Monday, December 17, 2018

On the way I speak

When the brother moved to Boston for college, now more than a decade ago, it took us a while to realise that he had developed an American accent, because for some reason, his accent appeared only when he spoke with Americans. I think the first time we all collectively realised it was when some of his college friends came to stay with us one summer, and we suddenly realised he sounded very different while speaking to them than when he spoke with us.

Some months after that, I was on the phone with him after he was back in Boston. A friend asked him something, so he turned to them to respond, and I could hear the accent creep back in. I teased him when he came back on the phone, and I remember him exclaiming, "dammit, I thought I was talking in my Indian voice tonight!"

When I moved to the US, I would periodically ask folks back at home if I had an accent yet, and was always assured I did not. I knew that even before I moved here I had a more anglicized way of speaking than perhaps the average Indian, so I always hoped that I wouldn't develop much of an accent and just continue to speak the same way.

My hopes were dashed the week before my graduation. My parents and brother had come to attend my graduation, and a couple of days after they arrived, I was on the phone with a friend. Midway through the call, she suddenly laughed and said, "you sound so much more Indian now that your family's here." When I ended the call, my father suddenly commented, "well, you had a definite twang while talking to her."

Needless to say, I was very confused.

I moved to Texas after graduation, and despite my ex-boss's warning to not develop a Texan accent, the word y'all entered my vocabulary very quickly. About a year after I moved here, I was talking about a former coworker, and found myself saying "bless her heart, but..." completely unironically, and knew it was too late.

My American coworkers now all laugh at how my voice organically becomes "more Indian" when talking to South Asian coworkers (there really are several). One particular coworker, who I do not like at all, has always been very blatant about eavesdropping on all conversations that go on around him, and once had the actual audacity to complain that he couldn't understand what me and another coworker were saying whenever we were talking, regardless of whether we spoke in English and Hindi, because our accents became "too Indian" for him to follow from his cube. I of course made sure all subsequent conversations were always in Hindi.

But just like my brother didn't all those years ago, I don't usually realise whether I'm sounding "more Indian" or "more American". Recently though, that changed.

I am currently the product owner for the business teams for a large IT project. I've only been trying to get this project funded and kicked off since I joined this team four years ago, and now that it finally seems to be happening, it is consuming all my hours at work. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, a lot of the folks from IT working on this project happen to be Indian. I'm very often in a meeting room full of Indians, with only one or two non-Indians, and sometimes have to pause the conversation to remind people that just because I look like this does not mean I understand any of what they're saying and can they please break it down for me in layman's terms for the love of God.

Last week, one particular meeting had me, two architects from two different teams, and my lead developer - all of us Indian - in the room with our IT Program Manager, and my teammate from the business, neither of whom are Indian. The latter two were not really speaking much during the discussion, and given the topics of discussion, I was being... animate.

And suddenly, I could hear myself clearly. During a lull in the conversation, I IM'd my teammate: "I can feel my accent being extra Indian in this meeting."

I promptly got two IMs in rapid succession:
yea girl i can hear it
In fairness, the girl is 25.

But yes, my accent now flips between being Indian and American, and occasionally, depending on how emotional I am about a topic, Southern as well apparently.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Movie watching thoughts: Crazy Rich Asians

I'm trying to figure out if I'm just being small-minded and inward looking with my mixed feelings about Crazy Rich Asians, or if the fact that I went to see it with some very "woke" people who loved the movie meant I couldn't really articulate my feelings about it at the time.

I liked the movie. It was fun, the performances were brilliant, and Nick's single minded approach to trying all the food possible on his first night back in Singapore was completely understandable. Also, it was very Bollywood. The basic difference between Crazy Rich Asians and every ridiculous rich people movie I saw growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, was that, unlike Karan Johan and Sooraj Barjatya, Jon Chu made a really good movie. Also the prospective bahu stood up to her prospective mother-in-law a lot more than anyone in K3G ever did.

Here's what bothered me. Before the movie started, they were doing clips showcasing the actors for the movie, and then did a slidereel of the history of Asian actors in Hollywood. And somewhere in the mix Indian American actors like Kal Penn were shown, as well as clips from The Namesake. And then, at the end of the slide reel, they put up a caption remind us that this is the first movie since 1993 to have movie with a majority Asian cast in a contemporary setting. To which I say, then what was The Namesake?

