Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, hello.

I have some exciting and scary changes.
I have....

Deferred graduate school for a year.

Put in my two weeks notice at my job (today!).

Not renewed my apartment lease and must move out at the end of this month.

I'm hitting the road for several months (2? 6? 9?) of travel and I couldn't be more excited (and of course slightly terrified).
Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy to quit a job in this economy, to opt out of graduate school when so many are trying to get accepted, give up my apartment and my security. And yet, all signs point to "yes, do this!" It is hard to live in the moment and not stress about the future but I'm at a time in my life where I have no children, no health issues (knock on wood) and no ties. Why not run off and explore the world?

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

they make a desert, and they call it peace

I really miss the desert.
Maybe it was my mother's love for Arizona that instilled in me a need to visit, but ever since my first trip to the southwest I have felt at home. Spending the last fall in Arizona was a dream; warm weather, open space and glowing orange light. I have a mind inclined towards claustrophobia and the desert, with all its space to roam feels peaceful and free.
The Pacific Northwest is my home. Oregon is in my blood and I really do love it. New York is exciting and active with the feeling of anonymity a luxury to me. But the desert is where I truly belong. I really think that in the end I will wind up in this dry, rocky land. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pittock Mansion

It's been fun exploring my new city. Sometimes it's hard to shake yourself of the northwest drear, but once you force yourself outside you soon realize that things aren't so bad. In fact, I believe there have only been two days of rain since I moved here a few weeks ago.
Luckily, we live near Forest Park, the biggest city park in the country and have explored the area a few times. Most recently, Wojc and I drove to the top of the hill and checked out Pittock Mansion.

The mansion was built atop the hill in the very early 1900's by The Oregonian editor Henry Pittock and has been used in many films. That's about all the history I know, but I do know that it's a beautiful building with an even more beautiful view of Portland.

On a clear day I'm going to come to the top of the hill and hike down one of the many trails winding through the park. It's pretty exciting that there is so much to discover here and everything is so accessible. In New York, everything seemed so exhausting with subway travel that having a car for exploring feels like such a luxury.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

i am yours, you are mine

After my depressing post earlier the day took a turn for the better after a strong coffee and phone chat with my sister. Wojc, J and I decided to explore the city a little and headed out to the car only to see the whole block shut down with smoke billowing out of an apartment building down the street. Pretty intense. Turns out some guy left incense burning, took a shower and came out to an apartment on fire. Luckily, no one died but a whole building of people are out of their homes for awhile.
We got the car out and drove to east Portland to search for a building for sale that looked promising a few weeks ago. We couldn't find the building but we did find the delicious Produce Row Cafe. I love this place. It's the type of restaurant where you feel comfortable and welcome and want to spend the whole day in a comfortable booth. Not only is the food fantastic (get the beer bread!) but the people seem more genuine and nice than in many of the hipster haunts throughout the city. To top it off, our waitress was so adorable you kind of wish she'd sit down and hang awhile.
Next we headed out in search of Voodoo 2, the offshoot of the famous Voodoo donuts, in our typical fashion we forgot where it was and after driving a few blocks gave up and came to a Vacuum shop and museum. We decided to stop and check it out, kind of a strange place, but we walked out with a vacuum! Yes, it was one of those random days but now we sit in a dust free apartment complete with clean rug.
After our east side adventures we headed home where I plotted my cupcake of love concoction. After finding all of my supplies I got home ready to start baking when I realized that we had no measuring cups or spoons. Luckily, we had a math major in the house and I was able to finagle my way through the recipe. Shockingly, the cupcakes turned out delicious. Happy day of love!

Back To The Grind

I've worked at my new job for three days and it's less than stellar. There are no big red flags and everyone seems pretty nice, it is just not what I expected. The hours are long and the duties are not what interests me. I know complaining about a job is pretty snobby these days, but isn't life more about being happy than toiling away the majority of your life in a position you dread? I'm going to give the job a few more weeks to see if things improve and in the meantime I was scheduled for a second interview for a position more related to my field of work, here's hoping everything works out in the end!
In other downer news, I got sick my first week back in the job world. Not necessarily a great way to spend your first weekend but I'm starting to feel better. Luckily my brother came to town for the weekend which boosted my spirit considerable. We explored Sauvie Island yesterday and hiked along the Columbia River and today will hopefully find something fun to do as well. That's about all for my update today, cross your fingers for a better work week.
"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it"                  -Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ecola Beach

