A Letter to My Future Self

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This time last year I was in such a different place that I can barely even picture myself. I had a normal, college schedule. I was working for Frequency TV and starting to plan out the semester’s worth of web series episodes. I was filling out applications for study abroad. I was spending long nights in with television and long Sundays with friends from church. I suppose some things don’t change.

Since my life right now would be hardly recognizable by my former self, I want to preserve where I’m at for my future self to remember better. I suppose this is a letter to myself in a way. A letter to my future self so that I can remember where I was and look back to see how far I’ve come a year from now. Perhaps more.

Dear Future Self,

This week in the first week of school. School is a loose interpretation of what’s started this week after labor day, the week after Terra Nova (was it as good the second time?). This week you started two internships in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The Hollywood office feels official and real. The Beverly Hills office feels glamorous and exotic simply because of it’s location. This is your life. You are really working, really living, and really existing in part in this industry. And I hope that’s still true. Plans for these two internships include working hard and finishing my final semester strong.

Meanwhile, you’ve also been starting to meet with your old class – Drama writing, SiLA – weekly. Not that you’ve got anything to show for yourself yet, but it’s a work in process. Writing hasn’t been coming easily lately, but you’re hoping that a more solid schedule with school will help that along. Or it will hinder it, it’s hard to know right yet.

You’ve been blogging fairly consistently for the past year. It’s been a great system without really putting much of a system in place at all. July and August were harder months, but you seem to be back for September…. for the most part.

Every day is a choice to either write or not write. Unfortunately, lately the choice has been not. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just a choice that you seem to be making unconsciously. Focus. I believe that it can happen and that means that you much believe too. Pray about it. Never stop praying.

Speaking of prayer, this month you are set to join the church you’ve been going to in LA. You’ve been going to MOSAIC since Easter, and from then to now you’ve joined two community groups (one neighborhood, one college), gone on two retreats (SHE retreat and Terra Nova), and have been attending the early evening service and the mid-week service. They’ve just begun a weekly Wednesday gathering.

The community there is fantastic. Lean on them when you’re uncertain. Grow into those relationships. I hope you have already, but always lean in. Lean into your MOSAIC community and the old Columbia friends in whatever way possible. Go play Ultimate Frisbee. Because you haven’t been to a yoga class since you left San Francisco and it’s starting to show. Because what you really need is a good session at the climbing gym, but no one seems interested. Because living alone can be great, but also isolating.

In fact, I don’t even know that you live alone still. You do now. With a tiny studio apartment and no air conditioning. It’s a love/hate thing. Perhaps you are settled now into a house with four roommates. An apartment with one. Or still the same, ever the same. Whatever it is, right now you are living alone and for the most part that is a good thing. All the mess is yours and there’s no one to tell you to clean it.

You have been using a scooter to get around. It’s a wonderful thing. The time that’s lost in speed (not much) is gained back by squeezing between cars while they wait at a stop light. Your scooter seems a bit rickety sometimes, but it gets the job done. Once or twice a week you park it at the pump closest to the convenience store, pay two dollars in cash, and fill the entire tank. You don’t think that will ever get old.

I hope you are still living, working, and thriving in Los Angeles.  It wasn’t quite what you had been imagining, but it seems that God’s imagination is better than yours.  Go where he leads you, always say in reply, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

Here is what you were, and here’s to whatever you’ve become.

Much love, and God Bless,
Your Former Self

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New Approach

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My word lately seems to be focus. I’m so worked up in the questions of what do I want to focus on, and how I want to focus my time. And my biggest focus this month has been this blog and this space.  Figuring out in more solid terms what I want from it and what purpose it serves.

I started this blog without a plan. In a lot of ways I’m still not sure if I have a plan. This month one of my goals was to come up with one. It quickly became clear that my plan needed to start with more focus on what I wanted the blog to be for myself and for my readers. With a little help* I set off refining my “About” page, which has redefined how I go about creating content for my blog.

I want this blog to be a place where I can share my story, but also a place where I can encourage others to share their story. That said, while I will continue to post my Writing About Writing Mondays and my monthly goals and reviews, I want to turn more of my focus outwards for other reoccurring topics.

