Look, I know what you’re thinking: who in their right mind would apply makeup in a moving vehicle? It’s dangerous, plus people think car makeup looks like the aftermath of a baby playing with a tube of lipstick.
Car makeup is something I admit to doing only once in a while, and only when vehicle is stationary. Sure, I wish I could be like those 20 year old YouTube superstars, who say “Oh, hey guys,” then baste themselves with 180 eyeshadow colors using 30 eye makeup brushes for an hour, before moving on to contouring.
The other day, I came across some pretty amusing things my former college students wrote in essays, informal reading responses and the “Here’s why I’m not bringing myself or my homework to class today” emails.
It was also a reminder that English teachers are often seen as unlicensed therapists of sorts, becoming privy to students’ depression and homesickness, struggles with gender identity, family abuse, unplanned pregnancies, homelessness. Perhaps even more so in the multifaceted San Francisco. In fact, an English college class in the Bay Area is kind of like the microcosm of our country. Everyone varies in career focus, sexual orientation, race and immigration status. Yet everyone wants to do well. That’s why empathy, on case-by-case basis, instead of authoritarian rules and blowing people off with “you’re fired,” might be just the thing to help someone succeed.
ANYWAY, here are those funny bits I promised.
1. She glared at me with her frightful open eyes, popped out.
2. In the midst of California’s prospering “Silicon Valley,” my adolescent purgatory stood like a fading ghost of post-war optimism.
3. In Russia, party without vodka and herring is not a party.
This essay was originally published by Kveller.com on Dec. 29, 2016, titled “Embracing the Russian Food of My Youth for the Sake of My Kids”
I never thought I’d miss Russian food, the unassuming cuisine of my birthplace. I was self-conscious about Russian salads, for instance, referring to boiled and chopped root vegetables loaded with mayonnaise, not microgreens. Traditional Russian recipes use just one kind of cheese, called cheese. Growing up as an immigrant kid in the United States, it’s awkward having to always explain that sour cream really does make everything better, that Herring under a Fur Coat isn’t furry, that the jiggly meat jelly is no weirder than the processed American chicken tender.
One January morning, while attempting my first jog since the birth of my 6-week-old baby, I was taken aback by my low endurance as I plodded along, hyperventilating and draped over the stroller’s handle.
Technically, she’s moving out, as evidenced by a “Furniture for Sale” sign taped downstairs by the elevator, a sign with her name, Tatyana. And though I’ve never met her, having recently moved here myself, I’m becoming acquainted with her stuff, which she’s been depositing on the “free for all” bench in the lobby.