Finding solace in a Hungarian village

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Photo by Alecia AubinCatherine’s Cottages

The night here is a true dark. It is so quiet and eerie that the end of each breath brings about gratified peace and welcomed relief. In Csákberény — a quaint and picturesque Hungarian village an hour drive outside of Budapest, the nights are cool, and the darkness has a releasing effect that lays you bare. The lush and verdant days reveal a dotted landscape as far as the eyes can see, and each inhalation is a sweet escape.

Spending my birthdays alone has become a cherished tradition. In 2016, the year it started, I booked a few days in…


Navigating isolation as a black expat in Budapest

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Blue Monday by Annie Lee

Ten days after George Floyd was murdered and nine days after police brutality protests erupted in cities across America and around the world, a colleague of mine asked me how I was feeling.

I had just returned to the office after almost three months of working from home — and I was riddled with anxiety. For the first two days, I barely left the confines of my office. I didn’t venture to the other floors, and I barely spoke to a soul. I was skittish about returning to an environment where my health and well being were heavily dependent on…


Adopting healthy habits and making them stick

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Photo by Alecia Aubin

I was months into the lockdown when I realized that I was in no rush to return to my old life. It was a strangely freeing thought. I always fancied myself an extrovert with an intrinsic need to be surrounded by people, yet here I was coping unexpectedly well to life in isolation.

In Hungary, the lockdown imposed was not a restrictive one, but my initial outings were nevertheless limited to food shopping. Due to the global masks and gloves shortages, I wore a well used surgical mask and had taken to wrapping my hands in small plastic bags whenever…


Making difficult decisions in turbulent times

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Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash

I recently received a job offer that I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t surprised that I was selected for the position — it was the timing that threw me off.

I had interviewed for a post I had been hoping to land for a very long time, and a month after I was interviewed, I received the news: I had gotten the job.

It was newsworthy enough for a celebration, but the excitement and sense of accomplishment that usually comes with such an offer was missing. …


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Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

We despair over the bad, Yet we question the good. We let the bad in with unfettered entrance, And keep you at arm’s length. We wish for you, and even when recognition blooms, We question you when you come. We doubt your existence; We say you cannot be true. We put you in a box, and we examine you. You see, you are unexpected and underserved. So we interrogate you, we put you through the wringer, And we wait with our bated breaths. We watch with surety for you to reveal your true form, And when you stay good, we…


Maintaining productivity and avoiding exhaustion

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Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Assistant Professors Silvia Bellezza and Neeru Paharia, and Associate Professor Anat Keinan wrote that busyness in American culture had become a status symbol. In a series of studies, their investigation revealed that:

…the positive inferences of status in response to busyness and lack of leisure time are driven by the perceptions that a busy person possesses desired human capital characteristics (e.g., competence and ambition) and is scarce and in demand in the job market.

Long before being busy became a cultural obsession and a status symbol, I have been…


My experience reading Oprah Winfrey’s latest pick

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Photo from Oprah Winfrey Twitter account

A day after Oprah Winfrey picked American Dirt for a coveted spot on her reactivated book club, the controversy surrounding the book intensified. The novel by Jeanine Cummins details the experience of a Mexican woman forced to flee to the United States after her husband and family were slaughtered by a drug cartel. American Dirt has been lauded for depicting the Latin American migrant experience and simultaneously condemned for the inaccurate and stereotypical portrayal of Mexicans throughout. The controversy surrounding the book began long before it was released. One of the more compelling and brutal reviews is that of Chicana…


My guide to unconventional healing

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Photo by Alecia Aubin

I have always had a complicated relationship with conventional therapy. While I recognize the value it holds, I have never been able to make it work for me. This form of treatment was a foreign concept to me until I was in junior high school in New York City.

I had just moved from the Caribbean to the United States, and I was rapidly getting exposed to a myriad of what I called “Americanisms” that astounded me. Therapy was one of them. It simply did not compute to my 13-year old mind — that someone would meet up with a…


A Poem

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Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

And when you fell in love,
you forgot the trail of tears that led you to him.
And you hoped.
And with his words, your conviction grew.
He was the one,
And your heart soared.
And when the reckoning came,
You hoped to breathe again.

Shallow breath breathe, lest you faint
A calmness infused, a picture it paints.

And with the calmness, you write.
And you marvel at the unexpected gift of words
And you shiver at the thought,
That your passion will only grow from pain and loss.
And when the thoughts creep in,
you whisper your plea.

I want you to love me as if I were beautiful, To look at…

Alecia Aubin

Writer. Poet. Dreamer. Personal stories to connect. Empower| Educate |Entertain|. https://staubinink.com

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