One of these topics will be cooking and how to get around the kitchen. I’ll be posting monthly under the title “And the Kitchen Sink” about cooking and baking, tools and recipes. I have a handful of ideas to start out, and I’d love to hear your ideas of what kitchen/cooking related things you’re curious about. I thinking working in the kitchen teaches us so much and I want to share that passion in a way that is accessible to others.

For now I’ll be sticking to four days a week of posting, Monday through Thursday at 10am PST. The only set formulas are Writing About Writing on Monday and media-related on Wednesday, after that I’ll set reoccurring topics (Kitchen Sink, What I’m Reading, and monthly reviews) and fill in the blanks with events, ideas, and other goings on. I’ve created pages for each of the reoccurring topics I’ll be covering, which you can find above the header on my site (while you’re there check out the updated television page).

While I’m not yet at the level of blogging that I’m striving for, I feel like I’m starting to get the response I was looking for when I started blogging 2 years ago. With 1 year on WordPress and 10 months of consistent (4 days a week) posting, I’m so excited to see this space grow into what I have envisioned, and I have my handful of readers to thank for this growth.

I know a small handful of people who follow my blog, but I can see from my stats that there are more of you, and not everyone is coming by mistake. If I don’t know you personally and you’ve become a follower I’m so grateful. I’m glad for each and every comment, and reference that I can see in the numbers. I’ll welcome old hats and newcomers alike to leave a comment letting me know how you found my blog and I can’t wait to see the ways that this space will grow in the coming months and years.

*I used Alexandra Fragen’s “Great I AM worksheet” to help figure out what I wanted out of my about page.  She’s pretty awesome and is a great resource for people who are trying to define themselves and their work.

Good-Bye My San Francisco

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I have a “Book of Lists” dating from probably the beginning of high school in which the first list is places I want to go. When I wrote it I was living in New Jersey, watching too much TV, and not really enjoying school. The list is full of domestic and international cities on every continent, and the first place on the list is my San Francisco.

When writing this list I had no way of knowing that that far-away place would become my home. I am so glad and grateful for my family’s cross-country move, for all the people I have met though church, school, and happenstance. And as I move to LA (again), I am saddened to think that an era may be coming to an end. Soon I will be not only moving myself and some of my belongings to a new city, but within the year I will also be changing my official address with the state to say that I live in Los Angeles. This is a bitter-sweet moment.

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I remember very clearly my first time coming to San Francisco. It was November 2008. Our six hour flight got in very late, and we took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. I remember looking out the window as we flew down an empty Market Street and thinking to myself, “Soon this will be home.” The next day I went to a Waldorf Open House where I met Allason, still one of my best friends.

In January I packed two suitcases, got on a plane, and came home. San Francisco was home almost immediately. My sister and I shared a bedroom in a temporary apartment we called the IKEA showroom. The place had no decent knives and everything was either white or black. It was an awkward layout and we never invited anyone over. But all the same I was home in this new city like I had never quite felt at home in suburban New Jersey.

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I took a bus and a rail-line to get to school, quickly deciding that my MUNI pass was my ticket to freedom. I could go anywhere in the city. The electric buzz of the bus lines took me to my first In and Out. The bell of the California cable car took me to the Farmers Market. I could ride the bus for hours at a time, I didn’t even care where it took me.

The heat wave that April happened to coincide with our performance of Once Upon A Mattress. Of course, the week that we spend in tights and long dresses under hot lights rehearsing and performing for hours, is the hottest week of the year.

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At the end of the school year my dad and I schlepped stuff from the IKEA showroom to a new rental apartment on Fillmore. My parents were very specific about what they wanted in a house, and we didn’t want to rely on the temporary apartment anymore. When I first saw the room sister!Emma and I would share I cried. The apartment was the same size as the IKEA showroom, but with more of our own furniture. With our pots and pans and table and chairs we invited friends to our home in the hood… Yeah, we had accidentally moved into the Western Addition without quite realizing what that meant.

For a year we spotted drug deals while waiting for the bus, and don’t forget my mom’s interesting interaction with a pimp while on the way home from the grocery store. I fell even more in love with the city and the fog, layering sweaters, jackets, and scarves. My senior year in high school included two plays and cast parties on the bus, Teatro Zinzanni, a trip to Joshua Tree which ended with me sitting next to my backpack on the 31 bus, and a re-introduction to rock climbing.

