New York. I love you. And I hate you.

When I first arrived, I walked slowly, looking up.  Eyes darting.  I soaked it in.  And began to feel the magic.  Began to connect my visuals to the things I’ve only heard of and tried to slow my brain down, tried to picture a scenario where this was all normal.

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And before it know it, it was.  New York sucked me in.  I walked faster, talked faster, looked down instead of up.  My routine pushed me past the tourists and musicians on the street and there was a moment of time when it all froze, in perfect harmony, and my purpose aligned with this New Yorkness.  And suddenly, New York became me, and I it.  My vocabulary changed. Life expectations, favorite past times.  They all changed.  And I was eternally effected.  And in love.  I signed at the skyline, a wisp of a smile as I realized I recognized it as home. And I felt the pull… as tiny ants march in a row.. and I cued up.. to join the march of the New Yorker.  Savoring each moment, each pizza and bagel. Each walk through the village and night on the town.  Each cell screaming- in all the crazy world- in all the crazy places- can it be?!? It’s the greatest city in the world- and yet- somehow I fit.

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And then time passed again.  Winter came to the city.  My routine changed.  and I felt New York sucking me under.  The commute changed from naps and entertainment to the dull ache of wasted minutes in time.  And strangers, once so beautiful, now carried with them odors  and personalities that rammed into my personal space.  And I realized that there was very little romantic about getting screamed at by strangers or having peoples’ bodies and belongings pressing my skin as I balanced on a moving train.  And I wondered if I could ever love New York again the way I once did.

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But now.  It’s spring.  And I feel that Manhattan energy steeping out to my borough, pulling me in.  Calling me to match the stride.  And suddenly there’s hope again.  I do love New York!  Even with all it’s energy extremes.  And I will not let winter subway commutes take that from me.

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Because no matter what, New York will always be where I first became me.

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The Great Winter Escape

In the fashion of every good single young woman, I travel when I get weeks off from work.  If you don’t, you really aren’t doing it right. My opinion, of course.

This year for midwinter break I took a straight up vacation.  None of that typical adventure/culture stuff I pick.  (Don’t worry, that will come for me during my Spring break.)

Midwinter break could NOT have arrived at a better time, when it was freezing in New York and NOT in my final destination, which was Florida.

My flight was at 9 am from Newark, which meant I had to leave my house at 5:45 am.  Pathetic. Wish I wasn’t too stingy to call a cab sometimes.

That said.  I caught all the trains at just the right time to still have time to pick up bagels at Penn Station, although I did not have time to get them with cream cheese. Oh. And did I mention, it was 5* that morning.  Sigh. So. Many layers to wear.

Newark was surprisingly full I thought.  Also, of note, the convayor belt for the luggage wasn’t working.  I left my bag in this pile and took this picture to document it’s last sighting.  It’s the blue one in front.

This was the security line before the security line.  They were so busy I was put on the prechecked security line and didn’t even have to take off my shoes.  Handy.  But a wee bit inconsistent.

Following this I did some airport hustling as my plane was boarding by the time I got through the lines… and then waited an hour and a half to take off because our plane was awaiting luggage that couldn’t be found due to the luggage mess inside.  You guessed it, we departed without it and mine was of the lucky 1/3 to arrive the following day via a personal delivery guy.  Hooray for staying with friends!  The only thing I ended up buying was contact solution.

When I landed I was greeted with happy hugs and Florida orange juice and spent the evening at the state fair.  Some of our group thought it was odd to have a fair day in February.  It made perfect sense to me though, I had obviously tele-ported to summer.

Me and Malachi.  My favorite one year old!

The first 3 days of my vacation I practiced being a stay at home mom with my friends from high school.  He works from home and she cares for her 14 month old while expecting baby number 2 (which has since been born- eeee! 🙂 ).  So.  Our days fell into a pleasant routine of a late breakfast and playing in the living room between naps, during which mommy and I petted the dog and sat out on the covered porch.  P.S.  Gideon is my favorite dog.  But this is what happens when I try to take selfies with him.  You’d think he’d be more cooperative, I only spent hours petting him.

A dog and his ball.

An evening walk with the fam bam. My how we have changed since 8th grade! 🙂

This pleasantness lasted until Wednesday, at which point my parents and their friends arrived from Indiana and picked me up on their way from the airport my grandpa’s house in Sarasota.  We spent Thursday at the beach before picking up my sisters at the airport that night.  Obvious win.

