Meet Maureen McCarthy, a wonderfully sassy, practical and introspective writer. You might remember her essay about her experience in Barcelona which was featured in our first issue. Maureen uses travel and her writing skills to process the developments in her life, revealing a darkly whimsical sense of humor and a resilient spirit. She returns to Synkroniciti in the June 1st issue with a new essay, A Brave New Normal, chronicling life at the start of the western phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. Traveling from to Houston to Paris in early March, enjoying a much needed Spring Break like many other American teachers, she wasn’t aware of the tense situation at home until she was on her return trip. Her honest and intelligent response to the situation is relatable, practical and, ultimately, hopeful.
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In her own words:
Maureen McCarthy is a Houston born, raised, and educated high school teacher (Go Coogs!). Fueled by coffee and the tears of her students, she also finds rejuvenation in learning new languages, playing music (five instruments!), cooking up meals to disgust her children while exciting her partner, trying new foods, and planning exotic vacations. She likes gin and tonics, long walks in museums, and finding new books to devour. Other pastimes include devising plots to dismantle the patriarchy and something about Bon Iver. She lives in Houston’s East End with her partner (Cody), son (Isaac), daughter (Remy), beloved cat (Othello), and the wretched beagle her partner snuck in (Buttercup). She is grateful for the second chance she has been given in life and plans on living it to the absolute fullest—without fear but with plenty of planning.
Here is an excerpt from Maureen’s first essay, Getting Lost: Learning on my Feet, which was featured in the first issue of Synkroniciti Magazine:
“After 24 hours in Barcelona, I had a better grip on how the transportation system worked. I could find different stations and could figure out which line to take where and how to tell where the metro had been and where it was going. One of the reasons I wanted to go to Spain was to see the work of Antoni Gaudí. I intended to take a tour of his architectural masterpieces, the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. I was thrilled to have the chance to see them in person and spent a fair amount of euros to take a four-hour tour of them. However, I underestimated how jet-lagged I was and how long the metro could take, as well as the walking in between. Coming out of the station into an unfamiliar place, I wandered for a bit, realizing I had lost what I had paid for the tour. I was a bit salty about it all. Wandering around this area of town, admiring the little shops and narrow alleyways, I observed people walking by and admired how beautiful the women were, so unfussy and yet so chic. I stepped into a cafe and ordered a cafe corto (espresso) and a scone in broken Spanish and sat alone at a table, people watching and trying to figure out what I’d do next. Thinking I might do a bit of shopping, I decided to hit the Zara. Having a vague idea of where to go, I got back on the metro and took a quick trip to the station that came out on the Passeig de Gracia. I came out of the underground, let my eyes adjust to the bright sunlight, and looked across the street. There was a crowd, so I walked over to investigate. In front of me was a stunning structure—Casa Batlló, a home designed by none other than Gaudí. I laughed. I had spent time on this (hopefully not) once in a lifetime trip pouting about what I had lost on the guided tour, only to come out into the sun and find something just as beautiful by chance and by myself.”