Kveller: What do you do when your beloved childhood books scare the crap out of your kids?

Watery Octopus Tentacles

This essay was published in Kveller on August 22, 2018

For three years now, I’ve been blowing a chunk of our budget shopping online. But instead of cashing in on deals for gadgets or baby wipes, I binge buy vintage kids’ books on Etsy — editions no longer in print, dating back to the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s. They aren’t rational purchases. But I have to have them.

Read more here.

Scary Mommy: When a woman in the shoe store called me a ‘monster’

This essay was published by Scary Mommy on August 14, 2018

Mother and baby in shopping mall

When my son was a baby, he and I ventured out into the adult world. Our mission lacked the cinematic complexity of saving the Earth from an alien invasion or defusing a bomb while wearing a leather dominatrix outfit. That winter afternoon, my mission was this: drive to a strip mall by my parents’ home while they watched my toddler so I could return some shoes I’d bought while still pregnant.

Read more here.

The Washington Post: Four challenges work-from-home parents will recognize, and how to keep them in check

This essay was published by The Washington Post on Feb. 6, 2018. It was republished by The Philadelphia InquirerThe Chicago Daily HeraldOmaha World-Herald, The Toronto Star, The Seattle TimesThe Vancouver Columbian and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Telecommuters used to get a bad rap, seen as folks who lounge by the pool with a trashy magazine and a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon.

Article continued here

Ravishly: Becoming a better listener, too late

Heart shaped sympathy flowersThis essay was originally featured in Ravishly on Nov. 1, 2017.

(Content warning: mental health, implication of suicide)

I remember the exact step on the D.C. metro escalator I was standing on when I got the news. It was just four words long. And with it, everything had changed.

I had just seen her, Giada, two weeks before. Finally, I’d managed to visit her in New York from Washington, D.C. after months of delays due to work, classes, and other commitments. Together with longtime friends, we retraced our old haunts in the West Village, from a kitschy cafe for tea to her favorite bar — Cubbyhole. Then, Giada and I stayed up talking in her shared Harlem sublet until 2 a.m.

In the Italian spirit of hospitality, she whipped up a spread of all the food she’d owned in that cramped kitchen that smelled like old cat litter. She brought out a plate of crackers, nuts, and dried fruit from a drugstore can, oddly festive and filling.

Read more here.

 

 

Quartz: A lot of our ideas about bilingual children are total myths

This reported essay was published in Quartz on Aug. 13, 2017.

Note: There are many unique approaches to bilingualism that may or may not work for different multicultural families living in the U.S. This is just one of them. 

https://qz.com/1051986/a-lot-of-our-ideas-about-bilingual-children-are-total-myths/

“What’s that music?” my three-year-old asked as we listened to a song in a foreign language last December.

Could my toddler be showing an interest in her Russian heritage? Maybe this would be a chance to tell her about the revered winter holidays of my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia—calling up images of the falling snow as schoolgirls in black-brown uniforms and giant bows in their hair sang carols about solidarity…

For the complete article, click here

Brit+Co: Sex and the City and the internet: my strange companions

This essay was originally published by Brit + Co, titled “How an Internet Ad for Rebound Friends Saved Me after a Breakup” on May 3, 2017. It is set in 2005.

Waiting inside Tasti D-Lite that afternoon, Divya looked nothing like a cult follower or an aging Hello Kitty devotee. In fact, her very normalcy was alarming, given that we’d met on Craigslist.

A decidedly trivial thing was to blame for our meeting. Just a few weeks prior, a cab ushered me across the Hudson River a liberated woman who, for the first time in her life, was about to live on her own. That’s when the trivial thing appeared. It nodded a solemn hello on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel. It made itself comfortable in my cab loaded with two suitcases, a couple of overstuffed shopping bags, a printer, and a new twin-size sheet set. It squeezed through the closing elevator doors and slipped into my temporary studio apartment. That thing was silence.

“Alright,” I finally said to the silence. “What do you want?”

“Oh, nothing,” the silence indicated. “Nothing at all.”

Continue reading

Brit+Co: My first real apartment gave me an identity crisis

Red Room photo

This essay was originally published by Brit+Co on April 3, 2017. It was republished by Business Insider.

My New York obsession began in childhood, before I could even speak English. All it took was a giant monkey ascending a glowing skyscraper, in a movie theater in Leningrad. I bolted outside and had nightmares for weeks afterwards. But I returned later, to see the movie, King Kong, all the way through: not for the plot, but to be whisked away into the land of glass and steel, so different than the Soviet Union on the verge of collapse.

Continue reading