Sunday, October 19, 2014

Roommates, Square Dancing, Musicals and fourth dates

Time has been passing quickly here in NYC.  I'm six weeks into school and my internship and had one of my midterms this week.  I figured it was about time to update you on a few little deets and tails.  

My internship has been pretty great.  I've established a relationship with some great seniors and it's so fun looking forward to our interaction everyday.  I have one client in particular that I'm very excited about.  He was initially described to me as the client that would be the most difficult, but I like him.  I think he's funny.  His hair is several inches long and he parts it and swoops it to one side.  He comes across as kind of grumpy but he always ends up making me laugh.  He can't read or write but he tells pretty good stories.  I've been talking to him about the possibility of me writing up some of his stories so he can have a book of it.  His dad used to write poetry and I thought maybe it would make him feel good to have a book of his writing, like his dad.  We'll see.

There's a little Italian lady that I adore.  She has memory problems and frequently repeats herself in things she tells me.  I was gone on Monday and Tuesday due to Columbus Day and Fall Break.  I really didn't anticipate many people noticing, and especially not the sweet Italian lady with memory problems.  But she did.  She put her hands on each of my cheeks and asked me where I had been.  She told me that she asked her husband if he knew where I was, if I'd mentioned I wouldn't be there for a few days.  So sweet.  Something as simple as someone noticing your absence is awfully thoughtful to me.

I have two roommates:  Macrae (who is in my phone as "Barbar Binks"...I dunno.  Hardly anyone is listed under their real name.  haha)  and Justin (who I call J-town or J-diggity).  Macrae and I share a room and sleep on a bunk bed.  While it's slightly embarrassing as a 27 year old lass to be back on a bunk bed, it's also been really fun.   Macrae and I met 7 years ago in Paris where we were assigned to be roommates.  Roommates were assigned alphabetically and since we are both M names, we landed in a beautiful home in Le Vesinet together.  She was incredible then, and that hasn't changed in the 7 years since then.  When I got sick a couple of weeks ago, we laid down the futon and had a Psych marathon and ate ice cream.  We fall asleep on our bunk beds talking about our latest dates and how unreal it seems that we live in NYC together and GET to fall asleep talking about our dating lives in the city.  She even finds fun free things to do in the city.  

One night, she had heard there was free square dancing in Bryant Park.  Naturally we showed up, got free hats, and laughed our faces off dancing with 800+ other people.  They had a live band, there was an announcer who would teach you the dance and shout out the steps over the bands music.  It was hilarious and so much fun...and free, which my pocket book appreciates.
 J-town is pretty funny.  He asked me to go shopping with him once.  We hit up H&M and he let me pick out clothes for him to try on.  It was fun.  He asks Macrae and I to help him pick out his clothes for work, and every now and then we climb out on the roof (from his window) and chat while eating a bit of shake shack.  It's my first time living with a boy.  It's been a pretty funny experience.  It's been fun though.

My dear friend Diana came into town and we got to see Pig Pen Theatre Co perform a musical that they had written and performed in.  It was so creative, funny and sweet.  I'm in awe that these seven men are about my age, each play musical instruments, sing, write plays and act in them.  Overachieve much??  It seems absurd that so much talent can reside in seven charming men.  But I'm not complaining.  Not at all.  It was so fun to have Diana in town.  She is one of my bestest friends from DC and I love that she's not too far away that we can't see each other every couple of months.

Macrae is incredible.  She submitted tickets to the lottery (which essentially puts you in a drawing to win broadway tickets for 20 bucks).  She won and we went to On The Town, in the third row.  It was so well done.  It's so fun to get wrapped up in the music and dancing.  I was raised in a family that loves musicals and it's nice to have a friend to go do these things with.  It was such a wonderful evening.

If you follow anything about my activities in New York over the last two years, you might have noticed the occasional trip to Levain Bakery.  When Macrae first moved here, she hadn't tried their cookies from heaven yet, so I figured it would be as good a welcome as any.  We each bought a cookie (or two) and went to a nearby park to people watch and talk about our disbelief that we live in NYC together after 7 years have passed since we spent much time together.  It's so random and I love it.

