Monday, October 26, 2015

Go Blue or Go Home

I am a die hard Californian. After wandering the world last summer, I still believed that the golden state was the prime place to be. But something about Ann Arbor, Michigan charmed me. Maybe it was the trees shimmering in all their vibrancy, or the gothic collegiate towers stretching toward the sky. Though I was a first-timer to this place, this midwestern city struck a chord in me. 
A block off campus, I stayed in the heart of Ann Arbor with my friend Mariel, an undergrad at the university. It's midterms season, so we spent the the night of my arrival in the law library. I relished the grandeur of that great room, the intricate patterns of the lofty ceiling laced with gold reminiscent of my study spot of choice at my alma mater. 
I woke up at dawn to the chilled, crisp autumn air. The trees radiated warmth as I took an early morning stroll across the campus. I pulled my blazer closer, the click-clack of my heels resonating past the brick buildings tangled in ivy. 
Maybe the reason why I felt so familiar with a place across the country was the fact that the University of Michigan reminded me so much of my own college experience. The big public school. The sports. The familiar bashing of the rival school. The emphasis on research. The blue and gold (or "maize" in the case of Michigan). The college town. The university paraphernalia worn with pride. The only thing missing in Ann Arbor were the hills. A pleasant surprise. 
The final test for this town was brunch. The Afternoon Delight in downtown did not disappoint. The retro cafe was fashioned with quirky neon lettering the walls and black and white chrome decor. I ordered the Breakfast In A Pocket, expecting some dainty lil' thang, but was greeted by a concoction of eggs, bacon, cheddar, sunflower seeds, lettuce, tomato and ranch loaded into a much larger than average pita. We're off to a great start. My trusty hostess with the mostest ordered herself a breakfast sandwiched dubbed The Morning Delight as well as a The Muffin Delight, a hot muffin filled with vanilla fro-yo. Excellent. "Go big or go home," Mariel preached. I felt pretty at home.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chasing The Sunset

We set out to chase the sunset
stopping to admire the clouds
and peaked at an abandoned house
devoured by branches & vines
We tiptoed along the empty railroad tracks
and beneath a fallen tree
Stood wonderstruck at a creek full of water lilies  
A most magical place to be
But quick, the sun was setting
the warm light would turn pale soon
We ran over the tracks
to see that the sun had escaped
Only to look up and catch the moon.

I was accompanied on this adventure by my friend Skyler, a self-described starving artist. Follow him on Instagram and Tumblr

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Embracing Autumn

Autumn is a time of change. The golden rays of summer, iced drinks sipped out of glass jars and spontaneous road trips along the California coast fade into the vivid oranges, yellows and reds that remind us it's time to venture to Trader Joe's to buy pumpkin everything. With the shifting of the seasons, I am also reminded to accept that life is constantly changing. To accept impermanence. 

This past summer was one of transition. I moved from my college town back home for a gap year and worked my first 9 to 5 job. My grandfather passed away and we moved my grandmother to a new home. My sister began life as a New Yorker and has started at a new university. In the blink of an eye, my world had become a place I barely recognized. People and places I had once seen each day were no longer a part of my life, I had thought. 

Much of the summer, I had spent missing the familiarity I had known only months before and so many times I have wished for that life to become my reality once again. But my birthday brought on a new perspective. I played pickleball with my mother in the morning, sipped on champagne with my parents and enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Handwritten cards and packages were delivered and the phone calls and videos from friends were priceless. My favorite moment was this one: dancing with my mom and grandma to "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang in the kitchen and seeing my grandmother beaming with her brightest smile. It can't get any better than that. And it won't. 

Bopping back and forth to the beat, I savored the moment, because it would never come again. This year will never come again, nor will the opportunity to spend this much time with my family. To go on evening walks with my grandma and our dog Charlotte. To play pickleball with my mom. To enjoy a good glass of wine with my dad and make My Big Fat Greek Wedding references.

Just like the seasons, our lives are constantly changing. I had missed my friends and life in college so much that I had not realized I was missing out on the life right in front of me. Each day, I hope to live with heightened mindfulness and appreciation for the now, for every moment is only fleeting, fading into the next.

Some favorite snapshots of the season.

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