I know, I know, I know…..

The above picture was taken on a rooftop in Brooklyn.

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve had a good update. I don’t really have a good excuse except that New York definitely keeps me busy….and I got lazy! Without writing a post that could take hours to get through by trying to sum up the last 5 months, I think it would be easier if I bullet point my update!

  • I started my job in April and I’m the AmeriCorps/VISTA/HealthCorps/Reach Out and Read Director at Lutheran Health Centers.
  • I live in a three bedroom apartment with two other people that are really great! We all work for non-profits and like living in Brooklyn.
  • My apartment is in Prospect Heights right next to Prospect Park (the greatest park ever!)
  • Birdie had a hard time adjusting at first. She had quite a few mistakes inside the apartment and was more feisty with other dogs. She’s doing great now and is back to her loveable normal self and still spunky.
  • I’ve met some great people so far! It’s made the world of a difference! I miss my Austin crew so much, though. That will never change. It’s one big part of moving that I kind of forgot…leaving an incredible community and starting over again is so daunting. Building other communities takes a long time, but I’m really thankful that I’ve met several people that I trust and I’ve been able to reconnect with best friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. I can’t deny that this city gets lonely, though. There are so many people that it can be intimidating to try to break through.*
  • Brooklyn/New York summer = crazy, amazing, fun, usually free adventures.

I sometimes go on mini-dates by myself. I’ll grab Bird and walk around Brooklyn. The sun starts to set, people are out chatting and slowly making their ways to yoga, restaurants, homes, outdoor movies, etc. I just amble around. No destination in particular. And then I stop. Sometimes it’s the sight of the sun dipping behind the Manhattan skyline, sometimes it’s right in the middle of Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn standing on top of a drain cover that says ‘Property of New York City’, or it’s in front of my favorite locally made ice cream shop - and I say to myself, ‘Holy shit, I can’t believe I moved here.’ It’s an incredible and scary feeling at the same time. I’m still in shock that I made this big decision and then put it into motion. I can move through life so quickly and forget that although things have fallen into place really quickly I still need to remind myself that this has been a big deal in my life. It feels so normal sometimes that I forget to celebrate.

*So, celebrate I will! August 18th will be my first day to be 33 years old. It will also begin my 8 weeks of doing something each week that I’ve never done before and scares me just a little; either because I get intimidated or maybe it’s really because I willingly watch a scary movie. (That’s right, people. I would never do that.) I think this new challenge will make me get out of my little bubble and meet other people, have interesting experiences, or just become a string of funny stories. We’ll see! I’ll try to be better about updating, especially when my 8 week challenge begins!

See the moon on the right?! (Taken with Instagram)

See the moon on the right?! (Taken with Instagram)

Maybe the other shoe doesn’t have to drop?

In almost three weeks of being in NYC, I can safely say that time really does seem to go by so much faster than I could imagine. I’m having a completely different experience by living here rather than just visiting. I feel a little foreign. But in a lot of ways, that encourages me to explore things I haven’t done before. I’ve yet to eat at the same place twice and I haven’t been to any restaurant that I used to love and had to hit right when I arrived. Right now, New York is too big for me to have any favorites: parks, restaurants, cafes, museums….the list goes on! That is so exciting!

Things have been moving really quickly. The first Monday I was here I had an interview with an agency for their AmeriCorps Director position. This all came together a couple of days before I left Austin. I got wind of the job from a good friend of mine that had connected me with a person in the NYC AmeriCorps world. I applied for the job the day before I left Austin and I was called  that evening to set up an interview for the next week. After a second interview and meeting with the vice president of the Community Programs, I was OFFERED THE JOB!!! I’m still reeling from the speed and serendipity of this all. I have been quiet about the job because I was nervous and didn’t want to jinx anything. I have a tendency to wait for the other shoe to drop. I kept thinking, ‘This is all happening too fast. Something seems off.’ I think that I got so used to feeling like I had to struggle to make things happen that, for a while, I wasn’t able to see that this is good and it’s ok to feel good about things going ok. One of my dear friends sent me this blog post which helped me embrace the process and realize this is just meant to be.

I’m really thrilled about this opportunity. I can’t wait to work with AmeriCorps members again. This agency, Lutheran Family Health Centers, does amazing work. They are mostly a hospital but in the 70’s the director at the time decided that you can’t care for a community by just healing them physically, you have to surround them with support and stable foundations for future success. There are literacy programs, GED and immigration classes, health check ups, book shares, classes that teach individuals and families how to access free medication and resources for food, cancer screenings, parenting classes, etc. The AmeriCorps members work with people ages 0 to geriatric from vulnerable populations. Having been an AmeriCorps Coordinator in the past, this is a great promotion and although there’s a lot to learn, having the basics of AmeriCorps down is a huge advantage.

