Places

On Hiking Alone

Here is my official statement on why I do most things alone: I am a lone wolf. I am comfortable with myself. Here is another explanation: There is something about me that is fundamentally unlikeable.

May 24, 2022
The Coyotes in the HOA

Maybe we are the coyotes. We’ve invaded those tidy realms of whiteness, and we did not duck our heads. We acted like we owned the place.

May 03, 2022
Why Are “Good” College-Application Essays So Awful to Read?

For many, our education in first-person writing begins with the college application essay, which rewards uplifting narratives with neat-bow conclusions. This is a bad thing.

Apr 20, 2022
A Final Kampai for Angel’s Share, My Favorite Bar in New York

Why not form friendship around a love of good drink, openness, and a desire to treat each other with fairness?

Teachers Are Told to Ignore Their Bodies, But Chronic Pain Made Me Listen to Mine

I have never been as vulnerable with students as I was then, having to tell the fifth graders I was in pain.

Mar 23, 2022
Hiking Through the Colonial History of America’s National Parks

There’s a religious ring to the language of appreciating public lands in America. But, as a South Asian woman and a first-generation immigrant, I am not a welcome pilgrim.

Mar 09, 2022
We Need the All-American Diner

Diners are affordable, accessible, and a staple of our national imagination. They’re also disappearing—and we need them now more than ever.

Mar 02, 2022
After the Family Cabin Burned

But there was also the feeling of home, and these feelings shiver still in my core.

Finding Peace at the Most Beautiful Taco Bell in the World

I need the ocean to quiet my thoughts, the surfers to remind me I’m a person, the Taco Bell as a place where I become solid again.

Jan 13, 2022
I Wrote an Essay on Sleep Paralysis to Finally Talk About Men’s Ugliest Urges

Once it happens, sleep paralysis tends to recur. It’s as if a spirit has marked your bed, like the first coming has irreversibly altered you.

Jan 06, 2022
My Parents’ Country Doesn’t Exist. I Moved There Anyway.

I was enjoying what exists of this place today—be it Croatia or Yugoslavia—without the need for comparison.

Dec 08, 2021
Before You Leave for Bulgaria

My husband’s grandfather wrote an immigration guide called “Before You Leave for America.” We could have used one in reverse—for moving to Bulgaria.

Dec 06, 2021
Longing for the Magic of My Childhood Home

Frarieville was the safe space on which I could plant my flag.

Dec 02, 2021
Immigrating From Yugoslavia Was a Struggle and a Privilege—Both Can Be True

As her family saw it, my mother’s life in London was one of comfort. But she also struggled. Both of these things were true.

Nov 29, 2021
Searching for Home in the South with Carson McCullers

Quietly, I clung to what I knew: how to be an outsider in the South.

For Me, “Home” Is Never Present—Only Ever in the Past

Though no place is home upon arrival, I make it my home by the time I leave.

Nov 18, 2021
In 1990; Butler, Pennsylvania

Time amplifies division; I fear that we’re never going to be a big family again, that my newborn son will never consider his cousins to be siblings like I did.

Nov 16, 2021
Finding Home in Ten Days in Goiânia, Brazil

At home, in Goiânia, I didn’t have to be Brazilian; I could just be me.

Nov 09, 2021
Searching for My Parallel Life in Vietnam

What might have happened if we had stayed?

Nov 03, 2021
The Night a Grieving Phantom in the Everglades Changed My Life

The land that was previously seen as harsh and brutal by colonial forces was actually a site of survival, new life, and renewal.