the pensieve

As I get older, it’s harder for me to distinguish one calendar year from the next. Unless, of course, it’s bad; 2004 sucked, for instance. On the other hand, 2008 was such an amazing year that I felt sad counting down its last seconds, as though saying goodbye to a friend who had been particularly kind to me. It felt wrong to let it pass without commemorating it in some way. So here goes:



  • The US and then global financial markets imploded, resulting in the destruction of trillions of dollars of wealth. I avoid opening my 401(k) statements now.
  • Shattered a glass shower door in my hotel room in Sao Paulo, resulting in stitches (& an upgrade to a VIP suite). Being surrounded by shards of glass without contacts or clothes makes one feel extremely vulnerable.
  • Got three fillings.

farewell, first home

I wrote this in August after I arrived in California. Wing was still living in our condo at the time. The new owners moved in three days later.

Buying the first house we saw on our first house-hunting trip ever may seem rash. It was only days before that we’d thought that it “might possibly be time to buy something”—but sometimes you just know.

Wing’s already explained a few of the reasons why we love our house: the natural lighting, hardwood floors, and the tall trees that offer shade and privacy (and a whole host of bird droppings to any unlucky car parked underneath). There were our upstairs neighbors, who we met as an unmarried couple but moved out as a family of three, and Henry, the friendly gray cat that came around whenever he sensed some action. And of course, there is all the food we ate in our disproportionately large kitchen with our friends who became like family.

This place only got better with every happy event, every home improvement, every piece of furniture schlepped in. Even when we passed the honeymoon stage and realized that the toilet seat never stood up and the closet space was non-existent, we stayed enamored. It’s true we would have needed something bigger at some point, but we left before we outgrew it.

I know it’s silly to have such a strong emotional attachment to a condo, but our “home” was the first thing that Wing and I built together. It’s the setting of some of my happiest memories.

The same can be said for Boston. College and grad school come with very clear endpoints after which people scatter in all directions; this changes the very character of the city. But over the course of the six years I lived there, Boston became more than just the sum of my school experiences. Every memory became so woven into the backdrop they became impossible to separate.