Saturday, September 7, 2013


it's been awhile. Okay, it's been a ridiculously long-while, but I'm alive and well and living down unda' and settling in as much as I can, being someone who likes a certain amount of future-certainty in her day-to-day living, and who will not be able to have anything close to any such thing until March when my future location will be decided for me. BUT, I wanted to pop in and say that I am here, and that I have been sporadically catching back up on the blogs that I used to love in the US, and I am happy to feel like I'm back in the know on the goings-on of these internet-people I have never met. :)

And, yes, most of those blogs are written by New Yorkers and so most of those blogs revolve around the happenings in that city I just left. But I am very, very, very happy to report, that I can read about those happenings now, without crying. Even late at night.

And yes, a huge amount of that might be due to the fact that summer is finally peeking its head around the corner here in the land down unda', so my spirits and my mood are inevitably lifted. And yes another huge amount may also be due to the fact that I am once again working out and thus have a lot less energy to spend on missing.

But mostly, I think I'm slowly getting the hang of what my co-worker warned against, that I make sure to not look backwards. To only look ahead. Forward motion. Is it sad that it took me nearly 6 months to be able to think about NY without missing it horribly? To be honest, I'm pretty proud that I've been  able to do that. Because I love that city. Love it. Still think about moving back probably every other day, and mull over the ins-and-outs that such a move would mean to the relationship that I really care amazingly about. And I ponder, also, about if it makes me horribly, horribly selfish to want such a move so badly. And I go back to the pros-and-cons that inevitably lead me back to the fact that I love the relationship for which I moved here. And that the move was undoubtedly, 100% worth it, in that it allows us to be together in a real way, and it allowed us to see that we do work pretty wonderfully together.

But, that forward motion thing, it's tricky. Because life keeps on moving along and the feelings you have and the things you want, they change too. And, worse, really, is that they don't always change effectively together. So, day by day, I miss New York and remember what it felt like when spring was brightening up the city there, and compare it to this spring I'm experiencing here. And I come face-to-face with the fact that I really don't see myself, yet, as being a person who will say "I lived in New York once...." because I so wholly believe that I will live there again. And thus, will be a New York-liver more than the once. Hopefully with this down unda' lovah of mine. Because that is where my forward-motion begins now. As part of a duo.

Which, as would  be the case, makes every thing harder. Because you can't be selfish. But you also have to know what you want. You have to know what you want in a couple, when you decide that you're happy as part of a twosome. And you can change what you want, and you can edit a desire, and you can think about things and discuss things (and I learn everyday that you should, that the talking is key although maybe not moreso than the listening), but I can't help but feel that you do have to know what you, in your own person, want, in order to keep a relationship healthy and working and functional and happy. So that's not selfish then. If acknowledging what makes you happy, propels honest communication as part of a couple. But, still, it feels selfish.

It's a hard thing, to love a city. To love a place. To love a place, on its own, not because the family is there, or the job is there. Strictly the place. And it's energy, which is so nebulous and fleeting and addicting and exhausting. Hard to love a place based only on itself, and hard to love a feeling about a place, which can be both life-giving and life-sucking. Because there were days when I hated New York and when I would complain to everyone I ran into about the heat or the noise or the crowds. But I never wanted to leave it. I complained to them because they were in on it too. We were in it together. I hated those things - the crowds, no personal space, the freezing cold and the humid heat - and through them I remembered things I loved about California and my life there, but still I could never see myself abandoning New York. Because I had so much left to gain from it still. Because with everything I hated, I could rest comfortably in knowing that there were places I could go if it ever got too much - that there was a California with its awareness and its openness and that one could find work there and afford to live on their own there, and own a car there, and find their way around in said car. So if I ever needed to, I knew I could be able to make a change like that. Because I had come from that.

But there still was so much left to see and to do. There still are so many things in that city. And when I think about it too much I literally start to itch, in my head and in my gut, because I just want to start the process. Move my forward-motion back to there.

But it's not just my forward-motion anymore. And I don't want it to be just mine.

