Category Archives: Friends

A life I love

Here’s the thing. People have expectations of you. They want to label and put you in a box because it’s easier to understand you. It’s not coming from a mal-intentioned place. These people may truly love you and want the best for you. But it’s hard when people’s own shit (ie their own insecurities, hopes, dreams, flaws, judgement, expectations of your relationship and self etc) gets in the way of how you want to live authentically to who you know you are.

This is more an elaboration on my last post but I’ve been thinking about this a lot these days. I’m starting to really feel like I’m coming into my own. Meaning; I’m practicing daily the person I know I want to be, I’m choosing who and what I want to do with my precious time, and I’m learning the reason why I am here on this earth so I can truly honor and fulfill my life’s purpose.

That’s it. It’s not easy but surprisingly because it’s in my truth instead of labeling this shit hard it’s now a beautiful challenge that I’m enjoying and has allowed me to be at peace with where I am at in my life at this exact very moment. It’s allowing me to be present and mindful.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have moments lacking self love (which btw is really just another name for insecurity but in a seemingly more compassionate way). Being vulnerable can be tough but it’s fucking courageous. For example, the other day I was having drinks with friends and we were talking about my future plans and where I want to move to next and when it would happen. I have some ambiguity around it which can feel like lack of control. Couple that with feeling misunderstood and not truly being heard got me emotional and all of a sudden I’m in this dark place of not being good enough especially not being good enough to be heard and have a voice. It took me back to the root of the very shit I’m working through; having a voice and using it with the intended motivation of love and understanding and acceptance.

My beautiful friends gave me the space to truly say what I was feeling and I actually told them what I was feeling. They gave me permission to cry and be heard. They shared with me their perspective of the situation that just unfolded. These moments are not easy but these moments mean I’m actively practicing what I want to overcome and allow for me to step into my truth. For that I thanked them. They are my sisters. These are a couple of strong beautiful women who make me better. They truly don’t have an agenda. They don’t judge me or get upset if I don’t fit what they need me to be. That’s love.

Every day I do something for myself that brings me joy. It can be something as small as a longer walk for me and Huxley, wearing a bold colored lipstick, buying a beautiful bouquet at the bodega, eating more veggies instead of crap, or as big as spontaneously booking a trip to The US Virgin Islands, South America or Paris. It can be writing here on this blog. Texting a friend I love them. Giving gratitude daily for my cute apt or my weekly paycheck. It can be seeing friends for dinner or listening to a podcast that’s inspirational. It can be anything as long as it brings me joy.

I’m learning to really love myself. I’ve loved aspects of who I am but fuck if I’ve ever really loved myself truly and completely. I’m working on it. And in doing so I’m creating such a beautiful life I love.

Thank you to those who understand and support me through my changes. If who I am becoming is hard for you to understand or accept I wish you well and want to thank you for being a part of my journey. I know I have learned from you and I will be forever grateful for that but I no longer want to continue making space for what doesn’t serve my truth.

Thank you.

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Gratitude

There are so many wonderful things to be grateful for. With Thanksgiving this past week it’s a really great reminder to give thanks and have gratitude (especially in lieu of the current state of our country). 
I try to keep daily reminders of gratitude. Sometimes I forget to write them out but never am I not grateful. 

In honor of Thanksgiving and because #lists below are all the things I am grateful for in this moment:

