-watched a lot actually.  Affection in Mexico City was very expressive.  How I felt about it myself was beside the point, but it’s so interesting to see such a huge range of cultural display of affection.

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The next day we set off to Patscuaro and then the Isla de Janitzio, where apparently, Dio de Los Muertos is quite huge (and I sadly missed).  This was my favorite because it was my first look into the Aztec roots and a regional experience that so often makes me fall in love with places the most.  More than the grandeur and the idea of needing particular sites.

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Got to love street food.  I had small tiny deep fried fish called charales, covered in tons of chili and salsa (let’s be real, everything should be covered in that).

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Looking off the Isla.  Always a pleasure.

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Hanging out with the fisherman.

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And what’s the point of photos when you don’t mention the cool people who were involved with you in the process.  P.S. my friend’s “Abua” (short for Abuela) was badass and climbed all the stairs in the steep Isla.  She’s near 80.   I know what I need to strive for if I live that long.
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I love this kid.  His name is Arturo.  I learned basic Spanish with him through cartoon form, and I probably am way below his fluency level.  I basically could hang out with this kid…forever.

So,  think for now, I want to leave this post short.   Mexico City and Guanajuato needs to be their own posts (where  I spent my time two weeks after), but I figured the only way I’d be motivated to write any post about travels again was to break them up into small pieces!

The Endless Cycle of Outcome Attachment

We constantly hear of how people get out of the holes they are stuck in, but where in there do we hear what was actually going on with them during the process?  We only hear the beginning and the end of the story, essentially, with the selective in-between details. One in-between selective detail is: “Trust me, I had my bad days and good days” – and it ends there.

It may sound crazy to say this, but right now, I am going through a moment where I have a second chance to overcome something that did not go the way I expected.  I have the chance to do it better this time.  My hole at this point is what to genuinely do next with my career.  A year ago, I was still in that spot, but I took a wrong turn: I escaped.  I got off social media because that pit in my stomach ensued and the endless feeling of comparison with others’ (mostly skewed) happy lives seeped its nasty poison into my mind and heart.

I felt self-destructive.  I lost every bit of my confidence and felt like I had no abilities professionally.   After almost 6 months, I landed something. Happiness was back. I felt engaged in my work.  I was back on Facebook because I finally felt like I could participate in everyone else’s happiness show.  Strangely though, I didn’t seem to be posting my own “happiness show”.  I let others include me (i.e. tag me) in their own.  I didn’t even, at the very least, engage anymore on the things I used to care about. Those were the positive benefits of social media I once believed in. Who was I?

Then, one day, I was told my second job would be cut – after just 9 months. I thought. Seriously? Again?

This is clearly irrational but I kept replaying it in my head. Saba, in just two years of completing your masters, where are you going? Your resume is a joke. What will you do now? The negative self talk just spiraled out of control. My mind just couldn’t shut up. I was letting myself be trapped by the same scary outcome: I will scramble for a job, and this vicious cycle will happen yet again. I will again be stressed, but how do I deal now? I’m so fatigued that taking action feels burdensome.

All rationality is out the window. All perspective is too.

The world is so big. I know this. I have gotten to travel a lot of it, only to realize how much the life I feel stressed about is such a little part of something so big.  I know I have so many potential alternatives of what I can do next in my career, but that pit in my stomach wants to control me.

But, I won’t let it.

On another day, I sit still. I look up at the sky. I listen to all of the insects outside of my window. A little girl turns around on her seat in the metro and makes a silly face at me. Life. It’s in front of me. Whether a job or love fails again, these sights and sounds are here to stay. They don’t care about my outcomes.   They happen whether my outcomes are well-deserved, long overdue, or incredibly unfair.

That is what the “good days and bad days”, the days in between, look like. The illusory ending is still in sight.

The New Young Professional

I have been perusing LinkedIn articles for weeks. Among these, what has caught my attention is the lessons of high-level professionals, including tips on how Gen Y needs to get its act together and not feel so entitled.  Oh wise generations before me, I am doing my best and I want to do everything I can to apply your wisdom. I have made many of the mistakes you have mentioned about my generation. I take all of your advice into account, and only try to move forward after so many failures.