And I get it. I get how important this movie is to the Asian American community, and why this matters. But I've always struggled with the fact that India, and the South Asian subcontinent, gets called Asian when it's convenient, and gets tossed to the side when it's not. If we're making the point that this is the first movie in 25 years with an Asian cast, and we're excluding The Namesake from that narrative, then don't toss it into the slide reel either, right?

And granted, I have only visited Singapore for three days, almost 15 years ago, but I'm very sure there were more South Asians there at the time then movie showed. Which, again, is fine, because maybe they weren't part of the setting this movie showcased. But. BUT. How is it that every guard of a fancy hotel or mansion that the movie showed somehow managed to be a Sardar?

Look, I loved the movie. There's so much even I could identify with. The guilt tripping laid on kids by their parents. The love for family and food back home. How good it is to go back home every time you do, the catching up with old friends and families. The little throwaway lines that showed that people really are the same, everywhere.

And a lot of the movie brought back the feelings I've also always had, of being a probashi Bangali, growing up in Delhi, only visiting Kolkata occasionally for a few days during school vacations. My cousins made fun of how terrible my Bengali is, how my accent is "so Delhi". I felt out of place with my Delhi friends at times, but even more out of place with most Bengalis I knew. Those feelings span cultures - anyone who has grown up in a place that is different from the place their parents belong to struggle with that a bit, I think. And watching Rachel's character navigate Singapore, and reading the reactions of Asian Americans to watching that, brought a lot of those feelings back.

But, let's just decide if Indians count as Asians or not, 'kay?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Can we just not

You guys, I would just like to say, enough is enough. I have had periods of nonstop injury and/or illness in the past, documented here and here. But these last few months have really taken it to a whole new level. Because it's really never been so prolonged.

It started with the allergies. Which eventually got so bad that two days after irritatedly telling my mother she shouldn't fuss and there was no need to come to me, I called her and tearfully asked if she could come. Except she hadn't bothered telling me that she was unwell, and as a result, by the time she eventually did come, I was much better, and close to finding out the cause of my allergies.

Which, as it turned out, were two things. Shellfish. And nickel. SHELLFISH AND NICKEL. Shellfish, which includes every kind of seafood I like. And nickel, which apparently is present in most costume jewelry. SHELLFISH AND NICKEL. What is even the point of life anymore I don't know.

Look at her earrings, you guys.

But. Moving on.

Then, on one of my weekend trips soon after my mother left, I managed to sprain my back, which knocked the wind out of me for almost a week. During said week I was also travelling for work, so of course that was fun.

The weekend after that, I was at a friend's place and scraped my shin against the steps to her pool, and then ended up with a cold and cough, that persisted all week till I left for vacation.

Said vacation, thank the lords, was relatively uneventful. If you discount the teensy weensy car accident we had where we jerked our necks a bit but were fine by the next day. The poor car, of course, wasn't, but we were, so we're ignoring this incident.

Amidst all of this of course is the fact that it is summer and all the insects in the world are heading straight to me, and so I have bites and scabs popping up all over my feet and arms.

And then, yesterday, in a truly spectacular fashion, I managed to top my entire summer's worth of illness and injury.

I had an offsite meeting in the morning, and had just about managed to find a parking spot. I was walking into the building with a coworker, carrying, as is usual with me, one bulging purse weighing twenty pounds (or so my coworker later claimed), one tiny suitcase, and a ceramic carry mug with tea in it. And somehow, as we were crossing the street leading to the building, my right foot twisted, I teetered for about 10 seconds trying to regain balance, and eventually just went down FLAT on my face, sprawled in the middle of the road. And of course it was the one day when I had actually checked the weather, seen it was going to be 107F/42C, and decided to wear a dress. So there I was, doing sashtang pranam in the middle of the road, with tea that had splashed all over my face and hair, and two scraped and bloody knees.

Are scraped knees really supposed to be this painful? Because here I am, 36 hours later, still not being able to sit comfortably, or take the stairs easily, and texting my local friend circle to see who has salwars they can lend me for the next week, because I definitely need the loosest clothing possible till this blessed scab goes away.

