Language Barrier.

I used to live in Queens (GASP) in an overwhelmingly Spanish section of Jackson Heights. My building was near-brand-new, owned and watched over by a little Asian couple who referred to themselves as The Tings. Susan and Austin (in no way their real names) Ting were pretty intense about a few things – namely the elevator and the deck. The deck was always locked, possibly out of fear that one of us crazy tenants would accidentally launch ourselves onto Roosevelt Ave below, or more likely/god forbid we would touch one of the plants they had placed sporadically across the space. The deck weirdness can be summed up by the fact that they nailed down the tables and benches.

This rigidity was also found in the elevator. Susan often scolded/warned that if anyone should hold the elevator, it would break. I guess someone refused to heed her warning, and one day, a sign appeared. A few days later, this correction was made:

Uh oh.

I believe I snorted the first time I saw it. I snapped that picture, and good thing, because Susan ripped it down shortly thereafter.

2010 : What I’ve learned (about life, love, loss, and living in a big city).

It’s 2011. Whoa.

I remember watching 1999 tick over to 2000, and for the life of me, I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that we’re now a decade deep in the 2000’s. My brain is something of a sponge, absorbing masses of details every second I’m living and experiencing, but doing a full recall on the decade sounds a bit taxing on my noggin. And terribly boring for all of you. So, I’m going to talk about 2010.

January 2010 marked six months of living in New York City. Well, I was living in Queens and working in Manhattan, and I certainly learned the differences (real and perceived) between all of the boroughs. Absurdly (to me), there are Manhattanites who refuse to step foot in Queens. I am generally a laid-back lady, and I did not feel the same — my roommate and I gave our new-found home borough the tagline “Queens : Come as you are.” In Queens, you can leave your house in sweatpants.

Waiting for a 7 at 82nd and Roosey.

The spring was bustling, mixing concerts with visits from family members and friends, dancing in my neighborhood (please go look up Jackson Heights), dancing everywhere. Easter Weekend sangria. So many friends, mostly old and Penn State or hometown-proud (respectively amongst my closest friends), but a few new. But certainly there are downs that accompany the wonderful ups. Such is life. And during the spring, like the sporadic but necessary storms that rumble and erupt overhead, I had a decent amount of rain.
Easter Weekend sangria. Oh yeah.

The weather warmed up, and the streets became sweaty, sometimes steamy with unfortunate smells. City smells. Despite how grass-less summers in New York City may seem, I learned that you never have to give up the sports you love, even if they require a field. I was wrangled into a softball league during the summer of 2010, and though I had the same first-day jitters I had when trying out for Varsity as a measly 15-year-old, I found that I loved those jitters. I loved turning them into cockiness (read: confidence) on the field (and I got to explore places like Randall’s Island in order to get to said field), and I loved the feeling of going full-force for the first time post ACL replacement surgery in 2007.
Red Hook Fields

Fall blew in, breathing change cooly on my neck. A fresh start in a new apartment, sampling life in yet another borough (Brooklyn). New professional opportunities sparked a ferocity to continue growing in my field, I challenged myself to a 10K Mud Run (replete with military-style obstacles), I dined at restaurants I’ve never been to in neighborhoods I’d not yet explored, I took walks in the city at night. I did handstands in the middle of a basketball court in the dark. I reveled in the football and hockey seasons, getting used to being a minority fan. A displaced Pittsburgher. I learned what it felt like to spend Thanksgiving in a different state, yet still with my family.
Carolina turkey.

In the pacifying cold of winter, I felt the sadness of older relatives slipping away. And the shock of losing one who wasn’t so old. I learned that moving forward is the best direction, the only direction. I learned that drinking wine and laughing with my family is an incredibly important activity in my life. And I learned that I can love again.
Brr.

Teach me something, 2011.