copenhagen

As I indulge in reminiscences of a well-traveled 2016 while #NoMuslimBan trends across the internet, I can't help but reflect, once again, with frustration and sadness at the inequalities I am complicit in with my passport privilege. I always try to think if I don't enjoy my privilege, who will? but it doesn't always effectively allay the guilt I feel while looking on at lives detained and families separated because of fear perpetuated by self-serving political interests. The horror is made worse armed with the knowledge that a few decades ago, due to similar policies that previously targeted Asians and others for their ethnic background*, I would not even have been allowed to exist a century ago for the same racism-fueled fears and nationalist propaganda: we have not learned.

But voilá, I suppose, Copenhagen. It was October so cold AF, the wind whistling symphonies across the water. I suggest visiting in summer, and generally traveling as the citizen of a country that has screwed other countries over rather than vice versa - you'll have an easier time of it. It would seem that, although we like to believe we've made progress, it's still as grim a time as any to be American.

*See also the Chinese Exclusion Act.

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stockholm syndrome

I caught Stockholm in the last sunny days of September and, as such, Stockholm caught me. City of everybody-could-be-a-fashion-blogger, fika (the Swedish version of high tea but with fancy-ass third-wave coffee) with cardamom rolls, and the entire cast and crew of Spotify, although that might just be the crowd I fell into.

In any case, this city can take me back anytime (although I'll withhold the right to re-evaluate if I ever visit in winter). It's not even quite as pricey as it's made out to be (or maybe just everybody I know uses Berlin as a measuring stick). A little boring, in that almost-too-perfect sort of way (even its edge is predictable), but I'm maybe reaching a point in my life where boring seems like its own brand of pleasant.

Recommended: Skogskyrkogården (a cookie for anyone who can pronounce that correctly on the first try), Rosendals Trädgård, the photography museum, staying at least a week if you've got the time.

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reminiscing of warmer days

Now that I'm afraid to leave the house with wet hair or fewer than two pairs of pants on and puddles have started to look suspiciously solid, I feel I took the beautiful Berlin and Northeast summer months for granted. To bake cakes and enjoy them on a picnic blanket! - rather than hoarding the calories with a hot cup of tea as though the extra blubber might actually make any difference against the cold whip of frosted breeze.

What gets me each year in Berlin more than the cold is the lack of daylight; by 4 p.m. it is pitch-black and yet, even though it feels like bedtime, there are still things to be done. Rolling out of bed in the morning becomes a progressively later and lazier affair. Your only solace is Glühwein and the fact that you can eat as many Christmas cookies as you want because no one can tell if you've gained weight under all those layers.

These endless dark abysses of winters are good for at least one thing, though: contemplation. Life has the most meaning when there is suffering to be had, even if it's mostly a self-imposed pity party based on little more than an extreme aversion to low temperatures.

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americanah

"It was his houseplant, hopeful green leaves rising from three bamboo stems, and when she took it, a sudden crushing loneliness lanced through her and stayed with her for weeks. Sometimes, she still felt it. How was it possible to miss something you no longer wanted? Blaine needed what she was unable to give and she needed what he was unable to give, and she grieved this, the loss of what could have been."
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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málaga, spain

As the summer draws to a close seems as good a time as any to reflect back on those sunny days in Spain filled with culinary delights and endless pitchers of the aptly-named tinto de verano. Málaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and they won't let you forget it, but if you're a fan then they've got a great collection in the Picasso Museum.

And generally a great collection of museums - Málaga is neither the best beach destination nor the most beautiful city I've visited in Spain, but if you're into museum hopping, it's got no shortage for a city its size. No real shortage of decent views, too, if you're happy to do a bit of climbing.

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