Two Newish Pieces

Summer’s over! It’s freezing here in Vienna! To celebrate the arrival of fall (here we do it with Sturm; YUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMM), I have two old new pieces to share.

The most recent is a remembrance of the late Dr. Oliver Sacks, the brilliant neurologist/writer, who passed away a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to study with him at Columbia; here I write about how he called me “the girl who writes about pain,” for Guernica. (Not exactly how a person generally wants to be known, but look, I’ll take it.)

Aaaaannnnnnnnd, on a wholly different tip, I wrote about what NOT to say to a pregnant woman (or what everyone said to me for nine long months and drove me batshit crazy), for the Manifest-Station. Any of you relate?

Happy fall, all.


The Cure for Back Pain, Plus Fashion Advice

A million Fifteen years ago (when did we all get so old?), I was a professional modern dancer in New York. A hundred thousand ten years ago, I got injured, and the injury — two herniated discs in my lower back — eventually ended my career.

I did everything shy of seeing a Shaman I could think of to heal, but nothing worked, until —


went to Versailles saw a brilliant but terrifying yogini/witch in Paris, who taught me how to sit (see above) and stand (see below) anew. She also taught me how to dress like a real Parisian woman.


I just wrote about it for Racked. I’d be delighted if you took a peek.

Miracles are possible.


Photo Op!

Do you post pictures of your kids online?

Last week Lauren Apfel and I duked it out on Brain, Child on the question of whether we should be posting photos of our (admittedly adorable) kids on social media. Is it a fun way to show them off connect with other parents or wildly unethical an invasion of their privacy?

This is as much of my daughter as you'll see online.

A question for our time. What do you think? Join the conversation here!


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My Kid Speaks German! I Don’t!

Today I revealed that I don’t understand most of what my daughter says speaks German. Luckily for her, I don’t. Motherhood is so complicated.

Head on over to the Washington Post for my take on language acquisition, the power of circumstance in shaping parental identity, and children’s earliest individuations — or, put more simply, on being the dumb American at my kid’s daycare.


The Ambivalent Expat

I wrote a piece that I feared would offend everyone I know about life as an expat in Vienna. Luckily no one has written me hate mail who was offended has told me so! Yay!

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(Life as an expat: Lots of dirty baby clothes. No dryer.)


When my husband and I moved to Vienna, Austria, two years ago, we were frequently set up on friend dates. This is par for the course for a new expat — someone hears that you’ve moved to some faraway city, and their coworker’s cat’s former owner’s cousin always knows someone who — can you believe it? — just happens to be your neighbor. No matter how outlandish the setup — they were born-again Christians or Hassidic Jews, they were hated by the very people who’d put us in touch — we always went.

After these meetings, I would invariably turn to my husband and say: We’d never be friends with these people in real life.

Real life: this was my phrase. Not in New York, where I had lived for 12 years, or the vague back home, but in real life, as though I had skipped a track and found myself in a different, parallel universe.

Read the rest on Medium!


The Secrets We Keep

It’s October! Which means that two years ago (!), right around this time, I thought I had the stomach flu found out that I was pregnant. It was a pretty miserable miraculous time; I felt very confused about the fact that I wasn’t supposed to share the news until I hit 12 or 13 weeks, when the pregnancy was deemed “viable.” So between watching serial episodes of The Good Wife trying to teach my students without puking, I wrote about it.

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This week, the Archipelago on Medium published my essay, I’m Pregnant. So Why Can’t I Tell You? (How’s that for a direct title?) This is a subject that people have wildly differing views about (SHARE! DON’T SHARE!). The discussion about it out there in the cyber world is already mind-blowing. (I especially love the comments made by people who clearly don’t read very closely.) I’m always curious to hear what you think. xo