  • Friends and family near and far more specifically… 
  • – my mom. I miss having her around. Especially now with her being in the Philippines she’s so far removed from my life. She has done so much for me. I miss her terribly. Wish I could be around her for the holidays.
  • – my brothers. One in the army and one in the air force. They decided to dedicate themselves to the good of the country and I look up to them for doing so. I also appreciate them so much more and spending time with each of them separately earlier this year has made me closer to them and that means the world to me.
  • – my sister and nephew bear. They came to visit me in New York not too long ago and it wasn’t easy but I needed it. Not being able to see my nephew grow daily and hang out with my sister weekly breaks my heart.
  • – my Bay Area friends. They are so much of me. They are beautiful in every way. They are supportive and loving and incredible. My life is lacking without them. I feel it every day.
  • – the one very special friendship I made in New York. B, you know what you mean to me.  Thank you. 
  • – the friends here I have that get me, love me, accept me through this very weird strange transition in my life. 
  • Taking a risk by moving to New York City. It truly is one of the best cities in the world and the most culturally diverse. I fell in love with this city 9 years ago and held on to the dream that I would one day live here. Dream realized.
  • Having a good job at a great start up company that provides benefits, unlimited paid time off, awesome coworkers, and a bi-weekly paycheck
  • Huxley. 4 and some change later my little pup continues to teach me about responsibility, love, playfulness and companionship
  • My west village apt. Before I set out to New York I envisioned living in this area. 3rd times the charm in in my New York apt search! I’m surrounded by endless amazing restaurants, great subway lines in short walking distance, Washington sq park, dog parks, Hudson River, and great boutiques. My apt is cozy, gets amazing light, has a responsive helpful nice superintendent and an amazing roof deck. I hit the New York apt jackpot
  • Travel travel travel. I’ve had some pretty incredible trips this year and have even more on the horizon. My perspective has broadened because of it and I’ve met some incredible people along the way. Not to mention strengthened existing relationships that were already so dear to me and on top of all that I’ve seen beautiful sights.
  • My health. Things are a little worn down but it just gives me character. I’m healthy and I have a full functioning body. 
  • Pretty things. Flowers, sunsets, architecture, stylish clothes, my west elm mid century dresser. I like pretty things.
  • Everything I learned from coaching. It opened up a new world for me. One for which I will never look at things the same. I realize from it that I have so much to give. That there are people walking around that also have so much to give. It’s a beautiful community. 
  • Choices and opportunities and signs of goodness that continue to show themselves to me. 

I’m so very grateful. There’s so much more that I haven’t listed. One of my best friends is in town this week. I had thanksgiving with a small group of humans and 2 of which are people I’m only starting to get to know. I spent the day happy. It will be one I know I will remember forever…

Lastly, I am thankful for you. Thank you for wishing me love and goodness in my journey. I will never take that for granted. 

Xx

    Whoa..

    Time is really escaping me in this wonderful crazy fast paced city. I didn’t mean for it to take this long for me to update. There has been so much happening and so much I’ve wanted to write about since I last posted.

    Firstly, I’m surviving and well (enough). Since the last you’ve heard from me 2 months ago, I’ve been to Chicago for a work trip, Puerto Rico for a girls trip, SXSW in Austin for an alcohol/drug fueled get away from New York trip, worked more of my ass off, moved to the West Village with a roommate, been on a few dates, became a certified Life Coach, gotten a new boss, my company raised series C funding, been back home to Cali  to say ‘goodbye’ to a lot of things I love including family, gotten a raise, and  booked my next big trip to Turkey for the fall.

    Whoa..

    Things ya’ll. Big things and I’m still trying to figure out the time to process it all. It’s hard.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ve come this far because I haven’t had time to process or maybe even possibly because that I won’t allow myself to. Huh. Food for thought..

    I digress.

    Life moves very very quickly here in New York. My 2 year anniversary is fast approaching and so much has happened since I said farewell to being a Cali resident July 2014. I’ve really solidified some really amazing friendships I have here. I will cherish forever these people who have been a part of my new life; who btw probably don’t or won’t ever even understand the magnitude of their contribution to my life. It’s crazy.

    When I set out to move to this city I had so many ideas and ideals of what my life would look like.  So many personal goals I set myself to accomplish. So many dreams I thought would remain unrequited and just what they started off to be… simply dreams.

    I’m somewhat stupefied, yet somehow simultaneously not at all amazed that I am where I am today. In some ways I really surprised myself but in others I always knew that I could be capable of anything I set my mind to.

    Could I be more vague? hah. Get at me if you have questions.

    I am proud and unbelievably grateful to be where I am in the place that I am. I worked very hard to be the person I am today. I went through a lot of life’s shit already. I survived it. I’m still here and I’ve experienced many wonderful things, some really sad things, and some things I sometimes wish I didn’t but because I did, I gained perspective, appreciation, and gratitude.

