Tag Archives: Oh darling let’s be adventurers

The Truth About Adventures

dorothy what face

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While I did pack a suitcase for a job interview across the country in a city where I knew exactly zero people and while I got that job, found a sublease, and started, living out of a suitcase within a week, I want to be honest.

Whenever people hear about the last year and a half of my life, they act like I did something either insane or miraculous. Mine is not a family that leaves one another. For most of my life, everyone I loved was within easy driving distance. So to leave was a big decision and risk. “You’re so brave! I could never do that,” people say to me.

golden gate bridge

Here’s the truth: I am not that brave; I just didn’t have time to think it through.

Honestly.

Sometimes you leap. A lot of adventures start that way. I leapt.

I had time to pack and get on a flight. That’s it. Once I got there, I had time to do the interview. Once I got the job, I had time to find a sublease. Once, I found a sublease, it was time to start work. And on it went. Basic needs met. In a way, my life became completely simplified. After signing my own lease, I needed a bed because…well, that’s what I needed. So that was my priority I couldn’t think about sheets because I didn’t have a mattress! I don’t really consider it bravery so much as the Big Guy not giving me any time to hyperventilate.

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That being said, I want to tell you the truth about some adventures. There will be moments that stop your heart in your chest because of their stunning beauty. There will be moments you know you will hold in your head for the rest of your life, so sacred you rarely speak of them. But adventures are not easy things. Inherently, adventures include difficulties, right?

Here is the truth about life’s adventures. At least in my own experience thus far.

1. There will be moments when you want to cry. There will be moments when you want to curl up in a tiny ball and wait for someone with loving arms to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of. But you are on adventure. If someone does take care of you, he or she certainly won’t take care of everything. That person will not be someone you expect or are used to. It takes humility to accept help from this stranger. They didn’t give birth to you. Or maybe no one shows up. You have to pick yourself up and figure it out. And sometimes, just to be frank, that really sucks.

2. You can’t leave everything or everyone behind. The fact is, you lived a life before this adventure, this season of your life, and even if you wanted to erase everything and everyone from before, you couldn’t. They have impacted you for better or for worse. Now, you get to decide what to do with that. I am not advising you to carry emotional (or physical, to be honest) baggage wherever you go. But in my experience, if you think location will help you escape a problem, it’s actually an even bigger problem than you realize. Secondly, memories, both good and bad, are a part of me. Even in this new city, they come back to me. Some things I wish I could forget. But if Cher could not turn back time, I can’t either. I can move forward though. And it’s good and healthy and right.

3. There are Pros to life pre-adventure. It’s just a fact. I promised myself that I would not be the girl who came home to Chicago that first time and said, “Well, in San Francisco we do this and San Francisco is so much better than here because…” (I mostly succeeded but the first time I came home was winter and I know I made some cracks about the weather). But on the flip side, there are things about mundane suburbia, I sure do miss. I won’t lie to you about it. Some days, I really long for a bag of chips and some Whole Foods guacamole and mango salsa, but then I remember I have to take a cab over to Whole Foods. Or I realize I have no clean clothes. None. And I remember I don’t live in a house with a washer and dryer just ready (and free!) for my own use. (To think of all the times I complained about doing laundry; I didn’t know how good I had it.) (Also, yes, I have bought new undies just so I could get through one more week without doing the wash.) This doesn’t mean don’t go on adventures but it isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time. Life is not like that. There are pros and cons to any life situation. For me, it’s actually, upon reflection, helped me appreciate a life, I didn’t value while I was living it. As I go forward, I want to value the season of life I am in, even if it is hard, because there is always pros and cons to any situation.

4. There are all types of adventures. Never belittle a fellow adventurer. Or yourself. I’m not married and I don’t have kids. Do i want those things? Yes. But in God’s perfect timing, if I had them at 24, I would never have fallen in love with the city of San Francisco. Still, I have friends that are married with kids. I don’t think they are “tied down” and I am “free.” I truly believe, after this last year and a half, that there are all types of adventures. Some work out and some don’t. Sometimes life’s circumstances actually make it easier or harder for a particular adventure to take place. But you know what mom said: until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, no judgement. Honestly, I think motherhood will someday be a great adventure. Some of my friends already are on that adventure. And I am sure some of them (well, I am sure since they told me) love their kids but wish they had one last, stellar, solo adventure for the record books, to get to know themselves better. But we are co-adventurers. Get it? Got it? Good.

