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I find stereotypes really interesting.  Not saying I agree with them – or even disagree with them: I just find them interesting.  For instance, people say New York is dirty and crazy and the people are rude and crazy. Sometimes that’s absolutely right.  But tens of thousands of people a day visit the city.   Quests, adventure, I ❤ NY everywhere. Seems counterintuitive for a dirty, rude city for people to want to visit.   I went to NYC’s Fleet Week this past weekend.  It’s in those moments of walking around my city, watching people connect and show appreciation for the military and whatnot that it makes me so proud to be from there.   

The city changes for events such as Fleet Week. When a NY team wins the World Series or Stanley Cup or whatever sport you’re into. You get the idea. I watched people in cabs flag down Sailors crossing the street to give them money to buy a drink.  Service members getting VIP treatment to observation decks of the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower. Free meals and beer and people genuinely appreciative of other people.  It’s an unforgettable experience. 

I also checked off another Broadway show while I was home. It may be hard to believe, but until this weekend, I had never seen The Lion King on the big stage! I’ve been hesitant to see it. With it being my favorite movie, I had high expectations and I didn’t want to be disappointed! Well. I was not. The costumes and puppet work was phenomenal.  Nothing I imagined it would be and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was enthralled. I wish I had a thousand pairs of eyes to see everything. One to see again, methinks!

Hakuna Matata!

NY State of Mind

So I’m officially a New York State resident again. It’s kind of funny. I’ve always associated myself with being from NY and it will always be home. But this is the first time in my adult life that I’m actually living in NY.  I went to college in Florida when I was still 17 and haven’t been back other than visits since. Go figure! Granted,  I live in upstate NY now,  but it still feels more home than my previous digs have.  There’s just something about being close to mountains and having seasons and just the charm that is the greatest state that I can’t explain with words alone.  It’s that feeling of truly being somewhere you love.  You don’t need to DO anything to have that vibe. It’s sheer contentment sitting on your stoop or driving to nowhere and reveling in the beauty and magnificence of where you are. The feels are just there.  It’s simple and wonderful tied up in a bow and BAM! Home. 

I went home home (yes,  Brooklyn) for Easter weekend. It was nice. I didn’t tell all that many people I was returning. It was pretty sad to go home and not have the Ice puppy there.  Empty. 😦  There’s no words that can make that go away. Maybe time helps. I don’t know yet.   The other day was the anniversary of my good friend who took his life. I’ve written about him before (re: Sandman) and I guess it is a true testament to time since it was the first year that I didn’t completely lose it thinking about everything.  I still miss him. I still wish he was with us and nothing will change that he wasn’t here for long enough.   But I think I’m finally accepting things and coming to peace with it. It’s a strange feeling. Part of me thinks that’s a betrayal of him – that somehow that makes me miss him less or not care. But the other part recognizes you can’t dwell on the what ifs or should haves. What’s done is done.  There’s still an empty void that will probably never be filled.

But back from that tangent, home was otherwise nice. Had some meals at my favorite restaurants with family,  got breakfast – I would call it brunch but apparently if you meet before 10AM the absolute earliest,  you’re out of your mind and it’s definitely breakfast – with some high school friends (we’ve known each other for over a decade!!! How crazy is that?!??!!), and, of course,  an amazing dinner for Easter at my aunt and uncle’s – with more family! Om nom. So much food and goodness!  Anyway. Life is good. 

Hakuna Matata!

Thankfulness

Whelp.  It’s almost the end of November.  I’ve been writing this post in my head since the 1st.  But here we are.  Time freaking flies.  It’s amazing.  Here I am sitting on a plane on my way home for the holiday and no update to mention.  Yeah, I know.  I’m a terrible blogger.  2016 has been a pretty crazy year.  There are quite a few of my facebook friends who insist we don’t even acknowledge this year in the future.  But I have to admit, it’s been a pretty memorable one for me.  I’ve moved from Hawaii to San Diego to South Carolina.  I’ve explored Iceland and Denmark and Estonia and the outer skirts of Germany, and visited Russia and Sweden and Finland.  I’ve driven across the United States on an epic road trip and visited famous landmarks and national parks.  I’ve crossed the Pacific Ocean and I’ve gotten to visit friends and family across the country.  So can I really complain?  These are the things that matter.  I am so blessed to have the people I do in my life. Regardless of how they got there.  I’ve revisited our nation’s Capitol and returned to the greatest city in the world twice (yes, I’m referring to New York).  And I still have this weekend and Christmas to enjoy before the year is out.

I’ve been fortunate enough to join my dive family in Florida for an annual Thanksgiving celebration, not to mention surprise my family for my dad and uncle’s birthdays.  I’ve reunited with my college roommate and made new friends at my latest job.  Of course there has also been failure and total feeling of loss and despair.  But mostly joy.  At least the stuff I choose to dwell on.  And that’s what I think is the key.  Why focus on the bad?  There’s so much good.  Moving for the third time this year was a struggle. Leaving the people I grew to care for and accept was challenging.  Returning to academia was a lot harder than I imagined it would be.  But there have been a multitude of people who have helped me get where I am.  And I am more than grateful for their input.  From the 5:30AM wake up calls to wish me well on an exam or just to say hi, to the random texts and messages just that say people are thinking of me and are hoping I am well.  Those mean the world to me.  Even if I’m not the greatest at conveying that in the moment.

