November 26, 2010

It's All in the Neighborhood

Perfect names for perfect little roads.
When I lived in New York, the best days were the ones where I didn't have to leave my neighborhood.

Time spent living in a huge city today is pretty much divided into two parts, not always in an equal measure: 
 The part where you work, make use of the hectic subway system at what feels like a gazillion miles an hour, carry your heavy load of bags onto the next destination as you're swooshing through the tunnels, diligently pressing as many to dos' into your busy hours as possible. That's hectic part, the busy big city one that makes people crave the country side and chirping birds after a while.

Then there's the other part. The one where you don't have to leave your neighborhood. Those days when you don't have a single bus or train to get on, but you're actually able to do everything that you need to do locally, in your own little assembly of blocks and high street or two. I do think those are the best days.

In New York, I lived in Brooklyn. Now, anyone who's ever made the bridge crossing over to this fantastic borough knows that this is one of the places where real life takes place in New York. The life of families with children growing up, struggling artists and people just arrived in the city. Those who are fortunate enough to be in New York but not yet able to enjoy views of Central Park from their living room. Brooklyn is charming, real, old and carries a history that would inspire anyone to write a novel or two. And it feels just like home, to anyone. Some days, I miss Brooklyn so very much.

In London, I'm experiencing the same phenomenon as in New York: The days when I'm liberated from riding the oh so claustrophobic metro system are the best days. The days that I get to spend watching the leaves turn yellow then brown in a park somewhere are the ones I keep looking forward to. I'm yet to find my Brooklyn, my hood here, but I know it's out there waiting for me, ready to embrace me and my local days. 

Things that I've taken a liking to so far about London:

Lovely brick apartment buildings. Oh to have a room of one's own in that one!

Quirky shops with quirky shop windows.

Hampstead Heath, the one and only.

Last but certainly not least, the perfect front door.

PS, take a look at this inspiring Brooklyn Brownstone, found via A Cup of Jo.

November 18, 2010

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

Those are the words of Albert Einstein.

If there's one thing I've promised myself here in life, it's to live with no regrets. I do not ever want to be wondering what would have happened had I only done this thing here, and said yes to that other one there.

So far, I've been pretty good about my determined philosophy of life. There are times when I have let my fears take the better part of me, and I have run away from things that were new, and therefore frightening.
Do I regret it? You bet. That's why I keep reminding myself every day to say yes to the unknown, to forgive myself for my mistakes and realize that they are the ones who made and continue to make me who I am.

What are your thoughts on mistakes?

November 8, 2010

November 4, 2010


Sometimes the universe doesn't whisper, it shouts. As if it would have taken a cue from Thom Yorke and Radiohead, it blasts its message out for you to stop, turn around and listen.

Today was one of those days.

At work, a woman looked me in the eye and said: I don't see you working here. You shouldn't be working here. She went on to ask me: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Baffled, I was completely caught off guard. At the same time I felt immensely grateful for having been seen, so effortlessly, instinctively, so accurately, by a complete stranger. Sometimes when we think we're invisible, masters of disguise even, we're as transparent and translucent as the clearest body of water.

I immediately knew what she was talking about, and we started a conversation. She then went on and quoted something that I will never forget, something that I from this day on always will carry with me:
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Never better said. Never better heard. Just at the right moment.

So when the speakers are on, we better pay attention. And listen.


November 3, 2010

Super Duper Genius Read

Even though I get the feeling no one is really reading this blog anymore, I will be brave and continue to produce my (however sporadic) posts. Let's face it, I could totally be more ambitious and hard working here. I could be spending my hours making comments on my fellow blogger's blogs, in order so that they can comment on mine, and we would all be one happy blog family. But I don't. Lately, I've chosen the egotistical path, the path of only posting, and not commenting. Hence my echoing, empty commentary fields. I'm so sorry, precious readers!

Anyway, I have a very special read to recommend. Super Sad True Love Story. It's by this New York writer Gary Shteyngart. He's kind of a genius, and also a professor at Columbia University. Watch the video below to see him teach James Franco, among others. He encompasses today's western culture perfectly by twisting us into this absurd yet truthful, media obsessed crowd in a future not too distant from here. Where we're all constantly attached to our 'äppäräts', little devices not much unlike today's iPhones or Blackberrys, only you can get ALL your information from them. About anything, and anyone.

This novel has already been widely acclaimed, hyped, über-reviewed and I bet half of New York has already read it, but I can't stop myself from sharing. It's that good. And it's kind of a love story.

If you've read it, let me know what you think!
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