Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gone missing

I've lost my pants. Seriously, in all of the moving about, somewhere along the line I've misplaced like 5 pairs of pants, my favorite ones, along with my favorite belt, some sweet silver heels, and various other miscellaneous items. While it feels great to unpack finally and have a permanent place (stay tuned for an introduction to my neighborhood), I am also realizing how many things have gone missing and how many new things like furniture I need to buy. I have a lot of settling in to do.

These things that have gone missing serve as an analogy for my spiritual life. As I watched the General Relief Society broadcast last night (alone, on my computer because I was waiting for my bed to be delivered), many times I was moved to tears. i found myself incredibly overwhelmed by the spirit, and overwhelmed with how much I have missed church. I think that it especially struck me when President Monson mentioned Sister Faust and the rest of president Fausts family, and I had to go read through the news section of to discover that President Faust died in August. This absolutely devastated me. I really love President Faust. His talks never fail yo touch me.. He had this really incredibly way of talking about trials, and finding peace through them. He had such a peaceful demeanour and manner about him. In fact, the last fireside i went to in Utah was at the Tabernacle and President Faust spoke there. I remember the spirit testifying yet again that yes, this was one of his prophets, and that the words he spoke would bring peace. I miss President Faust, and while I am sad that he is gone, I am even more sad that I didn't know that he had died.

I missed a lot of Sundays in church while traveling. Just as I survived living out of a back pack, I've survived spiritually by reading my scriptures and praying and attending as a visitor in other wards. But, just like with the missing pants, I miss being settled spiritually. I've missed having a ward to attend, and visiting and home teachers. I've missed going to the temple. I've missed taking the sacrament every week and knowing people at church, and having my Sabbath days be devoted to growing the spiritual things. While I am not in bad shape spiritually, I crave to be settled and find that balance in my life again. Now, more than ever, i also feel that it is so important to stay strong and active in the church because there are so many opportunities to not do so.

I attended MY ward, the Park Slope ward for the first time today. It felt like home. And it certainly helped that some old friends of mine from college, Chris and Brooke Romney are in that ward! I'm taking it as a sign that this is where I need to be. Ah, the church is true.

The golden wedding.

This is my friend Meghan. She got married on September 22nd. The wedding was a total fairy tale wedding and so much fun!

And I had an amazing time dressing in a beautiful gown, have my hair and make-up done, and ride in a limo. I look kinda hot, if I do say so myself.

At the age of 16, meghan and i would have never thought that life would turn out this way. It is funny and amazing and mind boggling to see friends grow up. We always thought that I would be the first one married, being the good mormon kid and all. We scoffed at traditions and pictured ourselves eloping or walking down the aisle to Radiohead, and never, ever living in suburbia. And now, I am one of the last of my high school friends to settle down, and Meghan is talking about buying a house with her husband (husband!) Rob. it is funny and amazing and mind boggling. But mostly amazing to see her find the love of her life, the person who makes her be the most and best Meghan, and her to complete him in ways (such as sending him to a video game convention) that no one thought possible. I'll toast my virgin shirley temple to them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jackie popped!

Jackie, pregnant for the third time, just popped this morning! She had her third baby girl this morning at about 6 am in her bathtub. And yes, it was on purpose, cuz a midwife was there to help her along. I hear she and the baby are doing beautifully. I am so excited! She is one of my best friends, and my twin-- we have the same birthday and had oh so many adventures together growing up! It is strange to think of her with a family of three little girls now, while I haven't even found one for myself! Luckily, she would let me borrow hers if they were closer (and I have big plans for galavanting around the world with baby Suvi because that is what you do with namesakes).

here are her previous two daughters, Arella and Suvi.

I need to go to Florida to visit them sometime really soon. Aren't they adorable?

Monday, September 24, 2007

To all those who have been homeless...

... doesn't it feel great to finally have a place to call home? Boo-YAH, yes it does!!

I've been a homeless wanderer for two months. I've slept at the homes of friends, in the homes of family, in the homes of strangers, in the beds of friends, on couches, on floors, in airports, on airplanes, on planes, on buses, and even some hostels. Some nights I haven't slept. Most uncomfortable place to sleep was definitely the plastic benches at the airport overnight with people walking by. Most comfortable was Michele's friend's gilded apartment in a king sized bed.

