Heart and soul

Off the Beat

This summer, I watched my dad become irritable and cantankerous, snapping at my mom and me over small issues as he quickly ran out of energy. There were days when he yelled at me over the phone and I worried that he might never return to normal, and the frequent
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Keep looking

Off the Beat

When I look through a pair of chestnut rimmed spectacles, I can see. I can see the fine details of life. The wood of my desk, at a glance through my tortoise-shell lenses, reveals its indentations, shades of variation, rippled lines and dark splotches.
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The beginning of unbelief

Off the Beat

My mom is perpetually late, but not on the morning of her daughter’s fifth-grade graduation. Because an elementary school promotion is the sort of thing in life that you show up on time for. Or so she told my dad and me in an urgent, rising voice as we sat
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Backpacking across time

Off the Beat

Two years ago, in a typhoon of mixed emotion, I left all I knew and moved clear across the Pacific Ocean to pursue my college education. When I first got to Berkeley, backpack and overstuffed luggage in tow, I was overwhelmed by the excess of the unfamiliar. Everything and everyone
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Instagram in Paris

Off the Beat

With summer coming to a close, all that seems to be left is you flipping through the comment section of your Facebook album labeled “Summer 2015.” But school is starting, and now those precious hours previously dedicated to capturing where the light best hit the side of your chocolate croissant seem worthless as you’re studying for the ever-looming GRE.
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Off the beat: Home is wherever I’m with you

For as long as I remember, every summer, my maternal aunts and all of my cousins would travel from wherever they were living at the time to settle in my grandma’s secluded, bright-yellow house in Al-Zabadani, a small town about half an hour outside Damascus, Syria.
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Off the beat: A tale of 2 or 3 cultures

A few weeks after we had met, my high school teacher — who entered my U.S. boarding school around the same time as I did — started a conversation with me about how hard it was trying to fit in. “I know,” I remember saying. “For me, it’s strange being
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