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On my last week as a senior we bought a house that is walking distance from my school. Yes, really. And so I spent a summer in my beautiful San Francisco and then left for Chicago. I love Chicago too, but it’s a completely different kind of love. In the past three years I have had the privilege of calling my San Francisco home. San Francisco is the smallest of the large cities, a place where you can run into your high school drama teacher at the Farmers Market. It’s a city of hills and fog, of bonfires so windy it forces us to retreat. Of free knit cap night at the ballpark in mid-June.

San Francisco is a city that will forever stay in my bones. A city that I never want to move away from, but can’t help but leave. Because as wonderful as it is, it isn’t the city that holds my dreams. Somehow, inexplicably, my dreams seem to be held in Los Angeles. Despite the traffic and the sun, I am drawn to the studios and sprawl. My place is in a writers room I have never been to, next to writers, producers, camera people, and talent, most of whom I have yet to meet. And so I say a sad good-bye to my San Francisco to cautiously enter a new world. Good-bye San Francisco, we will meet again, this much I know, I can only hope and pray that it is on good terms.

What’s the Big Deal?

As of right now I have registered for classes for the remainder of my academic career, these classes allow me to finish my degree requirements while staying here in Los Angeles.  I applied for graduation, checking off the box to say that I will walk May 2014, and gave them sizing info for a graduation gown (over a year from now, am I really going to be the same size?).

This whole process is surreal.  A few months ago I was stunned to tears at the idea of this move to LA being permanent  but as it’s beginning to take shape my only thoughts and feelings on the matter are gratitude.  Overwhelming and thanks for all the opportunities I’ve been given and the people who’ve helped along the way.  I am so blessed.

Graduating college will probably be one of the biggest milestones of my life to date.  I’ve graduated from brownie to junior girl scout, graduated middle school and high school, gotten accepted to college and survived the years of school, and in some ways that’s a huge accomplishment.  But it doesn’t feel like it to me.

Maybe it’s just because it’s not unexpected.  I am finishing school on track and beginning the process of looking for proper work, but this whole process seems like a big hoopla over not much.  Of course I was going to finish school.  Of course I am looking for a job.  None of this seems extraordinary to me.  It’s simply the next step to get where I want to be.

When I look back on my life and marvel at my achievements  I hope with a fervent passion that graduating college will not make the top five.  I have hopes and dreams that go so far beyond that.  When I look back on my life I want the big deal moments to be the launch date of my own series, buying a house I love, climbing literal mountains, and traveling the world.  Maybe marrying the guy of my dreams or raising my own kids.

While I’m glad to be able to say I’m going to graduate college, I don’t see it as an accomplishment.  I see college as a stepping stone.  A small, probably necessary, step in getting to the things I truly hope to accomplish.  Am I totally missing something here?  Is graduating college a lot bigger of a deal than it is in my head?

What about you?  Is there something that is a big deal in society, but you don’t see as a major accomplishment?

10 Things I Like About Me

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This post is partly inspired by Amelia Burger‘s vlog (in turn inspired by Amber’s) and is also in part a return to list making.  I love lists and I want to make them more of a feature of this here blog thing.  So here goes, 10 things I like about me:

  1. How long my hair is.  Seriously long.  I’m considering cutting it a bit, but even then it’d be really long.  Because it’s so long I can have tons of fun putting it up in new ways and twisting it ’round.
  2. My hair color.  Strawberry blonde.  It’s totally unique, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with hair that comes even close.
  3. My freckles.  I like how my freckles get more obvious in the summer.  It’s as close as I get to a tan.  Because seriously, I don’t tan.  I don’t mind not tanning really, because if I was able to tan I wouldn’t freckle.  You can’t play connect the dots with a tan (true life).
  4. How strong my legs are.  They get me wherever I need to go.  Even if I’m having trouble hanging on or I’m getting out of breath, my legs could usually keep going.  My legs bring me to the next adventure.
  5. My fingernails.  Because.
  6. My feet and how tough they are.  I prefer going barefoot, so my feet are pretty tough.
  7. How my skin bruises.  I think bruises and scars to be awesome.  In fact, I’ve broken 5 bones and I don’t have any real scars to show for it, and that is upsetting.  Bruises and scars are the ways to remember stories and to remind ourselves of why we don’t want to do those things again.
  8. My arms.  Similar to my legs, they’re pretty strong.  They pull me up walls and mountains and stuff which is kind of awesome.  After working really hard, my forearms sort of puff up in protest, which is kind of cool.  It’s my body’s way of telling me to stop.
  9. My ankles.  When I was growing up I was afraid I had fat ankles.  I think I read it in a book once and thought I had them, but that’s so silly!  My ankles are a part of what gets me to where I’m going.
  10. My fingers.  Also strong.  And grippy.  Really, our hands are our best tools to do stuff and we sometimes forget that.  My hands/fingers can knit and sew and cook and bake and braid and fold and I don’t know what I would do without them.
    And I know this is only supposed to be 10, but…
  11. My brain.  Because even though my physical body is kind of rad I’m so glad for my knowledge and creativity.  You know, brain stuff.

