Tag Archives: Family

Day 3: Writing Retreat Research

I spent today doing research for my book. This mostly started from working on some of the tasks in “Ready. Set. Novel!” but I’ve since realized it is a necessity for me. My favorite part of writing is digging in and getting the details. It’s not enough for me to have a character respond in a certain way, I want to be able to define why he or she reacted that way.

Here are some of the things I came up with in my research of families across the globe:

  • The “Universal Family” looks different everywhere around the world
    • Think “Modern Family” exemplified
  • Teaching independence is the number one goal of parenting, no matter where you’re from
  • Americans are more likely to have less positive relationships with their families
    • This has a lot to do with the fact that we’re a melting pot of cultures, and the way each culture addresses family is different – thus leading to differences of opinion and difficulties
  • American parents are more concerned with their children’s success and intelligence than parents across the globe
    • We equate money with smarts
  • Culture plays a significant role in dictating what family relationships look like
  • Adult children from countries without federally-funded elder care are more likely to feel responsible for their aging parents well-being
    • This often leads to tension on the relationships between adult children and their parents

Some of this may not be surprising, but I find it informative to our day-to-day interactions. I can definitely see how these different points not only dictate my interactions with my family, but also my future plans of starting a family of my own.

Tomorrow, I look forward to learning more about how we decide which friends are acceptable to introduce into our family, and why sometimes those ending relationships hurt more than anything else.

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We’re Goin’ to Better Places

If you’d asked me two years ago where I thought I’d be today, well I honestly wouldn’t have been able to reply. Not for a few days anyways, and even then, my response may have come out in the form of a singed alphabet.

I’ve wanted to write of the events on October 6, 2011, for awhile now, and well I still may not be ready to share all the intimate details, there’s a lot to be said. Many in my family would rather not hear it, as it’s a topic that makes both them and me uncomfortable at times. And, when it is discussed, it’s done so with a sort of sadness, distance and caution.

For those of you who don’t know, which is many, two years ago to this date, I was struck on my bike by a large delivery truck while en route to work. It looked something like this:

(No, it’s not the actual truck.}

So, anyways, I was struck while on my bicycle, riding in a bike lane in downtown Chicago. I flew off of my bike and was then partially run over. I point out partially because had I been flat out run over, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

My first thought was, Today’s going to suck at work. Of course, I did not make it in, and wouldn’t for another 3.5 months.

That’s the end of the accident portion of this post, it’s the easy part to say. The recovery, fear and fight that took place after, that’s where it gets messy. All in all, thanks to this man, I’m here.

Not the best quality, but this is the only photo I have of Dr. Shapiro.

In the last two years, a lot has happened. I went back to my position at the Chicago Tribune in mid-January of 2012, got a promotion seven months later and was laid off by the end of January. Luckily, I snatched up a writing position in February and have since been promoted within a great company. So career wise, I feel pretty good about how far I’ve come, and I’m much better off than I was two years ago.

Friends, friends  have come and gone over this time. One of my closest, who actually held my hand during the quick ambulance trip, and I have gone our separate ways. Which, for a time, was hard to swallow, but I have since come to appreciate the fact that he was there when he was – when needed the most. In a number of other friendships, the bonds were strengthened. Most specifically, this nerd:

Na na na na na.

My family has always been close, so I won’t say that those relationships were tightened at all. Especially when it comes to myself, my mom and my brother – although I think something changed there, I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I’ve heard your life changes when you have a near-death experience, but I don’t think that’s true. Some small things about me have changed, but I’m still the same clumsy goofball I always was. I have less patience for complaints about unwarranted issues and more compassion for others. My spleen was removed, I’ve got scars to carry with me for life and struggle with anxiety in certain situations, but I was always a little neurotic. But still, I’m me, I haven’t really changed.

There’s a part of me that wants to go out, explore and change the world, and maybe some day I will. For now, I’m just living and figuring out the usual issues of a 27-year-old woman.

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Paul Allen “Bub” Thompson (1985-2013)

I no longer knew you, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t remember you.

You were born just months after my brother and your sister after me. As children, we’d mimic the adults’ card games on the floor or run circles around the house with squirt guns. I think you were even there the afternoon Joey hopped the fence.

Then, one day, you were gone. I was too young to understand at the time, but later I knew why. I understood you’d left for a better life.

Years later I learned of your sister’s passing. I don’t recall if I mourned, but I remember thinking she was too young. It was tragic and now your story strikes me as the same.

I never knew who you’d become, just that you’d returned. Your accomplishments make me proud, but also strengthen the tragedy. You were so much more than what your parents had been. You were strong and I am proud.

Now, you’re gone and I’ll never have the chance to cross your path. I may never have learned of your success otherwise and that’s a disappointment.

With you, you’ve taken a piece of our family – a family that’s broken and dwindling. We may not have much, but blood is blood and it makes us who we are.

I may not have known you, but I’ll remember you. I hope you’ve found peace.

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