5. Homesickness is real thing. I’ve always been extremely independent. I don’t think it surprised people who knew me that I could leave. It’s strange though. I miss family and friends in waves. Sometimes it is particularly poignant. And other times, I don’t really think about it. But I have to leave you with this. Right now, my little sister, with over twenty years and a country between us, is obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. Obsessed.

Dorothy got to go on this amazing adventure with some great shoes (and her little dog, too!). She encountered people and things she never expected. She was pushed beyond what she thought herself capable. But at the end of the adventure, she still says, “There is no place like home.”

 

For some people, home is not a place. It is a voice on the telephone. It is loopy cursive on snail mail. It’s a funny text message. But upon adventuring, know that there are people and places that forged you, that understand you in ways that are impossible to explain. Some connections go so far back they are nearly magical.

So yes, by all means, be adventurers! I just want to be honest about mine.

XO,

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Paris is Always a Good Idea.

Speaking of birthdays…today, a certain number of years ago, a lovely babe named Chelsea was born in a small town in Illinois. Don’t worry; I won’t be doing birthday shout outs every day but I have been wanting to share another Chelsea + Nina Adventure and her birthday seemed like the perfect day.

in Paris

in Paris

I heart Chelsea for many reasons but for my purposes here,  I have to tell you that Chelsea is often my partner in adventures. These, typically, are not-on-purpose-adventures. Some might call them  accidental, mistakes, or even misadventures. For many years, Chelsea and I called them this, living in denial.

Oh yes, the time we were supposed to road trip and we thought we broke the car door…I think we both cried. No one understood how a thing like that could happen. But it did! It happened, guys! Can we focus here? And then we dissolved into crying again. But somewhere along the way, we accepted the fact that if Chelsea and I are in a car, supposed to be somewhere, we will get lost. Or run out of gas. Or have a flat tire. We don’t cry anymore. We shrug and accept that this is just how things are. This is the way the world works, like physics. Which for the record, Chelsea and I are really good at. (Not.)

Can you see Paris in a six hour window, starting at four o’clock in the afternoon? Some people would say no. No, you cannot. This is an impossible thing. But to those people Chelsea and I say: yes, you can. I think it can safely be said that some of our greatest mistakes-turned-adventures begin with Chelsea and I looking at one another, shrugging, and saying: we can totally do that.

Notre Dame...one of the few clear photographs my camera/I/Chelsea took

Notre Dame…one of the few clear photographs my camera/I/Chelsea took

Which results in bizarre craziness that no one believes really happened.

You can’t predict these things. You must shrug and accept them. You must accept and live in the chaos.

Background: a few years ago, Chels, was living abroad in a suburb of Paris. I visited her but because of scheduling we ended up with only a half day of sight seeing in Paris for me before we flew to my family in Rome. When I tell you we ran around the city, I am not lying to you. We literally ran. We did the things you aren’t supposed to do–like trying to track down this amazing french market that turns out is only closed on Tuesday afternoons, which if you are wondering is also a common theme for Chelsea and I.

Oh, that thing you planned on doing? It’s only unavailable when we show up. So for this market we definitely went off the beaten path, saw some unsavory characters, and went on a wild goose chase before we saw the standard sights.

Chelsea took me ice skating...bet you didn't think we had time for that, did ya? Booyah. Bet you didn't know I used to figure skate.

Chelsea took me ice skating…bet you didn’t think we had time for that, did ya? Booyah. Bet you didn’t know I used to figure skate either.

Grace with the photography, please. I had no idea what I was doing and something funky was happening with my camera which reinforces my point. Oh, Nina and Chelsea, you’re in Paris sight seeing? Boom, your camera is out of focus for some unknown reason.

See? Weird. And that was the best one.

See? Weird. And that was the best one.

But then you get stunning photos like this one?

But then you get stunning photos like this one?

Can you see why I explained my early picture taking as just completely accidental?

Can you see why I explained my early picture taking as just completely accidental?

l'arc de triumphe

l’arc de triumphe and le tour d’eiffel

Not gonna lie..We could have died taking these pictures. Parisian driving...? Here is the Champs-Élysées

Not gonna lie..We could have died taking these pictures. Parisian driving…? Here is the Champs-Élysées

The Holy Grail of Macaroons...

The Holy Grail of Macaroons…

But let me keep it real and tell you we ate them waiting for the metro, exhausted, damp, and happy. Exactly how one should be after an adventure.

But let me keep it real and tell you we ate them waiting for the metra, exhausted, damp, and happy. Exactly how one should be after an adventure.