It just so happened that the weekend where Diana came up, wasn't very spaced out from the weekend that I was going down to DC.  The reason for this is because Diana and Laura had planned for me to join them for a movie premier and they bought a ticket for me months ago.  I had gotten pretty sick before the trip and nearly didn't go.  I went to the doctor on campus and after prescribing me medication and saying that I really needed to rest, she asked, "What are you doing this weekend?".  
"Umm...I'm supposed to be going to DC."
She just looked at me in silence, sighed and then said, "Please rest." haha
The weekend passed all too quickly.  I got in late Friday night, we went to the movie Saturday and hung out a little bit, then I left Sunday after church.  Diana asked me what I would like to do in the time we had after the movie.  Well...I have some runs in some of my colored tights.  Perhaps a trip to Target is due.  I'm a big fan of colored tights and have a preferred brand by now.  We meandered through Target and when we got to the wall of tights, I just stood there for a minute. haha It's odd that such an odd location could be a happy place for me.  I decided on a really dark green and then we jokingly tried on these pajama onesies....and then had to buy them.  What choice did we have?!

I'm doing well.  Things have been really busy and I've especially been a bit of a stress case around midterms, but I'm doing well.  I'm really fortunate to have some really good friends in my life that are a wonderful support and company as I figure out this fun, crazy phase of life.  I have some pretty hilarious date stories.  Perhaps for a later blog.  My current favorite, however, is a gentleman that has taken me out four times now.  He's pretty wonderful.  My roommate and I were talking the other night about how cute the third date rule is.  You know, don't kiss until the third date.  Well this guy is so darling.  We just had our fourth date, and it ended in nothing but a couple of kisses on the forehead.  Nothing more.  Oh my heart, how I loved that.  As a girl who's felt a bit run down and rushed in the dating scene at times, there's nothing more wonderful to me than a guy who will take it slow.  The simplicity of it means the world to me.  Perhaps as time passes, I might talk more about this one, but for now, I think that's plenty.  I don't want to get ahead of myself or overshare.  I'm happy here.  I hope you're happy where you guys are too.  Love you from NYC,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Field Placement, Boxers and Shaking it

Today has been a really rewarding day.  I was on campus from 9:00am-8:30pm.  Yep, I was in class or in the library or taking a quick break in Washington Square Park before going back to the first two.  It's been a crazy day but so satisfying.

I love my classes.  It's the most wonderful thing to be truly interested and enjoy every single class that I'm in.  Normally, in undergrad work, there are some required courses that you just have to muscle through.  But I really don't think I'm going to have to muscle through any of my classes.  The lectures are interesting and I'm not constantly watching the clock counting down when I can leave.  It's precisely the confirmation I needed that I'm studying the right thing, in the right place with people who enjoy the things that I do.  It's lovely.

I've had two days of field work so far.  It's a pretty large Senior Center out in Brooklyn.  I take the subway there three days a week--the commute is about 45 minutes.  When I got off the subway for the first time, I felt like I got off in a different country.  The community is highly populated with Orthodox Jews.  The signs to the stores are written in Hebrew, all of the little boys walking to school have shaved heads except for two long ringlets hanging in front of each ear, etc.  It was strange being a minority in a completely different way than I'm used to in Manhattan.

This week, my supervisor just wanted me to mix and mingle with the seniors.  It's been really chill and a lot of fun to meet so many active, bright, positive and hilarious people.  I have been amazed by how many people come out every single day to this place.  A couple hundred elderly folk come early in the morning (some even get there before we open at 8:30) and stay all day.  The center is huge--complete with a gym, karaoke room, pool table room, card game room and a massive room with a big dance floor.  Yes, every day at 1:00pm they have a huge dance where all of the seniors break it down.  It's hilarious and adorable all at the same time.  The chinese seniors get way into karaoke and I can hear them in my office when they're singing upstairs.  I can't even be mad about it because it's so funny.

