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Reflections on #Charleston

I had planned to blog about my recent adventures and shenanigans last week…you know I have something moderately important to say every 9-14 months.

But then Charleston happened. And I was inspired to write, both to share my thoughts and to have a record of the “tasks” to which I plan to hold myself. Everything about this week’s massacre of lives is tragic. Tragic has almost become a buzz word in my life time. It has described 100s if not 1000s of incidents in 30 years.

These reflections aren’t about politics (admittedly I’m a Democrat and rather liberal though I have my own issues and reservations about the term liberal), gun violence (I have always been staunchly anti-weapon unless you’re law enforcement), or mental health (having lived through depression, I readily advocate for mental health services)…these reflections go beyond these 3 indicators. Because in all fairness, Charleston wasn’t about any of them on their own. They were all factors along with a huge dose of indoctrinated racism. Charleston is about people. It’s about 9 fewer people on this earth. Any death is tragic, whether it’s from measles or a car accident or capital punishment. Every death is sad. And most deaths are avoidable. Perhaps all would be if we really sat down and thought about it.

I’m sad. I’m sad this happened again. I am sad that people are using a power tool (social media) to blame others or make it about something that’s it not (or something that only tells part of the story). I’m sad because I wonder if these people will take a moment to reflect and change their ways, big or small, to help contribute to the solution.

So many solid articles out there in the face of this week’s murders. And then some not so solid ones. I wish I could remind everybody that God (by whichever name you may call Him) gave us all minds to think…and that’s it not necessary to always groupthink. And that groupthink can be both positively powerful and epically failing.

I watched a great piece by Jon Stewart. And he was angry. He was angry that it was another shooting, that it was clearly a race issue, that he has no faith in our government to be able to say never again.

I read a blog on the young conservatives site about a post on the murderer’s Facebook page…by a surviving victim of the shooting. He wasn’t angry. He was sad and forgiving and loving. He provided advice and comfort. To a murderer. The only person who was mad after reading it was ME. Not because of what he wrote but because I knew it would take a lot more in my heart to ever be able to pen something so compassionate and to be sincere. I’m mad because I can’t forgive this man yet but this guy can. This guy is beyond his years in maturity, intelligence, compassion. So I reflect and realize I need to be more compassionate myself. Not ‘just’ about Charleston, but in life. I need to learn to forgive and to help others.

I hate to admit this, but incidents like this also help me reflect on how I sometimes let minutia get me down. I dwell on lame work things or am overly annoyed when my boyfriend makes me run (for no damn reason, I might add), or am impatient with my mother. I need to stop and remind myself that these are little things. That I need to get in my circle and fully accept that we can’t change everything. We can’t change everybody (and we shouldn’t want to). But we can change our reactions.

So what else can I do to feel like I am contributing to the solution rather than just complaining from the sidelines?

I can learn the issues in more depth and share this knowledge with others (in a not so preachy way). I can vote.

I can question my own biases. And when I’m not sure if I’ve made a biased statement, I can ask a trusted friend or family member for an opinion. And then I can endeavor to avoid making that same faux pas.

I can forgive others and myself.

I can question the status quo and not feel guilty for doing so. I recognize this doesn’t mean a comment war on Facebook. I can engage in thoughtful in-person conversation. I can admit when I don’t know the answer, and I can concede when I actually agree with somebody whose views don’t usually match my own.

I can avoid using any sort of phrasing that makes it seem like I accept people different than I am. What do you care if I accept you? Be you. Unless you’re purposely being a bad person (note: being gay, transgender, black do not equate to being a bad person), you don’t need my acceptance. Oh, and I won’t tell you what my God says about you. Because my God(s) are pillars of compassion, love, and humanity. The rest of yours prolly are, too.

I won’t judge my friends who have guns. I wish they didn’t. But I won’t judge them. I will reflect on why they might feel the need to have them. If it’s for protection, then I will wonder what we can do to make people feel safer in their homes. So guns don’t have to be a solution. But I will judge less.

And I will share these thoughts (score for signing up for a blog 4 yrs ago), and I will encourage others to share their own reflections.

I won’t find excuses for murderers, but I also won’t dwell on the why’s as much as I will on how’s…as in how can we avoid this again (and again).

