Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Everybody Knows that the Dice are Loaded

"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed." ~ Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen is making his first appearance in Portland this evening at the Theater of the Clouds. While it is his first time to play our arena, it just happens to be the last event that I will work at the Rose Quarter. It is not surprising that I was a little emotional when I wrote my Rose Quarter blog today.

Unforunately, I caught a nasty bug so I have been chugging tea and red bull all day. Leonard is scheduled to perform for three hours, so this will be a long night and I need all the artificial energy I can get. I can't tell if I am on the verge of crying because my eyes are itchy and watery from this cold or if I am emotional because it is my last event. It's hard to know if this truly is my last event I will ever work, but this will definitely be the last event that I will work at the Rose Quarter. Saying good-bye to this arena is bittersweet. On one hand, I am extremely excited to move to New Zealand and the adventures that lie ahead. But I am sad to say good-bye to all the amazing people I work with. This arena has an amazing staff and I have made some lifelong friends. Hopefully it is not good-bye, but just a see you later. I rolled the dice and took a gamble when I quit my job and made the decision to move to the southern hemisphere...but in the end I think I picked a winner!

I think I am a gypsy at heart, so perhaps that is why I enjoy checking my daily horoscope and having my tarot cards read. Because my move was such a gamble, I decided to have my tarot cards read by a woman that I met at a work function a few months ago. Her name is Jewels Edwards and she is a marketer by day, and a tarot card reader by night. While most of you probably think this is crazy, I can't help but hope there is a little truth to what she said. I called her early in December and asked her to give me a general overview of the next five to six months, so I am going to share with you some of the things she said. Please no judgment, but do know that I didn't tell her anything...I just asked her to tell me about the next six months. 

The sun card was present which means a new beginning is coming. She said there is a big change in my life, but I have lost the enthusiasm. I had the queen of ones card, but it shows up on it's head which means I am questioning my decision. However, admist all of my concerns about job, money and love - the sun card is in the center and is the happiest card of all. She sees forward momentum and that I am winning the internal war that I have been battling. She said healing is an outcome of this process and I get all of the things I have 
always wanted. 

She also said money is fine and I have new opportunity. But she said it looks as though I am being drug along, like I have dug my heals into my current position and now I am questioning it because this concept is so foreign. I wonder if I am out of my mind?  Am out of my element?  This is a huge step. It's like stepping off a cliff - but healing is coming. The opportunity can bring me amazing energies, learning and growth. It will put me in front of people I would have never met.  She said that these people are going to have a huge impact on my life.  She said I will face challenges, but to just keep breathing because I made the right decision. 

There is more to the reading, but this is all I am going to share (or at least while I am sober.) For all of you skeptics, I am sure you could say this could apply to anything in my life. This general reading meant more to me, because it is exactly how I feel. I have lost the momenentum and question my decision everyday because this whole thing is surreal and foreign to me. I love Portland and the people in it, so why in the world would I be crazy enough to leave? I am nervous about finances and finding a job. If nothing else this just gives me the naive confidence that it is in the cards and will all work out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New York, New York

"Hey, Kids, I heard on the news that an airline pilot spotted Santa's sleigh on its way in from New York City." ~Clark Griswald

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the lights, music and most of all being with family and friends. Every year I make an effort to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies because it helps me get into the spirit (as if I need any help.) Many Christmas movies are set in New York City including: Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and Home Alone 2. Because of this, I have always wanted to visit the Big Apple during the holiday season.

It only took 30 years, but I finally made my dream come true. Over Thanksgiving I went to visit my friend Mick in Baltimore. We spent a day exploring Charm City (Harm City as he calls it.) We visited the Inner Harbor, Fell's Point, stopped by the Clear Channel Radio building and then took in the memorable sites of Druid Park and the surrounding area.  

On Thanksgiving day, Mick and I loaded up our bags and took a scenic six-hour car ride through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. We arrived at our final destination of Schenectady, New York just in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family. I enjoyed spending the holiday with the Lee family. Our holiday was filled with delicious food, lots of vino, an intense game of Apples to Apples and then some hot tub action. With a belly full of food and a nice buzz, I retired to the guest bedroom to get some rest before our big trip to New York City the following day. However, I found it hard to sleep because I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve. I was so excited because I was going to New York City the next morning...something I have waited my whole life to do!