So, all in all, 2018 is not going very well so far (if you discount the fantastic vacations, that is). And if I could just go at least the rest of the month, if not year, without any further ridiculous or traumatic incident, that would be great. Because I'm really tired of walking into places and have people go, "oh yeah, I heard that happened to you... how you doing?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Where we realise what a makeup addict we have become

"Is something... going on with your eyes?"

"Yes. Yes there is."

This was a conversation I had yesterday with a coworker while heating up my rajma chawal for lunch. And then later in the afternoon, I met a friend who hadn't seen me in a while, who shrieked  and said: "What happened to you?!"

Because, clearly, the people who do see me every day are too nice to tell me how bad I really look. But yes, the area around my eyes currently looks like what the internet tells me is called a sharpei dog.

Which, let's be honest, is a lot better than I did two weeks ago, which was basically exactly how Harry looked after they were captured by the Snatchers and Hermione jinxed him.

Except I couldn't open either eye at the time.

We can get into what exactly happened to cause all of this at another time, but right now, can I just say, for someone who used to put no makeup other than eyeliner till about two years ago, when exactly did makeup become so important to me?

This entire allergy nonsense started over a weekend. The first Monday after it started, I took photos of what I was looking like before and after I put makeup, and man, have I become really good at applying makeup. Of course, by the next day, my face was so swollen that no amount of makeup was going to do any good, but that one day, I was so freakin' proud of my skills.

For two weeks now, I've been banned from makeup. I get the need to avoid it for now, but when you look the way I currently do, and you're not allowed to put anything that would hide it, it really does do something to your self-esteem.

I've been rebelling a little - I'm still using mascara and perfume (I'd put eyeliner too, but that's kinda hard to do when you can't find your eyeline). Neither of those things is making me look any better, but they make me feel better.

The good news is, we seem to be getting closer to figuring out what may have caused this (and I am not happy about the findings, but that's yet another rant for another day). And so when I cautiously asked this afternoon if I can start applying makeup again, I was told I can "start testing it out and see what happens".

So hopefully, tomorrow when I walk into work, I'll be looking less zombie-like, and see fewer people stop in their tracks when they see me, and then quickly glance away politely.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Of solo trips and chocolate nostalgia

At this point, if you're still a reader of this blog, chances are you know me from real life somehow, and therefore have a sense of the amount I travel, as well as a vague sense of the how/why behind it. From 2014 to 2017, according to the site I use to track these things, I have apparently averaged nearly 83,000 miles of flying every year. And have already crossed 25,000 miles in 2018.

A lot of that flying was for work (I could tell you exactly how much, because that site tracks everything about your flights), but a significant chunk was for personal trips as well. The personal trips probably make up most of those miles, to be honest - work trips might have been more frequent, but the personal trips have been to more distant places.

I've done all kinds of personal travel in the last four years - solo trips, random day trips, trips with friends, trips with family, 24 hour trips, 48 hours trips. The one thing I hadn't done so far was a solo trip to a place where I don't speak the language.

Well, that changed this weekend.

I finally got around to applying for and getting my Schengen visa at the end of last year. They gave it to me for six months, and I knew I had to use it at least twice to make it worthwhile. A longer trip is being planned for this summer, but I wanted to use it over a long weekend as well. We get Good Friday off, and I figured... why not Germany?

So I flew to Frankfurt Thursday evening, landing Friday morning. I chose a hotel using my usual criteria whenever I travel alone - look at the chain I usually stick to, and pick whatever hotel they have closest to the main area of the city. In this case, Frankfurt's Central Station, because the plan was to to do a day trip to Heidelberg on Saturday, which was today and then fly back Sunday, i.e., tomorrow.