I will continue to smile, to laugh, to live my life. Because now all of us need that. And because now their are 9 fewer smiles, 9 fewer laughs, and 9 fewer believers.

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And then it was November.

So if I was getting paid to blog, I’d obvi would have been canned by now.  Thankfully, I write just for funzies.  It’s been about a year (whoa) since I last said hello, and this morning, I felt the sudden urge to do just that.  So…Hi!

2014 has been one of my favorite years to date…here are a few highlights:

  • I turned 30 and didn’t have a nervous breakdown in the process
  • I traveled to Oxford, England; Belgium; Port Washington, WI, and have trips slated for Seattle and Nepal before the year’s end
  • I moved to a new hood, and I love it so much; [sidenote: I still adore Chicago, 4 years in]
  • I met a boy who might just be a keeper…wait, what?  Yap, this single girl fell for a strapping young enginerd (like he he legit walks around with a clipboard and hardhat); we’ll call him Buster
  • I re-learned how to love my job and reminded myself that while passion is key, balance is much more important…p.s. while I think the old adage about finding a way to get your passion paid for is a bit cliche, I’ll admit – I’ve done just that (most of the time, at least)

I feel pretty darn lucky to have found Buster…he’s just super.  And hilarious…and ridiculous.  I won’t pull all that ‘you’ll find your somebody one day,” and “when you know, you know” business.  But I will say, it’s a nice feeling.  Even nicer?  Finding out after we met (it’s 2014, folks, we have obvi met on the interwebs), that our dads were childhood friends in the old country.

Yesterday, Buster and I decided (okay, I decided) to take his niece to the planetarium for a day-o-fun.  I like to think we’re both pretty decent with kids.  You know, in that, they’re fun b/c you know at the end of the day, you get to give them back sort of way.  A few of my favorite ‘totes nailed this parenting thing’ moments:

  • perhaps I had to basically bully the child into going to the bathroom before the star show (those of you who know me know that I would not have been pleased if I had to miss the stars for a potty break)
  • maybe Buster got into a semi-intense competition to red-headed lads (whose parents were nowhere to be seen) re: building a tower with foam blocks
  • perhaps I had to step away from the group when aforementioned lads got a little annoying (yeah, I said it, they were cute, but no, I do not like to lose)
  • While in the kids area:  Me:  It smells funny in here.  Buster:  Yeah, like poo, right?  Me: Oh.
  • Buster and I each required 2 hour naps after our 4 hour excursion to the museum and lunch…that’s normal, right?

All in all, successful outing!  I haven’t had a chance to hang with my white babies (they’re not babies anymore!), so just reminded me how I miss them.  Must schedule a playdate soon :).

In other news, I’ve recently been engrossed with gourds and root vegetables…sweet tatos, butternut squash, other squash.  Creamy cream-free soup is SO EASY.  And it involves my blender (note previous posts where I’ve made slightly obsessive references to my $35 Oster blender)..I’ve finally accepted that I don’t *need* the vitamix.IMAG0539

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2 Waffle Houses, 1 mile span of US 90

Since moving to Chicago (and actually when I was in Kansas and Atlanta), I have tried to visit my parents in Florida a minimum of 1 trip per year.  It’s time to get away from the hustle and bustle of work, city-living, public transit…During this time, I get my fill of Gujarati and Mom/Dad’s cooking (Papdi Lotte, Dad’s famous chicken & gravy, and way more fruit than is natural).  I also get a solid amount of marriage…banter?  Pressure seems overkill, since clearly it hasn’t been effective.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the recent trip (that I am currently still on b/c of the epic snow sitch in Chiberia).