    When I packed up my life in California to live in New York City I really wanted to be living in the West Village. Besides that I  longed to be working in a start up that I truly believed in, that had leadership I could admire and get behind, that was headed somewhere substantial, where I could grow and learn and showcase the skills I’ve acquired thus far, where I made solid friendships, where I had a lot of fun, and that truly appreciated my efforts. Is that a lot? I didn’t think so. I also wanted to fall in love again. That’s really hard for me to admit. I’m being very vulnerable right now admitting to whoever reads this that I wanted to fall in love again and that frankly, I have been ready for it.  {*Sidenote: Man, it really does make things so incredibly real when it’s ‘said’ aloud (or in this case written) out loud.}

    I really put in the energy and time the moment I landed in New York to get to where I am.  2 out of 3 major things accomplished in less than 2 years ain’t bad right? Besides, along the way I stumbled upon Life Coaching and so many other truly wonderful things and experiences and people.

    Thank you for those who believed in me and sent me your support silently or that cheered loudly along the sidelines. Clearly, your efforts have not been ignored! It’s funny though how writing things all out seems like whoa, but in my head and my heart things kinda end up feeling like I’m living by either surviving or not. This must be why it’s important to process. Huh. Imagine that.

    Regardless, it’s nice to be able to pause for a minute.

    Like, whoa…

     

     

    More on community and cultural learning

    For one of the learning sessions we just sat around and talked about attire, greetings, traditions for ceremonies and really just anything that came up about cultural differences from each of our own countries. We had volunteers not just from the US but also Turkey, Argentina, the Philippines, Italy, France, and China.

    In Tanzania the women wear kangas. They have sayings on them that mean different things and must be worn correctly although there are a variety of ways to wear them as depicted below.

    Most of our at home activities took place in the common area where we also had breakfast lunch and dinner.

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    There’s also a specific handshake to greet your peers and those older than you. When you say hello or hey to someone you say ‘Jambo’ short for Hujambo. When you greet an older person you say Shikamo Mama or Shikamo Baba for respect. Elders are treated in a high regard. You can even shikamo your older sister (dada) or brother (caca). Shikamo translates to ‘I hold your feet’. The response by an elder would be ‘Maharba’. Which means ‘I am delighted’.

    There are other greetings as well like ‘habari’ which means how are you. The typical response when being asked questions like these is to say ‘Nzuri’ which could mean fine, or good, or okay.

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    We weren’t allowed to have alcohol at the house but I had found out from a previous volunteer who left the day I arrived that there was a “bar” around the corner. It wasn’t so much a bar as it was someone’s house that partially served as a store. Enter Josephina’s. We would frequent this place a lot. Mama Josephina was great. We even met some of her kids.

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    Every time we left the compound it was required we sign out.

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    cheers

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    Other times when we would go into town (every Tuesday & Thursday from 4-6) in which there were opportunities for cold beers then as well. The beer choices were aptly names Serengeti, Safari, Kilimanjaro and there was also a cider called Savannah dry that some of the girls loved. It was too sweet for me so I stuck with beer for the most part.

    In town we would hit up the super market to get any essentials for showers and what not but also if we wanted to get supplies to bring to our placements. Every time we got to town we were bombarded by guys selling tchotchkes like bracelets, small paintings or jerseys.

    Loading up the vans on our way to town.

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    First time we exchanged currency. Felling like bajillionaires. Makin’ it rain all over Moshi. The conversion rate was about 2000 shillings to 1 US dollar.

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    After each visit the view of the Supermarket and ATM became redundant and boring.

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    As well as going to the Pristine office across the street from the ATM.

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    All the beautiful beers we weren’t allowed to take back to homebase. What a shame indeed.

