Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bon Voyage

The day has finally arrived-- the day that I leave for the Wanderbird!  It's been weird for the past couple of weeks since I got back from LA, because I'm missing LA, but I'm looking ahead to the Wanderbird, and at the same time I'm feeling like I don't want to let go of my life here, but I'm getting ready for the transition...I'm transitioning away from one transition right into another transition with no space in between.

I've also been getting used to the idea that life is going to continue and nothing is going to stand still and wait for me to get back.  I've had a few conversations with my mom and other people about how I'm worried that something bad is going to happen while I'm gone (I've got a pretty bad track record with being out of town when family dogs die-- knock on wood).  But the thing I have to realize is, whether I'm here or not, it still would have happened, so would it be better to be there when it did or to be away?  I don't know-- maybe being away would soften the maybe that's a good thing.

But besides having potential disasters running through my head, I'm also teaching myself to accept the fact that people are going to keep doing what they're doing, despite my absence.  It feels pretty self-centered to even say that I would have thought that everyone would stop what they were doing for 6 months, but that's not really what I was thinking.  I just never really considered the fact that things could change dramatically; my friends at Emerson are moving into their own apartment off campus; my sister, A, is going to move to Missouri with her boyfriend; my parents might rearrange the house!!  But the fact is, me being gone doesn't change the fact that those things are going to happen, and, although I'm kind of putting my own life (as it is here and now) on hold, no one else could possibly be expected to do that...unless, of course, they were going to sail around in a fishing trawler for 6 months I guess.

Anyway, it's weird to think about missing things.  I don't want to miss anything, but that's impossible.  The good thing is, they have a satellite phone on the boat, so if someone really needs to tell me something, they can leave a message at the boat's onshore office and I won't go more than 24ish hours without hearing about it (because they do check their messages).

So that's that.  You won't be hearing from me on this blog for quite a while.  Actually, it might be never again- I don't know.  Because I may start a new blog.  But don't worry- I'll let you know.  Bye for now!
The tree is is a metaphor...get it?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pros and cons: self-awareness

They say ignorance is bliss, but if you're ignorant about your own mind, it doesn't work out as well.

One of my greatest strengths, in my opinion, has always been self-awareness.  For some reason, I've always been relatively good at realizing what I'm feeling or doing and (usually) why.  It's nice because it helps me figure out what I want to change about myself.  Of course, just because I can see a solution doesn't make it any easier to achieve it, although it's better than the position of those who can't even see their problem.

Self-awareness can also get in the way, though.  Sometimes, I'm too aware of what's going on internally, and when I can't change something negative right away, I start feeling self-conscious about it.  And when I change, I notice it, and it weirds me out.  For example, I've noticed that I became a little bit more mature and confident in myself during my time in LA.  However, I have this habit of reverting to my old ways when I'm around my family, which I think is relatively normal.  But I love my family so much, and they are still a HUGE part of who I am.  This makes it hard when I'm around them now (all of my siblings were home for Easter as a surprise for my parents) and I feel myself reverting to a little bit less mature version of myself.  I hate it.  I love my family and how they help me grow, but it's hard when all that goes along with a less desirable side of myself showing itself on the outside.  So that's something I need to work on.

There are some things about myself that I don't understand quite as well as my maturity and the way it's affected by certain people.  I get annoyed with myself when I don't understand what's going on.  I'll be feeling something that doesn't make any sense and then I'll get all irritated because it doesn't make any sense.  It's actually kind of funny because I do the same thing with other people.  I try really hard (internally) to understand people's little quirks, and even when they're weird and I don't think they're good quirks, I'm able to get over it.  But when I simply can't understand something that someone does, I just get really frustrated by it.  I guess I sort of treat myself the same way that I treat other people...I just understand myself a little bit more.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The last few days in pictures.

I think this is the longest I've gone without blogging since I started the blog.  I've just been too busy.  Since my dad got here, we've been go-go-go.  We went and did the touristy stuff that I never got to do in Hollywood:

This isn't touristy- it's just hilarious.
Drove 9 hours up the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway:

elephant seals

...did some pretty insensible, dangerous things.
...took a picture of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean
Went to San Francisco!

...looked at sea lions on Pier 39
...went to Ghirardelli Square and saw how they make chocolate (and ate some too)
...crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.
...and went to the Muir Woods to look at the redwood trees.
Then we drove back to LA (only 6 1/2 hours this time- we took a different route), and tomorrow we're flying home!  Hooray!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Being a Lazybones

I had a good idea for a blog today, but then my day happened and I decided to write it later.

My dad just came into town!  I'm so excited- tomorrow we're going to start a few days' worth of touristy goodness.  We had a little social "soiree" with my piano teacher and a friend this evening.  It was fun to have my dad meet some people from my life here in LA.  Anyway, I'm really tired and I want to sleep, so I'll write a better blog tomorrow (well, I won't promise tomorrow- but in the next few days)- maybe about my day and maybe about something else.

Anyway, goodnight.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dealing with Transitions

With less than a week to go before I fly home, I've entered transition mode...and it's not going very well.  Just when I finally started settling into life in LA and appreciating the way things work and really getting to know the people I work and interact with on a daily basis, I have to leave.  It's weird because normally, I'm pretty good with transitions.  Actually, I usually really like transitions.  I think I've written about this before (maybe not), but my favorite feeling is the feeling of going somewhere, driving or flying or even walking some place- a destination, because that way I know that there's really something there in my tangible future.  I think that that's also the reason I like transitions, but for whatever reason, I'm really not handling this well.

