Yesterday was my one-year anniversary of living in New York.
To say that time flies is an understatement. While I'm only a few inches closer (than I was a year ago) to figuring out what I'm doing up here, away from every element of comfort and stability I had in Miami, I can state with certainty that I'm enjoying every moment. Or, at least, a vast majority of those moments. I've definitely forged and found new comforting elements, ones that I wholeheartedly appreciate, but it seems that new surprises keep rolling (spiraling? crashing? pummeling?) towards me. I guess that's the nature of being a New Yorker. So far so good, as I have yet to fill my "transistasis quota," which has probably grown exponentially in the past year.
An old friend sent me an iChat convo we had in September 2009, when he was having what I'll refer to as a minor identity crisis and asked me for advice. So rather than try to poignantly and sufficiently detail my experiences in NYC from the last twelve months, I'll just post a line that struck me upon re-reading. I will admit that a large part of my time in New York has been spent questioning myself...but I still think what I said is true for everyone, especially people that move to or visit new places hoping to "discover themselves." Our experiences and situations may change, but at the core we are the same person we have always been and will always be.
Mozartda2nd: look. I tell this to people who I meet that are hippies and whatever and say "oh look! I went to india to find myself" - "yourself" isn't sitting in a little box on top of a mountain in the himalayas. you are who you are and by the time you become an adult you are developed, life molds you in small ways but we are ourselves and nothing can change that.
Signed, 20-year-old Mau, tactlessly and at times inappropriately serving up life advice since the moment he could speak in complete sentences.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Just a couple of days after my emo "I'm broke" blog post, I got a call from a legal agency about an immediate job opening. (They called me last Wednesday afternoon and I started on Thursday!) It's a contract paralegal gig at a giant financial services corporation in Midtown. Today was Day 4 and I. am. exhausted. I'd rather be tired than funemployed, though. Or so I tell myself.
I have to admit that the work day is somewhat of a blur. Between intense New Yorkers speed-walking to get to their destination, cramped subway cars and the increasingly cold climate, the morning rush is not my favorite part of the day. The job itself is easy, but tedious and lengthy as well. However, this is a legit place, unlike the chonga-ass office where I worked in Miami. Back then, the days were marked by my boss' mood swings and inappropriate comments, antiquated ways of getting stuff done, and strict lines (colored with mutual shit-talking) between the attorneys and the staff. I'm thankful for the job experience but I'm more thankful I can look back on it and say I got out.
This is a lot of adjusting to do at once. (To go from apathetically job-hunting to working full-time; to wearing a suit every day instead of jeans and a plaid shirt; to bracing the "cold" on a daily basis without choice; etc.) I'm almost positive I'll make it out alright—but I won't know for sure until I've survived the winter.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
I'm perched on my bed, in the middle of my room, staring at the multitude of boxes blanketing the tile floor. I can't stop thinking. I hate admitting it, but I have packrat tendencies. My minimalist father loves to throw things away and "spring cleans" on a monthly basis. My mom, however, hides away anything of remote sentimental value. I acquired the latter's genes.
When it comes to throwing away junk and going through old miscellany, my ADD kicks in full throttle. I find a crumpled handwritten note; a stained photo from two decades ago; a certificate from the third grade. I have subconsciously injected memories and emotions into every single one of my possessions. This is when my sense of recollection works best. I glance around my room and I see more than just furniture, clothes, and images; I see stories.
The Ikea lantern in one corner that I picked out with my ex-boyfriend over two years ago. The Hialeah Haikus book Carolina lent me a few months ago that represents where I come from better than most people even know how to point Miami out on a map. The Broken Social Scene poster I ordered on eBay in 2009 that became the first wall art in the first room I lived in outside of my parents' home.
Two weeks from today—if all goes as planned—I will be sitting in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. I don't know much more about this plan than I did several months ago, when the blueprint first started being drawn. With a little dollar and a lot of dreams, I am leaving the only place I call home. In five days, my brother will be flying to Lima, Peru, to join my parents who moved there about a year ago.
While I had already been living on my own for a couple of years when they left, their move still hit me like a brick wall. Before, I always knew that I could go back "home" and see them. Our relationship improved tenfold when I moved out. They say that long-distance relationships are hard. It's not just true for significant others. But moving in with my brother, to the last apartment I lived in with my mom and dad before I first moved out, made the transition a lot smoother. We've grown closer in ways I never imagined. Eleven years my elder, the kid who used to babysit me and burp in my face has become my best friend.
Moving away from Miami and experiencing life in a new city have always been top priorities for me, but inaction via comfort has kept me here. (Roughly translated as "a job" and "an apartment.") With the notion of my brother's move gradually peering over the horizon, I realized that it was time to do something new. Living in this apartment for the past year has been a kind of limbo. I have partied a lot less than I did when I first moved out, stayed (mostly) celibate, and worked 50-hour weeks for months at a time. When Victoria told me she was moving to New York City at the end of the summer, I discovered that I didn't have to keep being one of those people that wished they lived there.