However, could you please help me understand how to navigate the type of world we are living in? I know that the good times were all in your days. People actually had real relationships, were able to make solid decisions with whatever they had and valued stability. I know you probably could not see all of the information overload coming, but please do not doom my generation to becoming mindless, sad, and dejected. We want some level of the things you valued and still value, but we now live in a world that has forced us to be okay with instability. In fact we are now taught to embrace it, but let’s be real, instability is extremely tiring and will not make it easy to reach the fulfillment and peace of mind we need.

In my early 20s, it was not called instability.  It was called adventure and living it up.  

I still find it very exciting to talk about my crazy traveling stories from my early 20s, of the amazing people I met, and the things I learned. I have been extremely lucky with those opportunities. Many of my peers were wrestling through the corporate world, being torn apart, soul-sucked, while I in many ways pursued a passion both professionally and personally. I channeled my passion for humanity and traveling into a career in global public health and policy through my masters program, endlessly pursuing opportunities to continually “internationalize” during that time – even when they were not in the form of a neat path.

We now live in an age where our 20-somethings peers have accomplished so much by 30. We have the 30 under 30 and some of our friends living the high life in high rise buildings on six figure salaries by the age of 26.  I cannot offer the experience that goes into becoming such a person, and I never may be that person.   What I can offer is the journey of a late 20-something (soon to be out of that category) who remains hungry for information to make it somewhere big.

Well, where is big?

No, I am not talking about what managerial roles I aspire to reach in my field or creating my own organization or business (it would probably be great to write that down on paper, though). I am not talking about finding the right person to settle down with, buying a house or small apartment and making sure I do not wait too long in neglecting the calling of my biological clock (or maybe not really hearing the calling at all).

I am talking about accomplishing full resilience to difficult situations and changing the way I understand success.

Bottom Line: I may not be anywhere near close to “having it all”. I continue to suffer from extreme wanderlust (except now I realize the importance of a home base).  For the record, I am everything impressive on a resume – two masters degrees with some experience under my belt, and living in a promising city like Washington, DC.  Yet, even when I did that, I am still at a crossroads of instability.  The irony is that I was finally seeking a little bit of stability in the past year only for it to come crashing down so quickly.  Universe, what are you seriously trying to say? Maybe, this is part of my wanderluster journey and personality – beyond just the very obvious display of travel.

Chicks, Vodka, Fancy Car, Abki Baar Honey Sarkar

A great post on the man we love to hate, but find ourselves singing to because his beats are (annoyingly) catchy.

Ashish Shakya

There are times when I’m classy and there are other times, when I listen to Yo Yo Honey Singh. This usually happens at house parties, where the unwritten rule is that once the night reaches a certain hour (Drunk O’Clock), one must drop all pretences of sophistication and flail about to songs that were written under the influence of the nastiest drug possible – being Punjabi.

Thanks to these songs, I’m now aware that Punjab’s number one industry is the Wearing Sungoggal While Indoors industry, and that a woman is a machine that you pour alcohol into until sex comes out. Of course, this is probably the nicest thing that Sri Sri Yo Yo Singh has said about women, or as he likes to call them, <insert pelvic thrust here>.

The song that first made him popular, especially in the college circuit, was an underground hit called… um, sadly, the…

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Business & Money

…That’s a message I tweeted back in April 2010, when it was announced that the Library of Congress was planning to archive every publicly available tweet ever posted on the social network. Now, almost three years later, the Library’s Twitter archive is beginning to take shape, and there are clues as to what uses researchers will derive from all of our 140-character witticisms.

When the Library initially took on the Twitter archive in 2010, it was already a daunting 21 billion tweets filled with words, hashtags, geolocation info, and other metadata. Today the Library has access to more than 170 billion tweets or about 85 terabytes of data. With about half a billion tweets now flowing into the archive daily, the biggest immediate challenge is finding a way to make all this…

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