It's quite an interesting mix of people as well.  As I had mentioned, many of the seniors are from China who come everyday.  There's a smaller group, but a solid group of about 20 that are Italian.  Other than that, they're mostly born and raised in the area.  The dynamics between the groups is quite fascinating to watch.  Many of the Italians have expressed frustration that back when they came to this country they had to learn english and it really bothers them that so many people live here (and come to the center) and don't speak english.  But more than that, it clearly stops them from getting to know each other when they can't verbally communicate.

A couple of my favorite moments so far:

  • The little old gentlemen are so classy.  I was noticing yesterday that every single one of them comes wearing slacks, a button up shirt and nice shoes.  Not one was wearing jeans or a t-shirt of any sort.  Such classy blokes.  The ladies, likewise, usually have a skirt and are dolled out with necklaces and earrings. 
  • One of the gentlemen is born and raised in Brooklyn.  He was telling me all about his boxing years when he was young.  He said, "People talk about Rocky.  Rocky who?" He almost instinctively pulls his arms up in a defensive boxing position as he reminisces about the good ol' days.  My favorite detail is when his eyes lit up and he asked, "You wanna know what they used to call me?  ....Punchy."  I died laughing.  What a nickname.
  • An Italian lady and I are have cute little friendship so far.  She's adorable and always gestures for me to come sit next to her when she sees me--she often makes her husband move. haha She raves about her husband.  It's so fun to hear.  It didn't take me long into our first conversation to recognize that she would repeat details to me-things she must talk about often, but didn't remember telling me.  I chatted with her, trying to understand the severity of her memory problems.  She looked at me and went off on how amazing her husband is.  "I don't remember things all the time.  My husband is so good to me.  He tells me not worry about it.  If I forget something, he said to ask him and he'll tell me."  Adorable.  I can imagine that days and years of hearing the same thing over and over again must get old, but he's so patient with her and always acts like it's the first time.  I'm obsessed with them.
  • From what I've noticed, only in the dancing portion of the day do they all intermingle.  The Italian men will go ask the cute little Chinese women to dance.  I love watching their cute little wobbly bodies partner dance like they're young and spry.  There's something so beautiful and sweet to me about their resilience.  Surely they've all had hard times and deep sorrows, but they look at you through their weathered faces and still have beautiful and warm smiles.  Their dancing is no different.  They're still upbeat and happy.  A lot of times you'll even see two italian women or two chinese women dancing with each other due to lack of male partners.  It makes me so happy.
  • One of the Italians was a founder of an Italian newspaper out here.  When he found out I speak Italian, he told me he would bring me a copy of the newspaper.  Sure enough, Tuesday morning, he walked up to me with a newspaper and said I could keep it.  Small little gestures like that are so sweet to me.  It was so thoughtful and not required...which is what made it so darling.
I'm really happy.  Life's not perfect.  I'm certainly stressed about school and all that I have to do this year, but I'm very thankful for the people I've met so far.  I'm learning a lot and feel so blessed to be here and continue my education in a field that, come to find out, I truly love.  It's so nice to have moments like this.  I figured I should probably write it down while it lasts.  Love you.  I'll write soon.  Mal

Friday, August 29, 2014

First week in NYC, Rainbow Room, the happiest grafitti

The party I wrote about in my last post was in the Rainbow Room.  I didn't know what it was before, but apparently it's a really big deal.  It's a fancy restaurant on the very top floor of Rockefeller Plaza.  It has some of the most breathtaking views of the city.  It's been recently renovated and we were under strict instructions to not take any pictures while there.  The room is not open to the public until October and they don't want the new design leaked. haha Especially because the event that we were attending was supposedly taking place in December when the rooms new look would already be revealed.  Normally instructions to not take pictures don't phase me and I just do it anyway (but stealthily) but since someone had pulled strings to get us into the party, I didn't want to make him look bad if I got caught.  Therefore, the only photo I can provide you with from the evening was on our way out after the party.  But stayed tuned New Years Eve because...I'll be in the audience of the show and you can get a glimpse of the room then. :)

I love where I live.  I love meandering through Times Square.  Every now and then I'll make sure to walk home through it just because I know that one day I won't live in New York anymore and I want to remember it as my walk home.  It's incredible.

