Mom’s heart (10.8.2016)

I saw a heart today.

That heart has been with me for the past 28 years. That rhythmic drum has gone everywhere with me. It was faster when I was angry or worried or anxious. It always calmed me down when I was upset.

I saw it today.

It was beating rhythmically, as always. Strong, regular drums.

Today, there’s nothing that makes me more grateful for life than seeing my mom’s beating heart.

Pre-interviewnitus (8.30.16)

TMJ: I had my 3rd interview today, which means that I suffered from pre-interviewnitus all day (*State of complete uselessness. Diagnosed when one is  incapable of doing anything but staring at their interview calendar invite.)

The interview was a cold wake up call to my non-existent technical knowledge. Ugh. I keep excusing myself, saying that in my line of work I don’t need to speak computer language, that I just need to speak people’s language. Not true. This interview was proof that I need to be better.  I need to know more.

Camilo to the rescue- he spent the entire way home teaching me, repeating himself, quizzing me. Poor guy. 

WILT: A summary of basic concepts from our car discussion: 

  • Function- piece of code that serves two purposes: compartmentalizes logic and reduces repetition of code
  • Library- set of code that provides a group of functions with a clear interfaces 
  • API is a description of that interface and the interface itself 

Kayaking to cool off the heatwave (8.13.2016-8.14.2016)

TMJ: Weekend weather predictions spell ‘UNBEARABLE’ stay at home heatwave warnings. Stay home?! No way!

We escaped town to Cold Spring and tried to cool off kayaking the Hudson River instead. 

We rented our kayaks (Hudson River Expeditions) for two hours for a ridiculous $60 price, but the memory was worth the money. 

The girls definitely showed us that we are super weaklings. They consistently sped by us with zero effort. Meanwhile, Cami and I-huffing and puffing- pretended to keep our cool. 

Polish refugees in Iran (08.08.2016)

When you think of a 19th century Polish immigrant and their grandchild, you probably think of an unskilled Jewish farmer arriving to America through the Ellis Island and…. Stephen J. Dubner.

But you probably wouldn’t immediately think of Polish refugees in Iran. Yet, it’s true, roughly 120,000 Poles found refuge in Iran in World War II, known as the biggest European migrant wave to Iran. They were soldiers from the Polish Armed Forces and civilian refugees escaping from the Soviet work camps in Siberia and Kazakhstan.  

Iranians received Polish refugees with open arms. Starting in 1942, the port city of Pahlevi became the main landing point for Polish refugees coming into Iran from the Soviet Union, receiving up to 2,500 refugees per day. The city of Isfahan became known as the ‘City of Polish Children’, home to 10,000 Polish orphans.

Many cultural institutions in Iran were built by the Polish people and adopted by the Iranian middle class, including bars and cafes (for example, until the revolution, there was a Cafe Polonia in Tehran).   

Strong diplomatic ties between Iran and Poland exist until today. In May this year, Poland hosted Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, celebrating their friendship and partnership. This was one of the first visits to an EU member state after the international economic and financial sanctions on Iran were lifted.  

While Stephen Dubner is producing awesome podcasts in NYC, third generations of Polish refugees in Iran are cultivating traditions of their Iranian and Polish grandparents.


#AdultIssues. When your college friends are Trump supporters (08.02.2016)

 TMJ:  I have a close friend who means a lot to me.  We went through college together, we’ve lived through some of the best moments together and we definitely survived some of the worst.  I love her.  But then, lately my other self reminds me– we’ve grown so far apart in our core beliefs that, sometimes, I am embarrassed to be this closely associated with her.

We were always different in our political views, but I think the diversion wasn’t as blatant those days. In college, I identified as a strong ‘independent’. She was a hereditary republican- meaning, her whole family was republican and she just adopted their views.  Fair enough, my parents are also republican so I was used to the whole rightwing ideology and for some time, I believed in it too (though honestly, being a republican means something totally different in my country).   And, since she hated confrontation, we rarely discussed our political views anyway.

Since then, we got jobs in different cities, got into serious relationships and we moved on in many ways.  Personally, I think I finally started to figure out my core values and beliefs.  I don’t think I have it all figured out now, but the things I do know are crystal clear.   Back then, they were all shades of grey and a string of trial and errors.

I care about immigrants, women rights, the environment and government support for the needy, weak and the helpless.  I believe that migration, healthcare and quality education are basic human rights.  I think that if you need a license and a background check to do my nails, you should also need one to own a gun.  I chose to marry someone of another race and no religion or government could have prevented me from doing that, because I believe that love is love. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, I don’t care.  These things are crystal clear to me.

So I want to pull my hair out when I see that my best college friend considers everything core to my being bogus.  These are not just political views at this point.  These are basic moral principles I call my own.  I don’t think I have respect for people who don’t believe in those things, which means I can’t have respect for her.  How could I call her my best friend?

On a lighter note, I’ve been hit on today by a CVS cashier, and it was hilarious.  He gave me the customer survey receipt pointing out the number to call, and quickly added ‘I can also write my personal cell on the back’. I laughed out loud. This is a story that my college friend would really enjoy. Thus, the split personality disorder continues.  One moment I love her, the other, I am embarrassed.

WILT: Lidice massacre: 1942 in Czech Republic, close to Prague.  173 males were brutally shot by the Nazis, one by one. Women were taken to the concentration camps, children suitable for ‘Germanizing’ were sent for adoption by German families, the rest were gassed to death. Most weren’t Jewish; they were murdered because they were Czech.

President Obama’s DNC speech (07.27.2016)

TMJ: Trip to Albany today with disconcerting shock headaches on the left side of my head. I’ll live.

with Juan, on our way to Camilo’s office to claim well-deserved froyo.

At the end of the day, I watched one of President Obama’s best speeches.  I literally cried to my YouTube streaming page. This man is the legend and pride of this nation.

Here are some of the best quotes . They are not exact quotes; rather approximate sentences I can’t erase from my mind. They are, oh, so good…

  • ‘Donald Trump doesn’t offer solutions. He offers slogans and fear.’
  • ‘Don’t boo. VOTE.’
  • ‘America is not about what someone can do for us. It is about what can be done BY US.’
  • ‘American Dream is something no wall can contain.’

WILT:  Results First Initiative: I’ve been searching for a single place listing rigorously evaluated government programs and their results.  This is it.  This database aggregates information from 8 national research clearinghouses. You can filter by policy area, results or type of intervention. Simple, easy and so useful.