We did other things but the pictures just did not turn out. We saw the Louvre. We ended up eating pizza even though we were flying to Rome the next day. This is another example of Chelsea + Nina Adventures. You think, well, that’s dumb. To which we say, when you’re flying around Paris and it’s raining and you’re on an adventure and you’re not très riche, you may end up eating pizza. And you’re happy.

To my co-adventurer…Happy Birthday!Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 3.51.38 PM

Love you so much,

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The Truth about Adventures: soooo…I need a bed.

Don’t forget to enter the contest (my first one!) by leaving a comment and possibly winning the card of your choice. You know you want to click here.

Previous posts about the Truth about Adventures (or at least mine) so you can catch up.

One (brief background)

The Truth About Adventures in Oz

The Legacy of Adventures

How to Run a Marathon.

Moving my babies to SF.

How to Move Across the Country.

Mortification.

Slowly but surely, I am trying to take you back in time through the process of moving because it was blog worthy, trust me. And that’s part of the adventure this blog is about. So yes, today, circle around, my friends, to hear a little story, I like to call: “I need a Bed.”

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From the call offering me an interview in San Francisco to my plane taking off, we  (because let’s face it, I could not have done this without either of my parents but at this point, when it comes to packing, I could not have done it without my mom) had 48 hours to pack. My mom, oh wise one, decided we should pack one large suitcase and then put into piles what she would send and when, if I got the job and decided to stay.

This felt real. If I had time, I would have been freaking out but every time I tried to freak out, my mom said, “We don’t have time for this.” She was right. So I didn’t get to freak out.

Meanwhile, I ran between my Dad’s house and my mom’s house trying to get the things I needed. At one point, my stepmom stopped me. I looked at her with crazy eyes, so frazzled and trying to find everything I needed. She decided that this was an ideal moment to say something brief, but serious. I will have to paraphrase but I believe I am pretty close to what she said. She was also completely genuine.

“Nina, I am just so glad this is happening so quickly for you so you don’t even have time to think it through.”

Say what?

I just nodded, as if I understood what she was saying, because hello, I wasn’t going to be able to sleep for the next two days with all the stuff I had to do.

“It’s just so perfect. God knows you so well. Because it’s happening so quickly, you don’t have time to analyze it, or think too deeply about it.”

What are you saying to me????

With no time to analyze these insane musings of an otherwise normal stepmom, because ain’t nobody got time for that, I peaced out.

***

I fly to San Francisco.

I spend the week with a boy I knew from high school where I clean  their bathroom with bleach so I can use it. (I don’t want to get into it and you don’t want me to either.) I need a place by Sunday. So I go on the internet, find a sublease. On Monday, works starts, so on Monday I go to work.

And on, and on, and on it goes.

Each day, there is a very clear immediate need and all I can focus on is that next step, nothing else.

Of course, I didn’t really see this at the time. Probably because I’ve never acted like this in my life. If there is something to worry about, I will find something to worry about. Everyone who knows me personally is nodding their heads together now.

It comes to the point in the summer, where I decide to stay, and need an apartment. So I find an apartment.

directly from Instagram...71 weeks ago...Crazy. Follow me here.

directly from Instagram…71 weeks ago…Crazy. Follow me here.

This should overwhelm me, especially me of all people, but I need a place to live. What am I going to do? Not look for an apartment because it can be stressful? Insert the rising prices in SF (beating Manhattan in rent, wah hooooo) but now I’m the one solely responsible for an apartment, I could freak out. (Okay so in all truthfulness, I did call my dad crying because prices were so high there was literallly NONE in my budget, even in the bad parts of town but, he had the same, you-need-a-bed attitude. “You have to raise your budget and figure it out, Neen.” 5 points for dads!) After said phone call and taking in the high rents and this great responsibility, I sign the papers. I now sell my soul every month for a studio apartment. But do I have time to freak out? Nope. You know what? I cannot worry about those things. Because I needed, how do you say, a freaking bed to sleep on?

So that’s what I do next.

I buy a bed. I pay some kid with a pick up truck to take me across the bridge to Ikea to pick up my 89 dollar bed that would have cost double to ship and I coordinate the mattress delivery. (Please scroll up and look at that picture though. That’s a pretty nice 89 dollar bed!)

Normally, I would freak out. So many things could go wrong. But what am I supposed to do?

I need a bed.

Ironically, that day at work someone realizes I moved across the country. “How are you doing this job and dealing with all of that?”

