Candles

September 7 & 8

A new pair of shoes that finally fits right and you can stuff your foot in without untying the laces yet the shoes are still not loose, or a pair of jeans fresh out of the dryer that’s just a little tight but then a couple of hours later it’s perfect.

It was like hopping up and down, trying to prop myself up a ledge and today I finally managed to get up there. It’s a cute little niche and guess what I found there? Indian food, coffee chocolate cake, a strange drunk man, a really cute black coat and my first birthday hug in St Louis.

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What a randomly adorable day. If you manage not to miss home on your first birthday in a foreign place, you have to think about how lucky you are. St Louis is really starting to grow on me and of course, it’s the people around you who make the connections in your brain that spell out the beginnings of love.

So when we’re born, all our neurons are just unwired and there are a million different ways they can be connected, forming behavior patterns, will you be a good dancer, is math your thing, are you doomed to be a wallflower, do you like roses? The magic wand that zips and zooms these connections into place? The first time you’re held, kissed, talked to. So maybe the reason I like words is because my mother was reading poetry while running her fingers through my adorably-black baby hair. It sounds like I read this in a magic realist novel but really, it was a human behavior textbook!

Also, did you know some races are more prone to certain diseases? It’s premature to say if race is the biological factor behind this or if it is just how society and environment deals with particular races in terms of access to health resources, social networks and what not.

Back to birthday celebrations: people give you birthday hugs and it’s really awkwardly adorable, and there was a lemony-pineapple cream cake involved. Coincidence. How to turn Aisha into a red light, put in a circle and turn on the spotlight, ask a generic question, expect a mildly amusing response. Heartfelt birthday wishes from a pretty lady from Kirghizstan

And people I barely know randomly taking me out – just because it was my birthday. For an introverted bookworm, I sure had a really nice time hanging out with some strangers, a couple of people I had met before and one cute, goofy person who turns out to be younger than me.

I forget the two years I spent after college and what with my baby cheeks, I have trouble being older than people around me. I thought everybody was going to be like old and serious in grad school but so far, so good. Not that I’m being ageist or anything, that would be very unsocial-worker like of me.

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