  • Dad:  Within 10 minutes of getting into car from airport–so remember that boy from Wisconsin with the broken English?  He’s engaged.  (please note the tone of voice was filled with disappointment and perhaps a smattering of resentment towards his ‘hard-headed’ daughter)
  • Dad:  What about that boy from Philadelphia?  He’s very handsome, mature (and 25).  He doesn’t live with his parents, his parents live with him.
  • Mom:  What’s his name?  Kiran, who are you texting?  Tell meeeeeeeeeee.  You find somebody, right?  (basically any time I was holding my phone)
  • Mom:  You have to get married in 2014.  That’s it.
  • Mom:  There are lot of boys in Chicago, you no get no luck?
  • Mom:  I don’t know why they’re legalizing marijuana (unrelated, still funny).
And then I tried to explain what I did for a living to my mom (she asked).  She expects me to follow in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie and/or Chelsea Clinton.  This seems reasonable to me.  I have put in a call to Ban-ki Moon and Bill Clinton.
I gotta say, I love coming home (despite the constant grilling) because I love seeing the city I grew up in…how it’s changed, how it’s stayed the same.  The Dairy Queen which will ultimately be the reason I get diabetes, the beautiful historic courthouse, my childhood home that my parents painted baby yellow before finally selling, the public library where I spent hours pretending to study for the SAT while most likely reading Sweet Valley High, and of course, my beloved Publix.  My parents have moved to a slightly larger city, so I don’t get to see the old hood as often these days.  But it’s special every time.  Most special part of this visit?  Getting to finally meet my childhood (and let’s be honest lifelong) bestie’s newest addition!  Adorably pleasant would be an understatement.  I love that her children refer to me as Aunt Kiki.  And I love that I was able to get a picture with a goat just by visiting their beautiful sprawly, land.  I think I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating.  I loved that I grew up in a small town. I loved that my parents were the 2nd Indian family in said town.  And I love that I rarely describe it as a city…town seems more appropriate.  Though I do recall saying I lived “in the city” and my friends lived “in the country.”  There’s something about that hometown connection, the old buildings, the complexity of life in a less crowded region that just fills me with nostalgia.  I like to think a lot of who I am today is a direct result of my smalltown upbringing.  There was never anything small about my friends.  They’re world-changers, they’re optimists, they’re inspiring.  I always thought (and still firmly believe) my friends from a variety of years were the best products of Suwannee County in the past 15 years.  Well, them and the Beverage Barn if it’s still around.
My diet must start when I get back to Chicago as I’ve essentially become a cookie in my week home…yummy Guju food, pizza, Dad’s chicken, Publix subs.  Rolly polly Kiks.  My mom even convinced me eating chocolate chips just plain is good for me (I can’t recall how, but I believe her).
Did I mention I got to see 3 of my cousin-sisters (that’s sounds very Utah, sorry) and my beautiful princess Lara on this trip?!?  She is growing up way, way too fast.  She says Please and Thank you like it’s her job.  She calls me her Kiki Masi.  And she eats like a miniature, adorable garbage disposal.  I miss her so much, but am so grateful I got to see her!  And my sisters – a few hours with them and I am reminded of how much I’d wish they’d all move to Chicago, damnit!
I hope your 2014 is starting off as well as can be expected given this redonk deep freeze.  Stay warm, check on your loved ones, and be safe!
Have you ever watched a football game with your mother?  Okay, in all fairness, you need to watch a football game with MY mother.
Let me set the scene – she’s sitting at the edge of the bed concentrating just as hard during the game as she is during commercials.
  • After FSU gets to the 20 yard line with less than a minute to go –> He did not get that far
  • With 7 minutes to play and FSU down by 4 –> I don’t think they can get the 4 points
  • Oh no, he’s hurt.
  • While watching the players run down the field –> But that is good exercise.
  • What happened?
  • Her final thoughts “Gooood.  Last minute!”
I leave you with what I like to call yet another “Ah-ha” moment compliments of Upworthy.  This one made me smile and think!
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Another year, another reflection…

Sooo, it’s been a while.  My bad.  I started a new position early in 2013 and put the blog to the side.  It’s been a crazy year.  Mostly fabulous, a few dips, and lots of newness.  Let’s see…yes, I am in my third job at the Academy in less than 3 years.  You know how I feel about consistency.  Crazy to think that three years ago, I moved to Chicago with a few of my belongings and the support of fabulous siblings…and very little else.  How’s that for dramatic.  The job market was bleak, but I was lucky enough to get into my dream suburban job, ha :).  So, tobacco isn’t my primary focus these days.  I’ve moved into global child health full-time (!!!) and have switched my attention to vaccine-preventable diseases (and anything else my bosses tell me to work on).  The topic is fascinating and I’ve learned SO much.  The position had its rough spots, but 10 months in, I think I’ve finally found my stride.  My newest boss (I have 3, wtf, I know) is fabulous – our love for snark, cat memes, colorful pens, and doing good has really made for a great relationship.  How many of you have traveled to the Southern Hemisphere with your supervisor and taken a selfie with a roo?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  She, I’ll call her Cat Lady, is also just a swell mentor.  All in all, good stuff.