There is a reason I wanted to go to Heidelberg, and I'll come to that towards the end of this post. But first, a few musings on this trip overall:

  • The kind of a traveler I am makes it easy for me to travel alone. I like seeing historical things, and I like seeing cliched touristy stuff. So it's easy for me to pick up a travel guide, and just hit the road. Every single guide book I own has every place I've seen or visited meticulously ticked off, a fact that makes friends who then borrow said guide books from me roll their eyes.
  • The kind of introvert I am also makes it easy for me to travel alone, but also has issues. I invariably realise either halfway through a trip, or after the fact, that I know someone in the city I've visited, and it's too late to reach out.
  • Selfies are hard to take. Thankfully, the world is full of tourists who offer to and/or agree to take a photo of you (and your group, if you're not alone), and then gratefully accept your offer to take a photo of their group. I met a very sweet German couple today who agreed to take a photo of me, and then very shyly agreed to let me take a photo of them. The gentleman asked me very grimly if I was from India, which initially made me wonder if we had done something to offend him. He and his wife respectfully minded the gap and stood three inches apart for their photo, and then he coaxed her to take out her own camera to get me to click some photos on that as well, which she blushingly did. He then proceeded to ask me where in India I was from, and when I asked him in return if he had been, he said no. He's only been to Karachi in Pakistan. Which left me even more confused.
  • The one thing I am not good at doing is dining alone in restaurants. I invariably grab something to go, or get something back to the hotel room to eat. I need to get better at exploring restaurants and cuisines when I do my solo trips. This trip was relatively easier though: a touristy curry sausage place in the square in Frankfurt yesterday, a crepes stall in the MarktPlatz, and of course, a McDonald's at the train station - none of these needed me to walk into a restaurant and ask for a table for one.
  • Yes, McDonald's. I have now been to this chain and had their McChicken burger in at least half a dozen countries (except Japan, where I ended up with a Chicken Teriyaki burger). And every single country I've been to does it better than Amreeka. But no one does it better than India. 
  • This trip is my first time to Europe since moving to Amreeka. I've done the UK several times, including a two month "study" abroad stint, but never mainland Europe. Which also means this was the first trip to Europe since this wonderful trip. And I am pleased to report that I have neither lost anything nor been robbed so far. Of course, we have another twelve hours or so till my flight takes off tomorrow, so who knows what'll happen in the interim.
  • The big thing I was worried about was the language barrier, because like I said, I've never travelled alone to a place where I don't know the local language. I've always had at least a friend with me who knows the local language enough to get us by. I mean, okay, Chennai a decade ago when I used to go for work might be the exception, and I might still have nightmares about my trips there, but other than that I mean. Surprisingly, it wasn't as much of an issue. Most people knew enough English to understand me, which was great since all I know is Danke, which I realised I'd been saying wrong all along only this evening. What was actually trickier was navigating, because the road signs are all in German, and the walking tour maps I had was using English names for a lot of places.
  • And lastly, I may need to revise my hotel picking strategy. Years ago, when I would plan trips, tripadvisor was my first stop. In the past five years, my interest in  loyalty programs has grown into a full-fledged obsession, so for the most part, I simply use my chain plus location plus price method of choosing where to stay. And so I've stopped looking at reviews as much. Which is why I didn't realise, till I was looking at the Yelp reviews of a very highly rated curry sausage literally right next door to my hotel, that the two streets on either side of my hotel are red light areas. The street in front of my hotel is fine, and two streets over is the main street of the city (complete with Indian restaurants, including a Saravanaa Bhavan, obvs), but those two streets are to be avoided apparently. Which was reiterated by the hotel receptionist when I was asking what to go see in Frankfurt. She point out points of interest, and then drew big crosses on the two streets on either side, telling me to avoid them completely. Oh, well. ¯\(ツ)/¯
So. The reason I wanted to visit Heidelberg. Years ago, when I was still in high school I think (so literally, 15-20 years ago at this point, because I'm old), the father had visited Heidelberg for work a few times, and had always come back with gorgeous photos of the castle. And this one time, he attended some sort of conference, where they gave him a box of chocolates to bring back. Called Heidelstones. They were cubes of chocolate, and inside were layers of jam, nuts, cake, and more chocolate. And they were amazing. And for years I've tried to find them, without success. I once found a website about them, but it was all in German, and it didn't seem like they shipped anyway. That site seems to have now shut down. 

A friend started looking into them a few weeks ago, when I started planning this trip, and didn't have much luck either. The closest thing she could find was dominosteines, which seem to be close, but I'm not entirely sure. You get them only at Christmas though, apparently, so I didn't see any to try either. I went into a couple of chocolate shops today to ask about them; only one person knew what I was talking about (so they do exist!), but had no idea where you actually get them.