We got up early the next day, enjoyed a nice breakfast with the fam, planned out our route into the city and then said our good-byes. I was very nervous about going to the city (part excitement and part fear that the city would eat me alive..or empty my wallet.) However, when we arrived I felt at home in a New York minute. We stayed in Mick's relatives' studio in Midtown, which had a nice view of the Chrysler Building.    

Our first day in the city was filled with stops at every tourist attraction we could find...Rockefeller Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Madison Square Garden.  We went to Little Italy for an amazing dinner and enjoyed a decent bottle of wine.  We then finished the evening with a visit to the World Trade Center site.  

The second day in the city was just as busy. My friend Liz met us in the morning for some sightseeing. We hopped on the subway and made our way to Central Park for a horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park. While we were in the area, we stopped by FAO Schwarz so I could dance on the giant piano from the movie Big. My friends were slightly embarrased, but I didn't care. I have been dreaming of seeing and doing all of these things since I was a little girl, so I couldn't say no to performing my own butchered verison of Chopsticks on the "Big" piano.  Later that day, we took train to Newark, NJ. This was my first visit to Jersey, but it was a must since I am trying to visit all 50 states. We went to the Prudential Center to see the NJ Devils take on the Philadelphia Flyers. I enjoy a good sporting event, especially when the tickets are free! I was also able to see two friends that work at the Prudential my arena Jersey boys. That night we went to an amazing Peruvian restaurant called Pio Pio. I was so excited because my friend Lauren (former Disney roommate) and her husband joined us for dinner. We managed to consume massive amounts of sangria and order some amazing dishes to share. My trip to the city was amazing because it was filled with new sites and experiences, yet it included old friends. 

The following morning we left the city and drove back to Baltimore. We passed through Delaware (check that state off the list), but didn't even stop because I was on a schedule and needed to fly back to Portland. I am not sure how many miles we drove, but I know that I traveled 5,870 miles in the air.

New York City was incredible and I am so happy I was able to share this experience with good friends. Over a couple days I grew attached to the city and left definitely wanting more. Thomas Wolfe once said, “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”  I couldn't agree more!
Mick and me in NYC!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam

When I turned 30, I decided to create a list of 30 things I would do before my next birthday. I did a pretty good job of checking some big things off my list. I ran a 15k, walked the Portland Marathon, saw Jimmy Buffett in concert (and rocked a pencil thin mustache) and in less than a week I will visit New York City for the first time of my life!

I have had an amazing year...probably one of the best years of my life!  People close to me (including my family) have told me that this is the happiest they have ever seen me. I think this is because I am finally figuring out who I am and what makes me tick...and I am becoming comfortable with that, even when others don't agree. New Zealand for example...I would say 50% of my family and friends think I am crazy, while the other half (and typically those who know me best) realize that this is an adventure of a lifetime and it is exactly what I am meant to do with my life. I also think that I love my life so much because I have formed some deep connections with like-minded people and I have had a blast rockin' life with my friends.

Since my birthday is only a few months away and with my big move on the horizon, I realized that I either needed to revise my list or admit defeat! Aut viam inveniam aut faciam! I shall either find a way or make one!  So I decided  to add a few BIG items and make it my goal to accomplish this entire list by the time I am 40. This gives me a solid 9 years to check everything off my list...I think I can handle that!

  1. Move to a foreign country
  2. Visit New York City
  3. Go to a Jimmy Buffett concert (*October 19, 2010)
  4. Meditate in a buddhist monastery
  5. Volunteer & something meaningful
  6. Play ball on the 50 yard line
  7. Pacific NW Wine Tour (*February 15, 2010 & May 29, 2010)
  8. "Hood to Coast" - Play in the snow & then jump in the ocean (*February 28. 2010)
  9. Run an 10k (*Ran 10k on January 3, 2010)
  10. Attend Oktoberfest in Munich
  11. Run 15k (*March 14, 2010 - Portland Shamrock Run)
  12. Visit Vancouver BC & Vancouver, Washington
  13. Get a tattoo
  14. Write a book
  15. Surf
  16. Hike Mount St. Helen's
  17. Take a pole dancing class (*July 27, 2010)
  18. Try Acupuncture (*January 14, 2010)
  19. Walk the Portland Marathon (*October 10, 2010)
  20. Eat pasta in Italy 
  21. Go wind surfing
  22. Go horseback riding
  23. Stay in a haunted house/motel
  24. Snowboard in the Alps
  25. Run Half Marathon
  26. Go back to school
  27. Sell a painting
  28. Run a full marathon
  29. Drink a beer in a pub in Ireland
  30. Visit all 50 states

