Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.


Four years ago, I was in my first semester of an MA program. In the late afternoons, I'd sit outside on the patio and do my readings while the girls played in the lane. At that time of night, at that time of year, the still-warm air always smelled like bougainvillea. I didn't realize it at the time, but I formed strong associations between the smell of those flowers and the feeling of having moved somewhere new and started an MA and entered a busy and exciting phase of life. I'm sure I've smelled those flowers before and since, but my brain has tied the scent very particularly to that phase of my life.

And still sometimes when the season changes just so, and the sun sets in the sky just so, and I'm coming home from work, steering my bike around the girls playing in the lane and greeting Sterling with a reciprocal "hi Mama," I catch another whiff of that bougainvillea smell and it brings me right back to my patio four years ago. Textbook open on my lap. Looking up every few paragraphs to check on the little ones. Wondering if I could really do this.

I don't have a lovely ending for this post. It's just a moment I've been experiencing recently as bougainvillea season has begun. It's amazing the things we can accomplish when we work hard. But wouldn't it be nice to sometimes know the ending when we're still at the beginning? If me on the patio doing my readings could see me coming home from work, MA done and dusted?

World Book Day dress-up

Relative durability of children's clothing brands