And I'm still adjusting to things here. (Not as well as I should be perhaps, as it showcased by that diatribe about the city I left...) And there are still things here, I am sure, that I need to see and to experience and to be a part of. And there's still that nagging worry about what I want and if I want it enough to verbalize it, and work to make it happen, for two. Because it's just a place. Because circumstances change and those changes can affect a place's appeal so, so much. So I go back and forth.

And I almost sort of prefer to going back-and-forth at this moment. Because I don't have to make a decision when I'm weighing my desires. I can just think on things, and let another day pass, and think on them some more.

And write hugely long posts like this one, without even a picture to help it to make sense. If anyone reads this - Mom and Dad perhaps? - apologies if this stream-of-consciousness makes absolutely no sense. When I speak I often launch into tangents I never finish, so there was probably a lot of that in this.

But I guess I just wrote to say, I'm still here.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Far Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, in Queens. I can live anywhere that has an ocean, growing up in California I developed a definite need for access to the sea. :)

 I will say, I'm excited to move to Australia and have an (almost) year-round abundance of sun, rather than the solid summer season and sporadic days of sun hot enough to make sunbathing an option in New York.

So, forward-motion: I am beyond excited to be moving to a place that will have me to a beach in less than two hours (my commute by train to Far Rockaway Beach in Queens, where I spent many an hour  my first summer in the city).

Here we go!

Looking Forward

I'm having a hard time talking about leaving New York. The act of speaking about it makes my throat close up and tears prick behind my eyes. Thinking about it, I'm fine, thinking back on my time here, I'm filled. I'm content. But speaking about it to others - the lump in my stomach rises to my throat and I am rendered speechless, with a face contorting to blink back threatening tears.

So, I am clinging desperately to what a colleague very matter-of-factly told me yesterday. "Forward motion." She said, "Just keep moving forward. The second you turn to look back, you're done." And she's right. I'm moving onto something new and different. Not better or worse necessarily, but different.

And it's true - what I keep feeling behind my eyes - I will never again be the girl who came to the city of her dreams, to make it here, on her own, for the very first time. I will never again have a first time moving here. I will now be moving back. I will never have the sweeter-than-sweet moments, nor the intensely bitter ones, that the first eye-opening experiences of the first weeks, months, and years here brought me. I will never have that city again. But when I return, I will still have this city.

And it will be a forward-moving return, to have experienced something different in the interim, to then be experiencing the same city in a brand new, in a new chapter, with a new self. For whenever I return, it will be just that - a returning to a city. Remembrances and try-agains, and try-for-the-first-times and this-is-brand-new and i-never-knew-this-existed-that-whole-first-time-here. Because everything is going to keep moving forward. And frustrating as that is, to not get to be a part of whatever the city will experience, that's the lot I've chosen, even though as I cling desperately to a city that lets me leave with no hesitation, I view it as one I've been dealt.

In my first years here I felt incredibly frustrated, left-out, annoyed, that I missed the blizzard that hit New York on Christmas in 2010 - as I was home for the holidays with family. I felt unfairly ostracized again when I missed out on Hurricane Irene - as I was out of state at a family wedding. It seems bratty and poorly prioritized that I, who has a family as loving and involved as mine, where we strive to support one another with love on holidays and on memorable occasions like weddings, would feel so stuck and left out in missing what amount to natural disaster/catastrophes/frustrations and instead get to spend time with a family who loved me enough to send me off across the country with full support and love. Yet that is the pull this city has on me - in each of those instances, I wanted the camaraderie that only a city as intricately woven as a walking city like New York can have. I wanted the bond of fretting and worry over a hurricane that was threatening our city. I wanted the kvetching and the eye rolls and the "it won't even be anything. Everyone is freaking out about nothing!" that accompany one-to-one every other person making an extra trip to the supermarket to stock up on water.