Friday we went to Orlando to hang out in Disney Springs and see Cirque du Soleil.  Which was so fun to watch with my sisters!

Dad and Dan, with toys from their ‘era.’

Our Orlando group, sisters, parents, and aunt and uncle (aka family friends).

Saturday we went shopping, ate food, and played put-put.  I thought for sure I was winning for a while there.. not so.

Sunday – Briana’s boyfriend was picked up from the airport to join in on the fun. Here’s my dad and my grandpa playing shuffle board before we walked the beach.  Florida does not disappoint.

They are so funny… errr… goofy.

That time at the beach when my feet looked 100 years old.

We were very serious about documenting the sunset… errr.. ourselves.

These kids.  Acting like our whole walk was about getting cute pictures of them from every angle. Obviously, we fell for it.

Monday morning was perfect.  Beach side breakfast and one last beachy walk before heading home.  It was hard for me to leave knowing my family would still be in Florida for the week, enjoying the sunshine.  To make it worse, I left knowing this one would be getting engaged on the beach that week without me there to watch.  Sometimes being a grown up and going to work means you miss out on the best moments. Sigh.

And then I came home.  Uneventfully, with all my luggage, a kiss of sunshine on my skin, and pleasant sense of accomplishment of having filled my midwinter break to its max.

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Apricity

 

I’ll just say it now.  Winter is my LEAST favorite season. I don’t even have to shovel sidewalks or scrape my car and I still feel this way.  Mostly because it’s too cold and the snow gets too sloshy and I hate the constant reapplication of tights.  Layers really aren’t my thing.

That said. There have been many bright moments in this blight that is ‘winter.’

  1. This winter in New York has actually been mild.  Perhaps my favorite.  I didn’t even wear a coat to the airport on Christmas Eve!  And we got our first snow yesterday.  The very first real snow.  It ended up being 26 inches or something. Which was just enough to keep me trapped in my house in PJs for 2 days.  Actually not a bad way to handle snow I think.  Also.  Horray for 2 less months of snow than I’m accustomed to.
  2. Life has a way of filling up with good things.  Like random selfies with this favorite of mine.
  3. I finally got to visit the NY transit museum. It’s in an old train station- how cool is that??
  4. My kiddos told funny stories, drew funny pictures, and actually listened for the first week after break.  So fantastic.  Now, here’s a picture of a car: 
  5. And then my life took an unplanned detour- with a spontaneous trip to Indiana to catch a ride to Iowa to attend my great grandfather’s funeral. I got a seat to myself.Was greeted by RVs in the airport.  (So… unique.) Went old school waiting on trains.Caught up with cousins and planned exciting trips.  (Obviously- I’m the most excited of us all.) And then it was Iowa.  I haven’t been in 5 years.  Since this one got married. That also means it’s been 5 years since I’ve been all together with this clan.  (The last time I saw some of these people, they were kids!)And then there was the part where I had to say goodbye to my last great grandparent.  My grandpa actually asked me to speak at the funeral because “you’re a writer.”  Well, I’m glad HE thinks so but I wasn’t so sure.  I mean.  How could I be the one to speak for everyone there?!?  So I decided not to speak for them and instead, speak for me.  And in that process, I realized that I am really going to miss this older man we called grandpa.  I have so many sweet and savored memories surrounding my memories of him.  Mostly of trips to Iowa as children.  Not to mention the resounding impact he made in the person I am just from simply living his life humbly and raising his daughter, who raised her daughter, who raised me.  Now here’s a picture of said great grandpa, on a bike.  Too cool. 

And that has been my winter thus far.

Apricity: (n) The warmth of the sun in winter.

Circular Thinking

I haven’t been writing and that bothers me.  Because I’m loosing my writing voice.  And because I read an article the other day that said that we mostly think the same thoughts over and over every day.  And I realize that it’s true and I wonder why my thoughts don’t make many progressions and I realize that perhaps my thoughts aren’t all that productive.  Hence, I should write? Who knows.  But I can at least try.  To reach out to the world with little keyboard taps of communication and try to connect to someone else instead spinning the web of circular thoughts I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking these days.

That said.  I don’t know what to write about except the thoughts I’ve been spinning.  So I’ll try my best to arrange these repeats of mine into some cohesive line.