When you realize you have nothing to lose, chasing your dreams becomes instinctual.
Monday, May 23, 2011
My trip to New Orleans last month was definitely one of the top three greatest experiences of my life. I can already feel that nothing I write will do it justice. Here goes.
Purpose of my trip: to see Cut Copy (and Holy Ghost!, who were touring with them). Their tour stopped in Miami in March but only to play at overpriced Ultra Music Festival. Guillermo won tickets from Holy Ghost! to go to the festival on Friday—which was a lot of fun and further cemented my growing love for Holy Ghost!—but Cut Copy were playing on Saturday. I felt empty that night, knowing that they were playing in my hometown and I was missing their show. I booked the flight a couple of days later. Their NOLA show was only $20.
I have never been to a more musical city, ever. I knew it was the birthplace of jazz but had no idea I would be hearing music everywhere. Street buskers adorn the city with the sounds of their guitars and woodwinds. From the strolls around the French Quarter, to the packed yet quiet rides on the streetcar, to the late-night bike rides through dark roads for a couple of beers, I quickly realized that New Orleans was and is the most laid-back city I've ever visited.
In retrospect, the whole weekend seemed like a movie. I had no idea where I was going to stay for those four days until the day before my flight, when Chanel told me I could stay with her friend Henry, who was a great host and remarkably nice considering we were strangers until I got to town. The day before I got there, he offhandedly mentioned that A-Trak and Kid Sister were playing the day of my arrival. I bought two tickets, one for myself and one in exchange for crashing on Henry's couch for the weekend. It was a blast. But even though the concert was on my first day in NOLA, it wasn't the first show I saw that day.
When the airport shuttle dropped me off at Tulane that Thursday afternoon, I could hear music in the distance, like I was standing near a stadium. I called Henry, who told me he was going to class but that I should follow the sound of the music because "this band YACHT is playing a free show on campus." I flipped. And ran. And dropped my duffel bag on the grass and laid down and had an amazing afternoon, watching crazy Tulane kids dance their asses off to YACHT and trying to get a grip on everything that was happening. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time I watched them perform.
Friday was spent relaxing, eating, sleeping, biking, and drinking. We went to a bar in the evening that reminded me of my favorite bar in Miami and saw P.Y.M.P., a local hip hop/funk/electronica duo, perform. For free. At that point I had been in NOLA for 24 hours and had been to three different shows and seen five acts in total. I was overwhelmed, but in the greatest way possible.
Saturday was the day of the Cut Copy show. Henry obliged my request to "do touristy shit" during the day, so we took the streetcar to the French Quarter, had beignets and café au lait, and later sat in a park drinking beer (NOLA pretty much has no open container laws) and met some crazy punk kids who had just moved to town from Mississippi. I think we spent the rest of the day drinking until dinner and the concert.
The line was insane. We waited almost an hour to get inside, but once they opened the doors it was easy to get close to the stage. Holy Ghost!'s show was a lot better this time around, most likely because it was more intimate (their stage at Ultra was huge and the crowd was meager). I didn't know until that weekend that it was the last stop of their tour. I also don't know how I had enough energy to dance to all of their songs and then survive Cut Copy's performance. When they played "Jam for Jerry," Alex Frankel (lead singer) jumped down from the stage to sing with the crowd, but only one person knew the words. I freaked out. We had a moment. No zoom whatsoever for this picture, which I was somehow able to take during my fangirl-esque seizure:
The moment finally came. Cut Copy came on stage, blowing my mind and blowing the roof off of Republic. I wish I was a better writer and could properly express how amazing their set was. They played some old stuff, some new stuff, some dance-y stuff, some slower stuff...all of it was beautiful, eargasmic and electrifying.
After the show, I went with Henry's friends to Maison. At that point, I was ready to collapse but I was on such a high from the show that I could have done anything. We went, danced some more and had a great night. Before the night was over (some time around 3am), the most ridiculous thing happened that I have a hard time believing to this day.
Cut Copy and Holy Ghost! had come to Maison. There was Dan Whitford, having a beer and watching the small crowd dance around. I've never been one to idolize artists or celebrities, but after the amount of deliberating I did about dropping the cash for the trip and after having one of the greatest weekends of my life, that was the icing on the cake. Needless to say, I approached him to tell him how amazing their performance was and that I had flown from Miami to see them. I got an enthusiastic "Thanks man! I appreciate the support." and thought I had died and gone to heaven. What I heard in my head was, "Of course this trip was worth it you dumbass!"
The show was exactly one month ago. I swear it was one of the greatest live music moments of my life.