I just look at them and say, “I can’t worry about all the extra things. Today, I need to do my job. And I need a bed..”

It then hit me that my stepmom was not crazy at all. (Yay, Karen!) She knew me very well. If I had three months to mull over what it would have meant to move across the country…guess what?

I would have never done it.

If I knew now what it would take to move across the country, even though it has been great and I’ve learned so much, guess what?

I wouldn’t have the guts to do it.

It’s a lot of work when you list out every single thing I had to do and still have to do. Yes, the process is still ongoing a year and a half later.

But when you just think: “Today, I need a bed,” things tend to clear up quickly. Priorities, people, priorities. So even now, when stressed, I try to say this to myself:

“Nina, you need a bed.”

So that, my friends, is the story of my bed.

Love and all that,

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P.S. Obviously a major point, in case you missed it, is that it takes a village. My mom and dad were amazing, each in their own unique ways. My nonna and aunt were incredible (more on them and the move later). And I’m blessed to have an extra person in my corner of the village, my stepmom.

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The Truth about Adventures: Mortification.

The night before my first day AT THE JOB I MOVED TO SF FOR, I moved into my sublease, a little pinterest world, decorated by an artist who was spending the summer in Belgium with her boyfriend. I didn’t even have time to unpack. I brought my clothes for the first day into the shower (which I could not get to work which lead to a frantic call to Mom) to steam them and then went to sleep, my route for the next day programmed into my iPhone and my alarm clock set extra early so I could not miss the trolley that would take me to my first day at my new job.

You know what they say about good intentions, right?

photo by lis...crazed expression by me

photo by lis…crazed expression by me

It didn’t matter that I woke early. I still ran to the trolley, missed it, and had to wait the “seven minutes” (this is a lie; it takes longer than that) for the next one. I hopped on, paid my singles (has to be singles, here) and sat next to a dog. For real.

Here is the thing: trolleys? They don’t move fast. In fact, when they move fast they automatically disconnect from the line. When I lived in that sublease there was one trolley driver who, I am not kidding, every single day, disconnected at least twice from one stop to the next.

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I watched the clock on my phone nervously. Then I made a bold (dumb?) move. I jumped out one stop early and ran and ran. Yes, ran. Several blocks, in fact, so I would not be late to my first day at this new job. If you know, or if you have been reading my blog, you know I am a bit of a perfectionist. I still have dreams from HIGH SCHOOL where I forget my homework. Being late on the first day of a new job? Definitely at the top of my my most mortifying moments.

So I ran. I was sweating. I hit the elevator button a million times and by the time I reached my floor, my training class was already somewhere else. (Insert rising mortification.) Someone had to take me to them. It was a room filled with about twenty guys and one girl who looked at me with desperation in her eyes, as if I was her holy grail. (Let’s be honest, us girls have got to stick together and Lis–that’s right; it was Lis–did not want to be in a class full of guys for two weeks).

I realized with my sweaty face, my hair ruined, that I had two choices. I could sink to the floor in mortification or better yet slip out the door never to be seen again. I could call my parents and cry. Or I could do this: I could walk to my empty seat, apologize, laugh it off, and explain I’ve only been in the city for a week and make my morning adventure funny. Oh, look at that funny girl from Chicago with that funny accent. She is a bit sweaty but hahaha! I could meet Lis’ eye across the room and smile. I could get my work face on and I could do it.

Here is one more truth about adventures: there will be moments where life does not go anywhere near to plan. There will be moments of extreme mortification. But you always have the choice whether to choose mortification or choose adventure. In my life, I’ve done both. But that first day of work, I chose adventure and have not looked back.

Choose Adventure,

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The Truth About Adventures.

While I did pack a suitcase for a job interview across the country in a city where I knew exactly zero people and while I got that job, found a sublease, and started, living out of a suitcase within a week, I want to be honest.

Whenever people hear about the last year and a half of my life, they act like I did something either insane or miraculous. Mine is not a family that leaves one another. For most of my life, everyone I loved was within easy driving distance. So to leave was a big decision and risk. “You’re so brave! I could never do that,” people say to me.

SONY DSC

Here’s the truth: I am not that brave; I just didn’t have time to think it through.

Honestly.

Sometimes you leap. A lot of adventures start that way. I leapt.

