Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A whole year?

I am officially three days away from my one year anniversary of moving to NYC. It's amazing how much things have changed for me in the past (almost) 2 years. Scary.

Now is about the time I usually get restless and plot my escape, but I'm resisting. One year really isn't that long of a time and while I am feeling a little tug, there's still a lot of the city I want to explore. I have really been enjoying my time here and still feel quite at home. No sense in leaving just yet.

My current job as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Planned Parenthood of NYC is coming to a close... I have two weeks of service left and then I am done! Two days after that... I start my new job - which will be at the Harlem Children's Zone. I'll be working as a community organizer for their Community Pride branch - which deals with adults and not children. As most of you know... I'm not a huge fan of kids, so it would be silly of me to take a job dealing with them. (Not YOUR kids... of course.)

I'm sad about leaving PPNYC but also excited about the new adventure of starting a new job. Naturally, I'm terrified I won't be any good at it or will hate it or something else horrible - but I'm trying to stay positive. So far.... my success has been average.

Actually, a lot of things have changed or are in the process of changing and it's making me feel a little lost. Overwhelmed. My mind is racing with everything that's happening and trying to process it all. It's not really working, though, and the result is me feeling lost. It will pass, as it always does. But I do need to spend some time getting my shit together. I've been neglecting things and it's all piling up in my mind.

I also need to visit home. Hopefully I'll be able to make the trip to Jax in a couple of weeks. My Dad is coming in and bringing my new baby brother so I want to come down and meet him. This also makes me slightly nervous, as I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about that whole thing... The original plan was go to out to Cali and have a mini family reunion but since I'm starting a new job not even 2 weeks prior... I feel that might not be my best plan right now. A weekend trip to FL I can do, though. So... Florida people I will keep you posted on that!

Also, I turn 25 in less than a month. Should I be worried?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have spent some time lately reading back through the stuff I wrote in my blog while I was in China, and reading some of my old journal entries from the past few years. It's amazing how much I forget about my own life and experiences. I'm always really glad when I actually write stuff down, because apparently I will not remember 95% of it.

Of course, reading about my time in China was genuinely interesting to me because so many random things would happen to me all the time. While I do have a lot of random experiences here.... they just don't seem as noteworthy. I feel like life in the U.S. is just so commonplace and settled. As though my life here is more "real" and less a casual adventure.

At any rate... life is good lately. I still am enjoying living in NYC and am definitely planning on sticking around for a while. My year of service is coming to an end, so I am back out there looking for a new job. I have really enjoyed working at PPNYC and absolutely can not see myself not continuing to work in nonprofits. The low pay is a challenge, and always will be if I choose to stay in the nonprofit sector in the long run, but I really think it's worth it for me.

I have fallen in love with community outreach, which sort of combines the best of retail and office work for me. I get the independent projects and desk work that I sometimes crave, while still being able to go out into the streets and talk to people.

This past year has helped me grow a lot professionally. I still turn bright red when I speak in front of people (I might have to start trying beta blockers) but I feel pretty confident when giving presentations at this point. Now if only I could get over feeling like everyone thinks I'm 17... Or if only everyone would stop thinking I'm 17... It's hard getting up to give a presentation when people look at you as though, "Yeah right... Like she could know what she's talking about." But, I do. And I think that comes out pretty well in my presentations now.

I'm also looking for a new apartment with one of my current roommates. I'm excited about having a smaller place and having more control over what happens in it. I'm also really excited about having a bed that's not 5 feet off the ground. (I have a loft bed right now) I'll miss my other current roommates and the area that I'm living in, but I think in the long run it's the right move. Plus, my room is simply unbearable in the summertime. Seriously. I would be more comfortable sleeping outside when it's over 90 degrees.

In totally unrelated news... I won a trip to the Dominican Republic. I'm pretty excited about it and am taking my mom. I feel like I owe her... and she's not had the best year so I think it will be good for both of us. I haven't been out of the country in well over a year - which is the first time that has happened since I was 2 years old. (Yep, I'm spoiled - and couldn't be happier about it.) So my wanderlust is really flaring up lately and I am getting restless. Hopefully this dulls it a bit. I don't know when we're going, but probably after summer is over.

