My Trip to Israel in 7 Patterns

I like finding patterns. Humans are programmed to look for order and structure among chaos, and I embrace my evolutionary heritage. I see faces in trees, cars and, yes, even grilled cheese. I know that Volkswagon bugs are not smiling at me, but it’s nice to give into the mind-bender and smile back. Patterns can be absolutely lovely. On this trip to Israel, I was lucky enough to make some of my own using the Adobe Capture cell phone app. See if you can find your own smiley faces:

Man at a café in Tel Aviv



Chivay, Peru

Chivay, Peru

I caught Teresa at a bad time.

She was struggling to open an iron sluice. Irrigation ditches surrounded her, turning her house into a peninsula jutting out from the road. I strolled off the path and hopped over a channel, introducing myself as I ducked under a clothesline.

The Colca Canyon’s undulating hills are so green they made me wince; the breeze so disparate, my ears were inundated by nuance.

I’d just walked for several hours along a country road and seen far too many jagged mountain peaks, valleys of wildflowers and plentiful cropland. The place is a photography newb’s wet dream—close a shutter and develop a masterpiece.

The outskirts of Chivay are so beautiful, they’re almost disagreeable. I wanted the order of another human voice. My eyes clung to Teresa’s outfit, begging for anything other than #00ff00.

We took turns. Me fruitlessly tugging at metal and her, more productively, whacking the thing with a stone to try and jar it loose. After a few minutes, she stood and seamlessly transitioned into her next, more achievable, task.

Teresa and I walked and talked for a while. She was going to another house down the road to get some cheese. Along the way I asked her about different varieties of quinoa and discovered haba.

We talked about her hat, which is ornately embroidered with animals and symbols. This means she’s a descendant of the Cabanas, one of two tribes occupying the Colca Canyon. I asked her where she’d bought it. She gestured back the way I’d just come.

The brilliantly dressed woman and I parted ways at the edge of a field. She made her way through a forest of yellow flowers, and I kept pounding the pavement.

Teresa, Chivay, Peru

Teresa, Chivay, Peru


Perfecting the Eye Twitch

I excel at a lot of things, but I feel like one of my main strengths is the eye twitch. It’s usually accompanied by a grimace and a deep blush. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve gotten SO good at The Twitch that I can basically do it without thinking. Of course, I’m no fool. I know what they say—practice makes perfect! Luckily, I was able to get in a LOT of rehearsal time today…

This morning a hiring manager told me she hadn’t bothered reading my cover letter.

*eye twitch*

That’s cool, dude, no worries. I only poured my soul onto paper and then spent two, long, paranoid days obsessively combing through each sentence for typos. +48 hours

I might also consider the time I squandered complaining to my friends about said cover letter—asking for their advice, praying for their approval, ultimately fishing for compliments and happily settling for lies. “Gosh, Mollie, this is like the best cover letter I’veEVERread. They’re going to see this and BEG you to work for them.” That’s a lot of social currency I just wasted. But, for you, Hiring Manager, for this job… Psh, don’t even worry about it. +5 hours

Then there were the meals I monopolized, speaking ad nauseam about the difference between a “strong” verb and a “weak” verb and which ones, specifically, I was going to use in my beautiful cover letter. +4 hours -10 relationship points

*eye twitch*

Oh, yes! I forgot to mention the event I didn’t attend so I could stay home and perfectly manicure this cover letter—just for you. -Fun + FOMO + Stress

I mustn’t forget the half hour I spent attaching and re-attaching the cover letter + resume combo because *GASP* WHAT IF I ATTACHED THE WRONG THING? I mean, I have some photos of sloths on this computer. And, while adorable, sloths would definitely send the wrong message to Hiring Manager. What if, instead of .pdf I attached .jpg? WHAT IF?! *shudders* +30 min

And let’s pretend I didn’t waste an hour of my life after hitting “send,” hyperventilating over the notion that I might have accidentally used an Oxford comma. +1 hour

~48 hours spent writing the cover letter

~10 hours agonizing over the cover letter

Having Hiring Manager carelessly admit she didn’t read it? Priceless.

*eye twitch*


Photo Credit: Geoffrey Fairchild via Flickr Creative Commons


Dear Sleep Apnea Guy

The first night in a new apartment is pure terror.

I’ve switched abodes about eight or nine times, and it never gets any easier. As I get ready for bed on day No. 1, avoiding half-completed Ikea furniture and boxes I’ll never actually unpack, I contemplate the rather hefty decision I’ve just made. One of my greatest fears is that I’ve unknowingly moved in next door to a punk band or a drug addict or—worse—a new family.

We’ve been spared the punk band in Lima, BUT our upstairs neighbors have a baby, wear high heels in the house and at least one person has a terrible case of sleep apnea.

The baby and the man/woman wearing heels, I could honestly do without—it’s Sleep Apnea Guy I’ve come to appreciate. This gentleman retires at around 9 p.m. every evening and is still asleep when we rise at 7 a.m.

At first, his sudden starts and stops were a morbid fascination. I’d lie awake at night, holding my breath every time he caught his. Then, after a week or two, it was annoying. Either our walls are incredibly thin or this guy was locomotive loud. (Knowing Lima, probably both.) But, after nine months, the sound is almost lulling. His snorts blend into the car sirens, random shouts and faint music that soundtrack my dreams. However, for the past week, Sleep Apnea Guy hasn’t been snoring/gasping/wheezing. And I miss him.

Dear Sleep Apnea Guy,

We’ve never met. I’m the female voice shouting in English at the male voice to heat up the pasta for dinner. Hear that slight, valley drawl? Yup, that’s me!

I’m sorry I haven’t been a great neighbor. When I first moved in, I kept meaning to stop by and bring you guys some brownies. But then I didn’t know whether you liked brownies or perhaps you were on a diet or maybe you’re cursed with a nut allergy. Anyway, things got unnecessarily complicated and then three months passed. After that I figured I’d let too much time elapse. And, well, #awkwardturtle

But even though we’ve never chatted face-to-face, I feel like I know you! Your presence in apartment 703 is very integral to my being. Without your snores, I can’t fall to sleep. And lack of sleep means I’m the female voice shouting in English at the male voice in a slightly crazy, high-pitched shriek brought to you by Insomnia. Yup, that’s me!

Perhaps you’ve gone on a business trip? Taken a vacation? Went to bake a casserole/wash your hair/walk your dog and never came back? Whatever the reason, I miss you and hope you return soon.



P.S. I noticed your baby is sleeping through the night now. Congrats!

P.P.S. Your roommate’s clog dancing lessons are really paying off. Let me know dates/times for the next recital!