I loved that - even with the utter destruction and horror that Hurricane Sandy brought upon the city - New York rose to the challenge and helped itself start putting the pieces back together. And that so, so many people from all across the country pitched in to help those hurt by the storm to rebuild. I loved that so many people within this city set up donations for supplies, I loved the camaraderie that "getting back to normal" brought up within this city after the storm. I loved walking across the Queensborough bridge along with what felt like hundreds of others as we worked through a never-before-experienced lack-of-subway situation. I loved that each of us was just doing our best to figure it out, and that we were doing it together. I loved that when Mayor Bloomberg enacted his commuter-rule to keep the bridges that were open from getting completely clogged with cars, that New Yorkers again took each other in. That I got a ride into the city from two brothers who needed a third body in their car, that we chatted about their children and how their business had fared in the storm as they called colleagues to advise on the quickest routes from the streets they could see. I loved that when the gas rations were enacted, people would post FB statuses giving their neighborhoods, asking for rides to work by neighbors, or offering clothes, supplies, water, to those affected if someone who did have enough gas to make the trip was willing to come pick up the offerings and take them to donation centers.

I loved that the only expectation in that time of hardship and devastation for so many people in so many parts of New York City, was simply to do what could be done for each other.

And in the lesser times of nature's wrath, I loved being a part of it. I loved the looks of bewilderment and awe I shared with passers-by and harried mothers towing toddlers dressed in nothing close to snow gear in October of 2011 when New York had the earliest snowfall in years. We got hit with a storm on Halloween and I, traipsing through Brooklyn looking for apartments in my gym clothes, realized I wasn't going to do so well in tennis shoes and a tank top and began to scurry along to find a subway  platform and get out of the weather. I loved that as I went to find that subway - in a neighborhood I knew not at all - I passed by beautiful architecture, beginning to be lightly coated in white. I loved that the bushes and flowers fenced off by beautiful wrought iron were momentarily even more beautiful with snow that would soon kill them. I loved shuffling by necks craned to look at the sky with wrinkled foreheads and overheard all the confusions. "What the hell...?" / "What month is it?" / "Did they say...?" And then the reports on the weather that poured out the next day. [Because if there's one thing New Yorkers all seem to love talking about - beyond discussions of rent and real estate - it's the weather.]

It makes me sad that I will again no longer be a part of that. That the next time Mayor Bloomberg decides to take additional steps to help the lives of New Yorkers and ban soda altogether, or something, I will not be one of the New Yorkers who will see the commentaries in AM New York. I will not hear people bitching about it on the subways, even though the majority will comply with the changes. It makes me terribly sad that I will no longer get to be a part of this breathing, living, ever-changing community. Hell, I'm even going to miss the shock of walking onto a crowded subway train and getting smacked in the face by the human smell that means someone has made our current commute vehicle their home for awhile. Because that's New York. That's all part of the grit and reality and living that I wanted when I first began itching to move here.

Which is why - when I begin to look back too long as I just did in this incredibly long-winded diatribe - I have to just refocus myself.: "Forward motion." I'm leaving. I've made this choice and there's no going back.

And, for the time being, there can be no more looking back. Because it's just too hard.

So this will be the last post for awhile. I will start again when I'm settled in Australia. Or just am thinking too much and have to get things out. [A dangerous habit on a public space, I'm learning, but I type faster than I journal, so there we are for the time being. Maybe publishing need not always be my final step?] And I will hopefully return to pictures and daily happenings and experiences, like I did when I first arrived here in New York.

And I am excited for Australia, and to see what cohabitation holds, and to try life as one-without-a-salary. A whole set of brand new experiences. And so, I will refocus, and take comfort in the fact that the city that holds such a place in my heart will be here for me. When my forward motion takes me back.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Tomorrow is my last day as a New Yorker. The life that I spent the past two and a half years building for myself, the immense self-learning I've done, the tumultuous highs and lows that surely just come from growing up but felt even more momentous and undeniable to me in this city of concrete and steel, is coming to an end. It is a choice, yes, for a person who is worth it. But that fact does not make the say good-bye any easier.

