Monday, December 23, 2013

A guide to talking to strangers

When I was little, I was the shyest person on the planet. No joke. As in, "If you're not in my immediately family, I will not talk to you and will use my very best avoidance tactics to not interact with you." My kindergarten teacher had to social engineer a friendship for me (Her solution, by the way, was to pair me - the quietest kid in class - with a girl who was the most talkative kid in class. It totally worked. We were bffs throughout all of elementary school, complete with duo-nicknames that others gave us).

While I no longer dodge and weave every social scene, it still seemed that moving here (to a city where I knew about 3 people) would potentially be disastrous. Worst Case: I don't know how to talk to anybody! I become a hermit and embrace my solitude!

Well, as it turns out, I'm kinda chatty. Maybe that's what happens when you don't know anyone -- you'll talk to EVERYONE.

So here are four things I've learned about talking to random people when you're out by yourself:

  • Talk to strangers like you already know them: Skip over the whole uncertainty of being unfamiliar! Just start up conversations as if you already know each other. Introductions will work their way in somehow, anyways.
  • Assume people are going to be really rad: Sure, not every stranger you talk to is gonna be awesome and someone you'd talk to again. But it doesn't hurt to enter interactions with the assumption that the person is gonna be pretty cool. A lot of times, you end up having had an interesting conversation. And the times you don't? Read on...
  • You don't have to keep talking to that stranger: Did you end up in a conversation with someone you really don't want to talk to? No biggie, just stop talking to them! Don't worry about appearing rude. Besides, all conversations end eventually. Phase yourself out of the convo and if they don't get the hint, just start doing something else (i.e., ignore them completely). Have I done this? The answer is yes. YOLO.
  • Ask questions: I think I'm terrible at small talk, but I'm pretty good at asking questions (maybe it's because I'm used to asking my students lots of questions to explain their thinking, hahahah) & I definitely appreciate others' gifts of storytelling. And I've found that if you ask questions, people are pretty open to answering them. Everyone has a story, if you'll listen.

(That all being said, I still have a fear that the new people I talk to will potentially murder me. No one seems like the crazy murderous type, but this fear remains. Probably for the best. hahaha.)

P.S. Did you properly admire the Pikachu latte art by a baller barista? The bar has been raised, you guys. I will now always choose Pikalatte. Okay, just kiddin', I won't. That would probably be a good way to annoy every barista everywhere.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"I will look back, I will hold fast to this"

In January and March, I was visiting Cambridge/Boston and the idea of moving to a new city was just an idea, and not even a serious one at that. 

In April, the idea became a bit more real when I sent out my résumé on a whim, and because Hey, an application is just an application. 

In May, I was back Boston, this time for an interview and the idea of moving was looking like an actual possibility. But I still was kinda thinking Hey, I'm just scoping things out. Nothing has to happen. 

A few days after that, I had a job offer. And a few days after that, I had to make a decision.
(january, march, may 2013; still just visiting cambridge & boston)

Which brings us to December. And it's so weird to look at my driver's license and instead of a California state license, it's Massachusetts (where they call the DMV the RMV instead). And in some ways, I'm transitioning into this new place just fine (I've got some "go-to" spots for groceries and coffee and what not). But in other ways, I'm still holding out (for example, after reading Yelp reviews, I've refused to try a new place to get a haircut and am definitely waiting til I get back to CA..hahaha). 

What does this mean? Well, I guess it goes to show that sometimes you have the opportunity for a change and even if you're not 100% sure it'll be the right decision, it probably isn't the wrong decision either. So go for it.  

Except if it has to do with your hair. Then stick with what you're familiar with, obvi. haha.

2013, you were some year. Let's get goin', 2014.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winding down 2013 and things to remember

A photo from January 2013, in Santa Cruz, CA. And here I am in December 2013.

Man, what happens in a year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A new zipcode to remember

In the first few weeks of living here, I would catch myself thinking, "Oh, this is a fun visit!"

And then I'd remember, "Oh, yeah. NOT a visit this time."

North End, Boston
Davis T
Harvard Square

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

A little update....

Well...I'm not in California anymore.

Been on the road for about a week and now I'm sitting in a New York Super 8. Based on the smells and the burned holes in my blanket, I would totes LOVE Super 8...If I were a smoker... But I'm not. hahahaha.

(obligatory side mirror self-portrait, from somewhere in Nebraska)  

P.S. For those of you going on a long road trip, here's my Go Go Go playlist (seven songs that will help push you along!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's be honest...

