Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The (impossible) dream unfolds

One door closes. Another door opens...

It's been about six months since my husband and I hatched our crazy idea of moving the family across the country from sunny California to (now storm-drenched) New York City. Six months of waiting, praying, hoping. When you're looking at the next chapter of life and you want it to start NOW, the days seem like weeks. Weeks seem like months. Your new adventure is just within reach, but you're still on the tarmac waiting to take off. 

Our plan = sell our home, use the money to start our new life in NYC + I would pursue the journalism career I've always wanted + my husband would set up shop in the most creative place on the planet. We had the highest of hopes when we put our OC loft on the market last summer. "We'll sell it, pack up and start brand new in the city!" we cheered. Then we heard nothing but crickets. Some interest, some potential buyers, but no offers.

Every time our realtor called to say someone was coming to look at our place, we would do this mad dash to get our home "show ready." Throw the kids' toys into their closets, hide kitchen knick-knacks in the pantry, swipe countertops of every crumb, sweep the floors, fluff the pillows. It was exhausting. And not just because we were physically doing the cleaning, tidying up, etc. It was more of the emotional toll. The anticipation coupled with anxiety: "Will this be the ONE?" "When will we be released of this place?" "Will we EVER get to New York?"

Life in 43 boxes.

Six months is a long time to watch sand fall through the hourglass. At times, I felt like an ancient Israelite wandering in the desert, wondering hoping complaining to God to take us to the Promised Land. But I forgot that we would have to slay giants, just as the Israelites were told to do, on our journey to a land flowing with milk and honey (or in our case, skyscrapers and power brokers). Though our "giants" weren't men seven feet tall, they were just as menacing: fear, doubt, disbelief. These things are crippling if you allow them to seep into your heart.

And finding a writing job in New York is no small feat. This is definitely a snarling, scowling giant. There's a tiny space in my head where a doubt monster screams, "How do YOU think you're gonna make it in a city as great as New York?" "You're just a minor league player wanting to play with the big boys!" "Do you know how many writers try to make a career there and fail?"

That's when I take a deep breath and tell the little bugger to please f*ck off. I politely thank him for the tension he's creating between doubt and belief because it's only making me stronger. "You think I can't do it? Well just watch me!" I tell him. Then I put words into action. And I feel my power again.

It's funny how life can change in a day. Especially when you're living in a dry season. Here we were, our six months-worth of savings down to the last drop. No prospects of selling or renting our home and no job offers yet. Life felt stagnant and then we got the phone call. "We found your new tenants!" our realtor gleefully proclaimed. A retired NFL cornerback and his girlfriend were looking to start their new lives in California. The moment they stepped foot into our loft, they fell in love. They wanted to move in right away.

And that's how our impossible dream unfolds. 

Last days in our OC loft. So many good memories were made here.
So many more will be had in NY!

Our Thanksgiving holiday was one cranker of a week. Packing boxes and shipping via FedEx, selling stuff on Craigslist, donating to Goodwill and giving things to friends and family. It was a lesson in materialism and being less of a consumer. Ten years building a life in California and packing only what you need for a new life on the East Coast? By the end of the week, I had sore muscles in my fingertips and my body ached down to my bones. But I'd never felt so alive. I was so thankful. "It's finally happening. We're doing this. We're starting our adventure..."          

So at the moment, we're homeless. My folks have been generous enough to let us crash at their house through the holidays. Then Christmas Day, we fly to Cleveland and stay with the husband's family until I get that job I really, really want. We're slowly but surely inching our way to the city. 

New York, we're on our way!!

Never lose faith.

Read the first post about the (impossible) dream here      

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The morning after

I volunteered at the Obama-Biden phone bank in Anaheim yesterday.
The place was buzzing with energy, enthusiasm and unity. 

What a privilege it was to volunteer at the Obama campaign phone bank yesterday. Black, White, Asian, Latin, young, retired, student, veteran -- it was a snapshot of America that I was so proud to be a part of.

There, I met Phoebe Chen. Turns out I went to high school with her daughter! (What a small world, indeed!)

Phoebe and I made hundreds of phone calls to undecided voters in 
Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. Our efforts were not in vain, for our President will get four more years! Hooray! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go vote!

Today's the day, folks. 

Whether you lean red, blue or purple, exercise your privilege and let your voice be heardFor a little perspective, watch this cool video about the history of voting in the United States.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Progress doesn't happen overnight. Let's give Obama an opportunity to finish 
the good work he's started. (Original artwork by Shepard Fairey 
with added Photoshop by Yours Truly)

Every four years we do this powerful thing. For some of us it's a quiet and understated affair. For others it's loud and quite frankly, annoying (ex: Facebook + espousing political doctrine = fast way to lose friends). 

Tomorrow, the American people will vote to give President Obama another four years or give Mitt Romney the opportunity to be #45. I don't know about you, but for me the tension is palpable. This race is so close that at times my stomach is in knots. I just pray there is a clear winner tomorrow and we don't revisit the "hanging chad" fiasco from the 2000 elections (Bush v. Gore, anyone?). 

As I was driving my daughter to grandma's this morning, I caught a glimpse of her in my rearview mirror. She was admiring the mountains outside, the strong California sunshine framing her beautiful, innocent face. In that moment, I flashed forward 20 years. What kind of world do I want my daughter to thrive in? She'll be a young woman of 22, probably looking for her first job out of college, pursuing her dreams, putting her passions into action, traveling the world... I want her to think anything is possible, just as I did when I was 22. 

Putting yourself out there during a presidential election is very much like exposing your spiritual beliefs (there's a reason why people say you should never discuss politics or religion at a dinner party -- food is bound to end up on the wall or on someone's face). Your support (or vehement opposition) of Obama or Romney will put you in a box, whether you like it or not. You will be summarized in a few words. Progressive. Backwards. Open-minded. Myopic. Conservative. Bleeding-heart. Fundamentalist. Socialist. Pro-big government. Pro-choice. Pro-life. Pro-gun control. Anti-war. Anti-immigration. Your politics inform how you view society, how you look at the world, and how you define words like liberty, responsibility and opportunity.  

I've hesitated using Facebook or my blog to write about my political beliefs. I just can't stand the divisiveness and I hate the thought of people categorizing me. But I also don't want to be silent about something or someone I very much believe in. If anything, I want my children to know who I stood by and why I did. 

Four years ago, Barack Obama promised to bring change to a country that desperately needed it. I voted for him back then because I believed he was the best person to lead that charge. I'm voting for him again because I believe we need to give him an opportunity to finish the good work he started. I'm not going to list his accomplishments and sound like a political ad (I respect the fact you've done your research, too). It simply comes down to this: I want to move forward.

Tomorrow, let's make that happen.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Love letter

When I'm having a bad day, I will read this as a reminder that I'm doing all the important things right.
Thank you, Caden.