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Without a Struggle, There Can Be No Progress

"Without a struggle, there can be no progress."  ~Frederick Douglass

I only have 28 workdays left and 43 days before I leave Portland. When I made this decision, I knew it wouldn't be an easy process to pack up my life and move across the world. As I close this chapter of my life, I am finding it a little more difficult to let go of my Portland life than I thought it would be. I love this city and I have some amazing friends here. My return ticket is booked for Portland and I am storing all of my stuff here, but my biggest fear is that I won't have a life to return to in this city.

My life is in limbo and I don't really feel like I belong anywhere right now. As much as I don't want to say good-bye and leave the City of Roses, I hate this feeling of being a temporary visitor. I am getting antsy for December 23. However, this extra time is important and has allowed me to check things off my list. I booked my traveler's insurance last week, canceled my car insurance, posted more items on Craigslist and secured my storage unit (Erin's house.) I swear my to-do list keeps growing, but I am slowly working my way through it.

Although I have some sad and stressful days, I need to focus on the adventure ahead. I need to come to terms with the fact that life will go on without me in Portland.  As their lives move on, so will mine. 2011 is going to be a year of adventure and new experiences! So instead of missing the things I can't have in Portland, I must focus on the amazing things that are "down under".

My life = A Work in Progress

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sell it and move forward!

“Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~Einstein

I posted my Xterra on Craigslist today! It was both liberating and sad. For those of you who have known me for a long time, you realize that the Xterra was more than just a vehicle to was a sign of my independence. However, I realize it is just a material item and the true sign of independence is being able to sell it and move to New Zealand!

On the same day I posted my "for sale" ad, I saw this blog on Twitter - Explore for a year.  The author talks about the process of selling your possessions and traveling abroad for a year.  I felt like she was reading my mind, because I have the exact same thoughts: Will I need this when I come back to the states?  I am selling this so much less than I bought it for?  If I have to get a storage unit, I might as well keep it all, right?

She helped me see the positive side of selling my possessions and she had the following revelations:
  • Beautiful things are nice, but freedom is even better
  • Experiences make me happy, not things
  • The more I latch on, the harder it is for new things to flow into my life
  • Minimalism leads to clarity
I couldn't agree more!

Wish me luck as I try to sell the Xterra!  She will be missed!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Breaking All the Rules!

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” ~Helen Keller

By society's standards, I should be married, have two beautiful children, own a home in the suburbs and drive a minivan to the job of my dreams. However, I think I took a wrong turn on the road to the "American Dream."  Instead, I am 30 and single. I don't own a home, but rather am the proud owner of an enormous amount of debt. Three years ago I moved across the country to Portland for my career, but I never got the promotion I was working towards. And I love my niece to pieces, but I am not cut out to be a mom right now because I can't even keep a plant alive, let alone a child.

With all that said, I wouldn't change a thing about my life. I love who I am, I cherish the experiences I have had and I have some of the best stories to tell. 

However, I have found myself at crossroads in my life. I had a few things happen in my personal life that made me take a step back and look at the big picture. I asked myself some serious questions. What do you want to accomplish?  What kind of person do you want to be?  What is something you have always wanted to do and haven't been able to check off your bucket list? When I asked my myself these questions, it didn't take long for me to see the answer and thus formulate my plan. I have decided to break all the rules and embark of my biggest adventure of my life.  

I recently turned in my letter of resignation and I am moving to New Zealand in January of 2011. I am not going for a job, I am not going for love...I am going for me!  I am so excited to see what life has in-store for me.  This blog will be not only a way to document my adventures and share them with family and friends, but it will allow me to express myself as I encounter new opportunities and challenges.  I am going to write and be the author of my own story.