Maybe it's the part of me that has an obsession with Europe, but I am always captivated by street art.  In Italy, the street graffiti isn't really viewed as vandalism. At least from my understanding, they didn't seem to have the same purpose as ours does here in the states. They were poems for their girlfriends, grand gestures of their love, the designs and pictures were very beautiful and creative.  So I passed this gem in Little Italy and had to stare at it for a while.  I love it.

Back when I lived in Virginia, after a particular week when I was struggling with some things going on in my life at the time, I took an impromptu trip to NYC and decided on the bus that I would take pictures of everything that made me happy.  It was amazing to see all of the little things in my life that made me smile or laugh throughout the day.   So a few days ago, I was reminded of that when occasional things would make me do a double-take or backtrack a few steps to photograph quirky details to my day that I wanted to look back on and laugh.  Stuff like this:

Soo...I have recently discovered my fear of birds.  I didn't realize it until I moved to Uganda back in 2012 but it quickly became apparently that chickens freaked me out. haha So embarrassing. Another story for another time.  So when I was walking through Washington Square Park and saw this man (and a few tourists) drenched in birds...I started feeling a bit of anxiety.  How this gentleman and the two tourists standing by him could handle this quantity of birds in their space is beyond me.

One of the things that I love about New York City (and I hope never gets old) is you never know what kind of street performs you're stumble upon.  There are caricature artists, people who spray paint elaborate landscape views of the city on paper, people spray paint themselves metallic...that just stand there and ask for tips, and there are acrobatic/break dancing shows. The latter is what is pictured below.  This gentleman is some version of Captain Jack Sparrow was playing the drums while a friend got the audience jazzed about him running and jumping over a row of 6 people.  I've seen several groups around the city do it but I still find it amusing.  This city is full of so many fun, talented and entertaining people.  Sometimes you've just got to stop and watch.  So I do.

The food in New York City is an absolute travesty for any diet or health regime that you might think you're on. Eataly is one of my favorite places.  It has imported Italian food that I haven't seen since walking around the Italian market on P-days back on my mission.  In fact, I met up with a mission friend in Eataly and it was hilarious how we kept making noises when we saw food we hadn't seen in years.  You can't not make audible sounds at even the memory of what this food tastes like.  Italy just seems to get everything least in the food department.  I found my favorite juice called "Ace" that I haven't had since Italy, and my word, I almost spent the 6 dollars to taste it again. haha But alas, I went around the corner and found this instead:
 It's the Nutella bar.  Yes, if you're going to go to a bar, make it one where mass amounts of Nutella is involved.  This place cracked me up from the moment I entered because it is lined from ceiling to floor with jars of Nutella.  My favorite part, however, was there was a Beauty and the Beast style ladder that rolled along the library of hazelnut goodness incase you needed one of the vats up high.  They make crepes and also put nutella in several types of pastries.  It's the best way possible.

Oh, this weird, creepy Hulk baby is also a Little Italy find.  The huge ones amaze me because I don't understand how artists keep proportion on that scale.  I mean, this one is several stories high.  Maybe it's the part of me that wishes I wishes I still had Art class in the Louvre every Wednesday, but I love to stop and stare at these every now and then.  Even the stand point of how they keep it proportional is fascinating to me.  It's quite an odd concept to paint effectively makes me stop in my tracks nonetheless.