You want to know the best part about this? Up until about September 1st this was intentional, but then I was supposed to have a place to live. I moved to a city that I know essentially nothing about with all of my belongings, and not much idea of what would happen to me. I could've ended up sleeping in the subway, but not once was I really concerned that would actually happen. I am completely amazed by the incredible kindness of friends and strangers who have let me into their home or held onto my stuff. I feel incredibly blessed and so, so grateful that this experience has been so positive, especially when it could've sucked so much.

I just want to give a public shout out to the great people of New York City who have helped me out (and a few who were connectors): Di and Mim for letting me stay before traveling; Mike for making sue I had a place to stay when I came back to New York; Mike's friend Megan who let me stay right after i came home from Poland and cat-sit; the Ward's back in Medfield; the Kelly's on Martha's Vineyard; Meri in Salt lake and for keeping all of my stuff as i've wandered around; Helen for letting me sleep on her bed, on her floor, and keeping all my stuff in her corner for an indeterminable amount of time, and her roommates for understanding; Christian for introducing me to Trevor; Trevor, Shelly, and baby Maddie for letting me stay at their house without knowing me when baby Maddie came early; Michele for contacting her friend Gayle; Gayle, Tony, and baby Max for letting me stay in their gilded palace apartment while they went on vacation to show off the baby; and last, but definitely not least, my new roommate Emily for finding us a beautiful place and making sure that I was always taken care of somewhere while our move-in date kept changing.

I now have a home. I have no furniture or anywhere to put things, but you know what? I don't have to repack my suitcases. I can have all of my stuff in one place. I can buy things. I can have my mail forwarded to me and buy groceries and get to know my neighborhood.

I have a place for friends to stay when they are visiting or maybe even homeless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oh Rats!

I saw the biggest, ugliest, most vermany rat int eh world yesterday. I was walking down the street last night and it darted out from under some trash bags. And the, another one! I swear, they were eying my toes, uncovered in my flip-flops, wanting to sink their sharp little ratty fangs into my big juicy toes. Those beady eyes and those fat wormy tails. I stood there for a full minute I think, wondering HOW i would possibly get by, and envisioning the two of them plotting to take me down. I would walk by and the first one would come from the front towards my toes while the second one would sneak up behind and dig those teeth into my achilles tendon. I would crumble to the ground and within moments be covered by swarms of writhing rat bodies, chewing me up alive.

Luckily, i made it past alive. but just barely.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The year of doing whatever I want to.

This is me at the age of 27.

My birthday was yesterday, and as it goes for me on birthdays, i spent a little bit of time reflecting on this past year. Last year, I stole Frances' idea and made it "The Year of Suvi". While there certainly moments when I was pretty convinced that this was most definately NOT my year, I have to say, when I think about it, this was the year that I did exactly what I wanted to do. A recap:

I spent birthday 26 in Moab for a work trip. Amazingly beautiful place in a canyon on the Colorado. Little did I know that a year later I would end up here

This year included the following:
- Having a great job
- Quitting my great job
- A very broken heart
- Rebounding from the broken heart and finally getting over it
- Feeling like a useless piece of paper and trying to fill it
- Applying to grad school
- Getting into grad school
- Learning to ski
- Watching loads of free, socially concious films all over salt lake
- Reaching a point where I don't want to kiss that many people ever again
- Spending lots of time in the mountains
- Spending lots of time in the temple
- Making my first audio doc and starting a number of others
- Traveling to: San Diego, Fresno, Toronto, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Finland, Estonia, and Poland
- Moving to New York City and starting the MPA program at NYU
- Being homeless for two months
- Putting lots of things into boxes and throwing things away
- Flying an airplane
- Discovering amazing new friends and reconnecting with amazing old friends
- Getting lost
- Learning about fine chocolates
- Going to a refugee camp
- Learning about Chechnya
- Visiting a concentration camp
- Buying a camera and taking lots of pictures

Now, this isn't a comprehensive list at all, but I think that it nicely sums up my life this last year. It was one of those years where at the end, i can look back and say, well, that was the year of me because I really became more of who i want to be and experienced so many things that make life really amazing. Yes, even the heart break.