I looked at my archives today and wow, I am shocked by how little I've been posting. I'm thinking about doing another "blog for every day for 30 days"; I really enjoyed writing regularly and feel like I've been negligent.
I got a job and I start tomorrow. It might not be a dream job, but it will pay the bills and has some perks. Wojc and I are settled into our little apartment in NW Portland, I believe the neighborhood is called Nob Hill. It is a far cry from New York, but a relaxing change that seems to be growing on me.
Our first week in Portland Wojc and I took a day trip to the coast. It's only about an hour and half drive to Seaside and as a born and bred coasty that is a relief. We explored Ecola State Park beach at the magical hour right before sunset. It was chilly, but so beautiful. 
After being on the road as nomads for 7 months, it has been hard to adjust to a stable life. It feel good in the sense that my heart isn't thumping out of my chest from stress, but I won't lie that it has been all peaches and cream. I was down for several days, thinking about life on the road and NYC, luckily this yoga video pulled me out of my funk. Our day trip to the beach combined with the weekend jaunt to Port Orford has eased my way into stability and today my mood had improved greatly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's In The Water

When Wojc, my brother and I were in Port Orford last week we were supposed to drive back Monday. However, Monday was so beautiful that we just couldn't tear ourselves away. It was one of those days thats so warm and sunny that your mind plays trick on you and you think its May or June.
Since we had another day, we loaded up the two hard shell kayaks and one blow up kayak and headed to Garrison Lake not far from my home. It was late afternoon and the sun was shining, absolutely perfect.

We glided out on the lake and I immediately vowed to kayak as much as possible this year. I really am a fish, I'm just more comfortable on the water. Rafting, kayaking, swimming, sailing, anything on a boat and I'm happy. I used to raft and kayak quite a bit in high school and even did a four day trip down the rogue river so boating is kind of like second nature to me.

Garrison Lake is a beautiful place, it's in town but surronded by trees and just a few houses, the lake is only separated from the Pacific by a small beach. We paddled almost all the way around the lake with very little wind (shocking) and caught the beginning of sunset with a few purple and pink clouds. 

Of course, no float would be complete without some delicious Olympia (sarcasm). The day was so energizing and I can't wait to get on the water again. Who would've thought visiting Port Orford in January is like a beach vacation?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Keep On The Sunny Side

Wojc and I decided to take a drive down to see my brother in Eugene a couple days ago. In our typical style we didn't leave Portland until 4:30 and pulled into Eugene around 6:30. We were all pretty tired, but decided to all drive down to visit my mom and dad in Port Orford; we continued the drive and arrived at my Mom's at 11pm on the dot. I really love living in Oregon again, it's so amazing to be able to drive down to my hometown on a whim and spend the weekend, a five hour drive doesn't seem so bad post-NYC. 
On Sunday, we woke up to one of the most perfect days since summer. Sunny, no wind and fairly warm; the kind of day where you want to spend every minute outdoors. So we did. We drove north to Floras Lake and hiked out to the beach. 
This beach is one of the most beautiful. You rarely see anyone and the orange cliffs looming over the ocean provide such a spectacular contrast in color. We hiked way down the beach, climbing up cliffs and exploring inlets. 
On our way back we passed a cave in one of the cliffs and wanted to explore. It was awesome, you could crawl back about 20 feet on your hands and knees to a little "room" that opened up enough for three people to fit. My claustrophobia kicked in ever so slightly, but what a cool spot to watch the waves. 
The day and hike was one of the best in months. These two days have been the exact combination of family and sun that I needed so desperately. I really was feeling a winter depression kick in where it feels like my body can't go on without sunlight. Luckily, I got hours of Vitamin D that will hold me over for the next couple of weeks.
In other news, I got a job in Portland! Oddly enough, I heard I got the job the morning I moved to Portland. Talk about good timing. I start next week, I'm a little apprehensive about starting a full time job, but I know it's for the best right now. Things are really starting to look up!

Monday, January 17, 2011

While I wait for my mom to edit some grad school application stuff I figured I'd pop in and let anyone who cares to read that I GOT AN APARTMENT!! I finally made the decision to move to Portland.  After much thought I realized that Oregon is the best state around so of course I should move there. Finally, after 6+ months I have a place to call my own (or I will in a few days when I move in). It is so needed, there is only so long one can wander around without privacy and a place to unpack your clothes.  Now here's hoping that I like Portland!
In other news, I thought my grad school application was due April 1st and very recently learned it was February 1st.  This news set off about 24 hours worth of anxiety as I scrambled to gather my thoughts. Luckily, I have nothing but time and have made quite a bit of progress on the application and only hope my recommendations get done in time. I feel like a slacker who has been out of school way too long but can't wait to get back into the world of academia (if all goes well).  
And in other amazing news, I will be insured within a day or two and I am ecstatic. Being uninsured makes me paranoid so this is a relief.  What a life of luxury I'm living with BOTH Health Insurance and a home.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Power of Now