I'm terrible at packing. Terrible, terrible.

As mentioned in the last post, my method these last two weeks has been to dump all my belongings onto any open surface in my room. And then layer on top of that with more stuff. Layers upon layers of stuff.

Anyway, this past weekend I forced myself to start picking through the mess and have made some good progress.

Here are some things about packing:

  • Packing is a giant time-suck:  So much time & concentration is necessary to go through items, deciding what I want to keep, store, give away, or sell. Not that I have anything else very important going on...
  • Packing makes me want to throw away everything I own:  How do I have this much stuff?! I don't even have that much closet or storage place in my current apartment. I have romantic notions of getting rid of most of my belongings and living a minimalist life in a tiny studio -- this will almost certainly not happen.
  • My favorite thing might be putting free stuff on the sidewalk:  I really, really, really enjoy putting my random junk in a brown bag with the word "FREE" on it. Then I like checking back on it to see what people have been taking. Things get swooped up pretty quickly, with the exception being an Algebra 1 practice workbook. I was pretty miffed that no one wanted it (what? you mean people DON'T want to practice their algebra skills??), but then it was gone a few days later. I am telling myself that it was picked up by some hardworking kid who wants to get ready for the new school year and become a master mathematician. Good job, kid!
  • Packing makes getting dressed more difficult. Or maybe easier:  I've mostly put away my clothes: winter ones sealed up and ready to be shipped once it starts getting cold; the remaining items are also in bags, for me to decide what to take immediately or to ship this summer. Anyhow, so since most of my clothes are packed up, this means that I don't want to wear these clothes before I leave because that would mean I'd be unpacking them & re-laundering & re-packing (this reasoning may very well make sense to only me). So instead I'm relying on wearing my "left-over" clothes (aka t-shirts with logos). This also might mean that I've been putting the same skirt and pair of shorts in rotation for the last two weeks... gross? Hahaha

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How I deal with moving.

When it was time to make the six hour trip to my college campus, the minivan was loaded up, my older sister was in the driver's seat, my mom next to her in the passenger seat, and me: I was in the very back, crying and begging to stay home.

The entire way there.

Not the greatest start to four years of undergrad, but certainly a memorable one.

Fast forward ten years. This time the car will be a hybrid (like a good Californian. Ha!). And this time I'll be the one driving (so I probably shouldn't cause a scene). And this time the drive will be quite a bit longer (coast-to-coast, oh man!).

In anticipation of this super long drive, let's talk about something that's Really Important:

What will be on my roadtrip playlist??

This has actually been on my mind the moment that it was decided I'd be making the drive cross country with my friend Nicole.

For instance,

  • What song will be playing as I pull away from home?
  • What song will be playing as we finally cross the California border?
  • What song will get us through one time zone and into the next?

The songs matter. I am adamant about this. Because whatever song is playing will forever remind me of that specific moment (if you think I'm being kind of dramatic here, I already know). It's like when I hear Salt-N-Pepa's Shoop, I think of standing on the skinny dirt path outside the front gate of my elementary school. Or when I hear OutKast's So Fresh, So Clean, I think of sitting on the blacktop with my friend during 10th grade P.E. (sidenote: why weren't we running around or something?)

So yeah, the songs matter. And I need to be extra careful about these selections, otherwise the theme song of this roadtrip will end up being Come and Get It, which is awful (sorry, Selena Gomez), but whenever I hear just a clip of it on the radio, it manages to ingrain itself into my brain. ...Seriously, I cannot let that happen.

And so instead of packing or sorting through the unorganized mess on my floor, I instead imagine potential lineups for this Very Important Roadtrip Playlist. It should probably be full of strong females wanting to empower me with their catchy hooks. The contenders:

  • Brave by Sara Bareillas: Just look at the title. It makes sense to use this song. There I'll be, driving off to an unknown city full of strangers, my first time living outside my home state (okay, not a completely unknown city. But you get my point, right?)
  • Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson: Similar reasoning to the above. Plus, it's Kelly Clarkson!
  • Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys: This is the song to play as I drive off into the sunset. Or drive off during the sunrise. I haven't decided yet.
  • some song by Pink: I don't know many Pink songs, but she is all about standing up for yourself and girl power -- according to my former co-worker (who is Pink's #1 fan)

Add in Spice Girls and No Doubt. Done. 

P.S. You may start submitting your song recommendations. Please defend your choice in 30 words or less :)