Parsing Pathways

(Photo) Essays by a Third-culture Twenty Something on Travel, Food, Languages & the Millenial Lifestyle.

Month: November, 2014

The One Thing You Should Know About How To Deeply Connect With Anyone

Parsing pathways that are different from yours, and how to strengthen them and yourself.

Thought Catalog

Shutterstock / RawpixelShutterstock / Rawpixel

August 27, 2000 was one of the most important days of my life.

I was loving my newfound independence and soaking in my second day of orientation at NYU. Little did I know that I would meet my future wife that evening. A group of guys I was with connected with a group of girls she was with. The night unfolded from there.

I often say it was the luckiest day of my life. If we hadn’t met then, we never would have. NYU has tens of thousands of students.

However, I recently learned that the story I’ve been telling myself is wrong. How we meet the most important people in our life personally and professionally (including how I met my wife) is not random.

According to research by Brian Uzzi, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at the Kellogg School of Management andone of the…

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Pathway #1: Hellos

I love airports.
I love the smell of cafés and freshly baked/heated pastries.
The sound of trolley and luggage wheels being pulled across the floor could easily lull me to sleep.
Most airports I’ve seen -been lucky to have been in- have an energy unlike anything else. There’s the influx of passengers through the airport doors, where you can still hear cars and loud chatter of ‘see you laters’ and ‘text me when you get through’. There’s the buzz and dings of airport personnel lifting bags, checking people in while the overhead speakers recite their warnings in many languages.
Then there are the passengers, having arrived at their temporary destination (every destination is temporary), leaving this beautiful chaos.

I love airports because there are so many different people. There are languages being spoken that I’ve never heard and there are so many goodbyes and so many hellos.

The things I love about airports hit all my pleasure centers, just at the mention of the word “airport.” I get really happy. Even knowing that I get to go pick up someone from the airport makes that pleasure pathway light up like the Eiffel Tower at night. The hellos are beautiful. It’s actually one of the biggest things I take for granted when I travel. I don’t take the time to appreciate a hello. It’s usually a quick-long hug with a lets-leave-the-airport-and-do-the-travel-stuff!

But when it comes to goodbyes, I mull over those for a while. It’s like I go through a mini-grieving where I prep myself with the knowledge that a change is about to happen, where someone I care about is going to be leaving, and then I work out the anxiety and finally come to terms with it when the moment approaches. But right after, my mind still dwells on it. In fact, I just said my umpteenth goodbye/see you later to my sister. And I’m writing about it.

Hellos are just as anxiety inducing as goodbyes. Or at least I think they are. They definitely have different dimensions to them and it always depends whether you’re the one visiting or the one hosting. Goodbyes are also a great reminder of hellos. The anticipation of finally meeting someone after years, friends or family is extremely rewarding. That hello is mixed with tears and hugs and kisses and so much joy that not many words can convey.

*Pleasure centers say what? Ding ding ding!*

While the anticipation of never having met someone can breed a hesitated hello, it also makes us aware of how brave we are.

Maybe hellos don’t get all the credit because they’re usually a positive feeling. Our brains tend to remember and recollect more negatively oriented things to protect us. Maybe it makes sense why more people dwell on goodbyes – or at least why I do.

I can say hello in a couple of languages but I think my favorite greeting so far has to be how Spaniards say hello. It’s also the way you say goodbye: a kiss on each cheek. It’s a little bit more intimate than a hug and usually accompanied with a ” ‘Ta luego” (hasta luego/see you later). Even though you learn “adios” in Spanish, you rarely ever use it. This greeting to me is more time consuming and personal – even when you meet someone for the first time. For someone who has lived in the US for a decade and used to personal space, where hellos are usually communicated verbally or formally with a handshake, it breaks those boundaries.

Hellos deserve just as much of attention as goodbyes. I think it’s taken for granted because most hellos are easy. They’re safe and they’re usually good experiences. But maybe if the pathways of Hellos are strengthened, you’ll look forward to them.

In the end it doesn’t matter whether you’re good at goodbyes; because you’ll always be great at hellos.

Africa, Uncolonized: A Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent

Africa, Uncolonized: A Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent.

26 Rules To Live By That’ll Help Ease Your Overthinking Problem

Just deepening those neural pathways, in more creative ways.

Thought Catalog

Here’s my advice to you…

Porsche Brosseau/flickr.comPorsche Brosseau/

1. Smile to strangers.

First of all, it makes you appear more confident. And as if this wasn’t reason enough, it also makes you appear more approachable (this is especially true at parties). There was a study that showed that people will perceive you to be smarter if your normal facial expression is a smile, as opposed to a grin. When you smile to strangers, not only are you being friendly, but you’ll be respected for it too.

2. Learn the names of the people you see every day.

And I don’t mean the people that are your superiors. Learn the name of the cashier of your local corner shop, the security guard outside your office, the janitors in your school, etc. These people are often thrown into the background and we underestimate the value of the work they do. By asking for their…

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I got my baby back!

So if you’ve wondered where on earth I am and why there haven’t really been any blog posts it’s because I didn’t have my laptop. It suffered some glitch in the harddrive, so I had to send it to get repaired and now it’s back in my arms and all the blog posts that I have scribbled in my journal and iPhone notes and scrap pieces of paper are finally going to be typed up and published.

I was able to write two posts through my iPhone but seeing as how I write a lot, it wasn’t a feasible idea. Plus, I liked going back to good ol’ pen and paper. It helped re-stimulate the happy pathways in my brain that made me fall in love with writing in the first place. So just as a preview of how much backlog I have on posts, here’s a screenshot of my blog-agenda:

blog agenda


Yeah I had to zoom out so you could see all the things that have been mulling in my head – and this is just the shorter version from what’s in all the scattered papers.

I’m also going to be super busy in the coming weeks because I’m going to be having visitors! yay! So this is going to be fun and challenging because my goal is to publish 3 times a week.

So major props to people who blog professionally because this takes painstaking effort and with all the details and meticulousness to get to the final draft of a post is nothing short of, in my opinion, writing a well crafted thesis.


There she is – and I know it’s blurry but it was because I was too excited/happy/overwhelmed. Yay no more squinting!

PS: I also just realised how much emotion I have invested in a physical object and technology and that kind of scares me. The good thing about the past month and a half was, I could live perfectly well without my laptop. Oo…there’s another idea for a post.

Have you ever been stranded without your electronics? How would you fare?

Copyediting from A to X

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

copyeditor-cartoonI’ve recently hung out my shingle as an editor, and it’s been fascinating to look up and confirm bits of grammar and punctuation I’m “pretty sure” I know, but am now paranoiac about getting absolutely right. Over at Medium, there’s a great rundown on commonly confused words from Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer, including this lovely distinction:

One’s sweetheart is “hon,” not “hun,” unless one’s sweetheart is Attila (not, by the way, Atilla) or perhaps Winnie-the-Pooh (note hyphens).

It’s a quick, fun read and you’ll want to bookmark it–if not for yourself, for reference during future arguments with your editor.

Enjoy it here!

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