In the past year, I’ve also learned a lot more about what I like (programmatic, creative, advocacy-related work) and don’t like (administrative, bureaucratic, uppity projects) when it comes to my career.  That’s crazy…saying, career that is.  I mean, I’m but a child who likes to think of her jobs as a bunch of fancy internships.  Perhaps, I am growing up.  The llama, 50 colored pens, and Justin Bieber notebook strewn about my cube beg to differ.Image

Travels!
This year I was super fortunate to see a famous Abbey in London, the River Liffey in Dublin, the shipyard of Titanic in Belfast, a stuffed donkey’s head floating in a(n STI-filled) canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, a roo in Featherdale, a perfect beach at Bondi, and the most gorgeous alley-graffiti in Melbourne.  All in all, it was a beautiful year to capture memories.  Locally, I caught the sights in Lima, Starved Rock, Atlanta, Orlando, DC, and I am sure a couple other places.  This is the first time in my 29 years I’ve had a real, for realz, vacation (London/Ireland).  And I gotta say, I HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT.

Chicago…
I still manage to love this city more and more each month.  Despite the runny nose and salt-stained boots, I can’t get enough of it.  Three years ago, I moved here for a change, a newish beginning, and to be closer to my bestest friend.  Now, I feel like I am practically a Chicagoan living the city life, master of the CTA, identifier of the newest random “must-do’s,” and still not a parallel parker.  The weirdos on the train no longer phase me, seeing a fried egg on the blue line is the picture of normalcy.  In fact, perhaps, I am morphing into one of those weirdos myself.

Final Thoughts
I’ve learned more about me and what it takes to keep me happy…copious amounts of sushi.  I kid, I kid.   Though I have grown fond of fish oil.  2013 was definitely a rough year, globally, despite some really sparkly fabulous moments.  So rather dwell on the waah waaah, let’s spend a few moments on the good!

  1. It’s redonk how close we are to ending polio (only the 2nd disease to be eradicated…ever).  SO CLOSE.
  2. Yeah, so the ACA roll-out wasn’t exactly perfect.  Okay, it was a shat show at best.  BUT good things take time.  Smallpox wasn’t eradicated in a day.  Seat belts took some time for buy-in.  Doctors used to endorse cigarettes.  Patience.  I was driving a dear friend home the other day and she told me how ObamaCare [<– click on this link for some Ryan Gosling!] was going to benefit her.  And that was more than enough for me to know it’s better than what was once the status quo.
  3. Marriages in Utah, Illinois (effective 2014), Hawaii, New Jersey, Delaware, Minnesota…and some others!  Hooray.  Let the Big Guy(s) do any of the ‘judging’ He/They see fit.  Here on earth, let’s just love and let others love.  Peace out, DOMA.
  4. The Noles are going to the BCS Championship Bowl for the first time in forever (hooray), the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup (I care!), India won some cricket match.
  5. This happened: http://www.reasonsmysoniscrying.com/.  And this, too: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-40-most-insane-things-that-happened-this-year-in-florida.

Happy end of 2013, minions!  Here’s to hoping 2014 is epic in the best ways possible <3!

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confessions of a drug mule

hi, reader(s)!  i realized i haven’t said hello in a couple months, so i thought it was time for my last post of 2012.  whoa. where did the year go?!  i wrapped up my fall with a few more trips, some delightful days in chicago, and of course, plenty of time on that blasted train (shockingly no crazy train stories to report – it still smells funny).

georgia/arizona – oh, sweet georgia!  i was down south for a very dear friend’s (whom i call tot) wedding.  as is common, the white southern belles (mothers and all) LOVED ME!  it was so much fun – favorite moment?  when the very white DJ played gangam style and the 2 indian girls were the only ones who were able to dance through it.  i mean, come on!  after GA, i was off to arizona!  highlights: seeing my childhood friends AND not getting deported :).

