12 March 2015

New Beginnings in Brooklyn

9:58 AM

A few days ago I received a request from my little friend Kai to "blog more." He's right, I probably should. I'm not sure what I write will meet his six-year-old expectations, but I'm writing, as he wished.

Just a little over three months ago I moved across country from west to east coast. Since I arrived here, my feelings have changed often, waffling back and forth. I've felt excitement, loneliness, hopefulness, confusion, regret, and wonderment. I've been all over. There was a very low point when I was feeling depressed and so uncertain of my decision to be here. My family and dearest friends are so far away, everything familiar is out of my reach. It was becoming too easy to focus on all that was lacking rather than all that this place has to offer.

Then I realized that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish some very big things in a short amount of time, all at once, and it was weighing heavily on me. It turns out a big life change is often very difficult to cope with and adjust to. In addition to that, school application deadlines were looming ahead and I couldn't muster the energy to complete them. I struggled with a sense of failure – my inner dialogue sounded much like, "If you can't do them now then your life will never amount to anything." But then a new friend told me to wait, and an old friend told me to be easier on myself, to give myself time. I felt I needed that permission to take a moment – to breathe, to settle – and once I received it I felt immensely better.

Since temporarily releasing myself from those self-set expectations I've been enjoying myself so much. I'm getting to know New York in a way I had never been able to before as a visitor. I'm growing more comfortable and discovering new things that I enjoy. For a time I disliked so much about this place (the weather really didn't help – I think we're out of the dark, finally), but I can see now that it was largely the anxiety of applications that made my perspective so negative. Yes, there are things about this city that I don't particularly admire (the way the garbage piles and swarms the streets, the lack of green. I've discovered I'm a true Pacific Northwestern girl). But those are starting to be outweighed by the things that I do. I'm beginning to see a tiny possibility of a future for myself here, and that feels exciting but also a little scary. The unknown, it always is.

An important part of settling here has been working on my apartment, making it feel like home. My favorite place is my bedroom, which probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. It's the space I am free to make entirely my own. It is filled with light during most of the day, thanks to my south facing window. I've collected several plants and they – the ones that I haven't killed yet – give my room a nice sense of calm. I've made a point of keeping the walls mostly bare and decorating in creamy whites and ivories so that it feels bright, open and clean. I've found those are the kinds of spaces that make my mind feel most happy and creative.

There is a large stack of books by my bed that I am endeavoring to read through. Several of them I started a long time ago and never was able to finish them, whether it was due to school or negligence. It feels good now to spend lazy mornings in bed (I haven't had those in a very long time), reading, drinking coffee, and usually nibbling on a snack of some kind. Toast smothered in lemon curd today. Soon I will pull myself out of bed and do laundry, some more reading, and then off to work. I'll spend the evening with some new friends, and will return home feeling hopeful about what New York will bring me next.

My sister, actually. Next week! I can hardly wait.

28 September 2014


Olivia in the car, on the ferry to Vashon Island. 

27 May 2014


This is my grandma, in her home (where I live, too). I've been working on a series focusing on her for almost a year now. I took these last spring – they are still some of my favorites. 

04 April 2014

Forward Thinking

I spent several days in New York at the beginning of my spring break. I returned on Monday, but continue to be there in my mind. Oddly enough, I was anxious about leaving for the city last week; I wasn't sure I really wanted to go. I took a red-eye flight the last day of my finals (which I dreaded) and was feeling that after a few months of school work and stress, what I really needed was some rest and relaxation – not five days in a big and busy city. I worried I wouldn't have the energy that New York requires to enjoy it, and that apart from seeing some much-missed friends, I was making a hasty decision to go when I did.

When I arrived, it was so early that the moon was still a sliver hanging low in the sky. I was exhausted – but as soon as my bus from the airport started off through Brooklyn's streets, and the sun started to pour its light over the city, I realized how glad I was to be there. Rather than exhaust me further, my time in New York rejuvenated and inspired me. I was struck with how bored and blue I've been at home in Seattle. I have been living a fairly isolated life for the past two years; nothing but school and sleep with some small fragments of fun and friends in between. My social circle has diminished substantially, partly by my own choosing, partly by circumstance. Apart from feeling good about the choices I've made regarding my education, my life right now is not what I imagined it would be.

I've realized that I have been settling for so much less than what I know I want and deserve, both in my own attitude and outlook, and in other areas, too. My confidence and sense of self has slowly been chipping away. The friends I have in the city and the overall energy that lives there reminded me of what it is that makes me thrive. In New York, I felt like a happier, better person – and there were a couple of exchanges along the way that for me, were symbolic of what could be.

As this season nears an end, I have been wondering what my next step will be. I need to decide which schools to apply to, how I am going to get there and what I will do to be able to afford it – all of which are sources of major anxiety. To be honest, I have been avoiding those questions a lot, mostly out of fear. I have known for a while now that I don't want to stay in Washington – every way I look at life here seems like a dead end. I'm ready for something different. I need new opportunities, a fresh scene and some unfamiliarity to get me out of this rut I've slowly made my way into.

I don't want to say that I'm doing something and then never follow through on it, as I have done so many times before, but I am feeling pretty confident that a big change is what I want and need. Every morning this week I have woken up with New York on my mind, and it stays with me throughout the day. It's a place I told myself at the age of 15 that I would live someday. I think it's time. A lot must be done before I will be prepared to make that kind of move, but lots of people do it – I can do it. Meanwhile, I must cling to this feeling that I brought home with me, so that I don't lose sight of my dreams and desires. I need it to sustain me and propel me forward.

15 March 2014

Grown Woman

I can do whatever I want.

01 March 2014

J . S .

“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?” ― John SteinbeckEast of Eden

23 February 2014

Vashon Island

Responsibilities of the day-to-day keep me held captive in the city. The stresses of assignments and writing papers and studying and memorizing mathematical formulas leave me craving fresh air and still, quiet places. I was happy today to retreat to one of our many little islands. It was only for a little while, but it allowed me a moment to breathe. It also provided the occasion for some picture-taking (mostly with film, which I'll hopefully be processing this week). Ashley and Olivia were swathed in all the right colors for this monotone day. 

21 January 2014


Really drawn to bright colors lately. These palettes remind me of warm, Spanish summer days – a feeling I miss more than just about anything.

01 December 2013

Ladies of Vienna

Bianca and Isabelle
July 2012 – Vienna, Austria