One of my walk homes made me laugh when I saw this bloke:
 Yes, they have a "naked cowboy" (so just a guy with a guitar in his whitey tighties) who is well known in the Times Square area.  This "Naked Baby", however, was new to me.  He's frequently there.  Creepy mask, grown man diaper, a loud rattle to get everyone's attention and Nacho Libre boots.  I don't really understand how and when this person decided this was what he wanted to do for a living but...just wow. haha

Today I went out to Brooklyn with a friend.  We grabbed some pizza at a well-known place called Grimaldi's.  We walked out to the Pier in perfect timing to watch the sun set on this beautiful city that I now get to call home.  There are moments all the time that I look around and try to take in where I live. But tonight, in particular, hit me pretty hard.  It is so gorgeous.  I feel so lucky to live here.  It's a super crazy place to live and it's not everyone's cup of tea.  But I love it here.  It's my new home and very happy about that.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celeb Sightings, Romantic Pen, Man-baby

So guess who lives in New York City?!  Bah!'s me.  It's so crazy and I keep thinking that this isn't real and I'll wake up somewhere else one day and realize this was just a vacation or a dream.  But thus far...I keep waking up here.

Saying goodbye to the family was naturally a cry-fest.  haha It was so wonderful living with family after being far away from them for a while.  I miss hearing the little feet of my nephews running down the hall to come play with Auntie Mallo...but that would be weird if I had that expectation of my roommates eh?  I just feel really blessed for all of the love and support I've received from friends and family.  It's meant a lot to me. That's all.

About 5 days before I was supposed to be on a flight, I got super sick.  It was worse than I'd been in a long time and it was lasting a longer than usual as well.  After I came to grips with the fact that I needed to deal with it ( sister was insistent that I go to Urgent Care and that she was coming with me. haha), I had some awkwardland tests done that took several days to process. I had to change my flight because I was too sick to travel and found out when I got to Virginia that I have Salmonella.  Gross right?  It was not ideal.  But I'm glad the tests were conclusive and that it was treatable.  What an adventure that was. uncle is outrageously kind and drove me all the way to New York City from Virginia.  We packed up his car and chatted the whole way up.  Traffic was a doozy and the trip took roughly 6 hours.  We had a party to go to that night so I had to do some quick unloading into my apartment.  My uncle had to stay in the car because there wasn't any parking available close to my apartment and policemen kept making him move the car. So as I carried boxes into my apartment (some embarrassingly heavy) while my uncle occasionally did a lap around the block in his car to not get in trouble with the coppers.  All the while, as I'm waddling with huge boxes down the sidewalk, sweating in a really unattractive way and hauling them into my apartment, some girls standing outside a bar had been watching me for a while and one said, "You need a man."  haha Nice.  On my next trip, I had a really heavy box and a worker in the Sprint store next door to my apartment came out and offered to help.  I initially said, "No, thank you." and wanted to do it by myself and didn't want to get him in trouble for leaving work to help me.  But when I had to unlock the door, hold it open with my food and lift this gigantic box in the door and repeat the process for a second door, I realized I was being a bit silly.  I allowed him to help me carry it up the stairs.  It always makes me so happy when people are genuinely kind and selfless.

My uncle's brother has pretty killer cool connections in the city and got us tickets to a pre-taping of a New Years Eve broadcast.  Yes, it will air on New Years Eve but was filmed in August.  Kind of hilarious.  It was a Michael Feinstein variety show with several celebs.  It was fun to be all dolled up and in such a formal setting.  My favorite was Darren Criss came and sang a few songs (you know, from Glee.)  He was fantastic live and so adorable.  Afterwards my uncle's brother was chatting with him like they were old friends and introduced us.  I nerdily wanted a picture so badly but totally pansied out.  My knees were shaking and I'm just not as suave as I'd like to be in those scenarios.  He told me he liked my glasses and that was memory enough for me. :)

After the party we were hungry and went to dinner at midnight (yep, because it's New York City and everything's still open).  After that we finished moving into my apartment around 1:30 or 2:00am.  I was so tired and deliriously happy.  My apartment is like 2 blocks from Times Square.  It definitely has it's NYC quirks, but overall, I'm so happy.  It's so fun to be right in the middle of everything and even when I come home at night I feel completely safe (which is saying something because Africa left me pretty paranoid and freaked out...specifically when it's dark.) haha  Everything is all lit up at night time and people are all over the streets so I never feel unsafe in the area where I live.

