Sunday, August 3, 2014

life's a beach

Hey, is this thing still on?

I can hardly believe it's August 3rd already. It's been more than two months since I lived in Paris! Not to mention one month since I settled in Los Angeles, before venturing to the Pacific coast (Long Beach) with my mom, for the first time in almost three years.
{Long Beach}
It was the Fourth of July then and we rode bikes along the beach with old neighbors of ours. I felt like I was on vacation. It amazed me that beachfront mornings, afternoons, and evenings could become an ordinary mainstay in my new home. Still does actually. And now that I'm practically an "Angeleno" (with a shiny California driver's license to prove it), my cousin decided it was about time I pick "my beach." Yesterday, he took my visiting friend Hannah and I on an L.A. beach tour--from Hermosa Beach to Malibu.
{Manhattan Beach}
What a multidimensional city I live in, let me tell you. I was mistaken when I'd thought sand + sun + surf would translate to a mildly consistent look and feel to these waterfront communities. Loved enjoying, comparing and contrasting four of them in just one day.
As I learn a new job in a new city in a country I haven't lived full-time in in two years, simplistic preconceived notions of this most recent home of mine are being debunked one by one. It's wonderful. Wonderful and overwhelming. Living this real life is quite honestly the hardest thing I've ever attempted to do. So, although I do promise to eventually revive my blogging habits, I ask you to please be patient with me until then. In the mean time: a get-to-know Los Angeles reading list. These two books first.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

under wing

Supposedly, having belonged to more than one place makes setting up a life in a another one easier. It doesn't. At least not in the ways some assume. Because in addition to the time and energy it takes to become familiar with one's dynamic new environment, there are the processes of new friend-building and old friend-rekindling, the balance of carefully learning the ropes at work while bolding integrating oneself into the office, and simultaneously figuring out the most restorative personal routine. It's all physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. The key, I think, is to hold onto "the why", and accept the promise in each day as it comes.
And to wholeheartedly appreciate the support from near and far as well. I went on a second date in Hollywood Forever Cemetery last night. Earlier in the day, I met Claire and David for brunch at the Ace Hotel and a Downtown Arts District tour. And on Friday, my cousin and I made dinner together before watching her friend perform and dancing the night away. Days like these are what'll make L.A. feel like home. "Little by little, one travels far," and though unbelievably enough, I'm finding s/he need not do it alone.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

thoughts from the city of angels

If you were to ask, I'd say yes, I've been lucky. I have my health, an imperfect and entirely lovable family, and good, true friends scattered across the globe; and in addition to already having been able to "live a lot", I've enjoyed the ease that comes with generally being treated well by others. But recently, I've considered how we create our own luck--that maybe it's neither an aligning of stars nor fortunate drawing of cards, but rather a reflection of our approach to the world. We are fully cable of viewing what we've been given with humble gratitude rather than impatiently demanding more. Is satisfaction not little more than the perceived belief our needs and expectations have been graciously met? And is contentment not the gentle appreciation of our genuine efforts in it all?
{Topanga State Park}
Suffice to say, I've really been liking Los Angeles... much more than I'd ever believed possible, if we're being completely honest.
{Baldwin Hills}
As luck would have it, I'm sharing this city with the bestest, most thoughtful copains, my Craigslist roommate and apartment are pretty wonderful, and work has already been stimulating in all the right ways. It's also worth mentioning how impressed I've been with the cultural constrasts, and sunshine, and charming design permeated throughout. And though driving through traffic may take getting used to, I suppose I've missed the convenience of having a car at all. "I'd really like to stay awhile" I wrote to a friend in nervous-anticipation. It's worth noting I'd likely still say the same, now two weeks later and a resident. Perhaps that's what lucky is.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

california, here I come

Before my grandma left to visit my aunt in Belgium, she told me she'd wanted to live in Los Angeles. There was so much more space and sunshine than in Queens, she said; flowers and produce, too. She savored those 9 months helping her aunt. Decades later, my mom took me to see her cousins. It wasn't her first time (and apparently not my own either--we'd visited while she was pregnant) but I remember it specifically because I brought Elmo with me... and promptly forgot him on the shuttle bus. I was devastated as you can imagine. And though watching "Seepy Booty" did help, it took me another 18 years to get the nerve to go back myself.
{Leslie & I's Airbnb - Biarritz, France
Now, when my flight lands this afternoon, I'm returning to live. I'll first enjoy the weekend with K and her husband. Next, I'll visit my office for the first time, and see my apartment, and meet my roommate. My mom will arrive a few days later. We'll pick up my car and bedroom furniture together, as well as celebrate the Fourth. By then I should feel like a Los Angeles resident, right? Words cannot express how anxious and eager to make myself at home--mostly because this New Yorker is hoping for that je ne sais quoi... eek! Be in touch as soon as I'm barely somewhat reasonably settled :) see you on Instagram in the mean time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

elevator music

As anticipated (though not mentioned), three weeks is too long to wait. I've been uncomfortably nostalgic and sensitive, and anxious, to discover the life that awaits me. But, three weeks seems to have been just enough time to leisurely reconnect with those who matter. My family and I barbecued last night, and in the days before, I caffeinated/lunched/museum-ed/hiked/picnic-ed/happy hour-ed with the best of friends. This past Sunday evening is especially noteworthy. La crème de la crème and I dined at The Cleveland:
From beginning to end, it was the perfect meal experience. We shared a bottle of crisp and chilled rosé, our appetites soon piqued with the addition of black sesame bread, soft orange blossom butter, and jalapeño pesto. As the sun set on the streets of New York, we then savored Chef Max Sussman's New American cuisine (brussels sprouts salad, crisp duck pastry, grilled whole eggplant) with more wine. And after, much to my surprise, our waiter treated us to "good luck in LA" almond cake, served with a fantastic rhubarb curd and creme fraiche gelato.  Had the ladies not enticed me with a digestif at Mother's Ruin, I quite possibly may have never left. One thing's for certain though: in just a few days, I will definitely miss being able to enjoy their company.