It's weird that I haven't tried to live in the moment for the past 7 months or so; in fact, I had completely forgotten about the practice.  As I was sitting on the couch in Wojc's brother's house as they were loading the last of our suitcases in the car I started to stress.  Who am I kidding? Even the cat was nervously pacing as we packed all of our belongings.  I sat on the couch and my mind started to go to an anxious place where I began to worry about leaving for Portland tomorrow and looking for an apartment and what if I didn't like any of the places and so on and so forth.  All of a sudden it hit me: right now, right this very moment everything is fine and I'm happy.  If I could learn to live in the present moment then my life would be different.  If you truly live in the moment you really can't stress; all of my anxiety and stress stem from worrying about what will happen a day from now, a week from now, a year from now.  Because of all this stress I often let days pass without fully enjoying them.
"Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now.
 Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now."
Eckhart Tolle provides me with an excellent meditation that I really hope to incorporate in my life as often as possible.  I think it's like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it becomes and the more I practice living in the moment the easier it will become.  When I had this epiphany it was like a cement block lifted from my shoulders.

Home is where the heart is.

Y'all I'm getting serious about this apartment business.  Wojc and I have pretty much agreed on Portland and so we will be making yet another drive down on saturday to really truly look for a place.  I have about four appointments set up thus far all in the Pearl area and the Hawthorne area. If any Portlanders know of good neighborhoods I should be checking, please let me know! I really don't know the city that well yet.
Anyway, back to "settling down". My last home was my apartment in Harlem over 6 months ago.  For months I have lived in a tent, a truck, under the stars, an empty vacation home, my mom's house, my boyfriend's parents' house, my boyfriend's brother's house, a shack in northern Washington and too many friends' floors to count.  I realized the other night that I haven't been alone in a house for over a month. And  wow, for a person who needs ample "alone time" this has been an adjustment.
Within a week (knock on wood) we will have an apartment.  My nest egg will be slightly smaller and reality will have finally set in. As I approach this permanent move I find myself feeling deeply nostalgic for New York City; because, oddly enough, it is my comfort zone. When I'm not tearing up over NYC skyline footage, I'm getting that old familiar urge to hop on the first plane to India.  Aww, the joys of being a commitment-phobe. This is the end of an era. New York was unexpected and three years passed in the blink of an eye, all my memories feel like a dream and I think, "did that really happen?" With the end of traveling, reality is sinking in that I am no longer a New Yorker who can proudly gripe about rent prices and subway rides. And with this sudden turn to melancholy, I will only look forward to a slower paced, less expensive, happy daily existence.
I desperately long for a place to call my own and know that after the initial stress I will love the stability; however, staying still has never been my strong suit. So now, I push away that urge to roam and settle back in my beloved home state, Oregon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sleepless in Seattle

After several days exploring Portland (which I am growing to love) Wojc picked me up and drove me back to Seattle.
I really love Seattle, it's so unbelievably beautiful on a (rare) clear day. It has been bitterly cold here, but clear and that is all I ask for.
Wojc and I have been having a back and forth struggle about where to settle: Portland or Seattle.  There are pros and cons with both.  As a friend said, I need one of the options to be taken away and I'll know (by my level of disappointment or relief) which is truly best.
I'm going to check out a few apartments in downtown Seattle tomorrow and this weekend I head down for my weekly Portland visit for a second interview.  Fingers crossed (maybe).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Year In Review

As per usual, I'm a little late in the year in review/resolutions post. Better late than never, right? Minutes before pulling alongside James Lipton, I awkwardly asked a car full of people as the last few minutes of 2010 ticked by, "if you had to use one word to describe your year what would it be?" Apparently people weren't feeling introspective as I was met with a change in subject, but I thought about my question and realized mine would be unknown. 2010 was full of adventure, excitement, stress, dread, joy but the most common theme was the unknown, both good and bad.
I was preyed upon by two guys with guns and ski masks in February. This caused so much stress, anxiety and fear and was the final push I needed to plan my escape from New York.
I quit my job in June.  One of the most difficult and yet best decisions I've made in some time.
I packed up a truck and fulfilled a life long dream of driving cross-country in June and July which turned into one of the fondest memories of my life.
I spent my summer and fall traveling happily between Arizona, Oregon and NYC.
I stressed more days than I care to count about where to move and wondering if I will ever get a job.
2010 was filled with some of the best times and some of the worst times but not a day that I regret.
In 2011 I hope to continue my adventures but with a little more stability. I am so happy to be on the west coast again within driving distance to almost all of my closest friends and family that I already feel like I've succeeded in 2011; however, I am not without resolutions.
In 2011 I hope to decide on a city to live in, find an apartment, get a job and travel overseas. And apply/get accepted to graduate school. The End.