Tuesday, April 24, 2018

baja at 29

Nearly one year ago, on my golden birthday, I woke up to the Pacific Ocean. It was a magnificent sight, but I was also taken aback by how familiar that body of water has become. My 19-year-old self would've been astounded to know I'd been in Los Angeles for nearly three years at that point. An hour or so later, we drove to the border. I was nervous–what with my last name and the current President–and unreasonably hungry. (We never do grow our of some ways of being, I suppose). The passport exchange was somehow more painless than previous drives from Canada; we found roadside churros also. Back in California, I turned my cell back on to a cascade of texts and voicemails marked by happy 29th wishes. After a refreshing three day weekend in Mexico, I truly was. Happy, that is.
Happiness hasn't been something that's come easily in my twenties. I'm too learnedly cautious, or, as some may say, cynical. Whereas I desire an incredible amount from the world, I expect very little. I think that's why I've ended up inhabiting four cities in the past ten years. Submitting to one place requires a a reckoning with mundanity I've been far too intimidated to take on. And there's pressure in the choosing. And that's before considering the people that will matter there, the vulnerable investment true bonds will require...
Clearly I'm still fearful. But I've also been ruminating over something my mom once said, about how 34 was her favorite because it was the age she'd fully embraced who she was and felt wholly satisfied with life she was creating. Even then I found the concept so beautiful. Now, I dually appreciate the courage that made it true. Living that sentiment might be what I'm most looking forward to in the next decade. (For the record, I also intend to refute the claim that time's running out to visit these destinations. Are you f'ing kidding me.)
When he'd asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I thought back to my 28th. I fondly remembered that Mexico has a wine country. We stayed by the water and dined in courses amongst the vines and made time for horseback riding, and ocean-front reading, and margaritas after a farm animal meet-and-greet. We tasted a delectable array of smoky, sophisticated wines. It was such a privilege to satisfy so luxuriously. Magical even. Here's to accepting more of that into this wild and precious life. Next month, 30.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

the significance of that weekend in texas

Six months ago, I took my last 501 work trip to Corpus Christi (and later, Austin). I spent the first humid morning exploring by foot. I realized I recognized the small Texan city from having passed through more than ten years prior, on a spring break trip that most definitely reflected my age at that time (17). So much had changed since. I imagine I would've had the same enthusiasm to stop by Selena's memorial though. I was transported to singing along to her cassette tape in my dad's car, my mom explaining to me, months later, why he'd come home from work so upset. I recalled how special it'd been when we to dinner and to see Jennifer Lopez's debut.
I'd flown to Corpus, Christi to supervise an event a new colleague was running. All went well. The following morning, we drove to Austin. I strolled from my Airbnb to another Austin-based colleague's home. We ended up on Rainey Street, others met us, and before long we were on a day-drinking adventure. I admired the easy, laid back approach to strong cocktails and good conversation, local beer and live music. It'd been awhile. I felt fortunate. I thought back to my road trip, when I'd just barely driven through.
On that last day in Texas, I traversed the entire city, UT Austin and the original Whole Foods included. I paused only for a Skype interview with an Executive Director, that has become my boss. Then I called my mom to join in my inspired excitement. What an opportunity! One that's moved me from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the California town I've seemingly always hoped to belong to.
So here I am, approaching 30, writing from the first city I've deliberately chosen as my own. It's amazing to reflect on just how much has been lived in the past decade+. Most worthwhile experiences have been documented on this blog; others, reserved for conversations with my closest confidantes, many of whom are still scattered around the world. And all the while an SF routine is in the making. Starting a new job, establishing new relationships, and creating a whole new branch of life is no less challenging simply because it's been done before. Thanks for bearing with me as I've come to acknowledge such wisdom. We'll be traveling again soon.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

brussels with my brother

For the first time since 2011, I'll be home for Thanksgiving. Dare I say I'm nervous? I'd considered a staycation in L.A., serving turkey to the homeless... but then my grandmother was diagnosed. And so I decided to be in New York with her (though, uncomfortably, I keep forgetting my grandpa won't be there, too). We'll drive down to my aunt's apartment on the Upper West Side and enjoy that grand home-cooked meal I've missed. We'll be all together again, maybe. I'm really hoping my brother will be able to make it as well.
You may recall that he and I spent the holiday together last year. He was finishing up his master's at University of Amsterdam and wouldn't be able to make it home; I had far too many vacation days to use before I lost them. It was quite the adventure. I flew into Paris (where I crossed paths with my sister), then Amsterdam, and then, Brussels. I wanted to go somewhere he hadn't yet been.
We explored some, he caught up on sleep, and I indulged in more contemporary art. Brussels is delightfully walkable and was dressed up in all its spirited glory. As for Thanksgiving, we were lucky to have found a traditional feast hosted by The American Club of Brussels. I can't express how stimulating it was to be surrounded by such diversity of people, experiences, and ideas, again.
My heart was so full of gratitude as my favorite American fête came to a close then. And really, despite my stress and anxiety, that feeling is not far out of reach now: in early December, I'll move to San Francisco (!) and join the team at the International Institute of the Bay Area, backed by the support of more L.A.-based friends I ever imagined possible and that of my quirky family; what's more: I'm financially-able to spend time with both before and after the transition (Christmas). Wishing the same good fortune to you and yours ♥