Versions of Home

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We all have our own versions of home. For some it’s the house you grew up in, for others it’s where family is.

For me, home is where I love to be, where I’ve grown and become a better person, and where my loved ones are. I’m one of those fantastically lucky people who has physical homes in three countries, and in versions of home in several locations sprinkled around the planet, wherever my loved ones happen to reside.

Last week I came back from a great trip to New York and Washington, D.C. I had been in New York in March and was unsure of my feelings about being back upon arrival. I equated the uneasiness to the poor weather, maybe not enough detachment time yet.

This time, when I arrived to JFK after a long 23 hour journey, I felt like I was coming home to this beautiful summery place. I guess I’ve already become a fair-weather New York lover, completely detaching myself from anywhere/time that will have a temperature less than 25 degrees Celsius… But there’s just something about the beauty of a city being in full bloom and people being in summer mode. It was so lovely and I looked forward to being there.

This trip, I really bounced around, splitting my nights between hotels and friend’s homes, which was fun. I managed to store my luggage as I moved around. Plus summer clothes make it so easy to throw things in a small bag for a night or two, and be on your way. I easily fell into the same summer groove that I’ve known for the past nine summers. The trip to DC was fun and normal, and my conference was fab as usual.

And at the end of a packed 12 days, I felt like I was leaving home to go home, a different version of it anyway. My most comfortable version of home is wherever Brett and I are together, and that could really be anywhere. I have a lot of people to thank for making my trip to my New York home an excellent one, and I look forward to all of my trips home, whether it’s Edmonton, New York, or Singapore… or wherever that may be in the future.

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Ok, It’s Happening

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I admit it! And I knew it would happen! I miss fall!

I was a little confused that I kept seeing so many first-day-of-fall posts on Facebook. Is it fall? I feel like I’m really time/season-warping since Singaporean weather is basically the same everyday. So… to get myself in the mood for “fall”… had to get my toes painted orange! Had to! I always do!

While I’m quite enjoying the consistent weather, I am kind of missing the change to slightly cooler temps, the soon-to-be changing colors, and slipping into light layers of fall clothing. I have nothing against wearing a sweater, t-shirt and jeans, or a long-sleeved shirt and a skirt with some shoes. Honestly, I’m growing tired of my summer ware… I know, I know… #firstworldproblems. Stores are in full swing of selling fall ware. What? Jeans, jackets, flannels in this climate? I can’t really fathom wearing the same fall clothes here that I would wear in New York. I haven’t worn pants or shoes since the end of July!

So anyway, all I’m saying is… I miss you fall. But you can’t trick me! I know what happens next!
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I Don’t Miss You

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Well, New York.

I win.

I don’t miss you.

I don’t miss the noise, the smells, the careful observation of my surroundings. It’s been nice to let those things go.

Oh, New York… I don’t miss you, yet.

What I do miss about you… my friends. In fact, I’ve had two dreams in the last week about hugging two different friends! I must be hug deprived!

Despite the 12-15 hour time differences, I communicate with my buddies often – but it’s a little hard knowing I just can’t go for drinks or lunch or brunch or to the beach at a moment’s notice. Thankfully I’ve met some great people here that I can do those things with too, but we don’t share the history and the New York memories… And that’s ok.

I might, however, miss New York in the fall… But we’ll see.

 

I’ve Been Brainwashed

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I have a good friend whose friend says that New York has a way of making you think you can’t live without it. Well that’s definitely true.

New York has brainwashed me. It’s been brainwashing me for the last nine years to think I can’t live without it: its hidden treasures, beauty and all it has to offer. The food and restaurants, the parks, the uniqueness of many places around the city. The running around Central Park and the relaxing to write blog posts in Bryant Park. Walking down a couple of blocks and having the option to eat any kind of food I want at practically any hour. How can I leave it?

Well, I can.

Yes I will miss it, but I will be okay without it. A new adventure awaits in another time zone and place, and I’m excited.

Matthew

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He had a name on his sign. So I called him by his name.

“Hi Matthew”, I said. “This is for you.” And I handed him a water, then a pretzel from the corner vendor.

“Thank you”, he responded. “Wow, thank you.” He wasn’t expecting the pretzel, only the water.

I liked Matthew.

I appreciated that Matthew’s sign represented honesty and truth. He’s right. Most people don’t give a shit, however there are many that do.

I think it was important that Matthew shared his name, making him more of a person to those passing by. Putting a name to his dirty face definitely makes passersby remember him; I am writing about him after all.

I appreciated the thanks I got from Matthew, and that he wanted to converse. He shared a little about his hardship, whether it’s true is another story. But I appreciate that he offered me some information in return for the food I had just given him.

As I walked away he said he thanked me again and said that he didn’t know what God had planned for him. Thinking back I could have responded that his situation really depended on what he has planned for himself.

But maybe it’s best I didn’t say anything.

He just wanted to be heard, so I listened.