colOmbia yup, just a quick trip to cocaine country for work.  i kid.  first trip to south america, and i loved it!  i was there for a conference, but let’s be honest I WAS THERE FOR COLOMBIA.  work training went well, conference booth went well, etc.  then I was slipped $750 semi-stealthily by my boss of our hotel.  that’s normal, right?  totally normal work protocol?  alas, after chasing down the doctor (and listen, i don’t mean any disrespect, but you imagine yelling Dr Gonzalez in a crowd of LATIN AMERICAN PHYSICIANS) and giving him the money, i was officially relieved of my drug mule duties.  i just want to make it clear – colOmbia is not known for cats.  also, a man dressed as Willy Wonka hit on me.  so that happened.  Also, there was a mariachi band at one of the rooftop parties I attended…with lots of tequila-happy Mexican pediatricians.  Life experiences, I call them.   blogpost

also, OBAMA won!  that was a pretty awesome and magical time!  i know he’s not perfect (i mean his skin is perfect), but i am excited about the next 4 years.  especially for the women in my life, for the children’s health i work for, and for all the men and women who just want to get married.

favorite moment of 2012?  that’s hard since it included getting down with a sarawakian warrior dancers, attending two best friend weddings, and well, sushi…hmm, i think it might be teaching my mom how to send an e-mail and then receiving this e-mail after returning home from a trip to FL:

subj: I missed you so much, please reply Love Mom
body: –nothing–

it made me smile, it made me tear up, it just made me really happy and grateful.  also, let’s be honest, it made me laugh.  why so desperate woman? of course, i’ll reply!!  i hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on 2012 – it had some really dark moments, some moments that may have made it really hard to believe, to laugh, to smile.  in those moments, remember the e-mail i just shared.  remember a happening that gives you reason to smile.  and let’s work harder to minimize the dark moments in the coming year.

what’s on the docket for 2013? i don’t know!  i am thinking about taking hindi classes, continuing my bolly ways (listen, guys, i am almost ready to be a backup dancer), and keep the social calendar strong (for the love of cats, I convinced my friend to go speed dating).  as for work, who knows – i think it’s going to be a wonderful year ahead, so i guess i’ll just keep doing my thang.  yes, i said thang.  instead of focusing on the wants and don’t haves, i’ll give a little extra attention to the existing fabulous in my life.  i hope you have a fantastic transition to 2013 – our best year yet?

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Selamat Datang (Welcome!)

It’s been a minute since I returned from Kuching (Cat City, baby!), so I thought I’d drop in a quick hello of fan favorite moments from my 2 weeks in Borneo!

There really are cats everywhere – statues, etchings on the sewer covers, and in same places, real ones roaming around. 

My boss asked me whether or not he should wear a tie to a meeting….he asked me this via text.  He then proceeded to ask if the “Japanese” were wearing ties.  Everything about that moment (which lasted about 30 seconds and 4 SMS) was odd.

People are sooo friendly in Malaysia.  And welcoming.  And beautiful.  And lovers of cats.

I went into 2 temples (Hindu, Buddhist) and 1 mosque (Muslim, obvi) within 2 days.  That was awesome.

I accidentally danced with traditional warrior dancers at a conference dinner with my boss in the front row.  Turns out, I AM A NATURAL.

When it comes to British and Australian accents, I am a total ham.  I cannot get enough of the sweet sounds of…uhh, royalty and kangaroos?  Wasn’t really sure where to take that.  Regardless, I may have slipped into an accent when around those…mateys a few times.  And I sure as hell used the words rather and quite an unnatural amount.

I had to take a small fake baby, NeoNatalie, to Malaysia for our booth.  I had the HARDEST time filling her up.  In the end, I left only halfway-ish filled so NeoNat was looking a little limp when my boss saw her.  He proceeded to properly fill her with a bottle of water (details are irrelevant and yet so fabulous).  I didn’t realize he had spilled some water in her little wrap-around medical sheet until he handed said doll to a passing conference participant.  NeoNat proceeded to have a wee bit of a leak on this poor, unsuspecting pediatrician’s foot.  An “accidents happen” joke followed. [NeoNatalie is a simulated demo baby for an amazing program saving millions of lives by literally helping babies breathe in their first 60 seconds of life.]