I had wanted to live in New York for years before I did it. I dreamt about it in high school, and even while doing so saw it as a pipe-dream, saw myself as one who would never leave the city in which I was born, had grown up, and had completed college. And then finally I decided it was now or never, that I was dying where I was, that I had to try it, that I had to give it a go. I did it the only way I felt comfortable - I spent a year applying to work and I finally got not only interviews - and the generosity of a wonderful friend who hosted me and quiz-interviewed me and dropped me off at said interview - but a job offer. And I came.  Armed with the knowledge that I knew three people already here, that I had a steady source of income, and that I wanted to be here. In New York. With every ounce of me I wanted to be here. And I was offered yet more hospitality by another dear friend who allowed me to stay in her home for weeks until I found a place of my own, and I spent my first year here bouncing from apartment and roommate in Murray Hill to apartment and roommate in Gramercy Park to solo studio on the Upper East Side - lets be honest, it was pretty much Yorkville - to, finally, apartment with roommates across the bridge, in Brooklyn.

And there is nothing I'm not going to miss. I would give anything to be making this move at one of the inevitable lulls of living in New York - to have this timing coincide with an exhaustion of the cold and the fervor and the bodies and the always-rushing. But that is never the way these things go. Because even at my very lowest point, leaving New York never even entered my mind. I felt like I should leave, like I should stop the growth that I was undergoing and return home, with the delusional but desperate belief that if I went back to where I had been, I would return to who I had been. Who, really, was just a girl in very deep denial and fear about a lot of things that had been inside her all the time. I knew I would never really leave this city, just like I knew I was still me, I was just a more honest me. And honesty can take time to get used to, but it can't be denied once it's been admitted. At least it couldn't for me.

And so, regardless of anything else, tomorrow will be my last day living in New York. I'm excited for what this next year abroad in Australia will hold. I'm excited for the girl who is the reason that Australia is the country to which I venture. But, without even having begun the trip to the airport, I feel the same intense craving to return. To a city I've yet to leave. The same pull that I felt that eons-ago-feeling-day when I realized I had to go to New York. Absolutely had to go, that I was suffocating with the need. So that's hard. Hard to be feeling and ignoring. Hard to not talk about. Because it doesn't change a thing. I'm leaving.

But the honesty of the fact doesn't make it any easier to accept just yet.

My one consolation? What my father, and a dear friend who served very much as family for me here, keeps reminding me. New York isn't going anywhere. Thank god for that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Sun

I think it may be very possible that there is nothing simultaneously better and worse than winter sun. Right now, as I sit in my grey office cubicle, there is glorious, tremendous sun glinting down atop the Chrysler building, sparkling off of the East River. It looks magnificent and delicious and all I want to do is go downstairs and lay down on a cement slab and soak it up (as I used to do on our main campus walkway with a dear library coworker and friend as an undergrad). Except this sun is a tease. Because it is cold outside. Not as cold as its been throughout these past few weeks. It is in the 40's out there, not the 20's, and certainly not the single digits. But it is still not put on a tank top and shorts and go soak up the rays weather. So for that, winter sun is a tease. But it still makes my heart happy to sit here, and pretend it's hot outside. Somehow the fact that I know it's really not hot, makes it easier to bear the fact that I have to sit inside, and can't be outside relishing the heat.

New York, there will be innumerable things I will miss about you. Dare I say I will even miss this. [And that's saying a lot because I remember how disheartened I became, my first winter here in 2010, with the tease of winter sun. It literally threw me into a funk that first winter. And now, my third winter in, I thank the city for it.]

But still, I'm very excited to explore the land of Oz and, with any luck, get a taste of some good summer weather. I didn't get a summer this year, due to weekends spent working indoors as a waitress trying to save up for my Australia vacation and also build up some savings, and I am aching for a make-up season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Change is a-coming...

I'll tell you about that later.

I took a lunchtime walk today and mused on the fact that winter really hasn't hit. Again, for the 2nd year in a row.

I mused on the fact that two nights ago I'd been cursing how frigid the air felt, craving to no-end warm nights, an end of winter, an end to seasons, an end to being permanently cold and pale. And then today, on my walking lunch, when I was almost too warm with my coat on after a morning of fog and rain and grey had burned away to sun, blue skies and temperatures in the 40's, I thought how annoying it was that cold winters appeared to have gone. Just ended. When I'd only been here for two years, three winters in total.

I had a cold winter my first one here - 2010. When all the storms kept hitting New York, when the city was shut down because the biggest blizzard in decades hit on Christmas, before the plows were all prepared, and people residing outside of Manhattan were trapped in their neighborhoods, unable to drive down the streets. I lived in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan and so - despite being trapped in California from my Christmas travels for longer than anticipated - I suffered little besides some slippery commutes into work.