Well that's all for now. I'll keep everyone posted about interviews and new apartments and whatnot. I had one interview yesterday and another one next week. Fingers crossed! Wish me luck :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life List

I have read countless blogs lately that have the author's version of their "Life List" or "Bucket List" or whatever the hell you want to call it. So, I wanted to start my own. They're in no particular order - and only include things I haven't yet done - so maybe I'm selling my life short a little since in reality I've already done a bunch of stuff that would have normally been on my list. Also, I'm only sticking to concrete things that can be checked off - there are more things I would add if I wanted to put general life goals like - "never pass up a great opportunity".

Most people's lists are like 100 items long - and I think I'll get there, but this is just my initial list. And I didn't waste time listing individual countries ... because I think I'd list half the globe. Although, there are a few exceptions for countries I've been talking about going to for a long time and haven't gone yet. I'm open to suggestions for those of you that think I'm leaving something off I've always talked about doing...

1. Learn to scuba dive.
2. Swim with sharks.
3. Visit all 50 states.
4. Go to Mexico.
5. Ride a motorcycle.
6. Ride a jet ski.
7. Go skydiving.
8. Go bungee jumping.
9. Hang glide.
10. Learn to snowboard.
11. Live overseas at least one more time.
12. Visit Machu Picchu.
13. See the Pyramids.
14. Visit the Middle East.
15. Walk on the Great Wall of China (again).
16. Attend a World Expo.
17. Go to a World Cup game.
18. Get a master's degree of some kind.
19. Learn to speak Spanish as well as I did when I was living in Argentina.
20. Become conversant in a third language.
21. Get a tattoo or brand.
22. Visit New Zealand.
23. Write a book.
24. Go on a Safari.
25. Volunteer/work in Africa.
26. Sleep in a hut on the beach in Thailand.
27. Learn to drive stick.
28. Go on a cruise.
29. Become an expert on something. Anything.
30. Become a certified yoga teacher.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Daily Show

You can reserve tickets to the Daily Show online, for free, if you can find an opening. I have been checking their site regularly to see if I could find a date open where I could actually leave work a little early and go see the show.

I actually do not even watch the Daily Show regularly, mostly because I'm lazy, but I feel like it is one of those NYC experiences I would regret not having. So, I reserved a ticket for me, got off work at 3 and got to the studio at 3:45 to stand in a line along the side of building. I happened to be standing next to a pile of trash, and it was quite warm outside for a New York April afternoon. So, I stood in line, for about 2 hours - reading and being grateful that I had an iPod with me (with new music! I finally put some new songs on my iPod for the first time in 2 years!). Then some crew people came out and checked our names off lists and handed out little slips of papers with numbers on them. I was one of the last to get a slip - and I was only number 34. Apparently a lot of VIP people had showed up and stolen everyone else's spots! (jealous...)

So - I got in, got a seat in the second to last row and sat down to enjoy the show. There was obnoxiously loud and not very good music playing for about 15 minutes, then our "prep" guy came out to warm us up and get the laughter going. He was entertaining, but I feel like he was a little off from his normal stride. (I obviously have nothing to base this on, just a feeling) He slightly reminded me of my older brother...

Then Jon Stewart came out and everyone went crazy!!! It's always neat to see someone famous close up - it makes them a real person to me. Whereas before he was just some character on a TV show. He always answers questions before the show so he talked to some people in the audience and it was pretty entertaining. One woman's sister apparently had picked him up when his was younger and hitchhiking thru New Jersey and so he reminisced for like 5 minutes about his time at a club there... it was entertaining because he obviously got sort of lost in it and then snapped out of it and was like, "buuuut no one here cares! Next question!"

One of the bits was Jon Stewart interviewing puppet Michael Steele. Hilarious. Especially since apparently the wire kept falling off of the puppet's arm so the puppeteer couldn't control it and was just like flailing it around. Jon was gracious enough to help "Michael" out several times - and I just could not stop laughing. Fucking brilliant. I love that despite the fact that they film the show ages ahead of time and could obviously redo it -they choose to just roll with it. It's amazing he doesn't mess up more than he does. Also - Sam Bee is a cute little pregnant lady.

