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.