Then in 2011 was the earliest snowstorm in memory, snowing out Halloween and catching yours truly in her gym clothes and tennis shoes attempting to find the housing that would replace her Upper East Side studio. This was after Tropical Storm Irene had been threatening to rip through New York - a neck of the states that has never suffered hurricanes or tropical storms of any sort - and I was held over night in the Chicago O'Hare Airport trying desperately to return home from a cousin's wedding down south.

This year, 2012, I am happily residing in my Brooklyn apartment, when Hurricane Sandy hits. Destroying Halloween and cancelling all festivities yes, but moreso destroying more of New York than any storm ever before. On par - if not worse - devastation than that caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, there are parts of New York (Long Island, Staten Island, outlaying areas of Brooklyn and Queens) that are still not running back to "normal" yet - almost 2 months after the fact.

Tell me climate change is a lie. Sheesh.

But I can say, as used to cold winters as I apparently have become since moving here - now that the 40's are apparently too hot to zip up my coat, and this after having been born and raised in a land that rarely falls below the 50's during the height of wintertime festivities - it will take more getting used to than I can imagine to no longer have my Christmas season be a chilly one.

About two months from now, I will be moving abroad. I will be spending the next year living (and hopefully working and traveling) in Australia. From there, we will see what the future holds.

But I can tell you one thing, with absolute certainty, I am not looking forward to having such basic understandings of life be turned on their heads. I'm a summertime baby - born in July. I fully associate myself with beaches, bathing suits, barbecues, and I have always attributed that to the fact that I am a summertime baby. In Australia, my birthday will fall in the winter. It will be cold. I know it's just another day of the yaer, but to me it will feel wrong.

And Christmas, Christmas will feel very strange. It will be hot. It will be summer. So I'm trying to soak up everything I can about the chilliness of the season while I have it. In spite of my grumbling the other night. ;)

So the chorale singing I dawdled around to hear after my walk, dressed in their sweaters and tights and cozy-chic wear, that made me smile. Christmas carols, bare tree branches blowing in a winter wind, and sweaters. I'm absorbing what I can, while I can.

Before I embark on a very, very new set of experiences.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Wowee. I really took a hiatus. I actually at one point debated deleting this blog altogether for the amount of time I had been away from it. Yet, here I am, back again, having survived both Hurricane Sandy of October 2012 and one random snowfall of a Nor'Easter about a week after that. Upon skimming through some of the blogs I used to frequent so often back when I was a somewhat-active particpant in the world, it would seem that Summer is still hanging around parts of my old stomping ground of San Diego. FB tells me - thanks to friends who still live there - that there has been a bit of a heatwave, and so it feels like all of a sudden, in spite of the weather, and the snow, and the grey in skies here in New York, that summer may just be slipping away for those on the west coast. Strangely enough, on this Monday morning, I am incredibly, insanely jealous of them. Just a few weeks ago I was thinking how relieved I was that Fall was on its way in, a departure from the sticky days and the busy summer I had - I took on a weekend job waitressing and later weekend job bartending and working 7 days a week does not bode well for me in the long run, it would seem, although in the moment it did not feel painful in the least bit.
Image via

Perhaps the most harsh reality was the fact that we really did not get much Fall. A few weeks, yes, where the leaves began to turn glorious golds and reds, but then we suffered a Hurricane, everyone is still fundraising and without homes and without heat, electricity, water, food, and then the snow came, and it's still sticking around parts of the city (which goes to show just how little sun filters down through those insanely tall skyscrapers) and everything just feels sort of grey and heavy and cold and bad at the moment. And all of this comes together to make me jealous of my friend and family in San Diego who are dealing with the onset of SoCal winter, and I am suddenly so very excited to get home for Christmas, and a break from being cold, that I can hardly express it.

But really, this post was just because I got an itch to get back into the world from which I have been apart for so very many months. It would appear the rest of you were much less slacking in your dedication to your blogging duties, so I am rather excited for the chance to catch up on what you all have been doing since last Spring.