This month was my birthday month.  But you already knew that.  Turning 27 has been interesting.  It looks very different than 22, but I liked it.  On my birthday my coworkers bought me lunch and sang to me.  After 7 sessions of kids, back to back, it didn’t really feel like my birthday.  And I took a nap in the afternoon, which isn’t something I usually do on my birthday.  But I went out for Habachi for dinner.   Which also isn’t something I normally do, but it did make me feel more like it was my birthday.  Our chef wasn’t award winning or anything.  But we were entertained by the experience. 

November has also been unseasonably warm and beautiful.  Which I love. So much. Especially when my living room window has sunset views like this one!

Aside from my own personal holiday, November was riddled with celebratory days off from school,  Thanksgiving being my favorite of the options.

This year I did some new things for Thanksgiving.

  1. I went to central park and looked at all the parade balloons after they were blown up.  Instead of the parade floating by us, we floated by it.  The lines were unexpected but it was still mostly enjoyed in beautiful weather with my fun friends.

 

2. My WHOLE family came to visit.  This has only happened once before, for my graduation, and we didn’t spend any time in the city together.  But this year, we did.  A Thanksgiving feast, black Friday shopping at midnight (surprisingly manageable crowds), the Statue of Liberty, and Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.  For now, we are all grown ups and we almost always get along.  Oh the fun we can have together!  Like my mom said, “If only we could freeze this time.”

{Shopping}

{Heading out for a day in the city.}

{I think we look terribly alike in this picture.}

{Look what I found!}

So really, these aren’t the thoughts I’ve been thinking over and over again.  But rather the highlights between them.  But in my attempt to avoid the spinning vortexes of subway schedules and therapy prompts, it couldn’t be helped.

That said, I would like to add that I am, in fact, 1/3 of the way through my second year of teaching!  Can you believe it?!? And, while my littles aren’t all that funny, they are terribly endearing and at times it’s thrilling to help them learn.  Currently one of my favorites is a little kindergardener with the beginnings of a mustache.  Oh he is so cute.  And he’s learning not to repeat everything I say.  That said, sometimes our conversations go like this:

Me: Do you have to go to the bathroom?

Him: bathroom?

Me: yes or no?

Him: (pause… thoughtful face) yes.

Me: Is it an emergency?

Him: emergency?

Me: yes or no?

Him: (pause… thoughtful face) yes.

Me: Can you hold it?

Him: hold it?

Me: yes or no?

Him: (pause… thoughtful face) yes.

Turns out it’s not just my thoughts spinning in circles these days. 🙂

Falling For You

Your twenties are such a great time in life to fall in love.  And October is such a great time to fall in love with Fall and small(er) cities.

Now, traditionally I do not like fall (mostly because it screams “WINTER IS COMING” to me for 3 months and makes me sad) and I love New York.  Which, in the past, has meant that I like (but don’t love) smaller cities and well, I don’t like fall really.

But this fall- they won me over- and it just couldn’t be helped.

I started the month with an anticipated trip to Philadelphia.  Now, I’ve been to Philly before. No big deal.

But Shannon just moved there.  And she’s been coaching me with my running this year. (Yes, this year I started running. At the Y. And she’s been telling me how.  Because apparently running isn’t entirely intuitive.)  That said, she and I have been wanting to run a 5k together.  Ideally, a color run since it’s on my 30×30 list.  All of these events and plans collided to a night Color Run (5k) in Philly at the start of October.

My trip to Philly was a little eventful.  Mostly because I booked a sketchy Chinatown bus ticket and they (apparently) don’t reserve seats for their passengers.  Which means that even if you are on time for your bus, you may not get a seat.  And then you may get cattle corralled into getting a post-it note stamped (to serve as a seat reservation ticket) and eventually get soaked in rain between the station door and the bus door and arrive at your destination 2 hours later than planned.  Thankfully I have flexible friends.  And there are still great Ramen places open after 9.

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The rest of my trip was full of brunches, walking, a museum, and, well, running!

 

{The Happiest 5 K on Earth} The color run’s claim to fame.  If you don’t know what a color run is.. google it. 

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Philly has all the best brunches.  sigh.

I returned from this adventure feeling quite accomplished (yay! I ran my first race- even if it is untimed) and quite crushing on Philly.  It doesn’t help that Shannon just moved there from Brooklyn and knew all the things to rave about to make me jealous.  (She has a washer and dryer!  She can walk AND drive places.  Philly is a more manageable size- with good places to eat that aren’t so far from your house.  And not so many places to choose from that you just want to give up even trying to decide.)  Plus.  It has trees. And it was just the start of fall.  And well. sigh. It felt like a break from the city.  While still being in the city. And so, I liked it.