The area that the Community Programs are based is called Sunset Park (in south Brooklyn). It’s extremely diverse. There are Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican (yay!), Honduran, Italian, Brazilian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi (yay!) and tons of other nationalities that are being served. It’s inspiring to see the community that has formed and a lot of that is due to Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC). It’s a huge organization, there are 4,000 employees. In the 70’s Sunset Park started to become extremely unsafe. LFHC questioned moving out of the area so that the people that were sick wouldn’t feel in danger by just walking to the hospital. But the director at the time recognized that there were still families living in Sunset Park and they needed access to resources and a safe haven. So they stayed on in South Brooklyn and since then the crime has drastically dwindled and different cultures live in harmony based on the fact that everyone needs help at some point in their lives. Recognizing that need in someone else can alleviate strife and encourages uncommon friendships.

I start my job on April 16th! Until then, I plan on running around NYC and taking in as much of the blossoming trees, tulips, hidden treasures, and people laying in the sun as much as possible.

Thanks for all your support friends! And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I’ll eventually be living around the corner from this area!

Because Zoltar says so…

It seems like every written message I get these days is geared directly toward my big leap. I got two fortune cookies in a row that I’m going to hold on to:

-Use your talents. That’s what they are intended for.

-Inspiration within is waiting for you. It’s time to go deep.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out playing air hockey and found Zoltar, the magical wizard, just sitting there waiting for me to ask him for a fortune. Out came a little card which says:

You emerge from your recent fog and get down to business. Life becomes more serious and realistic. If a person takes no thought about what is distant he will find sorrow near at hand. It is easy to see, hard to foresee.

I could basically turn anything into affirmation about this move. I had all green lights driving down a busy road the other day. I heard ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay-Z three times in the last week. It’s pretty easy to turn normal things into ‘signs.’ But, that’s kind of the person that I am. I like to find a little magic, even if I’m stretching it a bit!

I’ll be arriving in NYC on St. Patrick’s day! I’m sure, with luck, I’ll find some green beer.

I’m excited about a change in plans that has happened recently. Birdie is going to be traveling with me right away! Originally, I had planned to get her up to NYC after about 6 weeks of getting settled. There were a couple bumps in the road regarding her stay in Austin and also how to get her up to NYC and I decided it would be best to have her with me immediately. As soon as that decision was made I felt so much better. I can’t imagine making a big transition like this without my side kick. Hooray!

Here’s to hoping we all find a little magic in our day!

Just Open The Door!

This week it’s been made so clear so many times that if I just relaxed a little bit and allowed myself a little grace and a little fun, then good things just start flowing. For the last ten months, I know that I slowed that flow down to a drip. It became really easy for me to say ‘no’ to opportunities. I was too busy, too tired, too flustered, or too lazy to step out and say ‘yes’ to going out with friends, taking care of myself, staying engaged in an interesting conversation, etc.

This is not going to be one of those soap boxes where I say, ‘Go out and do it! Go for your goals. The time is now!’ I’m taking a huge leap and pursuing something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but that doesn’t mean that it was an easy decision. There were many tears, long conversations with loved ones (including Birdie), written notes of pros and cons, and I broke out in hives when I finally decided! Right now, I feel like I’d be reckless not to recognize the open doors for this opportunity. I was able to rent out my house to people I know, I am going to stay with dear friends for a bit when I get to NYC, I don’t have a partner or a child that I have to process with or take care of, Birdie is scrappy and can adjust easily to her surroundings, I’m not too old or too young for a change like this, and I have an incredible network of support in both cities. I guess I’m saying all this because I know first hand why sometimes opportunity can be knocking and the decision to open the door or not is often times the hardest part. If the decision is not to pursue the dream, then at least you can begin the work of finding another solution. Searching for ways to find bits of your dream in your everyday life and enjoying that process so that regret doesn’t cloud your journey. If the decision is to move forward with the dream, then you can begin to see a clear path. Either way, for me, when I was waffling on the decision for so long and not allowing myself to see some good things in life then my flow of opportunities halted. So, it made sense for me to just open the door.

With that said, (which I’m sure I could have summed all that up by just saying, ‘Go with the flow, people’) this week I saw my favorite band, Radiohead, in concert twice. The first time I was on the floor, three people in from the font row in one of the best venues in the nation. Then, I met one of the band members, Jonny Greenwood, after eating a whole bowl of queso and avocado. Also, Birdie is actually loving the new cat, Joe (he belongs to one of the renters), in the house. And, I’m freaking moving to NYC in a little over a week! I love sabbatical chapters in my life!

