The Casual Vacancy and The Queen of the Tearling

I have always loved to read. I have very early memories of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Secret Three, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Holes…

I can’t remember a period in my life where I went more than a month without reading. It’s like words fuel my body. I love The Grapes of the Wrath and The Jungle and Daisy Miller and Wuthering Heights. I love Harry Potter and the Gemma Doyle trilogy and Macbeth. I love Unbroken, The Storyteller, The Life of Pi.

I will read almost anything I can get my hands on – which is why I was so disappointed when two books – TWO -in a row really failed me. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that JK Rowling would write something that would make me want to rip my hair out, but by chapter 3 of The Casual Vacancy, I knew this was not the book for me. It’s not like it wasn’t well written. The words made sense and it was constructed well. But it was not for me, so I – feeling very much like a quitter for having been able to stomach 50 Shades of Grey {worst thing I’ve ever read in my life} but not Casual Vacancy – returned the book.

Me. I returned a book.
This time, I made sure to do a little extra research before making my next purchase and, after coming across a description of The Queen of the Tearling and feeling some female pride for a female protagonist, I decided to buy it.

Well, you guys, I’ve been defeated again. I made it half way through the book before I got fed up with the author’s gimmicks. You sit there wondering…is this the future? Is this the past? What is going on here? Why does the author hate her own main character? Why is the author in love with her own supporting male character?

It is very weird and not very interesting and very slow moving. I’m sure it’ll make a much better movie (which Emma Watson is starring in, surprisingly. The author made it very clear that the main character is slightly fat and very plain and undesirable).

Anyway, I’ve exchanged this book for The Night Circus. I have big hopes, because if a third book lets me down I may die of sorrow.

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Thinking about First World Problems

Living in Mexico, I often find myself confronted with situations that make me want to hashtag #NotAFirstWorldProblem or #3rdWorldProblems to the digital world, but I am always stopped by my own rational.

For example, yesterday I was getting out of the shower and grabbed a towel. Before I used it to dry off, I shook it a few times and – as is almost always the case – a cockroach fell out of it and scurried off. This is not a problem I have ever encountered in in the US, but it is not exclusively a “third” world problem. How many impoverished people living in the US have to shake roaches out of their things, too?

I also had to shake roaches out of shoes and towels while growing up in Japan. Japan is not a third world country.

Or, when the gas runs out and I have to wait a day to have hot water/use my stove. Is it a third world problem? Or is it just a problem more frequently associated with poverty? I know more than one person who grew up poor in the US and did not always have gas, hot water.

Access to clean water? Not exclusively and second & third world problem. Flint and Philadelphia much?

If I were to get pregnant in Mexico, I wouldn’t have the same access to 3D ultrasounds or the same kind of pre-natal care as I would in the US. Is that a third world issue, or an access issue? Because I know a lot of women in the US who can’t get 3D ultrasounds either.

So, I’m redefining “#FirstWorldProblems” as solutions available in the “first” world countries where other countries may not have that luxury – here are a few examples I’ve come up with (feel free to add your own):

  • “Pregnant and uninsured so I had to get on WIC and state-funded maternity care so my infant will have medical insurance and staple items for at least the first three years after birth.” #FirstWorldProblems
  •  “Had to use food stamps today to pay for part of my groceries.” #FirstWorldProblems
  • “Had to register my child in another district because this one only offers half-day kindergarten.” #FirstWorldProblems

Do you see what I mean? In the state of Mexico I live in, children only have access to half-day school (unless they go to private school which is expensive). I’m not just talking about half-day kindergarten. I mean all grades are easily out of school by 1 pm.

Or food stamps. While it may not seem like it, those would be considered a luxury to many. How many countries have people starving simply because they have no way to achieve access to food (aside from stealing, which then is punishable by death or chopping off a hand)?

So, anyway, it’s just something to think about. Lost your phone? #UniversalProblem Forgot your wallet? #UniversalProblem Hungry? #UniversalProblem

 

Black Hole

no hay nada que me alegra
ni me asusta más
que estar profundamente,
completamente,
enamorada de ti.

eres la pintura sobre el retrato de mi futuro,
la fuerza en mis inseguridades,
la risa de mi alma.

27

I think 27 is a good age.

It’s the age at which you stop making space for things that don’t matter. It’s the age where you come to realize that you’re completely okay with yourself, and that come what may, you’ll survive. It’s the age at which you can tell people, “no” and not feel bad about it.

I like being 27. I like that I no longer feel the need to validate myself to others. I like that I can say, “that’s not your business” or “that’s not my problem” and move on.

I like that – despite having a fluid life where nothing is certain (like everyone on Earth) – I don’t feel insecure or afraid or lost. I’m ready to take what the world throws at me.

I don’t know if this is owed more to what has happened in my 27 years or if 27 is the magical age when things just start to click, but I’m glad for it.

Bound

I want to run my fingers up and down your spine,
and turn your pages slowly – thumbing through,
unfolding your layers.
I will gently linger over bent corners, branded
pages –
and I’ll stop to ponder the question of
who was here before me?
and
why didn’t they treat you more carefully?