But I came home.  Helped a tourist find their way.  And ran into someone I used to work with while walking down a random street.  And I was reminded this skyline is still my home for now.

Home: (n) the place or region where something is native or most common.

My mid-October weeks were spent at home.  Watching fall around me and realizing that October has my favorite color of blue sky and the leaves are just to die for.

And I ended my October with a trip to Boston with Malinda.  For the sake of adventure (and every time we ever sang that VeggieTales song as kids, “And I’ve never been to Boston in the Fall!”)

{We arrived!}

It’s only 4 hours by bus from Chinatown to Chinatown.  Especially when you book with good bus companies that don’t involve pushing and post-its and do involve leather seats.

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{We happened upon this lovely book shop.}

{Lunch}

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{The Boston Common} I’m sorry I’m not sorry about how many fall pictures you are about to see. I went to Boston mostly to see the leaves.  So I mostly have pictures of leaves.  You’re welcome or whatever.

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{Mike’s Pastry} Because everyone loves cannolis. And Mike does them best!  Even if our airbnb’s host’s dog ate my left overs without asking.

{Bunker Hill Monument}

Because Malinda is energetic she hiked the 294 steps to the top of the monument.  Because Camille calculated a cost-to-benefit ratio and decided it wasn’t worth it- she didn’t.  Go Malinda!

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{The magic hour + ferry ride = harbor love}

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After a day walking the Freedom Trail we went to check in at our airbnb.  After discovering our host had guests, we went to check out more of the city.  Nothing like strangers to inspire you to get out of the house.  We decided to visit the Prudential Tower and get a nice view of the city.

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{My face when I’m not sure why my camera is taking so long….}

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In our visit to the Prudential Tower we watched a little movie about Boston in which we discovered that MIT apparently has a pretty cool building.  We visited it the next morning.

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{Then. On to Harvard.}

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{The original ivies.}  (Just kidding.)

{We had brunch in the middle of our campus trotting. Because… food!}


See what I mean??? Fall.  I’m obsessed.  And cities small enough to walk and find places to eat.  Oh, just so much to love. That and puns.  I love puns. And Fall is just full of them! win. win. win.

But now. Now it’s November.  My birthday month (horray!) and parent teacher conferences (eh. They’re just okay.).  And just a few more weeks to savor it all before the dreaded winter is upon us!

That said.  Happy fall y’all.

Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite book series growing up, and I'd have to agree with Anne about Octobers.:

Estos Días

These days have been fuller than I could have anticipated.  All in the best ways of course.

Work:  We’ve only had 9 days of school so far.  Since starting September 8th.  So.  Work hasn’t really been full of that much work.  But I have had full days of therapy now.  And two IEP meetings already.

{The view from my office door- of the doors that always bang as children run to the bathroom daily and I yell “WALK!” after them.}

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{Just a fun start of the year bulletin board.  Can you guess which hand is mine?}

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But mostly- work has been full of Spanish.  With kiddos from kindergarten through 2nd grade- many of them speak Spanish better than English.  And since my goal is to teach them LANGUAGE (not English.  I’m not an ESL teacher.) I teach in the language they are strongest in.  Which means, I spend a large portion of my day plowing through Spanish verbs.  Also. I had to translate for an hour and a half during parent curriculum night.  Now, talking to kids about what they did this weekend is very different than talking to parents about ELA and Math curriculum. (aka: AHHH Vocabulary words I don’t know!)  Not to mention, following the teacher’s opening soliloquy and her follow up question, “Now who understood that?” it was discovered that in the room of 20 parents – about 2/3 spoke Chinese, 1/3 spoke Spanish, 1 spoke Arabic, and 3 (total) spoke English.  The school wasn’t able to get a Chinese translator for us but the one bilingual Chinese-English parent helped out nicely.  Side note: not a lot gets covered in an hour and a half presentation when you have to take the time for translation to Spanish and Chinese.  Annnnd… half way through my tongue collapsed from all its foreign language use and disconnected from my brain.  I accidentally called the teacher a man.  The parents snickered.  I pulled it together and corrected myself.  At the end I decided that I must be able to speak Spanish after all.  Which is a fantastic thing to discover as I’ve been ‘learning’ it for… 12 years.  That said.  These days my brain is doing a lot of code switching and I find myself surprised at times by the language that comes out- especially when speaking to strangers, children, and stray animals.