So there we have it.  11 things I like about me.  What do you like about you?  Put it in the comments or write your own blog post about it.  Link me to it.

* Pictures taken during What Moves You this summer while I was giving my body a beating.  Took it like a champ!

The End and The Beginning

1-DSC_0001As of 3:30 this afternoon I am done with this semester.  As much as I am glad to be through with it there are some things I’ll miss from this set of classes.  This semester taught me a lot both in classes as it was supposed to and how to deal with classes and assignment that I don’t like or understand.

I finished a show bible (description and set up) and pilot for an original series.  It’s a thing that I really want to work on more and I don’t quite know where to go from here.  Anyone know a a writing group in SF?  Any writers want to give me some feedback?

I did have mostly gen eds this semester, which turned out to be a fun thing.  I met a lot of people outside my department, some of whom I’m sure I will keep in touch with in the coming year as I continue to develop my ideas and career goals.  I am so blessed to know people going into so many different fields, growing my network to include people I can call for all kinds of questions.  In fact, a few weeks ago I needed to have a realistic-sounding measurement of energy for my pilot and I asked it as a question on Facebook.  I had three answers within five minutes.  My network of friends is awesome.

Sadly, this was my last semester with my German class.  Most of us had been in German 1 last semester and the smaller class size this semester meant that twice a week we would hang out and try to speak German together.  I mean, we learned stuff too, but it was absolutely my favorite group this semester because it was such fun to hang out with these people.

I have been surprised with how well finals have gone this week.  I’ve gotten to sleep in twice.  Last night I even go t a chance to go to a preview showing of The Hobbit.  So much awesome, guys, absolutely go see that movie with Christmas.  It’s been a really calm week in what can sometimes be a hurricane of stuff to be done.

While this is the end of my semester and the end of my time in Chicago (at least for a little while), this day also marks the beginning of a lot of other things including the Christmas season, time spent at home with family and friends, and my time as a semi-professional working towards my Semester in LA next spring.  I don’t know what these next few months are going to bring, but I’m excited for the outcome.

A Thankful Weekend

 

 

I wanted to share a few pictures from this weekend as I not only found my camera charger at home (after ordering it on the internet three weeks ago and it still not being here), but I also got a new phone while I was at it.  My old one had been teetering on the edge of the abyss for a while lately and it was time to change.

This weekend was wonderful.  As previously mentioned, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday since the only major event is eating.  I managed not to overeat, but hit up some of my favorite San Francisco things along the way.  Burritos, the Ferry Plaza Market, and my dad’s cooking (it’s a San Francisco staple, what do you mean you’ve never heard of it?).

Other highlights included a (very) mini What Moves You reunion on the beach, a new hat, and finishing the scarf I was working on for my sister (she elected to receive it now instead of as a Christmas gift leaving me not quite sure what to do for her Christmas gift).  I also sang until my sister hit me and did eurythmy in One Embargadero.  Because when the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 5th comes on I can’t seem to help myself.

 

As I take stock of all my blessings I am becoming more and more aware of how far I have to go.  Not only for the rest of the school year, and the rest of my academic career, but beyond that as well.  I’m in it for the long haul and if I’m going to make it in the big bad city then I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.  I’m excited to see the road ahead and looking forward to future holidays spent in San Francisco and around the world.

