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A Voxer notification appeared from my friend Mike: Hi Rachel, I’ve been thinking about you and wondering what you would think of spending a half a day or a whole day on a silent retreat away from social media and family and friends. We would be happy to help with your kids to make this…

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The Presence of Photography

I miss my son. College is a brutal separation and makes me more sentimental than I have ever been. Scrolling through photos taken during our summer vacation, feeling a bit weepy over the ones with him and me, I am full of gratitude. Beyond the memories of the adventure, I marvel at the textures, the…

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Bookcase Full of Tickets

I have always wanted to travel the world. When I was younger, I had the chance to visit a few places in the United States, and just dip my toe in the beauty of Canada. In high school, my parents took me to Puerto Rico to visit some family and also introduce me to “The…

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Broken Hearts and Blind Barriers

After an incredibly embarrassing loss, I decided to shore up the courage to go comfort my friend in his dorm room. I signed in at the front desk and memorized lines of what I would say if someone caught me walking to his room, aka “the forbidden place.” The entire football team was in a…

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Let’s Go

I’ve grown accustomed to the feeling that something awful will happen to my husband and daughter at a young age. Every once in a while, it hits me that something could happen—an illness or injury that takes them from me all too soon. Recently, however, I’ve felt a relatively new fear: that illness or injury…

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Welcome to New York

The city that never sleeps catches a brief catnap before dawn. Faithful street sweepers work tirelessly amongst the murmurs of taxi-cabs. The quietness is peculiar as we clip toward 30 Rock with anticipation. In a few hours, the streets will fill with women dressed in suits and sneakers, toting heels in leather bags, amongst diligent…

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Intangible Beauty

We sit on bar stools at a reclaimed wood counter in a refurbished grainery. Each cupping hot coffee, my friend and I stare at the large, heavy snowflakes surprising us all in early October. Across the street, an urban lot is being demolished. I no longer remember what had been there. The entire north side…

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The Coconut Conundrum

Spanish flowed from my aunt and uncle’s lips like honey on a summer afternoon. As Latin music blared from the stereo, my family would gather together, their hips and feet gliding in perfect rhythm. The scent of pernil lingered in the air as boisterous laughter filled every nook and cranny of the house. A smile…

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Quiet Familiarity

I was born in the suburbs of Chicago, raised on the dynasty of the Chicago Bulls and the “curses” of the Chicago Cubs. I lived in the same town until I left for college at the age of 18. “Home” will always be that Chicagoland suburb, but it’s no longer the only place where I…

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