Random incidents that have made me laugh recently:
  • The people in Times Square that dress up.  I've seen Woody, Elmo, Hello Kitty, Statue of Liberty, Chewbacca, Cookie Monster, a man wearing nothing but a diaper and a mask of a baby face, and then some girls walking around wearing nothing but paint on their mammaries.  That's real.  It's quite the scene.
  • I passed an elderly man on the street with a green beard.
  • On my way to run errands, I passed a man who was carrying something heavy on a trolly.  He called after me saying I had dropped something out of my was a pen.  And it wasn't mine.  I let him know it wasn't my pen and he said, "Well I had to do something to get your attention."...and then gave me the pen.  I giggled awkwardly, said thanks and walked away.  Apparently if you're interested in a lady, you should offer her office supplies.  Just FYI.
Of course there is more going on but I will stop here for now.  I'm happy.  My rooomates are cool, my apartment location is fantastic, the food is delicious, there's so much to do....I'm happy to be here.  Anxious to start school, but happy and thankful.  I hope you're doing well wherever you are that's reading this.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why would anyone want to live in New York City anyway?

Before leaving Virginia, there was a little goodbye party for me.  A few friends and acquaintances from the ward came by the house to chat one last time.  One of the girls brought up a conversation she had recently with her friends where they all agreed how awful it sounds to live in New York City.  She listed off a slew of reasons why New York City sounded like a hectic, crowded mess.  Then she paused and said, "We asked ourselves why anyone would want to live there.  So I figured I would ask you...since you're going."  haha Oh goody.

I see both sides of the story.  18 year-old me really hated New York.  I saw what this girl in my ward saw.  It was hot, humid, dirty, crowded, etc.  But there's something exciting about it to me now.  I love that it is such a melting pot, and you can overhear several languages in the duration of a day.  I love stumbling upon a musician in a subway stop or central park.  I love the delicious, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cafes that are not a part of a chain...and only exist in that particular city.  I love riding the subway.  How bizarre is that?  I love being able to sit down next to a stranger during my travels.  I love that on the subway, I can read a book or people watch whereas, in a car it's more of sitting in traffic and worrying about a fellow driver crashing into me in inclement weather.  I love the broadways, the fashion, and the fast pace.  The history, monuments and museums.  I love that there's not a cookie cutter of who belongs there.  From the fancy gents in the Financial District to the "suffering for their art" musicians and artists.  You don't have to fit any certain mold, which I appreciate.

While I spent the majority of the summer being a stress case about living in New York, I get more and more excited every day.  But I still have my concerns.  Let me welcome you into a combo of practical and irrations fears I have of living in NYC:
  • New York is an expensive little land.  Going into mass amounts of debt stresses me a fair bit.  On this occasion and many others, I have wished that I was friends with Oprah.  Surely she'd give me an opportunity to work for some money for school right? haha Embarrassing little train of thought.
  • I'm a bit afraid that in my field work assignments, that I'll run into situations that will be way over my head.  I have always loved when people ask me for advice and stuff, but I'm sure there are some crazy circumstances that would have me stumped and probably red faced because I don't relate.  That will be fun and I will probably blog about it.  Stay tuned. haha
  • I feel like my dating opportunities are going to be a whole new world.  One of my big fears here, is my chances of being Michael Scoffielded (having a huge crush on a gentleman who actually likes men) go way up.  I haven't had to deal with that type of heart break yet but...I feel like this is where it would happen to me. haha
I'm going to be fine and I'm actually super stoked.  But I figured I would record some of these random fears of mine to look back on when I'm actually there and experiencing everything first hand.  For one of my next posts, I can update you on dating stories.  Because...if you've been reading this blog for very long, I have some doozies to add to the list.  Love from Colorado,


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Scattered thoughts and deeds of the day.

