Although May is still three months away, we’ve already begun preparing for its arrival. On our to-do list: finding a new home in the East Bay (which entails vetting houses/apartments/neighborhoods, applying, “winning,” signing a lease, coughing up a first and last, etc.), making reservations for our Europe trip (which means finally deciding on our main stops and reserving plane and train tickets and Airbnb rooms), and then, eventually, packing up all our belongings and moving them into our new home before Eric’s graduation and our departure date three days later. In some ways, this process is a bit like the endless staircase we found while hiking in the Berkeley hills over the weekend. At first, the climb seems all too doable and you forge ahead confidently and quickly…until you realize that each new step is a little bit harder than the last and you still can’t see the top of the stairs. Still, while I can’t yet see over the hill of planning and arrangements that we have in store for us, I know that the end will come eventually, just as the month of May will. Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’…
On a more positive note, this Europe trip is going to be the perfect icing on the cake of transition we’re making over here! I can’t wait to share with you all the stops we have planned. If you have any recommendations for towns & cities that we must see while in France, Italy, and Spain, please leave a comment below! We’re still making final arrangements and can certainly be persuaded to visit places not yet on our list!
Like many students, every winter throughout college I migrated back home to stay with my family for the holidays. The break would last about a month, wherein I would get horribly sick (let’s face it, I’d probably had a total of 5 hours of sleep during finals), lounge around the house in sweatpants, drink tea with my high school besties, and de-compress/de-stress from my grueling college semester.
I’ve now been out of college for over a year and am happy to report that, while I no longer get horribly sick when I return home (thank the heavens), for the second winter in a row I have had the luxury of spending 2-3 weeks with my family in their home on the Central Coast.
Now, if you’re still in college, you might not realize how envious some of my working friends are of my vacation situation. For most of us when we enter the working world, “winter break” becomes a phrase of the past. Instead of a month-long chill-sesh in December and January, one must continue with one’s job, hopefully getting the chance to spend a couple paid (and heavily rationed) vacation days with family and friends at one point or another during the holidays. This is the life of the working college grad. This should be my life, but for some very lucky reasons it has, blessedly, not been just yet. Here’s why:
My first year out of college I was lucky enough to have a boss who understood the necessity of being away from the freezing-ass cold of West Philadelphia in December and let me take a very generous break to be with my family in California (for the record, I did get some work done…some). Technically, I was on a paid vacation and, technically, I should have only been home for a week or less (thanks, VISTA), but, happily, I was able to have a “winter break” like the college kid I still felt I was. And it was lovely! When I returned back to work in January I was ready to tackle whatever grant proposal came my way! I had had my flu, I had relaxed deeply, and I had visited with the high school buddies that keep me going. It was great!
After my service year ended, I was lucky enough to have a “summer break” (read: lived off/spent all of my meager savings) before beginning work as a consultant in August. And then, due to the contractual nature of my new job, I received this wonderful little break in December, which meant, and means until next week, that once again I am on “winter break” when really I should be slogging away at an office somewhere wishing that my weekends were two days longer.
So, while I do not know how long this job will last and while I have yet to figure out my professional goals in life, I take comfort in the knowledge that while I am in this tele-commuting ”free-lance consultant” unstable/confusing/and bizarre point in my career, I get to spend my days wherever the fuck I want (ahem, can afford). And this holiday season, I am spending them curled up on the couch in my parents’ family room, trying to make out the words on my computer screen over the intense glare that is coming from the window behind me. It’s a rough life.
Yes, there’s a part of me that wishes I had a career with a steady income, but there’s also another part of me, and, let’s face it, in this moment a much bigger part of me, that’s so dang pleased that I get to spend this long stint of time back home. Maybe I’ll have normal adult vacations in this new year. But right now, I’ll bask in the glory that is free-lance employment and enjoy the last few days of my break. Suck it, bitchez.
Image via b$/ram
It’s been awhile! I am back from a long blog-hiatus and am as refreshed and as busy as ever. Since much of my after-work (think after 5pm) time has been devoted to Beginners of late, KU has been simmering contentedly on the back burner of the stove of life for a few months now. And while it has been a whole lot of fun to work on new projects, and while I can’t wait to see what that beautiful venture (Beginners, obvs) has in store, I think it’s time to get back to my blogging roots and start posting here again.