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    A fun place to get amazing art made by local artists. I wanted to buy a painting but even after bargaining they would cost hundreds of dollars. Instead I opted to take pictures of the paintings. 😉

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    With one of my 3 roommates, Kelsey

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    Our awesome CCS drivers that were way more than drivers, Baba John & Joseph

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    There were so many salons everywhere and they all had pictures of celebrities either hand drawn or on a banner like this in the front. Here we have Ludacris. I also saw Obama, Aaliyah, Kanye, Bob Marley etc

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    Pretty little souvenirs

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    Walking through town. Karibu means ‘you are welcome’. You can say it in the context of first arriving somewhere or even when responding to when someone says ‘asante’ (thank you).

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    The beautiful Mosque in the center of town

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    Down the road not too far away was a Hindu temple

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    The bus station. We were advised not to take the dala dala buses as they are overcrowded and super unsafe.

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    It seemed like Coca Cola sponsored all of Tanzania as there were signs everywhere. That and also signs of Vodacom. Ironic given I had just recently quit working for the global company Vodafone. hah!

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    Enjoying beers as a restaurant in town. ‘Karibu tena’ means ‘you are welcome again’ like come again or welcome to come back.

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    December?!

    Wait what? It’s December?? I am beyond flummoxed it is now December. (Sidenote: I have always wanted to use the word flummoxed in a sentence and until now I had never done so. Go me.)

    Every year at this time I look back and wonder where the fuck the year went. Someone please explain to me the concept of time because I’m still having a hard time grasping the whole idea. Please.

    I’ve so much to say but instead I’ll post more photos of what happened in November. Get ready, there’s a lot. And this is the condensed version. Yay, no long reading for you. At least for now. You’re welcome.

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    Giving thanks

    I have so much to be thankful for and humbled by. I’m so blessed; I have a wonderful amazing support network comprised of other beautiful strong people whom I admire and love dearly; I have a wonderfully playful adorable pup who is loving and loyal and has brought me so much joy and taught me responsibility; I have a sweet roommate who has turned into a friend that I trust and appreciate; I have a job that pays me to continue to live a lifestyle I am accustomed to that many people would dream of; I have my health; I have amazing opportunities that continue to make their way into my life at every turn; I have freedom and literacy; I have education readily available; along with clean water; I am alive.

    I have an abundance of goodness in my life that I stopped taking for granted along the way.

    I recently volunteered at a soup kitchen in Chelsea. It is the biggest soup kitchen in Manhattan. I spent 4 hours of a Sunday on my feet handing out water to the homeless that were eating off their food trays given to them by other volunteers. We fed  over 1000 meals. I spoke to so many people some were very thankful and sweet; some were not very friendly. Some were blatantly abusing the system and working the different volunteers to get more trays of food. It made me sad to think that they felt they couldn’t just ask and be given the food; instead they felt they had to work an angle to get what they needed. Not what they wanted but what they needed. This is what some of these people are taught through their struggles and it broke my heart.

    I’ve volunteered more than a handful of times at random points in my life in varying ways. When I was attending junior college I was a part of the UNICEF club and volunteered with grade schools to make lunch with the kids or do arts and crafts. At a company I was with I helped spearhead the backpack and school supply drive and assisted in the toys for tots by collecting money and buying the gifts for those that didn’t have the time to do so. I’ve participated in clothing drives.

    I’ve always wanted to be a consistent volunteer but life always got in the way. I wanted to do more and contribute more but for one reason or another (not knowing where to go to find volunteer work, not having the time, etc) I didn’t. When natural disasters hit I was quick to donate money. Sometimes that avenue is easier than giving of your time. But also, sometimes money is what will really bring relief to certain situations. My dad always told me when I was a kid that whenever I found money on the ground or somewhere random I should donate half of it to the church.That stuck with me.

    I do little things for strangers that I don’t feel necessary deserve praise. It’s so little and doesn’t impact my finances much but if someone were to do them for me I would feel good. Little things make the world go ’round. If someone is having a shitty day or a shitty life and someone reaches out a hand in a tender way without asking for anything back it solidifies human connection. We are all connected to each other in one way or another.

