Arizona, random

Stop and smell/photograph the roses

Yesterday I went to the Phoenix Flea in Downtown Phoenix with Shannon.  As we were walking by a rose garden, I couldn’t help but jump in and take some photos of these colorful flowers.  Shannon was laughing at me as I jumped to each new flower because I was so excited – each one was more beautiful than the last.  Maybe I was so enamored with them because I missed seeing such so flowers like this.  Maybe it was because so many times I’ve taken photos of nature and the photos don’t do them justice.  That’s not the case with roses.  Whether it’s a bright and sunshiny day, a gloomy cloudy day or a dewy morning – I’ve always found roses are just as gorgeous in photos as they are in person.  The fact that rose is a variation of my mother’s name definitely contributes to the beauty.  After I concluded taking photos, we were walking and a man stopped me to say that he was so glad to see that I appreciated the beauty of these flowers as much as he did.  He enjoyed watching me become so excited by the flowers and photographing them as well.  I told him I think it’s just as important to stop and photograph the roses as it is to smell the roses.

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Arizona, Conversations, Deep thoughts

Adapting

Next week will mark 4 months since I moved across the country to Arizona.  I might as well say it – Every day I question WTF am I doing here??  Why do I do this stuff to myself?  I love to push myself out of my comfort zone and then when I do I wonder why I’m making life so difficult for myself?  Well, I’m here.  And I told myself I’d give it at least a year… I told my sister that too.  This was the conversation during one of my last days in NJ:

Sister: So we already want you to come home so how long do you think you’ll be staying out there?

Me:  ummmmm… I’m not really sure – I haven’t thought of it like that.  I feel like it’s like getting married – you don’t go into it thinking you’ll get a divorce.

Sister:  But what if you get out there and you hate it and want to come home… what will you do?

Me:  I’ll at least give it a year!  I want to know what it feels like to live in a warm climate through the winter!

So then I got here.  And I think I like it, but I’m not sure.  People are different.  They vote for Trump.  (I guess a lot of people do, secretly.)  Drivers are different.  Everything is different.  So what have I been doing to adapt?  I seek out every east coast, NJ/NY/PA person I can find and cling to them.  Well, not really – but kinda.

A friend of mine told me to join Tinder.  So I did.  And every guy that I talk to has lived at least part of his life on the east coast.  Talking to people who are from the east coast is so comforting.  Flipping through their pics and seeing familiar things fills my brain with oxytocin.  I’m not sure if that’s true, but I feel comforted by doing that.  I have a student who is from New York and I love talking to her.  I asked her where she went to get her hair done and the guy who did it is from NY – PERFECT.  So today, I went to get my hair done by a guy from NY recommended from a girl from NY.  I hope this is normal.  It’s my safety blanket.  If you’re from NY I won’t feel like an alien when I talk to you.  I’ll get you.  I miss familiarity and I think that is the biggest struggle.  NOTHING is familiar.

I look at pics from when I was living in the Bronx – I didn’t really love living in the Bronx, but when I look at the pics I think “oh the Bronx!  I wonder what I’d be doing if I lived in the Bronx right now.”  I’d be miserable!  I wanted a change.  I was tired of New York – the only reason why I look back with awe is because it’s familiar.

The house that I’m living in is in Phoenix and is kinda far from everything so I’ve been contemplating moving to a new place.  An opportunity to move to Scottsdale came up and I’m thinking of jumping on it.  And as I’m thinking about it, I realized I’m going to miss this house.  I’ve got a whole lot of room.  I became friends with the girls here.  The dogs one of my roommates dogsits are so cute and I love seeing them every so often.  But I have to remind myself – I hate the drive.  I hate being far from everything.  I’ve been wanting to live in Scottsdale since I interviewed here because that’s where I stayed during my interview – I have to try it out.  Who knows – maybe better things await? I’ll never know unless I try – if I made it out this far – I might as well keep trying.

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Arizona

90 days

A week from today will mark my 90th day as a Phoenician.  Things are starting to feel a little more “normal” these days. I don’t need a GPS for every single place I go to – I still use it a lot, but I’m starting to get a grasp on which roads are which.  I definitely would not have been able to move across country without the invention of the GPS (or any mapping program).  When I arrived in Arizona for the very first time, I was in the airport when my mom called.  When she realized I was in AZ – she said “how are you going to know where to go?” and I said “GPS.”  So thank you, creators of the GPS.

At work, I’m on a waiting list for a parking structure near my building, so each day before work and after work, I walk about 10 minutes to my car.  I finally figured out a straight walking route.  The first 10 times or so I was inadvertently walking in circles.  Thankfully I’ve caught onto the direct route.  I use this time to call my mom each and every day.  I speak to her more now than ever before – so I’m sure she’s glad about that!