Thoughts and deeds of the day:

  • I miss Joseph Johannes.  He's a brilliant man from Ethiopic that we worked with on my mission. He was this adorable guy that felt like the Ethiopian/Italian version of a dad or grandpa. For some reason the memory of this odd snack he used to make us when we were at his house came to mind.  Saltine crackers with little slices of banana.  He would always get a big grin on his face and (re)explain that it's delicious because of the salty and sweet combination.  I love that man.  And I love that snack because it reminds me of him.
  • I painted my nails today.  I never paint my nails.  And wouldn't you know that I smeared them.  It was worth a shot and they were cute for a I'm going to go ahead and say it was worth it. haha
  • My brother-in-law gave me a jersey of France's lacrosse team.  He gave it to me because it was too small for him, and while it's too big for me, I don't mind.  It's a wonderful pajama shirt that has "France" written on it.  How silly that sporting anything with that country's name makes me happy.
  • I've been listening to "Boom Clap" by Charli a fair bit.  I don't know what it is about that song.  Perhaps because it's peppy and care free.  Or maybe because I first heard it in the trailer to a hilarious yet effective sob-fest of a film "A Fault In Our Stars".  Unknown.  But sometimes my music doesn't have to be deep or ground breaking.  
  • I sure am white.  Shouldn't I be darker than this in the middle of the summer?  
  • A trip to the grocery store had me coming home a proud owner of Biotin.  Does it really make hair grow faster and healthy?  Time will tell.  But the prospect of trying something new (even if it's a silly vitamin for my hair) is something that I'm nerdily looking forward to tracking.
  • I watched a wee bit of "So You Think You Can Dance" tonight.  At times I find it disturbing how incredibly flexible not only the women, but the men are on that show.  I remember being in Junior High and being determined to do the splits.  I gave myself like a month deadline, stretched after school and was so excited when I got close. haha Perhaps some day I'll recommit to that hilarious goal.  But maybe I should babystep my way learning how to paint my nails like an adult. haha
  • Between a great conversation with my boss at the Italian restaurant where I work and some really cool customers, I had a surge of excitement for this fall in NYC.  My life plans came up in conversation and it was fun to watch other people light up with excitement.  I'm grateful that my life has been exciting (in my opinion) and will continue to be exciting (again, in my opinion haha) with some upcoming adventures on the horizon.  I hope I always see my life as something exciting, something to smile about and be proud of.
Not a bad day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Parable of the Life Vests

Sometimes my life makes more sense to me when I break things down and look at it from different perspectives.  Hence why you'll see random Mallory-made parables on here every now and then.  I don't know when it all started but they help me.  I figured I would share them in case they do anything for you.  Today's comes with some some nice 'n cheesy google images.  Be excited. :)

I noticed a pattern in my life that kind of bothered me.  It seemed I've gone through phases where my relationship with God isn't as consistent as I would like it to be.  And for some reason, it's not until it feels like everything comes crashing down that I realize how desperately I need to get on my knees and have a deep, meaningful, heart-to-heart with the big guy.  I've been thinking a lot about why that's been something that I've done (and I'm assuming other people do it too, perhaps on varying levels).  Here's what I've come up with.

I wonder if we view our relationship with God (at times) as similar to the one we have with a life vest on an airplane.
You know, you get on the flight and everything's fine.  You watch you movie, eat your free pretzels, and think that life is good.  No one pays their life vest any mind until lights are flashing, people are screaming and your in the middle of a panic attack because everything's going down--literally. THEN everyone frantically grasps for their life vests because it is literally the only thing that can save them.  

However, I think the way it ought to be is if we had a relationship with God, like the one we have with a life vest while river rafting.

Regardless of whether the waters are calm or rough, you keep your life vest on.  In this past time, wearing a life vest is viewed as having value all the time.  It doesn't matter if you get to a calm part, people aren't taking their life vests on and off.  You're more aware of your reliance on them.  They're strapped on every moment you're on the water.

