100 days from now I'll be moving to my most favorite place in the world. It's called New York City. You may have heard of it.
Without further ado, I wanna say thanks to everyone for all the warm wishes and the congrats. It means a lot and I'm excited to share this whole journey with you (as I've said 100x already). I hope in all of this, I can inspire you to go and do whatever it is you truly want. Don't let fear or inconvenience get in the way. I truly believe that making whatever changes you need to make in your life, however difficult and uncomfortable it may be, is well worth it, if it's all in the name of chasing your dreams. You only live once, my friends. Don't just embrace opportunities that come your way---create opportunities for yourself. Be a go-getter.
I have been dreaming of New York my whole life. I don't know how or when it started, but at some point while I was very young, I had a collection of images and ideas about NYC and it just seemed like such a cool place. I had to go there.
My first trip was when I was nine years old. Right before my dad's company went bankrupt due to his factory falling to the ground (Thanks for that, Northridge earthquake of '94, that was real sweet of you) My dad used the very last of his fortune to take my sisters and I on a little roadtrip across the country to New York. We took nine weeks to do it (talk about a vacay, right?). We saw all kinds of incredible things including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Washington D.C., Elvis Presley's childhood home in Mississippi (thank God for that Mississippi tune they taught us in grade school-I still hesitate every time I try to spell it, the same way I hesitate with basic arithmetic and the order of the alphabet letters. #thankyousongs &fingers). We spent a week in South Florida, went to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, and our final stop was of course Vegas (my dad plays poker professionally as a second part-time gig). It was really truly an amazing trip in this lifetime of mine. One dad, three little gals, and a Toytoa Corolla. I'll never forget it and I'll never forget how darn cool my Dad is for taking us on such a huge adventure.
It goes without saying, my favorite part of that whole trip was the two weeks we spent in New York/ Jersey. My dad is originally from Queens and we have family in Old Tappan.. so of course it was in my fate to love New York-I got roots there! We did all the typical touristy-like things that first trip, including the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Here's a photo that my almost fifth grade hands took from the top:
It's nothing special really--just looks like every other photo taken from the top of the Empire State Building, except definitely lamer. And quality is not so grand (I used Instagram to try and enhance it :) But still, to me, it's a special photo. It's a reminder of that time when I got to stand where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finally met for the first time on Sleepless and Seattle, and also a reminder of how magical that moment felt. What a city. What a view! That day I knew I was destined to come back to that place, many, many times, if not someday, for good. Here's a couple of other photos of this first trip:
Me and the sisters. Yes, that's a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt I'm rocking, and a big fat scrunchie I've got there around my wrist. Let's not talk about my sexy fashion choices at the age of nine, ok. If I wasn't as cool as I am now, rest assured, I would never post such a thing on the internet for all to see. Or come out and admit that I probably watched Barney until the third grade. You know you did too. Come on! (Or maybe I'm just weird and dorky. This could very well be the case.) PS. Does your heart not sink a little bit every time you see those Towers in old photos? wow.
My cousin Marni mid-speech and my Dad, with his video camera in hand, as always. This was while we were waiting for the ferry to take us to the Statue of Liberty.
The second time I visited New York was by accident. Yes, I am pretty good at accidents that turn out to be awesome. I was on a plane to Brazil with my Mom and our connection flight was at JFK. Well, because American Airlines is so spectacular and never experiences any technical difficulties or departure delays, we missed our connection flight. And the next flight wasn't until the next day at 9 P.M. Um yeah.
In the moment of learning this, I remember thinking, "9 PM??? Tomorrow?? What are we suppose to do until then?" Three seconds later: "OMG, we're in New York. Mom. We have to go into the city. WE HAVE TO." She was reluctant to agree at first... she was scared we'd get lost and miss our flight again... but after much desperate convincing she said YES! (Because my mom is super cool too.) And we went into the city for the day and got lunch in Central Park, did a little shopping and a little sight seeing. We stopped into St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was absolutely breathtaking... I want to get married in there someday? Here's some photos.
