showing gratitude

Almost a week into playing dress-up as an adult, I was feeling pretty good about myself. After all, I drove a total of ~21 hours by myself to a city for a start of a dream career; I found a larger-than-life 1 bed apartment (a whopping 850 square feet with a waterfront view, i.e. a waterway). But two nights ago, this palpable sense of accomplishment came to a screeching halt. 

My TV had gotten stolen out of trunk at roughly 3:45 a.m., Thursday, September 18, 2014. 

My car is okay. It did not get broken into,. I must have left the car unlocked. More than the stuff he took- I know it’s a he, but more on this later – I was more upset that someone had been in my car and touched my stuff.  I felt vulnerable and frankly, creeped out as shit. Now, more than ever, I’m motivated to get a thorough carwash. 

I grew scared as I processed what had happened. I thought someone must have targeted me specifically from the complex as I have been moving stuff from the parking lot to the third floor about 29 times a day.  I called the cops. The officer thought the same.

He said probably nothing would come out of this as he couldn’t locate a single fingerprint. Officer M took more interest in where I had come from as it turned out he was thinking about moving to Austin. He is to retired in two years. Talking about Austin, despite the given situation, put me in a better mood as I listed all the perks that came with living in the city. That’s the power of home, I presume. 

Few hours later, my landlord informed that the suspect was caught on the apartment’s security camera. I went to the office and watched few hours worth of footage. Luckily, he, a classic, hooded-figure, wasn’t out to get me. He checked every car parked in the apartment lot for about an hour. It was just his luck and mine that I had left the car unlocked.

I felt a bit better. I thought I had to fight my way out of the lease but both the officer and manager said break-in like this was a rare exception. Also, I was more at fault for not locking up.

(I do, however, refuse to take fault for the crime. It was my mistake for not taking the precaution but in no way, it justifies for a crime that took advantage of my mistake.)

Exhausted, physically and emotionally, I took a nap. I woke up and I thought I have to do something to put things into perspective.

So I cooked.

I cooked a sirloin stake with garlic, sweet potato hash with spicy hummus sauce and sweet brussels sprouts. I even had a glass of red wine and ate the fancy plate in my kitchen, standing up. I don’t have a dining table yet.  It was one of the best meals I’ve made. 

As I took a bit of the steak, crunchy and sweet brussel sprouts, I was reminded of the  incredible opportunities and people who have led me to this point in my life, even if it meant having to come into terms with little bumps along the way. The secret, I suppose, is to not let these fog up my perspective on what matters. 

What counts really is I have been beyond fortunate in my walks with the help of so many people. That I have a place and the luxury to cook up fancy food as a way to clear my head.  

So cliche that it hurts to say but I’m grateful. 

I know my actions need to reflect more just how self-aware I am about how unjustifiably lucky I am.

I pray that Jesus will show me more hands-on tips on this topic but also that my heart will be ready and humble to receive his words.




On Keeping a Notebook by Joan Didion - A great essay about making notes that gets to the very core of the writing process

Write Like a Motherfucker by Cheryl Strayed - Raw, emotional advice on the role of humility and surrender in the often tortured world of the writer

Thoughts on Writing by Elizabeth Gilbert  - On disicpline, hard work, rejection and why it’s never too late to start

Write Till You Drop by Annie Dillard - “Do you think I could be a writer?” “I don’t know… . Do you like sentences?”

Why I Write by George Orwell - On egoism, a love of beauty, the quest for truth and the desire to change the world — Orwell’s ‘four great motive for writing’.

Despite Tough Guys, Life Is Not the Only School for Real Novelists by Kurt Vonnegut - A beautifully argued defence of the role of teaching in developing writers.

That Crafty Feeling by Zadie Smith - A lecture by a great essayist and novelist on the craft of writing.

A Place You All Know Well by Michael Chabon - On the central role of exporation in writing.

The Nature of Fun by David Foster Wallace (excerpt) - DFW on what drives writers to write

Uncanny the Singing That Comes from Certain Husks by Joy Williams - “Who cares if the writer is not whole? Of course the writer is not whole, or even particularly well…”




“There is no one on earth who makes a woman feel more beautiful than Oscar de la Renta…”

Sometimes I feel like I get in trouble because all I want is to get caught up and live in the romantic, beautiful world like the one ODLR has built these floral walls around. Every woman looks like a modern day Hepburn gliding down the runway and it’s all I can do to stay focused on taking the picture rather than getting lost in the garden party of dreams. High above Bryant Park to sound of classical music, we were all lovely ladies for Oscar’s moment in time…

As I contemplate paying $25 more a month to live closer to work is really worth the money, I take a break to fantasize what living a life of class, ease and unjustifiable wealth would look like. And the answer is, of course, owning a wardrobe entirely designed by  Oscar de la Renta.