Wednesday, August 29, 2012

roaming around rekyjavík

Hello from Iceland! It's hard to believe I've only been here for two days; I feel like I've had the chance to do so much. I can't even explain to you how spectacular it is... or how cold, much more so than I'd expected :). So, I thought I'd take you on a tour of the smallest big city, Rekyjavík before my busy tomorrow of a morning coffee date, afternoon at the Blue Lagoon, and late night flight to Paris. Shall we?
[Hallgrímskirkja church]
[Laugavegur, Reykjavik's main shopping street]
[Lunch at Buddha Restaurant featuring miso soup (with shrimp), chopsticks from home (literally), and a spicy salmon-avocado sushi roll]
[Old town center]
[Listasafn Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík Art Museum)]
[Happy hour (and room tour) at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Marina]
[Lobster soup dinner #1 (& whale) at Saegreifinn with CouchSurfing friends]
[Fish & chips dinner #2 with skyr dessert at Icelandic Fish & Chips]
[Red wine nightcap at Cafe Rot]
[the "night's" sky at 10pm... yeah, I know]

Monday, August 27, 2012


In addition to sending off my friends from Oklahoma, potlucking with friends I made through blogging (in honor of the blogging friend I crashed with in Madison, Wisconsin), lunching with my New Jersey-bred college roommate, and wining and dining with the bestest New Yorker/sorority sister, I've also been lucky enough to spend ample time with those friends I grew up with; and catch my San Francisco-living college friend and Strasbourg-made friend on the phone; and brunch at my former Manhattan apartment hosted by my former roommate, born and raised in Seattle, with an appearance from a sweet Brooklyn boy.
So, you know what I'm dreading? Friends; not having them, of course, but making them. The thought of having to introduce myself, get to know people, and figure out which relationships are plausible is just overwhelming... as is the sincere hope that mostly everyone will like me. When you're going to be living somewhere new for an extended period of time such things matter. And frankly, I'm simply daunted by the desire to keep in touch with the amazing friends I already have.
These are a few of the many ways my "new friends" could possibly perceive me:
  • a woman: crazy, impractical, emotional, weak, can't wait to commit
  • the oldest: bossy, perfectionist, tightly wound, responsible, conscientious 
  • a college sorority girl: needy, promiscuous, dependent, superficial, dumb
  • a New Yorker: rude, stressed, unfriendly, relentless, sophisticated
  • a twenty-something: entitled, lazy, idealistic, techie, immature 
  • an American: materialistic, ignorant, fat, egotistical, loud
Fun, huh? Especially as so few of those stereotypical characteristics describe me.
Yet the above assumptions are extreme and entirely unlikely :). I'd like to think the other globally-minded graduate students like myself will not only have interesting things to say but also be interested in befriending the real me. It's still unsettling to think about though, even if I know for certain I'll be fine. Phew.
Now, my darlings, I'm off to embark on an adventure my friends claim to have expected of me: I'll fly out of New York City tonight, arrive in Reykjavik early tomorrow morning, explore Iceland for three days, and wake up in Paris, France on Friday, August 31st. I'm nervously excited--please wish me luck! À bientôt.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

miss you already

My sister is still in Spain (she gets back on Sunday), my brother left for Arizona (without saying goodbye, mind you), and my parents and I are not sure how to be just the three of us with only a handful of days remaining before I move out of their house and the entirety of the United States. Did you fight with your parents more frequently before going away to college? I did, and later discovered it's a common coping mechanism. I think I may be trying to avoid spending too much time with them in order to protect myself from the inevitable ways I'll be missing them soon. At least we were able to have an "only child" meal at my favorite local restaurant, The Cookery. It was as spectacular as I remembered it.
[FiDi potluck at Sofia's with special guest, Holly]
[Columbus Circle Whole Foods lunch with my college roomie]
[LES pizza, wine, and ice cream dinner date with Stephanie]
Spending as much time as possible with friends, however, has not been a problem. It's almost funny because God knows I already miss them so much, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

on getting emotional

Since my Bon Voyage party--during which I took up a semi-permanent residence on cloud nine--I've cried seven times. Four of the seven took place in the midst of goodbyes, the other three at the thought of them... and trust me, I am hardly at the half-way point. This is the way I am. I feel a lot and I know it.
So I've tightly grasped onto a yoga teacher's words, "however you feel is okay." Another yogic memory has resurfaced as well; of that one time I cried in class. I was at a studio on the Upper West Side beside my Aunt Maryann and my cousin Bianca. We were in a seated twist to the right, and following one deep breath, the tears began. I was alarmed at how swiftly they continued. It was a quiet cry but an intense one. Although I'd known I needed it, I hadn't expected it then. (Sigh).
Last week I took a spontaneous visit to the Chuang Yen Monastery with a friend of mine. Two hours flew by as her and I explored the peaceful grounds. I felt a sense of uncomplicated calm come over me in addition to a deep sense of self. It was kind of amazing, and in a lot of ways, comforting. As I wrestle with the breadth of feeling weary, anxious, doubtful, enthusiastic, vulnerable, blessed, and lonely (a premonition of sorts) all at the same time, forgiving awareness is key.
I don't think there'll ever be a day when tears won't be an awkward guest at goodbyes between myself and the friends and family I adore, but this somewhat habitual process just might be necessary as my life unfolds. I know I'll be okay and I will see them again soon. After all, there are such things as happy tears, too.