I’m thankful for more than I can ever write about in a blog post.  My family plays a huge part in that.  As crazy as they drive me at times, they are the best.  I don’t care who you are.  You don’t beat the genuineness and love that is experienced in my family.  I have the best friends.  We can not talk for months.  And when I pick up the phone in a moment of despair or boredom, they are there for me.  I’m a pretty crappy friend.  My job takes up a lot of my time.  And when I’m not working, I’m kind of burnt out.  And a loner.  Not in the creepy or bad way.  I just like me time.  So I screen my calls and texts and eventually, I will get back to you.  But aside from the fact that I’m usually asleep before 9PM and I talk to about 2 people on a regular basis (and yes, one of those humans is my mom), my people are still there for me in spite of that.  I don’t get invites to go to the opera 500 miles away.  But I get videos of my friends being awesome and killing it in their chosen profession.  And updates on so and so and what I’ve missed.  Like nothing has changed since I left New York.  And I’d like to think that as anti-social as I can be, my people do know that I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they truly needed me.  It’s funny how that works.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Happy Thanksgiving, Blog World.  Always remember.  Even when things don’t seem to be going right, there’s always SOMETHING to be thankful for. Hakuna Matata!

Exploring Home

I’m incredibly spoiled.  I grew up in the greatest city in the world.  Whether you agree with this fact or not is entirely up to you.  Everyone is entitled to my opinion on my blog! 😀  But seriously, New York City is an amazing, wonderful place.  It will always be home.  So why don’t I live there?  Well, for starters, there’s not a whole lot in the field of rocket science in the most populated city in the United States.  And I couldn’t do my current job there.  And there are too many people.  SO. MANY. PEOPLE.  And noise!  It’s what makes it home and I’m not complaining about it.  You don’t even notice the noise after a while and most people are so absorbed in their own lives that you don’t really notice them either.  The last time I was there, I asked a cashier how her day was going and she looked at me like I had 12 heads.  That’s my city that I love.

New Yorkers get this rap that we’re rude and fast and don’t care about anyone.  We’re not that rude.  We just don’t take part in a lot of the pleasantries that the rest of the country does.  It’s just different.  When I lived in Germany, one of my friends asked me if it was true that English speakers ask how you are doing without really wanting to know.  I was confused by the question.  She elaborated, saying her English teacher told them that English speakers always ask “How are you?” but don’t wait for a response.  It’s true.  We use it more of a greeting as you would hello.  In that regard, though, non-native English speakers think we’re the ones being rude.  It’s the same thing in New York for the most part.  Not always.  But could you imagine if we stopped to talk to EVERYONE we ran into.  You would never get anywhere.

Fast is debatable.  My father is one of the slowest people I know.  And he’s been there a hell of a lot longer than I have.  He CAN be quick with some things.  But he’s pretty slow by most standards.  No offense, Dad – love you!  Anyway, I’m digressing.  I started this post because a friend of mine is thinking of moving to another city.  I’m probably a terrible person to talk to about moving: I’ve had 12 different addresses in the past 8 years.  But she made a comment about being bored in a new city.  It made me think.  Most of my friends from NY are still living there.  Actually, I’m struggling to think of any of them that aren’t at the moment.  A lot of them stayed for school and then found a job there or are still studying or whatever.

So the prospect of moving is daunting because it’s all you know if you haven’t ventured out.  And to most of us city kids, EVERYWHERE else is boring. Because what is there to do in suburbia when you’ve lived in the non-stop, world famous New York for your entire life?  But having been to the middle of nowhere and back again, there’s SO much more than what’s enclosed in the 305 square miles that is NYC.  I’ve found something in every city I’ve been to, from the sheer beauty of nature or history of a region or the food or even the people!  I know that’s shocking to hear from me.

As I think about settling down in my newest home (it’s been like a month and a half now), I am frustrated and excited about it.  Moving all the time has kept me from getting bored in one place.  Quite the contrary, I find I’m there for long enough to find the things I want to do and check out and not long enough to do everything I want.  Like vacation.  There’s ALWAYS more to see.  If you’re doing it right, at least.  At the same time, finding new people and new places is fun and awesome, but you can miss your old routines and people and the environment you created for yourself.  For me, it keeps me engaged.  It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.  Some days I’m not even sure it IS for me.  But then I find out I’m moving.  Again.  And the excitement rushed back in.  Explore.  Find the hole in the wall place and the random, crazy person that makes the day that much better, and the secluded spot that you can go and relax and think about life.  And then when you go back to visit, you have all the benefits of being a local and a tourist.  And that is wonderful.