Tag Archives: saying yes

One year here

6 Sep

All of a sudden it was July 31st.

Which meant that I had been here for a year.  Which meant that i made it through my first year of my new job.  And my first year in NYC.  And not just made it through, I had a ton of fun!  I never would have guessed that I would like it this much.

Here are some of the things I did this past year:

Long Island City

Long Island City

  • Found routines – like morning walks by the public housing building near my house and seeing all the Vietnamese residents doing exercises in the backyard – just like I saw in the mornings in vietnam
  • Roller derby in coney island
Coney Island Roller Derby.  We rooted for Brooklyn.  Naturally.

Coney Island Roller Derby. We rooted for Brooklyn. Naturally.

  • Learned the subway system (after some disastrous starts)
  • Biked out to Coney Island
Coney Island's kind of scary

Coney Island’s kind of scary

not sure what this ride was... well, I could imagine, but I don't want to ride it

not sure what this ride was… well, I could imagine, but I don’t want to ride it

  • Ate lots of good food — kind of like when I traveled.  Legit South India, Vietnamese, papusas (my new favorite!), tacos
  • Took a spanish class – and then forgetting a whole lot of it – but making some good friends in the class!
  • Put myself out there to make new friends and try new things (checking out live music, going dancing, joining groups) – which sounds like a small thing – but not being a joiner makes it hard!  But – happy to say, I have a group-ish of friends now, people I can call up to go out with, people I can go ride bikes with, people who will go drink mezcal with me (to read more about my new obsession, see below), people will want to go hiking
  • Discovered the craft beer scene in Brooklyn (luckily one of the really good bars is right near my house)
  • Also discovered that I am a big fan of tequila and mezcal drinks (NYC has no shortage of fancy cocktails — like the night I went to a bar focused on experimental cocktails and had some crazy tequila and mezcal drinks — all for the low low price of $16 each!)
  • Survived my second year of being car-free (last year probably doesn’t fully count) – though I do miss escaping out to the mountains.
  • Found places to get fresh veggies and good bagels and awesome coffee – and all those other things that make routine a good thing

And so much more….


So much fun to be had!

So much fun to be had!


When I was traveling, I was limited by time, but was free without a plan – so I would move on when I felt I was ready, when I wanted a new adventure.  Though there is still a fire inside of me, wanting to see the world, wanting to climb mountains and trek through foreign lands, there is still so much here for me to explore –  I feel like I barely touched the surface.  How fun – to know that I still have so much more to do here?

I am still grounded in knowing I am in the right place, at the right time.

Live it like you mean it.

3 Jun

‘Wow, that’s so brave’, she remarked to me, after I told her I moved here only knowing one or two people.  I chuckled to myself, thinking – ‘oh, if only you knew!’  I decided to not share all those times that I felt scared, felt less than courageous, in the last 10 months.

But what happened?  Was I the same person who arrived at a bus station in India and picked where I was going next by getting on the next departing bus?  Was I the same person who learned to venture out and trust myself?  It was hard to believe, sitting at home, on my couch, feeling…. well, frankly, pretty far from brave.

For some reason, things feel different here.  Perhaps, it is that I am not a traveler anymore.  This is my country, and now, my home.  Perhaps it is that NYC is not known as one of the friendlier places in the world (though, full disclosure, I don’t find it that rough either – people have the capacity to be friendly.  They just choose not to be most of the time).

But, whatever that difference is, the fact remains that I don’t feel as brave as I did when I was traveling the world.  And when you don’t have friends in a new place, getting yourself out there is very effortful.  Tiring, even.  And so, I found, over the months since I moved here – I lost that courage.  It was sometimes easier to stay in with a good book, watch House of Cards on netflix.

Yet, I remember what it felt like to be out there, to explore, and have that freedom.  So, I am going to dedicate the next few months/time to making that effort.  To re-aquatinting myself with that freedom and joy and exploration.  To being the traveler – but this time with a home (that no one is puking in) and way more clothes and shoes.

more than just a pair of hiking boots and chacos

more than just a pair of hiking boots and chacos

So, here is to learning to be a travler in my own home, wherever that home is – and finding courage.

chinese new year in flushing

chinese new year in flushing

Kindness of Strangers

4 Dec

I am in Hampi now — after two overnight trains — one from Varkala to Bengalore and then one from Bengalore to Hospet (where I got a bus to Hampi).  Hampi is an amazing spiritual landscape of ruins and huge boulders — seriously, a bouldering dream come true!  Makes me want to climb!

I will have some awesome pictures to share with you all.  I am totally exhausted though — I was really tired leaving Varkala as it was and then two overnight trains — suffice it to say that I did not get a whole lot of sleep.  So today is not going to involve a ton of walking around in the sun (though hot, at least it is not as humid here!) — but I had a great lunch at a restaurant that I had to walk through a banana plantation to get to — and then sat on the ground overlooking the river.  And I had to stop myself from ordering everything on the menu….

Anyway — as I mentioned – I had a really good time meeting strangers in Varkala – Rob and Norman in particular (though there was another good find there too! ;).

So — yesterday, when I arrived in Bengalore at 7 in the morning – I did not have a plan for the day other than catching my train at 10 at night.  I read in my trusty lonely planet that there were two touristy areas — so I picked one and had the tuk-tuk driver drop me off.  Of course nothing was open — not even coffee shops — and I had no clue where I was going.  As I was walking down the street, I saw a foreigner and thought I would ask him if he knew where I was (all I needed was a point of reference and then I could work from there!).  I asked him if he spoke English – and he replied – oh, a little.  Just kidding, I am english!

Unfortunately, he was not able to give me a point of reference – as he was in Bengalore for work all of two weeks and he mostly had a driver to get to and from work….  So, while that was not helpful – we went and had a cup of coffee and talked for a bit (as foreigners are apt to do when they meet up traveling – the whole ‘what’s your name, where you from, where are you going’ thing).  It turned out that he did not really have plans for the day – and neither did I — so he invited me back to his hotel to sit by the pool.

Now — disclaimer — I know how sketchy that sounds.  I know that even more sketchy is I took a rinse off in his bathroom (overnight train — which by the way — somehow I ended up in AC!  how cool is that?  well…  literally cool, i suppose!)

But – yes, I know it sounds super sketchy.  And I had to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether I trusted the situation or not (which, is pretty much what I do on a daily basis with just about everyone/everything).  Andy seemed fairly harmless (and andy, when you read this – i hope you get a good laugh out of this!) — and it did sound nice to sit poolside….

So, along I went — to a super nice hotel (i have a picture of poolside) and we sat in the sun and had delicious sandwiches and g-and-t’s.  I did not swim as I had checked my bags at the train station — but it was nice to just hang out.  and, i’ll be honest, nice to be pampered a little in a super nice hotel.  We hung out for the day and then andy treated me to a super nice dinner before I headed to the train station.  Thanks again Andy!

Funny enough — this story is dedicated to another Andy.  I co-instructed a course this summer with the very fun and funny Andy Clair.  And his feedback to me after the course (among other things — one of which was to pack lighter…. wish I had heeded his advice there!) – but he told me that I should be better at accepting (and asking) for help.  And though I was not necessarily looking to be rescued yesterday by Andy (English andy), it was nice to accept his offer and trust/believe that it was all going to work out.  Whereas, I could have said no, no — I am fine, I will do it on my own — and my day would have been very different (and would not have included a hot shower — first in weeks, g-and-t’s poolside and a super fancy dinner!).

So — here is to accepting help and opening oneself up to the kindness of strangers!

more from me soon — with pictures hopefully!

lots of love — aurora