I went to a museum for cats.  Like a real one.  Admission was free, but to take pictures, it cost me just over 1 US dollar.  Naturally.  I believe on Sunset Blvd, they charge for celebrity pics (or pics of houses?) – this is a parallel situation.
I ate a lot.  One meal (for a special conference dinner) consisted of well, 8 meals.

My wildlife cruise reminded me that I am blind.  I couldn’t see the damn monkey.  I TRIED.  Finally, after much effort (and having my head literally grabbed and position by the President of the Australian Pediatric Society), saw a black flash in the trees.  Good enough.

My Malaysian tour guide asked me about dowries in Hindu weddings.  No real point of sharing this besides it was weird.

My boss made me attend meetings that I was neither invited too nor really welcomed at.  So I essentially become that annoying Western girl who kinda looked like the locals.  Must have been confusing for the staff.

One of my tasks while at the conference was entertaining 3 Malaysian doctors in a VIP room (read: it looked like the swankiest part of Opera Nightclub with the lights on) for about 40 minutes while my boss tried to get out of another meeting.  The best part – the men did not know why they had been summoned.  And well, neither did I.

My only regret is I didn’t see the orangutans.  How, oh how can I go to Borneo and leave without pics of baby monkeys?!?!  I almost let this friendly Sikh taxi driver take me for a reasonable price, but then I realized—I AM NOT CRAZY.

Turns out I can hang with high ranking (whatever that means) pediatricians like a champ.

An influential pediatrician greeted me with “Kemcho?”  For the non-Gujarati speakers, that’s “how are you?” HOW COOL.  Immediately, I felt connected to this man uncle (we call all men who are elder and not our father “uncle.”  We chatted a few times – where my parents are from, how his son wants to study public health (well, of course, I touted (?!) Emory, etc, etc.  In my head, this small meeting had turned into “Adorable and ethnic tobacco control specialist is going to revolutionize the way the American Academy of Pediatrics interfaces with India.”  On the last day of the conference, before leaving a talk, he asked me my first name.  Oh.  Okay, so this might take a minute. 

It took me a good 2 weeks to get back into the swing of things here in ‘Merica.  But I am back.  Getting back into my routine of dancing, spending time with friends, and bolly-dancing.  The weather is nothing short of perfection of late.  Crisp, slight breeze, and the leaves are changing.

October 2 marks Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday – what a fabulous reminder of how lucky we are.  Do your part, and volunteer when you can!  Help with the campaign, play with children who need some love, try not to embarrass yourself while helping a person study for the citizenship exam, play bingo with the old folks…just do something.  Be somebody to someone.

And I leave you with this –

I recently met up with a guy a friend set me up with (I, too, am appalled by the number of inappropriate prepositions I just used, so get off my back).  Nice fellow (and I am pretty sure based on the date, he’s far too busy to ever read my diminutive blog).  Things he (I’d say we, but I was mostly there to affirm and eat pancakes) discussed:  lawncare (yes, as in grass), his (albeit, cool) website side business (this involved an iphone [the same iphone which was used to answer a phone call during said brunch] exchange so I could see all the magic in real time), and the crème de la crème – he admitted that he still hadn’t called a girl he was supposed to be set up with…back in February.  All jokes aside (seriously, grass), delightful person but quite possibly one of my most bizarre dates to date.  And I went to the Chicago Public library on a date once, so, yeahhh.  My married/relationship friends basically took this experience as yet another reason to be thankful for their somebody special.  Oh, life, you entertain me!

Off to teach some formerly imprisoned ladies computer skills!

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Chicago is my kinda town…

Isn’t Chicago amazingly beautiful?

It’s almost time for my world tour!!  As in life, I’ve walked into a few awkward situations regarding this trip:

Report Inappropriate Facebook
I liked 2 pages (Singapore Tourism, Sarawak, Malaysia) to check out the scene and get my questions answered.  I then posted on both pages about currency exchanges and cabs’ accepted forms of payment.

Singapore response (from an individual not the official page):
Shah Rumal Shah Rumal i am a boy, please you add me
friend, my friend request block

Sarawak – Private Message I received (again, PM).
dear Kiran,
If u happen to come to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, drop me message, ill be happy to show u around 
Regards,
Wan.
[please note a link to a Bed and Breakfast was included.]