I’m already missing this face so much!  (Taken with instagram)

I’m already missing this face so much! (Taken with instagram)

Maybe Not by Cat Power from the album: Cat Power

This is one of my favorite songs and it just seems to fit for me right now….

I Dream that I see, don’t kill it, it’s free
You’re just a man, you get what you can

We all do what we can
So we can do just one more thing
We can all be free
Maybe not in words
Maybe not with a look
But with your mind

I love birds sitting on wires. Now I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Why would I start my first blog post with a Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy type of sentence?’ But it’s true! I love birds sitting on a wire! And this picture describes how I’ve been feeling lately: being still and in rapid motion at the same time.
I’ve always looked at birds sitting on a wire with anticipation and excitement. At any moment they can take off or a friend can land on the same wire and sit with them. They are on the verge of flying. It’s so simple, I know. But to me, at least right now, it means so much. Looking back at my most favorite moments in life, the common thread is appreciating the temporary. Never missing a moment to acknowledge that life changes and there are times when you need to sit on a wire and other times when you hold your breath and try those wings out.
For a long time now, I’ve felt like I’ve been on the edge of something really big. At times that’s felt like just being on edge. Or I’ve felt like I was on the ridge of a dark canyon. Because of that and for lots of other reasons, I decided to quit my job, pack up, and move to New York City. I felt that it was time for me to go after a goal that I’ve had for the last decade but I’ve always made excuses and not allowed it to happen. 
I struggled for a long time making the decision to quit. My job had become unbearable and I had crumbled down to a person I  didn’t really recognize anymore. I wavered on so many thoughts: being irresponsible, wanting to move to a city where I felt more of my creative and inspired self was on the surface, choosing to be unemployed in this economy, knowing that I’ve always landed on my feet when I trusted myself, figuring out how to stay afloat, taking advantage of the time and space that I had, disappointing my parents, and, of course, making a mistake. While sorting through all those thoughts, I struggled to see a clear path. Instead, it seemed like the path was unfolding for me and once I took the blinders off, I was already half way down and about to take the leap. Once I made the decision an incredible weight was lifted. It was the first time in over a year where I felt like I was taking care of myself. It felt amazing. I felt revived.
I am still coming to terms with making such a big decision and the worry and fear that has flooded my thoughts. But I’m trying to focus on the bigger picture. I stole this quote from one of my best friends’ blog when she quit her job, I love it:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you  come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people  who have come alive.”                                                                            –Howard Thurman

I am excited about this chapter in my life. I don’t know how it’s all going to play out but the decision to move forward is a great beginning. Ready. Set. Go: March 17th, one way ticket to NYC!

I love birds sitting on wires. Now I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Why would I start my first blog post with a Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy type of sentence?’ But it’s true! I love birds sitting on a wire! And this picture describes how I’ve been feeling lately: being still and in rapid motion at the same time.

I’ve always looked at birds sitting on a wire with anticipation and excitement. At any moment they can take off or a friend can land on the same wire and sit with them. They are on the verge of flying. It’s so simple, I know. But to me, at least right now, it means so much. Looking back at my most favorite moments in life, the common thread is appreciating the temporary. Never missing a moment to acknowledge that life changes and there are times when you need to sit on a wire and other times when you hold your breath and try those wings out.

For a long time now, I’ve felt like I’ve been on the edge of something really big. At times that’s felt like just being on edge. Or I’ve felt like I was on the ridge of a dark canyon. Because of that and for lots of other reasons, I decided to quit my job, pack up, and move to New York City. I felt that it was time for me to go after a goal that I’ve had for the last decade but I’ve always made excuses and not allowed it to happen. 

I struggled for a long time making the decision to quit. My job had become unbearable and I had crumbled down to a person I didn’t really recognize anymore. I wavered on so many thoughts: being irresponsible, wanting to move to a city where I felt more of my creative and inspired self was on the surface, choosing to be unemployed in this economy, knowing that I’ve always landed on my feet when I trusted myself, figuring out how to stay afloat, taking advantage of the time and space that I had, disappointing my parents, and, of course, making a mistake. While sorting through all those thoughts, I struggled to see a clear path. Instead, it seemed like the path was unfolding for me and once I took the blinders off, I was already half way down and about to take the leap. Once I made the decision an incredible weight was lifted. It was the first time in over a year where I felt like I was taking care of myself. It felt amazing. I felt revived.

I am still coming to terms with making such a big decision and the worry and fear that has flooded my thoughts. But I’m trying to focus on the bigger picture. I stole this quote from one of my best friends’ blog when she quit her job, I love it:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 
                                                                         –Howard Thurman

I am excited about this chapter in my life. I don’t know how it’s all going to play out but the decision to move forward is a great beginning. Ready. Set. Go: March 17th, one way ticket to NYC!