I just want to be the type of person that has a wonderful relationship with God, because I put honest, sincere effort into our relationship whether the waters in my life are calm or rough.  I don't need to ignore the value in relying on Him until I'm in a tough spot.  But rather, I need to continually work to see the value of consistent, sincere prayer and reflection daily.  It will keep me afloat happy as those people in the cheesy picture above. :)  That's all.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Moving, working with Italians, discovering a happy place

The Elders showed up at my house and challenged me to write in my journal.  I feel like blogging is a compromise.  I'm behind, as usual, and there is much to update. case you didn't know, I moved out of Virginia.  It was time.  I had worked for an Endocrinologist out there for a year and some change,  met some friends that are so dear to me, got to live 15 minutes away from our nation's capital, and had an incredible aunt and uncle close by.  It was a lot of great things and a very effective learning experience for me.  I'm glad that I went and am glad that I was able to recognize when it was time to go.

For the last couple of months I've been living with my sister Kim, her husband and their two children.  Of the five kids in our family, I feel like they've lived away from the rest of the family the most.  It's been so nice to spend time with my nephews, work out with my sister and enjoy some family time.  They are so nice to let me stay and have been such a breath of fresh air.  It's been great for me to regroup.

I'm working two jobs right now.  During the day I work for an Orthodontist in my sisters ward.  I am their receptionist...until they hire someone else.  haha Essentially I was a quick fix until someone more permanent could be found.  I'm okay with that though.  He pays me well, is a great boss, and it turns out employment is a pretty satisfying thing...among others.

My second job is at a mom and pop Italian restaurant/cafe.  The owner is from Sicily.  Kim and I went one day to get pastries and after speaking with him in Italian for a bit, he offered me a job.  It was awesome.  I've been able to get some waitressing experience, which has been fun.  And not only the owner, but his niece and nephew (who work in the kitchen) are also Italian.  So I've been able to practice my mission language.  It's pretty absurd how happy it makes me to speak it.

Before leaving Virginia, I had received a few acceptance letters from different grad schools.  If you don't know me, I really struggle making decisions.  It's a problem.  Simple things like:  what kind of ice cream should I get, which movie do I want to see, what should I wear today.  It's awkward.  I always manage just fine, but I'm just indecisive sometimes.  So alas, trying to decide which university I want to go into mass amounts of debt with, was nearly making me breathe into a paper bag.  After a lot of thought and...very effectively putting off the decision, I finally buckled down and wrote an acceptance letter to NYU.  It felt right and the more time passes, the more I continue to feel good about it.

Now the idea of moving to New York.  I have such a funny history with that city.  The first time I went, I was 18 years old and was on a church history tour with a bunch of kids from my high school.  I hated it.  It was June, hot, muggy and I didn't get what the big deal was about the city.  But after living in France and Italy, city life has grown on me.  Certain phases in Virginia were a struggle for me.  I made some poor dating decisions, was stressed about family stuff, and wasn't obsessed with where I was living.  When I had a rough week at work, was missing dear friends, etc I would buy a $40 round trip bus ticket to New York.  Sometimes it was just a day trip, other times I would sleep over at my friend Jana's house.  We'd go see "Once", wander through Central Park, grab a bite at Shake Shack, etc.  After one particular week, I was on the bus, trying to clear my head and I decided, "Today in New York, I'm going to take pictures of things that make me happy."  I spent the day taking pics of a man in Little Italy dressed up as a cannoli, cool street grafiti, Central Park musicians, a funny bumper sticker that I saw on a telephone pole, etc.

There was a pattern that I hadn't noticed.  My ol' friend "hindsight" is good at helping me see crap that like.  I came to realize that New York was my happy place.  When things felt like a mess, I went to my happy place.  Who knew that a city that I thought was yucky and dirty at the age of 18 would one day become my escape?  I'm certain that if it weren't for these situations that lead me to New York, there's absolutely no way I would have discovered that I love it or that I would have applied to any schools there.  It's funny how life works out huh?  The situations that were stressing me out or hurting my heart at the time, lead me to a place where I felt at home, happy, and like I could breathe.  It was wonderful. One day I thought, "Mallory, why don't you live in your happy place?".  So that's exactly what I intend to do.