Here's mama bear looking pretty happy with our decision to take a day trip into the city.
The third time I went to New York was that same year, for New Years. I went with a big group of friends and it was a blast! We stayed in a little flat just north of Harlem and even though we were bummed that it didn't even snow the entire time we were there, it was still incredible to experience the city during the Holidays. Magic on an entirely different level.
Subway chillin' with homies.
The fourth and last time I went to New York was for spring break two years ago. My college room mate was suppose to come with me, but he ditched out, and I decided I was still gunna go. Yup, all on my own. I stayed with my cousin Marni for a couple days in Jersey, and then I stayed with my friend Mary in Brooklyn. She works as a fashion design for Express. Pretty gangster. It was a bummer that I didn't get to hang out with her that much while I was there. She was working a lot, but I didn't mind exploring the city on my own. I'm a little bit of a loner by nature anyway and love being able to explore things on my own agenda. And still, while I was there I got to meet up with a bunch of my college friends who were all there for a musical theater program, which was super neat.
Here's me and all my college gal pals, at some Mexican Restaurant where we maybe had a little bit too much to drink. And also at some point starting asking ourselves why were in a Mexican restaurant in NYC to begin with--cause you know, the East Coast doesn't quite compare to the quality of Mexican Food that the West Coast has to offer. This is a fact.
This is me sitting in the airport on my way home. I'm sad because I'm leaving. And also because I missed my flight. Which is a whole separate post to be written. It was quite tragic.
And now, I prepare for my fifth trip! And it's kind of the biggest deal, because, well, it's not a trip. It's a relocation. A pretty epic one. The more I think about it, the more I actually really do get a little scared. And it's not the fear of being somewhere that is the polar opposite of sunny laid-back Southern California (I know exactly what I'm getting myself into). It's the fear of being far away from my Mom and Dad and my sisters and brother. I'll have to think twice when filling out paperwork and putting down an emergency contact number, because my lifetime heros won't be so local anymore. They won't be there on the days that are tough and what I need more than anything is a hug. They won't be there when I need help moving or I'm sick and need assistance/some TLC. They won't be there on holidays when I probably won't be able to afford a plane flight home. They won't be there when I need to come running home in the middle of the night because some douche bag cheated on me and broke my heart. Above all, I fear the time lost that I could spend near them, with them, together. I am really close with my family. We're as dysfunctional as the next family doesn't like to admit, but we love each other. We may fight, we may yell, and we certainly take each other for granted often, but we're here for one another no matter what occurs. The more I think about it, the more daunting it is to know I'm moving way far away from that.
A little part of my heart broke when I saw this because I just know I'm going to miss my family so much, and I don't want them to be sad that I'm leaving. Or scared. Or envious. Or skeptical. Or indifferent. Or against. I want them to be happy, and excited for me. And I know that most of them are. I know my Dad especially is. But man, I am going to miss all of them so very much.
And still, I can't let these sad thoughts get the best of me. I know that this decision I've made for myself is the right one. Moving to New York is my dream. I have no purpose of going there besides the purpose of wanting to LIVE there. In 100 days, I will making way with literally two bags, no job, no apartment locked down, a very small savings, and a very large pocket of hope. I've sacrificed and been through a lot to get to this point, including getting through and finishing college, being offered the opportunity to move back to LA, giving up an establishing career in restaurant management in Orange County, a very special dude I was seeing, a whole collection of friends. I've literally dropped everything, in order to chase this dream, and however difficult I swear to you, it absolutely has been, this is the single most exciting thing I've ever prepared for myself. And I just know that the adventures of all adventures await me. I can't wait to learn and grow and to share all of it with you.
100 days and counting. And then it's Showtime.
I'm curious--if you could go and/or do anything you wanted to in your life right now... what would it be? Where would you relocate?
As if, New York isn't enough already, I have dreams of living in Brazil with my family for an extended amount of time and also of living in Europe. Italy or Spain would be nice. Maybe Greece too.