Speaking about my mom and being glad – She, my dad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephews have all booked their tickets for Christmas in Arizona!  I’m very excited – it doesn’t even seem real to me.  I feel like I flew to another planet, and they were never going to come visit – but that feeling is WRONG (as DT says).  I’ve been on the hunt to find a furnished place for them to stay, but nothing seems to be working out.  It seems to be harder than it should be, but I’ll keep the faith that it will work out soon.

Speaking about working out – I joined a gym!  I’ve been wanting to do that, but haven’t gotten to it yet.  Last week I went to the Sedona with my new group of outdoorsy friends.  After the 4-5 hour hike, I felt completely out of shape and after looking at the photos I felt that I looked completely out of shape as well.  I need to change that.  I have no excuse not to work out even if it’s just for 30 minutes each day.  So I joined last Tuesday, started working out on Wednesday and have gone every day since.  Today I tried something new called Hydro Training – working out in a pool.  Fun times!  Made friends with a lady from Staten Island named Karen.  I have to say there is always someone from NY/NJ around to help make me feel at home!

I work a Tuesday – Saturday schedule so today is my Sunday, but it’s really Monday – my body and brain’s still adjusting to this new routine.  I have a few more things left on my to-do list, but I wanted to be sure I posted an entry today.  If I think of anything else to fill you in on – I’ll be back sooner than later!  🙂  Since I woke up so early to get to the Hydro Training session, maybe I’ll take a nap!  It’s hard to take naps when it’s always so sunny – I still have the mind frame that I have to be doing something every sunny day because they’re limited where I’m from!   …but being that it’s October 24th and 90 degrees, I’m starting to realize that I can have a lazy hour or 2 a day without feeling like I’m wasting the sun because I’m pretty sure it’ll be back out again tomorrow.

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Arizona, Deep thoughts

Tradeoffs

It’s been about 2 months and a week since I moved across country.  Of course when I decided to move here I was thinking about all the positive things about moving, but after a little while – you start to see that there are some tradeoffs to living anywhere.  Here are some that I’ve come across:

Slow drivers —  more open roads

Beautiful cities with lights and energy — beautiful mountains, puffy clouds and bright stars

Subpar hair salons — more good hair days

Slow service — more people willing to help

No family around — living out my life wishes

One of the biggest tradeoffs is not being near my family.  Not having them around to hug is a huge deal, but I’m doing better than I was the first month.  When I went home last month for my dad’s birthday – I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about coming back.  My flight was supposed to be Sunday night – but I was so ready to go home that I went to the airport Sunday morning so that I can wait on standby to catch the earlier flight.  Because of this, I wasn’t sure if I’d get to NJ and not want to come back to AZ – but I was ready.   And then I got to the airport to go back to AZ – and they offered me a $400 voucher to stay an extra day.  It was tempting because I didn’t have to return to work for a couple days.  I called my mother, and she said “Michelle, stay on your schedule – go home.”  Wow!  My mother called Arizona “home.”  When your mother, the owner of your first home (aka, her womb) tells you to go “home” and considers another place that she doesn’t live in home, then you go home.  This is my new place – my new home and I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m making a new life for myself.  Stay on schedule, stay focused, stop looking back at the door that’s closing – observe as the new doors opens.

I realized that although I loved being home, there was nothing left for me to do there except for visit my family and a few friends.  After you’ve lived in a certain place for so long, and you haven’t built a new life for yourself with a spouse and kids – it’s time to explore and see what else is out there.  Thank goodness for Facebook memories because each day when I click on “On This Day” I come across different statuses that I’ve written in the past seven years.  I can’t believe how many times in different ways I wished summer were longer.  Then there were times when I expressed ways that I was trying to get over my seasonal depression and how I will need to go into hibernation because the cold was starting to come.  As much as I want to be around my family because they are such a big part of my life, my core has wanted to be in a sun shiny place for a long time – I wished and wished for it – and even though I really never thought it would happen, not taking this leap would mean I’m not living my life for me.

It feels like I’ve been here for so long, but then I remember it’s only been two months – it’s normal for me to feel unsure.  I wonder how long it will take for me to feel like I belong here.

One of my Facebook friends is doing a social experiment by calling each of her Facebook friends and having a conversation with them.  She couldn’t believe that I picked up and moved to Arizona.  She’s originally from Minnesota, moved to New Jersey, lived in Korea, and now is in Cali.  I met her in college and I always envied her – just like I do anyone I meet that has learned to live in a new place.  Something about that has always intrigued me.  And I told her that.  Everyone I’ve ever met who has picked up and moved somewhere else has always inspired me.  I told her how the first month I felt a little homesickish, but felt better once I went to visit and came back.  After our conversation, she told me she’s felt homesick each time she moved too.  For some reason I didn’t think she ever had.  I thought maybe some people are cut-out for this and maybe I’m not?  Having her tell me that met a lot.  It means she got over it, and then moved again – so it’s not the worst thing in the world.  I think the worser thing would be staying put, and not ever pushing yourself to take that leap and try something new.