I had time to pack and get on a flight. That’s it. Once I got there, I had time to do the interview. Once I got the job, I had time to find a sublease. Once, I found a sublease, it was time to start work. And on it went. Basic needs met. In a way, my life became completely simplified. After signing my own lease, I needed a bed because…well, that’s what I needed. So that was my priority I couldn’t think about sheets because I didn’t have a mattress! I don’t really consider it bravery so much as the Big Guy not giving me anytime to hyperventilate.

IMG_2142

That being said, I want to tell you the truth about some adventures. There will be moments that stop your heart in your chest because of their stunning beauty. There will be moments you know you will hold in your head for the rest of your life, so sacred you rarely speak of them. But adventures are not easy things. Inherently, adventures include difficulties, right?

Here is the truth about life’s adventures. At least in my own experience thus far.

1. There will be moments when you want to cry. There will be moments when you want to curl up in a tiny ball and wait for someone with loving arms to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of. But you are on adventure. If someone does take care of you, he or she certainly won’t take care of everything. That person will not be someone you expect or are used to. It takes humility to accept help from this stranger. They didn’t give birth to you. Or maybe no one shows up. You have to pick yourself up and figure it out. And sometimes, just to be frank, that really sucks.

2. You can’t leave everything or everyone behind. The fact is, you lived a life before this adventure, this season of your life, and even if you wanted to erase everything and everyone from before, you couldn’t. They have impacted you for better or for worse. Now, you get to decide what to do with that. I am not advising you to carry emotional (or physical, to be honest) baggage wherever you go. But in my experience, if you think location will help you escape a problem, it’s actually an even bigger problem than you realize. Secondly, memories, both good and bad, are a part of me. Even in this new city, they come back to me. Some things I wish I could forget. But if Cher could not turn back time, I can’t either. I can move forward though. And it’s good and healthy and right.

3. There are Pros to life pre-adventure. It’s just a fact. I promised myself that I would not be the girl who came home to Chicago that first time and said, “Well, in San Francisco we do this and San Francisco is so much better than here because…” (I mostly succeeded but the first time I came home was winter and I know I made some cracks about the weather). But on the flip side, there are things about mundane suburbia, I sure do miss. I won’t lie to you about it. Some days, I really long for a bag of chips and some Whole Foods guacamole and mango salsa, but then I remember I have to take a cab over to Whole Foods. Or I realize I have no clean clothes. None. And I remember I don’t live in a house with a washer and dryer just ready (and free!) for my own use. (To think of all the times I complained about doing laundry; I didn’t know how good I had it.) (Also, yes, I have bought new undies just so I could get through one more week without doing the wash.) This doesn’t mean don’t go on adventures but it isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time. Life is not like that. There are pros and cons to any life situation. For me, it’s actually, upon reflection, helped me appreciate a life, I didn’t value while I was living it. As I go forward, I want to value the season of life I am in, even if it is hard, because there is always pros and cons to any situation.

4. There are all types of adventures. Never belittle a fellow adventurer. Or yourself. I’m not married and I don’t have kids. Do I want those things? Yes. But in God’s perfect timing, if I had them at 24, I would never have fallen in love with the city of San Francisco. Still, I have friends that are married with kids. I don’t think they are “tied down” and I am “free.” I truly believe, after this last year and a half, that there are all types of adventures. Some workout and some don’t. Sometimes life’s circumstances actually make it easier or harder for a particular adventure to take place. But you know what mom said: until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, no judgement. Honestly, I think motherhood will someday be a great adventure. Some of my friends already are on that adventure. And I am sure some of them (well, I am sure since they told me) love their kids but wish they had one last, stellar, solo adventure for the record books, to get to know themselves better. But we are co-adventurers. Get it? Got it? Good.

5. Homesickness is real thing. I’ve always been extremely independent. I don’t think it surprised people who knew me that I could leave. It’s strange, though. I miss family and friends in waves. Sometimes it is particularly poignant. And other times, I don’t really think about it. But I have to leave you with this. Right now, my little sister, with over twenty years and a country between us, is obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. Obsessed.

Dorothy got to go on this amazing adventure with some great shoes (and her little dog, too!). She encountered people and things she never expected. She was pushed beyond what she thought herself capable. But at the end of the adventure, she still says, “There is no place like home.”

SONY DSCFor some people, home is not a place. It is a voice on the telephone. It is loopy cursive on snail mail. It’s a funny text message. But upon adventuring, know that there are people and places that forged you, that understand you in ways that are impossible to explain. Some connections go so far back they are nearly magical.

So yes, by all means, be adventurers! I just want to be honest about mine.

XO,

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