Side note: These pictures were taken with my new phone on my walk home from the bus stop.  I live on a massive hill and pretty much any way you slice it I get to walk uphill to home.  No complaining here, it’s gorgeous.

Around Town: Easter Weekend (1/2)

San Francisco airport.

So, in all the craziness that was the past few weeks I completely forgot to share pictures of going home for Easter.  It was absolutely lovely.  I got to see some of my favorite people and do some of my favorite things.  Just enough to tide me over until summer… granted, now “summer” is in two weeks, but still.

I flew in on Thursday night after a crazy day full of Freq Out rehearsals and worrying about getting to the airport.  Thank goodness I got there early because I then found out that my gold status expired last month, so I’m back to being a regular old passenger.  Poo.  I did get to use my backpack for this trip though.  Even if it was probably a bit of overkill.  It’s good to use to practice with.
Friday I went to yoga class with my mom.  It was… well, it wasn’t the first time I’d done yoga, but I think the last one was a fluke, so this one was better.  Granted I was not at all prepared for it clothing-wise.  Which doesn’t explain how I was completely prepared gear-wise for an impromptu climbing session with some youth group friends after the Good Friday Tenebrae service (which was inexplicably held at noon).  Just go with it.
To say that the Saturday morning farmers market is a family tradition might be a bit of a stretch, but it is by far my favorite Saturday breakfast and everyone in my family knows it.  So usually, when I’m there for breakfast they indulge me and we go for a farmer’s market breakfast.  Not that they hate it, but I get the sense that when I’m not around they typically go to sit down restaurants with waiters instead of pigeons to take away the leftover food.  Yeah.
In the afternoon I went out to lunch with Trevor & Co. in the sunset.  Just the beginning of the long list of people I miss terribly when I’m away.  We then trekked out to Stonestown for browsing and wandering, waiting far too long for a bus.  Ahh Muni, predictably unpredictable.
Of course then there was Sunday… but this post is getting quite long, so I’ll stop here and make this part one of two.  Who knew I was going to have so much to say about a weekend.
Waiting to be picked up.

Pretty lights
Dad at the Farmer’s Market.
Emma, before her wanting to kill me stage.
Trevor with the bright red hair.
Taking a picture of myself in the mirror — lent is over so I can use mirrors again.

Finals Week!

This is how excited I am that it’s almost time for me to go home!

Finals week is this week and I’m so excited.  I have three exams, none of which I am especially worried about. I’m also super excited to be going home.  I hit up the airport Thursday night after class.  I’m pumped to go home and see my friends.  This will include going to my old school’s nativity play, seeing my friend who spent the semester in Uganda, and giving my family Christmas presents that I’m super excited to give them.

All that being said, it IS finals week and I should probably go do some studying for those exams tomorrow.  Hopefully I’ll be back with you guys on Friday, if not, I’ll see you next week.

Around Town: Old Friends

Friends come to town and good things happen.

I feel woefully inadequate for creating this post now as opposed to when it happened just over a week ago.  Part of the reason for this of course is that I took no pictures.  I am horrible at remembering to take pictures when clearly pictures should be taken.  Though that’s not to say that the weekend wasn’t documented.  There were many pictures taken, just not by me.  (Pictures can be seen on my roommates blog HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE)  But regardless of the lack of pictures on my end, we all had a blast.

He was in Chicago to look at a school (I don’t want to say which one because I haven’t actually told him that I’m writing about him) that he may be coming to next year.  In Chicago!  Near me!  I’m trying not to be super excited about this, because I know college admissions can be tricky, but nevertheless I am very excited about the possibility.

Long story short the weekend was filled with staying up late, getting up early, eating out, the Girl Scouts (more on that in a later post), playing Nintendo in Wicker Park, wandering the city, good conversation, and frozen yogurt.  I wouldn’t change anything.

It was strange to see him here in Chicago since I’m so used to him being in San Francisco.  Very strange.  Fun, but odd at the same time.  I miss him a lot since he’s still in San Francisco and I’m here in Chicago, but that may change next year (*maniac grin*).  Of course all these people visiting this month has gotten me extremely behind on my chores and some of the homework things I should have been doing, but that’s only half relevant, so we choose to ignore it.