Not Work:  When I’m not at work (which is has been statistically more common than not this month) I have been having some unexpected adventures.

1. I went to the beach for a sunrise baptism.  It’s pretty pathetic that I live on an island and it was my first time going to our beach all year.. To state the obvious- it made me happy. 🙂

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2. The Guggenheim.  I haven’t been in 3 years!  My, is it just me- or have I been living here a while?

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{We both wore bird shirts.  What are the odds?!?}

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3. A naturalization ceremony and PARTY!

This week my roomie invited me to watch her get sworn in as an American citizen.  Since I didn’t have to work (we were off for a Muslim holiday), I was excited to join her.  Upon arrival we forfeited our phones and cameras.. waited in lines.. and were separated from our friends – left to imagine what a naturalization ceremony is like by piecing together blurred images from a silent TV monitor in a large waiting room.  Thankfully, after the 4 hour ceremony was almost over, someone turned up the volume on the TV screen and we got to hear the actual taking of the oath, their first address as citizens, and cheer right along with them.  Oh what fun to become an American!  (Especially after 15 years of waiting and test taking that many of them had endured.)  Needless to say- Karen was very happy and Erleen and I hosted a party with some of our friends from church to celebrate!

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To end… a reminder… that the sunsets in Brooklyn are even nice sometimes!     IMG_20150922_185749232_HDRa

First Impressions

Tuesday was day one. No kids. Just teachers.

I had forgotten how long my commute is!  Nearly late for the first day.  A nice adrenaline rush plus a half mile walk up the hill to school makes for a great start I’d say.  That and meeting one of my kids on the school steps.  His mom wasn’t sure when school started.  I sent them home.  Happy last day of summer, kid.

This year I’m full time at one school.  Praise the Lord.  No more carrying all my papers and games and games and papers back and forth between schools.  No more forgetting things at one school when I want them at the other school.  Now I can just forget things at home like a normal person.

I was late to our first meeting.  Mostly because it wasn’t announced.  It was implied.  “There’s breakfast in the cafeteria B.” apparently stands for, “Come eat a bagel and listen to a beginning of the year welcome and orientation.”  Thankfully our principal has a head on her shoulders and let us set up our classrooms and read the handbook on our own time instead of listening to the droning of power point presentations that cover fire drill expectations and tardiness policies.  As a plus, once you’ve read all those policies yourself in the handbook, you just have to sign this handy little form and you get to pick up a free teacher tote bag, complete with some new classroom materials!  (How great is that!?!)

Following our meeting we headed to our rooms.  This year I have inherited a reformed storage closet with a window (in the door- not the wall.  No, sunlight needy plants would not thrive in my office).  Which is SO much nicer than sharing half a room with 3 other providers. (I think).  Don’t worry.  Neither speech office has AC.  So that’s all fair.  And really, really warm.

What a happy discovery to find my office filled with teacher tote bags. 150 teacher totes.  For the 150 teachers at our school.  It just makes it hard to, you know, move around in my closet office.  So then I got to help move half of them to the main office.  But they ran out of room to store them there?  (Interesting.  I’ve run out of room to reach my bookshelves without walking in arches around piles… it seems we have a similar problem…)

That said.  The first week of school this year turned out to be a breeze.  In the figurative sense.  It helps that I’m at one school instead of two.  It helps that I’ve done this before and have a guess at what I’m going.  And I like that I know people at work (I’m full time at a place I was part-time at last year).

It makes me excited to start.  Happy to be there.  And sane when I go home.

So far.

Even if the internet was down on Friday and I spent the day moving around tote bags to access corners of my room and cutting out letters for door signs and bulletin boards.  It’s nice to feel productive again.

{1/3 of the original tote pile remains.  Also yes, you can fit 3 of the walls in my room in a photo when I stand against the door and lift my phone really high and angle it.}

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{My door.  I think it’s important to identify where you are and who I am.  I don’t think it’s important to cut out the center of small vowels with large scissors.  Like Erleen says, “In 10 years, who will care?”}

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It’s also nice that Jews have so many holidays in September.  Four day weekends are a very nice way to end the first half week of school.

Here’s to starting something new, again!