So, while this trip has been fantastic, the main purpose remains unfulfilled. And I'm now sending an appeal into the universe at large - if you know what Heidelstones are, and/or where to get them, let me know please?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


This is not the post I was expecting or planning to write tonight.

A coworker discovered a new Indian restaurant near work, so after multiple rescheduling, we finally made it there for lunch today. As tends to happen after Indian buffets, I was absolutely stuffed. Having zero plans this Valentine's Day, I was very much looking forward to a quiet evening at home, with a corn and bean salad recipe I've been meaning to try for dinner.

Till a friend texted "see you at 7", and confused me completely, because I thought we were meeting tomorrow. I scrolled up and realised I was the one who had suggested meeting today, except I know I meant Thursday, but whatevs, not like I had competing plans on either day.

Normally, when I have plans after work, I just stay at work till it's time to go, because going home and then leaving again just seems like too much effort. Today, however, I really had nothing to do by about 5.30, and didn't feel like sticking around for another hour, so I figured I will go home after all, and chill for about 45 minutes before having to head out, since the restaurant was close to home.

I was walking to my car in the garage, and realised I'd left my glasses and sunglasses at my desk. My purse was heavy, and I was almost at my car, so I figured I'll drop my bag off and then go back in. And as I got to my car, I happened to glance up at the ramp that goes to the floor above where my car was parked, and noticed a man lying on the ground. I called out tentatively to ask if he was okay, and got no response. I ran up to him, to see what had happened, and realised that he was bleeding profusely from his nose, and not responding at all.

I'm embarrassed, ashamed, and just plain heartbroken to admit that I have no first aid or CPR knowledge, had no clue what to do, and so did nothing other than dump all my belongings on the floor, and frantically wave down cars of other people who were leaving work. Thankfully, two people stopped, and one of them did know CPR, which she started doing, while we called 911. Others stopped too, and for the next horrible, horrible 15 minutes, a group of four or five people just kept doing CPR on this man, one person kept trying to see if he could find a pulse, and I, along with a growing crowd, just stood there an watched. By the time the police and medics arrived, it was increasingly obvious it was too late to do anything, but they tried too, till even they stopped.

As the half dozen of us who had been there throughout stood around, waiting for the cops to speak to us as needed, some of them told me I shouldn't feel so bad about knowing what to do, because I saw him and I came to him, and I stopped others who tried to help. My manager later echoed the same thing. But what if someone else had found him? Someone who knew what to do? Maybe those two minutes between me finding him and the CPR starting would have made the difference?

It was such a weird confluence of events, today. If I hadn't mixed up days for dinner. If I hadn't finished up work early and decided to go home first. If I had turned back to get my glasses instead of wanting to drop off my bag first.  If any of those things hadn't happened, I wouldn't have seen him when I did.

But if I had known what to do, maybe the evening would have ended differently as well.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Taking stock of 2017

I was terrible at writing in 2017. The blog was barely updated, and a lot of it were just cop out posts, and it wasn't updated at all for the past three months. And I largely went off twitter for a larger part of the last few months as well. A lot of it was wanting to shut down and switch off from all the annoying and horrid news that constantly hits you when you're online, and a lot of it was also plain laziness and procrastination. The hope is to be better in 2018, and what better way to kick things off in the new year than my annual taking stock of the previous year?

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Umm, almost drown in the ocean in Hawaii while trying to swim with dolphins?

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't think I ended up making any last year, actually. But for this year, it would be to write more, even if they're cop out posts. Also to find myself a damn job that isn't this one.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What places did you visit?