Steve Carell was the guest - and man does their interview go quickly!!!! Of course - the two of them interacting was hilarious because they are both very funny guys. I'm not so sure about this new movie of his, Date Night, but I did like that for Steve's introduction they played a clip of Ed Helms in the Hangover.

All in all - a great experience and totally worth the wait and the constant search for tickets online. I totally want to go again!! I have tickets for the Colbert show in a couple of weeks - so I'm hoping that it goes as smoothly as this one did. Now I know that I need to get there early though! Since apparently there really are no guarantees even with a ticket and only being 40th in line...

Thursday, March 4, 2010


OK so it has totally been a while since I updated this. Thanks to the ever wonderful Kristina for pointing that out :) Sometimes I forget. Also - pics of shoes coming as soon as I have a reason to wear them!

Things are still going well for me. I think I can safely say that I officially survived my first winter!!!! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Turns out, I totally like wearing skinny jeans with boots over them. I never thought I'd wear that trend. I also totally like wearing Ugg(ish) boots when it's freaking freezing out. And playing in the snow.

Having said all that - I'm still ready for it to warm up. I went to Florida for my mom's birthday two weeks ago and it was really nice. I totally missed the beach and the warm weather and all the open space and water!! I know that I would never want to live there again (at least as my life is now...) but I think Jacksonville will always hold a special place in my heart. Plus some of my favorite people are there!!!!

The whole point of the trip was for me to surprise my mom for her birthday - which was hilarious. Her best friend called me up and suggested it and paid for half my ticket. My grandparents paid for the other half and so I flew down to Jax, stayed one night with my Dad and lil brother who totally came in just for me!! (right?!?!) and then drove to Daytona the next day with him and my mom's best friend. We all surprised her at her work. She totally cried. It was fantastic.

We went out to eat, went bowling, went for a long walk on the beach and laid out by the pool. An all around fantastic weekend that went by far too quickly. I've missed my family and friends!!! Also - my brother and mom and I are all almost at exactly the same skill level for bowling so it was totally intense. There was one game where two of us tied and the third person had one point higher. CRAZY!!! It's like we share DNA or something.

I have been consistently busy with work and attempting to meet new people and hang out with old friends here in NYC. I still freaking love my job - which is fantastic. I decided to put off applying for law school/grad school again for an array of reasons. Maybe next year. And I'm single and sort of trying to date but I won't pretend like I'm putting in that much effort. Building relationships is time consuming!

Every Tuesday night I attempt to teach ESL students English as a volunteer ESL teacher. I teach a listening section and I don't think it's going all that well... the curriculum that was given to me is a bit wonky and I just don't have the time and energy to devote to creating my own curriculum for them. I still really like teaching adults though. Maybe someday I'll be good at it too!

I will try and update this with more stories and snippets soon. Much love!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The highway is crowded. It seems everyone is in transit, getting ready for the holidays. We have passed at least 20 Toys R' Us stores and Wal-Marts and I feel the monotony of America grating on me. The drive between New York City and Boston is only supposed to be four and a half hours, but the Christmas traffic and the recent snow are slowing things down. I can see red taillights for miles ahead of us, and even though we're moving I am less and less hopeful that we will reach Boston before the subway shuts down for the night.

As I sit here, watching strip mall after strip mall pass slowly by my window, I realize that I miss my family more than I thought I would. Thanksgiving was easy enough, though there were a few pangs of homesickness involved. Tonight, though, as I'm headed to visit some very good friends of mine, I can't help but feel a little sad that this bus is heading north instead of south. The snow on the ground is less comforting than the warm Florida sun. The promise of an impromptu bed less inviting than the thought of crawling into the one I left behind six months ago. I suppose that this is what growing up is all about. As we get older we have to break with our old traditions and form new ones, or at the very least modify them. The only constant in life is change, right?

Despite missing home more than I ever thought that I would, I love where I am. I feel completely content with my life. Moving to New York City was exactly what I needed. I had come to a complete standstill in Jacksonville. I was miserable, even though I was surrounded with almost all of the people that I love. Now, so far away from them, I've found somewhere that I really think I belong. From my first day in New York City I have felt at ease. I have been lost and stressed the fuck out and completely baffled by many things, but never have I felt so at home. I feel like it's my city.