Three Days in a Row

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theschoolmarm.com

theschoolmarm.com

Here she comes. She’s small and she’s a little hunched over. I’ve seen her before, but now it’s been three days in a row.

She shops at Whole Foods, and if she doesn’t have the Whole Foods bag, there’s another in its place.

I imagine she was a teacher. I think it’s because of her short, greyish bob, white blouse and mid-calf length brownish skirts. I wonder if she was mean and carried a ruler in her hand. Or maybe she was kind, and her students always loved her. It’s hard to say, but I find her interesting.

My Phone!

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memegenerator.net

memegenerator.net

I thought it was dead. A goner. When I left home this morning it was fully charged and when I took it out of my laptop bag on the bus to check the time, it was off. I pressed the power button obsessively. Nothing. Held the home button. Nada. Held both together. The screen remained black. Crap!

How would I scan the QR code to know when my transfer bus was coming? Crap! I guess I would just keep turning around to check for the bus as I walked along 86th Street. As I walked, no bus approached. So I started walking through the park.

Now that I was making my way through the beautiful park, how would I capture all the beauty I was seeing? Well… I just looked at it with my eyes, instead of through a phone. Did I really need to capture every flower or tree bud on my phone and post to my Instagram? Of course not. As much as I love sharing photos, it was lovely to enjoy the experience alone.

As I exited the park, I knew I was nearing the school location but couldn’t remember the address. How was I going to confirm the location? Shoot! I crossed Central Park West and walked down 87th Street, where I thought the school was located… but I didn’t see it. Damn! Now what? How did we survive without Google maps? Thankfully there a dude walking toward me with his phone in his hand… so I asked him if he knew where the Dwight School was. He didn’t… Damn. So I asked if he minded checking the address for me… No problem! Turns out I was two blocks away, no big. I thanked him and was on my way.

As I arrived at the school I wondered: how would I tweet photos for EdCamp? Ok now this was getting to me… Once I signed in and found a place to sit in the common area, I plugged my phone into my computer, sure that it would vibrate as soon as I plugged it in. Nope. What the?

So again I obsessively pressed and held the power button. Nothing. I decided to try a wall plug. Nothing. And then another, nothing still. I was convinced my phone was, in fact, dead. So as I sat back at the table, I plugged my phone into my computer one last time, wondering why I’d even bother, but then… it buzzed.

It was alive! And 94% charged.

Fourth Decade

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Entering a new decade is quite monumental.

My fourth decade began yesterday on Friday the 13th. No matter, I’ve always thought of 13 as my number anyway. Here’s how the day looked…

An unexpected gift from my husband.

A decent work morning.

Soup dumplings for lunch at Joe’s Shanghai.

A Magnolia cupcake for dessert.

A low-key work afternoon.

Hugs from friends.

Amazing dinner at Saxon + Parole with my near birthday twin and great friends.

A nice glass of wine before heading home to enjoy a restful slumber.

An appreciation of the day and many others ahead. This milestone of a decade is one that I am excited about becoming a participant in. Not that the last decade of my life wasn’t full of adventures, new friendships, rebirths of old ones, relocating, travels, personal and professional growth… I just feel like this decade is going to push me into a new realm of knowing and understanding myself. And others. 🙂

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Walking Weave

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There’s this unspoken walking language amongst New Yorkers.

It happens when we’re all walking at a fast pace, approaching corners simultaneously.

Miraculously, upon approaching the intersection of two blocks, no one bumps into another, because of this exceptional spatial awareness of knowing exactly how many paces away you are from the next person.

We watch each other from our peripheries, coming from all directions, seamlessly converging into this walking basket weave.

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Share the Path

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I’ve been focusing diligently on being a kinder person, particularly to strangers, as a way to spread goodness in these turbulent times. It’s been going pretty well, I’d say.

So today I was excited to go running in the park, first time in at least a month. One of my most favorite things to do. It was nice to get out and be with other runners even in the chilly morning air.

I was about 2/3 through my run and I was having an impressive internal monologue, my mind beginning to clear as I rounded the bottom of the loop.

And then I see them. Three abreast and I can tell there’s no intention of moving over.

m.runnersworld.com

m.runnersworld.com

As much as I love the running community, the running pack mentality drives me crazy. When you see someone running toward you, isn’t it common courtesy to share the path? Maybe move behind one of your pack members?

Well it’s not. I moved over to the outside line, adjacent to the bike lane so the three could stay in their formation. Because I’m practicing kindness and patience, I decided it was not a good idea to slam into the side of her (which I’ve done), but instead just included in my monologue that she doesn’t know any better, that she is unaware of any sort of space considerations to others on the course… sigh…

Of course I didn’t let her lack of regard for another runner ruin my bliss, so I kept on like nobody’s business. I think about these things runners do, not because it interrupted my run or thoughts much, but because I know this is a common practice of hers and many others. A thoughtless practice.

Come on people, move! I’d rather smile at you while you move over than scowl because you didn’t. 🙂