I must confess, not much has happened since I stopped writing in October. I am still living and loving in Berkeley, still figuring out what my passions are, still trying to illuminate career goals. The usual. I spent most of December and part of January in Santa Cruz with my family (more on this break of sorts next time), venturing down the coast for a few days to see more relatives too. It’s been lovely. The following images were taken over the last month; the first few on a day-hike at Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz, the second to last in LA, the final on our journey back home.
Eric and I are now back in Berkeley. Over the last few days we’ve (ahem, he’s…) been assembling a small-scale aquaponics thingy in our room. We’ve now been to Home Depot, like, way too many times. But it’s coming along nicely, I think! We’ll be posting about it over on his blog, Electric Tree House, over the next few weeks…if it works, that is. I’ve been working on new websites for both my padres and cooking up a storm! For example, this evening we made bahn mi and vermicelli bowls. Can you say, no yell, YUMMY! And last night we made feijoada, a DELICIOUS, and I’m talking fucking-fantastic, Brazilian bean dish. Try it! It’s amazing!
It’s a little past 10pm now and Eric and I have made a pact to be in bed by 11pm as much as possible this year, so I must sign off! Let’s see if we can wake up at 8am (also in the pact) and do yoga (that’s in the pact I have with myself) too. I’ll let you know!
Today we hiked on and around Mount Tamalpais, the highest peak in the Marin Hills. As we left Berkeley this morning the whole bay was totally socked in with fog and I feared that, even if we hiked to the tippy top of the tallest mountain, we’d never escape it. Well, I should not have feared because it turns out that it’s always sunny on Mt. Tam! Have you ever hiked it? What’s your favorite trail?
Just a note: this is a round bracket-heavy post, so if they’re a pet peeve of yours you might want to mosy. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…folks, I am very whelmed right now. I use this descriptor instead of, say, overwhelmed, because I, praise the heavens, haven’t yet reached that point of whelmed-ness. The 9-5, guests from out of town, living it up in this fair city, saying goodbye to my dear friends here, and packing up all the junk I’ve accumulated over the last few years is really taking it out of me! Yes, I’ve had moments to breathe, but at this particular stage in my whelmed-ness I’d like to spend those brief periods napping, knitting, and/or spacing out rather than on the computer smacking keys around (not that I really smack them, but you get my point). I want to say that I’ll be back to my regular posts in no time at all (I say that a lot, don’t I), but I foresee a few more weeks of relative internet silence on Kylin Untitled. And that’s because this month, already off to a raucous start, is gonna get even more real! Here’s just a hint of what’s in store, ‘case you’re curious: a visit from my brother who’s arriving tomorrow (yay!); my final week of work (which means wrapping up all my projects! Ack!); packing packing packing; saying goodbye to Lady House (and all the crying and sadness that will no doubt precede and follow this task); flying from Philly to SF; seeing Eric (wahoo!); HOME (HOMMMEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!); camping in Mariposa and Yosemite (just two days after I land); hanging with friends who I haven’t seen in ages; hiking hiking Santa Cruz Big Sur hiking; and moving into our new place in Berkeley (what the!), all pretty much in that order too.
And that’s just July! August will bring with it a whole new set of adventures: learning a new city, seeing my padres (finally!), and beginning a new job. Can I hear you say TRANSITIONS?! So! In order to keep an overwhelmed state of being far far away, my plan is to post when I can, where I can (hah!), but to lose all the regular features. That means goodbye Happy Humpday!, Bits & Bobs, Flickr Friday, and Musical Moment (not like I’ve been perfect about posting those anyway, but a girl can try!), at least for now. Once I find my life rhythm again (cue end of transition period), likely sometime in late August or early September, I will be back to blogging with (hopefully) lots and lots of excellent goodies to share with you! So goodbye for now, friends, and, in the words of Lavar Burton, I’ll see you next time (whenever that is wink wink).
All images by Randy P. Martin, because this man’s photos visually convey my feelings. Click through for direct links to the images on Flickr.
As I hinted in last week’s Flickr Friday post, I spent the weekend in Florida! I had feared rainy weather but there were no storms to speak of, just tropical temperatures and fantastic ocean breezes.
Saturday was our Miami day. Dad and I had never been before, but we’d both seen Burn Notice and The Birdcage and felt semi-prepared. And neither show failed to disappoint! Miami is just like Burn Notice and The Birdcage. Just kidding! But seriously, a little bit. Lots of boozing tan people with designer clothes and nothing to do. Wow, that was rude. I’m sorry. The little we saw of Miami gave me that general impression. That said, we really only hit up the crazy tourist zones: Vizcaya, Miami Beach, and Lincoln Road Mall. Mojitos were had, delicious food was eaten, a brief homage to Burn Notice was paid (I’ll post our pictures of that later…), and general site seeing of the “fanciest” spots was conducted.
