My love for the written word emerged with my conscience and self-awareness. I may have been five or six years old when I decided I had overgrown kids’ books and I was done with the illustrated ‘childish’ tomes that adults gave me. I can vividly remember being at my grandparents’ mountain home, a cozy evening of what must have been winter or fall and asking my grandfather (demanding) that he gives me one of the books with ‘only writing.’
“but you can’t read” – said he while he gave me a book. He was always the one to invest in my intellectual growth and push me to do more.
I carried it under my arms for days. Not being able to read – yet – being only a temporary hindrance.
I started writing poetry (illustrated, the irony!) as soon as I could write, and I began my first (and last) novel when I was about eleven years old. I gave the first 28 pages to my dad to read and he lost them, thus concluding my first foray into the effort of creating a new imaginary world.
My godfather worked in publishing and he would give me piles of books that I would devour in no time. To this date, I am not an incredibly fast reader, which meant that I simply would spend endless hours immersed in a book.
In this society that we live in the idea that everything we do must be in some way productive became quickly ingrained in me. As a type A overachiever, the motivation behind doing most things was goal-oriented (except eating, that has always been purely for joy and not extremely correlated to being hungry – strong Mediterranean roots here).
If I learnt something this year is to simply do some things for joy. How you live your days is how you live your life, as the saying goes. And I am seeking moments of joy in daily habits and the small things.
I started this blog back in 2016 as a way to document my research endeavors and my musings on social and political events that sparked my curiosity. My intention was to share research and science (social), book reviews and academic lessons that I learnt – all in a digestible language. I wanted to cultivate a space that would serve me professionally.
This has led to about a post per year and the recurrence of a failed new year’s resolution of writing more (I am surprisingly good at meeting goals, but writing is the one goal that I keep missing). It only recently dawned on me that if I took the pressure off writing something productive, academic, or professionally advantageous, and started writing on what truly is inspiring me or making me feel love, I might once more put ‘pen to paper’.
So here I am. Showing up again, but showing up differently.
Much as was intended I will continue to share research, social science, and reflections of current events. But as I do everywhere else in my life, I will show up fully, which also means: books, yoga, food, literature, and yes, politics, human rights, travel…
A few things that I am enjoying…
I don’t think I’d be back to writing if it weren’t for the constant inspiration that I get from three women:
- My love for Kim’s writing has already been documented here (and she’s probably tired of hearing me say that I enjoy when she posts often). Her blog, recently rebranded as Soft Sensibilities, is simply delightful.
- My friend Alex keeps surprising me. A PhD student at Oxford, Alex is also a beautiful baker and is now sharing a newsletter. She shares food news, science news, and insights. Subscribe here.
- I have followed Leslie Stephens’ writing for years. She know pens a newsletter called Morning Person.
For the past year I have been raving about a bakehouse in our neighborhood called Aries. Run by Jackie, a Brixton local, this Black-owned bakery makes pastry-lovers’ dreams come true. Last week, however, I took myself on a solo date to Arome, a central London bakery that brings an Asian flair to French classics. Their honey butter toast is crispy outside with the right amount of sweet. But I’ll always fall for an almond chocolate croissant.
In the world of politics…
COP26 has just concluded. Climate change is inevitable. The extent of warming is however within our control. For a short take on how the first few days went, I found this podcast useful.
I am currently doing work on public opinion on climate. One of my biggest concerns as the next big challenge to overcome in those societies where there isn’t climate scepticism per se but there is also work to do (all of them) is conformism in the form of technooptimism. Climate change is not like covid. There is no silver bullet (vaccine). Maybe I will share more on my views on this in a future post.
International justice & Global Affairs
I am trying to understand and get information on what is going on in Ethiopia. And it is incredibly difficult. Africa Is a Country is a reliable source, but I am thirsty for more information.
Nothing has transformed my life as much as yoga has. After completing two trainings, I see the need of practicing with aligned teachers even more. On Friday I tried Echo’s yoga class (online) and learnt more tricks in an hour than I sometimes learn in a few months. She has the most beautiful energy, is kind, and she drops dog references. What else do you need?