One of the unstated goals of 2017 was to travel every month, and to new places. That did not happen very much, mainly because work travel was crazy in 2017, and all over the dang place. I was in New York for overnight trips every few weeks, it felt like, which usually meant I had no energy to do my usual weekend trips.
Still, a few lovely short vacations did happen, and a fantastic two weeks in India, where I got to spend Durga Pujo back home after six years. So that was nice.
The full list, combining work and leisure:
January - Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York, Boston. The last three were back to back work trips, all while I was battling fever and a cold, but I got to spend time with friends and family on those work trips, so it actually ended up being nice. When your sister in law makes dal chawal for you on a cold and snowy night in Boston, you really can't complain.
February - multiple trips to New York (which included a train trip to Philadelphia because a snowstorm meant flights out of LGA got cancelled)
March - New York, Atlanta, Jacksonville (FL)
April - San Francisco, Kona (HI)
May - New York, Boston, Portland (ME)
June - Cincinnati (OH), Florence & Newport (KY)
July - ZILCH.
August - New York, Sioux Falls (SD), Des Moines (IA). I saw the butter cow, y'all!!!
September - India for the last week
October - India for the first week, which included an overnight road trip to Karnal for parathas that we do not regret AT ALL. On the return, work took me to New York, again.
November - New York again, as well as back to school after two years for a recruiting trip.
December - Work travel for the year had finally died down, but the parents showed up, and we ended up in New York (yes, again, dammit, but this time because I wanted to) over Christmas, and then an overnight road trip to Houston so I could get some visa stuff done.
This list has made me feel good about my year, you guys.

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

Inner peace.

7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I nearly drowned in April. The brother graduated in May. And I was home for Pujo in September.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don't think I have any that come to mind. How sad is that?

9. What was your biggest failure?

My complete and utter professional limbo.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Sigh, yes. This was not a good year, healthwise. All minor things that I could have ignored, but chose not to, which in a way is a good thing I suppose.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I do love my new roomba, if for no other reason that my parents' whatsapp commentary about it as it runs while they're in my apartment is SO entertaining.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Meh. In 2017? I really don't know.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?

Aargh. Men, the world over. Politicians, in India and the US. Having political debates on FB about two countries is exhausting, y'all.

14. Where did most of your money go?

That roomba wasn't cheap, you guys. And I replaced my laptop of five years with a new one that I have fairly lukewarm feelings about so far.
Also I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of money on visa and immigration related nonsense.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Hawaii. Also that butter cow.
Also, the parents and I had planned a two day trip to Lucknow while I was in India that I was really looking forward to, but which had to get cancelled. Bummer.
Is it just me, or is travel playing too large a role in my ruminations this year?

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Not sure if there's a particular song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

A little sadder, I think. I feel very disappointed in myself about 2017.

18. Thinner or fatter?

On the whole, marginally thinner.

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Travelled for myself. Networked professionally.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sat on the couch.

21. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it flying back from New York, and then making shepherd's pie for the parents.

22. Did you fall in love in 2017?


23. How many one-night stands?

At the risk of repeating myself, my mother reads this blog, people.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Comedies have been my lifesaver this year - Superstore, Great News, and The Good Place, all on NBC. Brooklyn Nine Nine. Late Night with Seth Meyers too.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Certain people at the workplace have been upgraded to worthy of being hated, yes.

26. What was the best book you read?

I read very, very little (if you exclude all my rereads of Nora Roberts and Mary Balogh, that is), even my woefully pitiful standards. But. I read Hillary Clinton's What Happened, and Alyssa Mastromonaco's Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
I read the latter in three evenings flat, on my laptop, without getting distracted by other things, and will freely admit that it was my favourite book of the year.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

For a change, I actually paid attention to the new season of Coke Studio (a post about it has been sitting in my drafts for two months, and in my head for even longer), so I guess that might count?

28. What did you want and get?

I dunno.

29. What did you want and not get?

A different job. A manager who cares.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?

Wonder Woman. Hidden Figures.
I saw exactly five Hindi movies, but loved Lipstick under my Burkha and Death in the Gunj.
I'm sensing a theme here.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

It fell on a Saturday, and everyone was either travelling or busy, so the plan was to celebrate with friends the following weekend. So I planned to treat myself to a pedicure, followed by shopping. But then a friend made me come over to her place for dinner, so I ended up getting cake after all. :)

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I'd pushed myself to something about my career.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

Comfortably smart.

34. What kept you sane?

Podcasts and late night shows.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Seth Meyers.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Sigh. Have you seen the news?

37. Who did you miss?

I stopped keeping up with a lot of friends this year, both locally and otherwise.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn't really meet any new people this year. How sad is that?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

I'm terrible at pushing myself to do anything, and that really needs to change.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

There is a song, This Year from Serendipity, that I had heard back in college, that I used to think was a great way to think about a new year. I don't know if there's a song that sums up 2017 for me, but I'd like to think I should keep it as my mantra, sort of.