Start Button: Happy Moments in NYC

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

 Finally, I'm all moved in! This week, I am in training for my second year as a Well Woman peer educator (hence the bright green "Be Well" shirt pictured above) and generally settling back into life in New York City. Rather than bore you with the minute by minute, here are some highlights from the past few days:

- Seeing a gang of "bikers" ripping up Amsterdam on dune buggies
- Watching a parrot man gesticulate wildly after coming out of Kitchenette
- Meeting all the amazing new Well Women peer eds and doing endless ice breakers
- Strolling to the 99 cent store and finding absolutely everything you need to move into a dorm
- Being hugged by almost every administrator I saw on the way from Barnard to EC
- Sitting on the Columbia steps and overhearing the gaggle of freshmen express their excitement at being there
- Reconnecting with the lovely ladies of Barnard that have moved in early this year

That's it for now! Next week, classes start, so I am hoping to update the blog as regularly as I can from that point on, but there may be some missed days. Never fear! My Tumblr will never be silent.

Own Every Inch: Seattle Appreciation in Lists

Monday, August 29, 2011

I hate to be a clich̩ in my own life, but I believe that running away to NYC actually taught me a lot about Seattle. I came out of high school with a fully formed desire to escape that place. Suburban, middle class, mostly white high school taught me Рin some strange ways Рthat nothing I wanted was going to be easy to get. We had the academic standing, but the culture of our school was restrictive. While administration wanted us to perform well on standardized tests, they barred us from creative endeavors like theater programs and newspapers. And, unless it made the school look good, philanthropic and cultural clubs were also out.

That atmosphere left me, the motivated do-gooder with a creative bent, completely despondent.

What Does Progress Mean to You?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A video on progress that I edited for the Washington Bus. Animations and all.

I've made it! The long haul to the East Coast is finished, which means two things:

1. I will be resuming regular daily blog content tomorrow.
2. I am thinking endlessly about how to make myself more connected to this NYC community as I have during the summer to my Seattle community.

As I prepare for both of those things (as well as the coming hurricane), I will be thinking a lot about progress and change. Hence, I present to you a video I edited on what progress means to each of the Summer Fellows in my program over the summer. This video is reposted from the Hella Bus blog. Enjoy!

On Leaving: Seattle to NYC

Friday, August 26, 2011

A goodbye video I edited for the Washington Bus.

The time has come again for yet another one of my famous exits. The hours are counting down until my flight into hurricane-ready NYC and I am reflecting on every last moment of my summer in Seattle while simultaneously worrying about how my father and I are going to move me into the dorms in a city that is otherwise evacuating its residents. Since it has been quiet around the blog for the past month, those reflections are stored up in my mind, on my journal paper, and in photograph form awaiting upload. In the coming days, I will share all of these with you, dear readers, but for now I just want to give thanks.

When I returned from New York in mid-May, I had a month essentially to myself. I taught myself some marketing skills, spent some time with some amazing high school friends, and genuinely relaxed for the first time in months. It almost looked like I would have a typical Seattle summer - indulging myself in artsy learning opportunities and working through my bucket list of fun things on my own. That quickly changed when I started my job at the Bus.

As I've said in previous posts, my Fellowship with the Bus was honestly one of the best and most connective experiences that I've had in Seattle. For too long, I have felt that my hometown had nothing to do and little for me to get involved in; through the Bus, I have become more connected to this place than ever I could imagine. I have commuted to the city at all hours of the day and night, spent time with more amazing people than I thought possible, and explored enough events and locations to know the best and worst spots from here to Kirkland. In essence, I got exactly what I wanted: to connect back to the home that I thought I would never return to. And I am immensely grateful for it.

That feeling, that connection, makes this moment peculiar. I am sitting in a coffee shop on Capitol Hill contemplating my summer and all the new faith I have in Seattle in being a place I could spend a good deal of my life in. And yet I am leaving. Back to a city where I am a party of one, where I have had both my best and worst experiences, and where I can no longer communicate face to face with the people I have built strong ties to in the last two months. It is as surreal as it is exciting, as amazing as it is saddening.

I'm going to take over NYC this year. That is the energy that the Summer Fellows and my own new found strength has given me. This summer in Seattle has taught me that fun can be had even amidst tremendous amounts of work, and I am ready to take that philosophy back to Barnard. Tomorrow, I will touch down in the middle of this hurricane fearless and ready for the next big adventure. And this time, I won't forget to write about it.

Thank you again, Summer Fellows, for supporting me and giving me greater power than I already had invested in me. You have built for me a better home in the place I grew up, and I hope that you will keep in touch as we all move forward into the next year.

A Good Hard Look: Book Review

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick! What do you do when work gets tough and you need a break?

For me, the answer was take on another project that is completely separate from my working life - in this case, reading and reviewing A Good Hard Look for Read my review, A Hearty Character Soup, over at BlogHer.

To give a little context, BlogHer is a website that promotes women bloggers of all sorts, and the ads on the right side of the homepage are provided by their syndication. I have also elected to be a member of their Book Club, hence the reading involved. I hope to get more involved in the community that they have on the website when I am not swamped, but for now, I am contributing my thoughts to their growing pool of amazing reviewers and writers. Ah, the precious few thoughts that get put down on the page. Enjoy them!

Statement: Take Care of Yourself!

Monday, August 1, 2011


I am really good at not taking breaks.

These past few weeks, I have been going through meteoric stress levels, intense weather changes that prompted severe illness, and general hopelessness towards completing personal goals. I tell myself that I need to take breaks and make it about me for a while, but my priorities have always been so stringent and my mental state so stubborn that I haven't actually done that. So, that has meant a lot of sacrifice.

As you have probably noticed, it has meant moving away from this blog and the novel I've been working on to distill all the precious bits of sleep and energy I have into my day job. It has also meant sniffling through amazing bus journeys into different parts of the state, crying in public, and talking to friend after friend about the tenuous mix of tiredness, annoyance, and genuine sadness I've felt. Physical or mental, the weeks have been taking a toll.

But why do I share this with you, my readers? My blog doesn't usually deal with my personal life (though I suppose it does tangentially through my blatant editorializing of everyday life), but I wanted to share for two reasons:

1. To tell you where I'm at and where I'm going. I really want to get back on track with the blog once I'm feeling better. I will never have all the time in the world to write here, but I will make do with the precious moments I do have. Once they're not being monopolized by sleeping, that is.

2. To ask you to learn from my mistakes. I am notorious at pushing myself too hard and exploding into thousands of pieces upon impact. Don't copy me on that! I think it is partly due to our culture of efficiency and productivity, which asks us to work until we are dog tired otherwise we won't feel "worth it," whatever that means. And I've internalized that by being a go-go-go person for my entire life. But you don't have to follow in my footsteps - you can instead read some of the clear-headed articles I've written about relaxation and living in the moment. And sure enough, sickness is one great way to be reminded to live in the moment. All you can concentrate on is that ache in your side or cough in your chest. Nothing else matters.

Anyway, I will be posting more interesting articles in the weeks to come, but for now I will be taking my own advice and laying low for a bit. You can take a look at my thriving Tumblr page if you want some great media to absorb until my return!