On to more exciting things like Magnolia's cupcakes:

Yum! Come visit me an you will experience these and the banana pudding which is to die for. Just ask Damian, who happened to be in town this weekend.

And finally, since it is the week of September 11th, for my walking tour this week I went with helen, luis and Thomas to Battery Park and the WTC site.

That is one large American flag.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Now just one New York minute

... I think that means a minute packed with more things than a minute anywhere else.

I was sitting at the Puck building today

which happens to be the headquarters for Wagner (my school), and I was talking with a new found friend and fellow student, a nice boy names Chris who is from Texas and happened to grow up in my mission. We were talking about our house hunting adventures (I am still homeless, although through the kindness of strangers I have a bed to sleep in. Chris found a one room place with no kitchen, which he shares with his best friend. Between the two of them, they have one air mattress, two pillows, and a blanket. And they don't share the bed), and the conversation turned to living in new York in general. This city is full of energy. Everything is in constant motion, and by coming here, you can't help but get caught into the momentum. I think it would be difficult to be complacent here. Maybe it is because all the people I know are doing things. And maybe it is because it would be difficult to move to New York unless you were a doer. And maybe I see New York this way because I am in a program where everyone has amazing experiences and everyone knows that they can do something to change the world.

I want to be a doer. Although this first week has exhausted me, I also feel energized. There are so many things I want to see and do and learn, right now. There aren't enough hours in the day for it all. Graduate school is such a unique time to do many of the things that the working life doesn't allow. Why didn't i get on this boat a long time ago? No, really, i feel like this is the perfect time and the perfect place for me. I feel like traveling helped to clear the slate-- that time away helped me to heal and to let go and to refocus on the things that I truly love and want in life. And now I feel ready for this energy, this grand New York minute.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

finance is HOT!

I am a grad student! I started school again today, totally intimidated by my statistics class and finance for nonprofits. I felt like a kid going into the sixth grade, wondering if the 8th graders would steal my lunch money or if I could survive without recess. And I came to discover... i really LIKE my classes!

Shocking, i know. For those of you who know me, you know i am more of a "soft" science person-- sociology, political science, that kind of stuff. I've never really had a close, intimate relationship with numbers. But, statistics winked at me this morning and finance pulled some pretty slick moves. I think i may be falling for him. It is amazing how interesting it all is to me, now that it is all applicable.

I can't wait to put together a budget! Okay, now back to reading three more chapters for my first microeconomics class....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

New York, New York (imagine a Broadway show, because that is what this is)

I know, all of my recent blogs have been about Chechens. Well, I'm sorry, now I am back and I have nothing more to say about the refugee center. I'll try to make some Chechen friends here so I have more to write about. Just skip this blog entry and read the ones about the Chechens.

Picture this: Dark stage, stage left lit by a single bare light bulb, revealing a girl (approximately 26, but looks like she could be turning 27 in about 9 days) lying on her stomach on a creaky bed. The room, obviously not hers, is cluttered with shelves and books, and a packed suitcase sits on the floor. The window behind her rattles as you hear the sound of a train passing by. People shouting outside on the street. Girl rummages through her bag and finally finds a leather bound journal and stubby pencil (much more romantic and 1940s than an apple laptop). She gazes wistfully at the ceiling. Cue soft music. Girl begins to sing a song (which will most definately involve twirling around the bedpost and pushing away from the window after hiding for a moment under the curtain. And a few leaps across the stage, along with random neighbors barging in with no questions asked to contribute to the singing and dancing. The words are really cheesy, but catchy, and all about the woe of being homeless and not sure of where financial aid has been sent and unsure about her future in graduate school and imagining a future of failure). Song concludes, random strangers leave, and the girl sinks into bed as the first rays of morning light stream in the window. close scene.

That is a pretty good picture of my life in New York. I'm pretty sure it will look like a Broadway musical.