Speaking of the latter, one of the highlights, and also one of the more freaky moments, was when we decided to explore the islands that house the ocean-front properties of the wealthiest Miami folks. As we drove over the bridge to Palm Island, we realized, of course, that it was a gated community (according to Wikipedia, Al Capone and Barbara Walters have lived/live there). The guard asked us our business and we told him the facts: we’re tourists from California and we want to see some of the homes, sir. And he let us in! I was super surprised too, given that we were in a huge black van with tinted windows…but I guess Pops and I “passed.” We spent the next half hour driving around Palm and Hibiscus islands, gawking at all the houses with their fancy cars and ginormous yachts. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a neighborhood like it. 1% much?
By the end of the day we were ready for the real world. A coworker of my Dad’s had told him about a great food place out in Little Havana (technically still in Miami), so we headed west for some authentic Cuban cuisine. And damn was it good! El Palacio de Los Jugos, man. Check it out. Dad and I practiced our Spanish and ordered two huge plates of carne and arroz con frijoles, proceeding to stuff our faces. It was beautiful. Then we got stomach aches and went to Whole Foods for a salad. Typical Central Californians with a real or imagined need for ruffage.
On Sunday, Pops and I drove out to the Everglades for an airboat ride at Sawgrass Recreation Park. Gators! They swam right on up to the boat as our guide calmly explained that these guys have a five foot vertical leap. Cool. We learned some about the various Everglades ecosystems (complex!), the awesome animals that inhabit the swamplands (manatees!), and the foreign plants (melaleuca!) and species (think python snakes!) that are messing with the area. Our guide also told us that Prez Obama has put 2.5 million into removing over 200 miles of Florida highway in order to remedy the dam situation that they’ve created (those damn dams! You were thinking it so I wrote it).
We spent the rest of the day touring Ft. Lauderdale, once again driving around to check out the fancy homes (this time on “regular” non-gated islands) until I got car sick from looking out the window and scoffing.
Overall it was a lovely, though perhaps disorienting, Florida weekend. Was it the shortness of my stay or the culture shock (hello tanned 60 year old women in miniskirts!) that made it all feel so crazy? Not too sure. No matter, I will return! And when I do, I plan to hit up Key Largo and maybe even see some manatees! I shall also sing Bette Midler’s “Only in Miami” and it will be great.*
*The whole time we were in Florida I couldn’t get the “Only in Miami is Cuba so far away” refrain out of my head. Also, Bette Midler’s Experience the Divine was one of the first albums I ever purchased with my own money…no joke.
I just discovered Wayfare Magazine, a new digital publication with a focus on all things travel. In the magazine’s words:
Every element of Wayfare highlights what we feel travel should be: motivating, accessible, and delightful — whether you are in a faraway place, on a weekend getaway or simply exploring a new corner of your hometown. We recognize that travel is not defined by how many miles you cover. It’s about finding inspiration along the way and celebrating the everyday moments. It’s about the spirit of discovery – breaking out of your routine to unwind, connect, and learn. It’s this desire to go, to celebrate and to experience that drives everything we do.
Regular posts will return in the New Year! Happy Holidays!
(via As Ink Remains)
Having recently purchased my bike (Sally), and falling more and more in love with her every day as we adventure together through the streets of West Philly, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for all projects bike related. Introducing the Bicycle Portraits, a photographic/storytelling collaboration between Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler who photographed over 500 individuals during their 2 year travels across South Africa.
“When they started the project, Bicycle Portraits aimed to be a study of South African commuter culture, and they wanted to find out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, if and why they love their bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option. But Bicycle Portraits has turned into a portrait of a nation through the bicycles that they own and ride every day – revealing all manner of social, class, historical and cultural nuances never imagined.”
To help with the publishing of the project and to preorder a book, visit their Kickstarter page.
I saw these photos on Krisatomic a few months back and fell in love. At first, I thought they were images of a miniature doll city. Those houses seemed too small, too cute, too colorful to be real. But then I read the description. Turns out these are pictures of Reykjavik, Iceland, taken from atop a church steeple and from a helicopter.