The cold and the snow present me with a new challenge. I have never lived somewhere with actual seasons. The cities I have lived in have all been considered to be subtropical in climate, so when I found myself standing in a snowstorm last weekend, I freaked out. I twirled in circles and giggled like a little girl and threw my arms up in the air and almost fell down on my ass as I played with the gorgeous white powder that fell around me. I took in the glory of Central Park coated in a fresh coat of snow and cursed the misery that is wearing tennis shoes through the slush. Two days later I did fall on my ass thanks to those same tennis shoes and a slippery staircase. I have a massive bruise to prove it.

Despite the shortcomings of the weather, I am enjoying feeling cold. It thrills me a little bit and while I am certain that I will be so sick of piling on clothes and trudging through the snow by the end of the winter - I still find myself giggling in excitement when I breath out and I can see it hang in the air. It's no longer something to call home about or run inside and tell everyone, "It's so cold you can see your breath!" but I think it will continue to make me smile for at least this winter.

I hope you all are happy and healthy and I wish you a very Merry Christmas (whether you celebrate it or not) and a fantastic New Year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

OK so I'm arrogant...

Do you ever catch yourself judging someone else? Assuming that they're an idiot because of a conversation they're having? Thinking you're better than them because of something they do or say? How much do you base your own actions on what the people around you will think of you? Do you care more about what your friends will think of you or what the general populace will think of you? Or does it matter?

I had an interesting conversation the other day about why humans act the ways that we do and what humanity really is. What shapes our values? Why do we think that it is wrong to take advantage of another person, or to kill a child, or anyone? Are there times when people really don't feel this way? Why has there been so much evil in this world if we do think it's wrong? Is it always wrong?

The answers, I think, are impossible to know. We all have our own moral codes that we live by, and I think these are largely shaped by our surroundings -a mixture of society, our parents, our family and our peers dictates for each of us what is right and what is wrong. Our moral codes are fluid and change as our surroundings change. This is why one day people are living at peace and another they are slitting each others' throats. Are there some values/morals/sense of right and wrong that we're simply born with? I'm not so sure.

I think that there are points where people do not view it as wrong to kill each other. They think that raping a woman to death is not evil, that pushing children into mine fields is part of the battle. On our pedestals, we look at these actions and condemn them and those that carry them out. We protest and send in troops and do whatever we can (or at least we talk about it) to stop them from carrying out what they believe to be right. We are acting in line with our moral code, which happens to be at odds with theirs. Is this right? Is placing our beliefs above theirs really something we should do?

Of course my instinctual response is, "No shit we should stop them! What they're doing is wrong!!" Just like my instinctual response in China is that the Chinese people that spit/blow their noses on the street are somehow less civilized than I am because their hygiene is different than my own. I judge the people who litter the streets with trash as well as those that sell their bodies for whatever it is they need. I judge the people that kill other people or molest children. I judge them and I think that, "I'm better than that. I'm better than them."

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my superiority complex. I feel like this topic gets neglected a lot because it's somehow OK to have an inferiority complex (which I also have to some degree), but feeling superior to people is a huge no-no. Well I'm here to admit that I totally feel superior sometimes. I think my way is better and I think that my country does a lot of things better than other countries. I'm also pretty sure that everyone feels this way. We believe what we believe and of course we think we're right and they're wrong - or we wouldn't believe it! Of course I think I'm better than the person who has participated in a massacre - or I would participate too.

Having said that - I totally worry about what other people think of me and if they're looking at me and thinking that they're better than I am. Here comes my inferiority complex. I don't really know why - and I feel that I am somehow less susceptible to this impulse to look awesome in the eyes of others but it's definitely something I still struggle with. Why do I avoid asking stupid questions or doing something where I might look like a total ass in front of my friends? If I really didn't care what other people thought then I would have no problem with this.

In a lot of ways - caring what other people think of you is a positive thing. It keeps us in line and respectful of others - which I think makes everyone happier in the end. But I still can't help but wonder how much I've missed out on because I didn't want to look stupid. Or didn't want to wear a bathing suit in front of that person.

On a related note - I bought my first scale today. I feel really weird about it.