    With all the crazy in the world people need to pause and be kind to one another. Hurting someone’s small business in protest does not help bring about justice. It in fact creates more turmoil and anger and grief in the community. People need to support and uplift and try to affect change in a way that forces people to listen. Allowing someone to bully someone and not intervene condones a bully’s behavior. Not speaking up for what is right and what is moral makes one a coward and in my eyes just as bad as one behaving badly. Once there is anger and lack of compassion and fear people stop listening and just react. It completely breaks my heart to see all that is going on in the world and in the news. I’m too sensitive and emotional to continue reading all these new articles about the sadness and the crazy.

    I try to be positive and optimistic and I will continue to try to be true to that person in me but in lieu of recent events it’s been tough. I will also try harder to give back to my community if not to A community in need. I can’t sit around anymore and wish to do more for those in need. I have to do more for those in need.

    Volunteering at the soup kitchen was such a wonderful experience. One that I will try to make regular. It was beyond rewarding. It was completely humbling. These people that are homeless or in low income families were in real need. Some people were my age. Some people had their children with them. It shocked me a little actually. It also broke my heart but instilled in me a faith in human kindness. People want to help. And people getting help appreciate it.

    I spent Thanksgiving yesterday at the house of 2 friends I have become closer to since I moved to New York. Their parent’s opened their home to me and another friend and shared a special occasion with strangers. My two friends Dahlia and Kimia are both amazing, loving, generous people and I saw firsthand how they got to be that way. We all laughed and shared stories over a delicious meal and good wine and the bomb ass pecan pie I made from scratch! It truly made me feel love and gratitude in my heart, especially being so far away from home and loved ones I usually spend Thanksgiving with.

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    My heart is full (as well as my belly) and I want to thank all of you that have supported me and loved me and continue to do so. I am grateful for every single one of you.

    Thank you.

    November Rain

    Yes, it’s rained but more so I wanted a catchy song title so it was either that or ‘Gone Til November’ and since I don’t know how long I’m gone for ‘November Rain’ it is. So much has been going on this month. I’ve always been the type to stay busy and have tons of plans on the calendar. I tend to feel bored or lonely if I don’t. I’ve mentioned before the days are long here in New York and I really love it. But then come the days where I crash and want nothing to do with anything and need a little life break; only allowing the food delivery guy to disrupt my day by bringing me something fried or cheesy or both in major excess with sides and sides of carbs. One day I will find a balance. (Most likely I will not) The last couple of days have been more of the latter. Tonight however I do plan on cooking a delicious healthy meal and washing it down with wine. Yeah baby. Get in my belly.

    Some highlights of November thus far, in no particular order:

    • Impromptu happy hour with Eliza & Kimia on the worst day I’ve had in New York to date
    • Mario Batali walking tour with Becca & Ela for Becca’s birthday
    • Meeting the floor manager at my new favorite neighborhood bar who gave Ela and I exclusive tastings from a special Bordeaux reserve
    • Watching all the colors change with fall in full swing
    • Cheering on all the NYC Marathon runners while drinking mimosa mix out of a camelbak water bottle
    • Coming home to the dog walker scrubbing away at a stain on the couch that he didn’t know the cause of nor could give me any info thus resulting in me having to drop ir off at the cleaners and pay top dollar for
    • Rochelle coming to visit NYC for the first time
    • Niners/Giants game at Metlife Stadium and having the Niners WIN!
    • Coming across an awesome craft beer bar and enjoying 2 very lovely different types of IPAs
    • The degrees continuing to drop the last few days and my fingers feeling for the first time the burning freezing sensation
    • A single’s trivia event
    • Not seeing Festival of the Lights because they reached capacity 3.5 hours before they closed (jerks) and instead finding an awesome whiskey bar and staying out til 3AM
    • Deciding my next career move

    Not all were spectacular moments but all were definitely highlights. There’s more to come in November as we got 11 days left, but there you have it folks. Some pictures below for your viewing pleasure. These were from the Mario Batali tour, a happy hour night and some randoms. (Because there are so many I’ll have to do pictures continuation posts). I know, patience is a virtue. See you’re learning something. You’re welcome

    Enjoy.

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