Accomplishments during my second month:

  1. Pumped my own gas and learned how to use the metal thing to hold it so I don’t have to hold the pump the whole time.
  2. Started going to Sprouts food store!
  3. Saw a man running while dragging a tire with a rope attached to his back.
  4. Witnessed a haboob – major dust storm.
  5. Experienced a lazy Sunday with a full day of rain!
  6. Went to the DMV to get my license.
  7. Took a Dale Carnegie communication class.
  8. Got a standing desk at work.
  9. Went to Bikram yoga.
  10. Went to a dentist for a root canal that I really loved – thanks to one of my student’s recommendations.  I know this sounds like a really crazy thing to be excited about, but I am – good dentists are hard to find!  He was awesome and not only that, but my student told me today that he called her to thank her for recommending me because he loved treating me.  This is the new world I’m living in.  The guy had his hands in my mouth for a total of 2 hours (2 appointments) and for the second appointment I had just left the DMV so I was short on time and had to eat MC DONALD’S because it was the quickest option before my appointment so even though I mouthwashed, I was sure my breath smelled of onions and I was falling asleep half the time.  What was there for him to love?  I really loved because he explained everything so nicely and seemed to be so precise with everything.
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Arizona

My first AZ adventure: Kayaking on the Saguaro Lake

IMG_3406I’ve been living in Arizona for a month and two days, so it was time to do some serious exploring and meet new friends.  I spent some time during the past couple weeks researching activity groups.  I finally found this group called “Purposeeker” – and it was just right.  It was created by two awesome individuals and I’m so glad to have found them.  I saw that they had an upcoming adventure planned for Saturday, September 3rd – “Take Me Kayaking.”  I had never been kayaking before but always wanted to go.  It was perfect timing.  I started to feel a bit homesick last week, and I knew I’d need to book something fun for Labor Day weekend so I wouldn’t have time to get homesick again.

I got information from the site, but I wanted to get more of a feel for what this adventure entailed so I sent an email to get more information.  Fab got back to me quickly and let me know that it would be a great day and that the group would be about 10 people.  That was a perfect size – not too many people where I’d get lost in the shuffle – but enough people for a fun time.

On Saturday, we all met in Scottsdale.  I introduced myself to everyone and they were all very welcoming and friendly.  Laly, the other organizer handed out whistles (that she bought Party City) – in case we had an emergencies on our kayaks. Safety first!  🙂

We piled into Fab’s car and headed on the journey to Saguaro Lake.  The drive up was beautiful. Like most roads in Arizona – it was filled with beautiful mountains and cacti.  When we got there, Laly and Fab set up a beautiful picnic breakfast along the lake and under a peaceful tree.  We filled up on delicious bagels (loved that almond cream cheese!) and fruit.IMG_3390 (1)Kayaking along the waters was easier than I thought it was going to be.  It was surreal seeing all the beautiful, serene scenery.  A highlight for me was seeing wild horses eating along the water.

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We kayaked for about 2-3 hours total and we stopped twice to take a break and a dip.  I was so excited to take a dip in the salt water.  August is usually the month I’m driving down the shore to get my beach days in. This was the first August of my life with no beach days.  Maybe that also contributed to my homesickness!  Anyway, lucky for me my withdrawal was over after taking a dip in these waters.  So refreshing.  Note to self:  bring water shoes next time – the water was rocky, but it was worth it!  We were shocked to see what looked like seashells – definitely have to google that and see what that was about.  After snacking on sweet rice rollers, playing with the “riverweeds” and having a rock stacking contest it was time to get back in the kayaks.

IMG_3497Eventually, we made it to the end of the kayaking adventure and it was time to head back for our lunch picnic.  So glad this group likes to eat as much as I do.  I was contemplating bringing my own snacks, but I never did.  Thankfully, there was plenty of food and drinks all throughout the day.  The picnic lunch consisted of turkey wraps, chicken salad, cheese, strawberries, guacamole, veggies with dip, corn chips, pitas, and chocolate chip cookies.

IMG_3053After lunch, Laly led a group meditation.  We thought about all that we are grateful for and took time to send love to those we felt need it.  We took time to appreciate all the goodness in our lives.  We all had so much to be thankful on that day – especially the fact that we didn’t need to use the whistles!  Great day had by all!

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