A Muslim, a Hindu and a Jew
Okay, in all honesty, I don’t know if the doc from Nepal is Muslim – For this conference, my boss has been fielding a request from the VP of the Nepalese pediatric society.  While my Jewish boss has encouraged the (maybe) Muslim doc to include his (Hindu girl) staff on e-mails – the doc hasn’t.  Mind you, he wrote me separately.  Okay, fine, I thought nothing of it.  Until my boss sent me an saying “He really doesn’t want to have to talk to you, does he….Perhaps conservative muslim?”  Ha, why am I blogging about this?  I don’t know, just thought it was interesting exchange.  More interesting?  I am often referred to as Mr (and sometimes Dr!!!) Patel since Kiran is a unisex name.  Anyhoo, again, it just made me realize how my communications have changed so dramatically since I’ve taken on this new role.  The nuances in who sends e-mails to who, being sensitive to China’s views on Taiwan and Hong Kong, the politics of financial support.  And I am really enjoying it all :).  Well, maybe not the Sarawak tourism response part.
I accidentally cursed at my boss in an e-mail recently.  Yeah, I don’t have much more to say to that besides I am still employed!  Also, I had to leave a happy hour early the other day to field a call with a doctor from Singapore.  Yeah, that’s gonna take some getting used to!
Another year wiser
I celebrated by 28th birthday last week.  It was delightful.  Amazing, actually.  Why?  Because I spent the day and the days leading up to my birthday with some of my favorite people – Emory besties, parents, cousins, my ladoo niece, my Ba (Mimi/Nana?), uncle/aunt, sister/brother, co-workers…Just a delight.  It involved treats, love, flowers, pizza, more treats, and a brand new phone!  I think it’s safe to say, best birthday to date :).  As I get older (NOT OLD, JUST OLDER), I am really starting to appreciate the simple things in life.  Dinner with my sister and brother – something we do often (but with our schedules, not often enough), lunch with my co-workers, a Google+ hangout with my Chicken Wing where we discover the available “props” in the chat like a freaking BIRTHDAY HAT, enjoying the city from a new view, and just taking some time for myself (to clean!)…I realized that birthdays are just another day to appreciate what you have, who you have in your life.  Some people (and experiences) come and go, but some are there for keeps.  And as for those who go, let them go.   Actually, sometimes run away from them and don’t look back (after you’ve gotten all the necessary lessons out of the ordeals).   This anniversary’s takeaway – love those around y0u, and thank them often.  Move on from the past b/c sometimes you (and by you, I mean me) you finally realize that your past is not holding you back.  It’s your (sometimes credible, other times irrational) fear that it will.  Okay, I am done.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.
My Fake Baby
Listen I don’t mean to harp on my trip upcoming trip to Malaysia, but I gotta take a dang fake baby with me.  NOW – the program itself is amazing.  Helping Babies Breathe (google it!) is an amazing Academy initiative that saves babies’ lives in the first 60 seconds of life.  Fabulous.  The demo baby to teach men and women across the globe to implement the program?  CREEPSTER CENTRAL.  They call her NeoNatalie.  She’s literally a Cabbage Patch filled with water or air.  I am calling my little baby JR Cletus.  She is adorable.  Okay, no, no she’s not.  JR is secured in her box, but here’s a quick look at her sister.
 I sincerely hope you enjoyed that image.
You may also notice I have a new header on my blog – compliments of Polish Princess for my cube birthday decor.  She also posted several young pictures of me when I look all sorts of awkward.  I am slightly less grateful for those.
I recently shared a post on FB of a picture that was making the rounds on social media – an Episcopal church wishing its Muslim brothers and sisters a Happy Eid.  Words cannot describe how much it touched me.  Such a gesture.  It’s been such a rough last few weeks with these recent hate crimes of mosques and temples and theaters.  It’s sometimes beyond comprehension.  And then gestures like these come along and remind me, we’re not all bad.  There’s still some love.  I am really hoping to make my first trip to a mosque in Malaysia, a country of many Muslims.  It’s odd I’ve never been to a mosque given my absolute love of seeing the congregation of other faiths (Christain, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Baha’i)…
 I’ll see you all when I return from the land of Cats!  Feline photos forthcoming!