At this point, I've started feeling some pre-nostalgia about things here that are going to end in the next couple of days.  It's not a pleasant feeling, although nostalgia can be nice.  I've also been having a hard time dealing with the little things that happen during my days that are frustrating.  There are eensy things like an interaction with someone at work that bugged me, or not being able to find parking, or something like that that will totally knock me over the edge and I just think, "Gah!!  Why can't this all just END already?  I'm sick of this!  It sucks!  I'm not going to miss this and it's almost over-- why do I have to keep dealing with it?!"  I actually feel kind of bad because I know that this dilemma has been causing me to be somewhat irritable towards those people I feel more comfortable with.  The other problem is that I'm quite homesick (as happens whenever I'm this close to going home), so everything seems like it's going badly.

Here I am with Marta and her friend while they
played dress-up with me as their doll

I also know, deep down, that I'm even going to miss the bad things about LA, because it's always easier to see the silver lining in things from afar.  That happens to me all the time.  For example, when I was in Panamá, I didn't click very well with my host mom.  Practically from the third week I was there, I was counting the days until I could be done living with her.  I also got really irritated by my host family's dog, Grumpi (pronounced GROOM-pee).  He was adorable, but completely untrained and unrestrained and he tried to eat everything I owned, including my stuffed animal platypus, Platy, and that was just crossing a line.  But now, I find myself wanting to email Marta (host mom) and checking in with her and wishing I could visit her sometime.  So there must have been something good about our relationship when I was there that I wasn't aware of at the time, because now I miss it.  The same thing happened with Grumpi.  I found out a few months after I went back to the U.S. that he had gotten hit by a car and killed.  I was so upset.  I cried and cried.  Now I'd never get to see him again, even if I ever got back to Panamá.  It's really weird how that happens.  I guess absence really does make the heart grow stronger...

Grumpi- see?  He's adorable!  I just couldn't take his insanity...
But my experience in Panamá was the first in many experiences that taught me to make as much of any given situation as I possibly can.  Actually, it's nice that I had already learned that lesson when I started thinking about taking time off.  A lot of what informed my final decision (among many other things) was the idea that if I didn't do it, I would never know if I had missed something (which I know now, I would have).  Now, no matter what happens in the next year, at least I'll know that I gave myself every opportunity to figure it out.

So, is it bad that at this point I'm so homesick that I just want everything to end so that I can miss it?  It might be kind of bad.  But I know I'll appreciate it in retrospect, so why can't we just get on with those positive feelings now?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In which I interact with famous people

Today's post is going to be short because I'm so exhausted, I can hardly see straight.  Today was my last day with the independent producer.  She took me to Lake Hollywood in the morning and we hiked around it, which was nice.

Later in the evening, we went to a screening of "Rocky" at the Warner Brothers lot (sponsored by NYFA- New York Film Academy), after which the woman I work for held a Q and A with John Avildsen, the director of the film (that and Karate Kid and other things).  After the Q and A, she took a picture of me with him (he was very gracious).  It was extra nice too, because I had met Rob Reiner a couple of weeks before, but didn't have the guts to tell the woman I work for that I wanted a photo with him (because he's AWESOME- I love "The Princess Bride").  I had forgotten how great a movie "Rocky" is.  I haven't seen it in years, and I really enjoyed it.

Near the beginning of the Q and A, John Avildsen told us that he likes to take home videos (in fact, he took a video of us cheering for him as he walked up onto the stage).  So, the other, equally cool thing that happened was, when the woman I work for mentioned to Avildsen that I go to Emerson, he said, "Oh, I have a daughter about your age who's looking at Emerson.  I'm going to take a video...what do you like about Emerson?"  And he proceeded to take out his iPhone and take a video of me giving advice to his daughter about Emerson.  How cool is that?  John Avildsen just took a video of me on his phone...awesome.

It was really great to listen to him talk about film and his experiences.  I could hear a palpable passion in his voice with everything he said.  He was so emphatic about all of his stories, etc.  It was pretty inspiring.

Cat Calls: Flattery in Creepiness...or Something

I'm torn by something.

When I get cat called or whistled at on the street, I know I should be a little bit wary, and I am.  But my first feeling when I hear random strangers making sexy noises at me is flattery.  I know it's weird, because usually the offenders are somewhat senile homeless people or otherwise creepy men who I really shouldn't be mixed up with, but I can't help it-- who doesn't like to be told they're attractive?  I realize that that sounds incredibly sad and desperate, but it's not.  This is a weird thought to try and articulate in writing, but I'll give it a try.

I remember when I turned 13, my parents paid for me to go and visit my sister, A, in New York City and for us to go see a show on Broadway.  At the time, I had little to no exposure to the world of men who felt it wasn't inappropriate to make public their feelings about a complete stranger's body.  I noticed that A got a number of cat calls and men saying things like, "ooh, girl, you so fine," and things like that.  At first, I felt super threatened on A's behalf, but I soon realized that she didn't mind so much.  I mean, she wasn't inviting it or anything like that at all, but she seemed kind of pleased with herself whenever a guy took notice of her.

Get it?
From then on, as I started growing up, I began to realize that it's actually fine to be kind of flattered about things like that, so long as you're not an idiot about it.  When I was living in Boston, I got the most exposure to that kind of thing that I ever had (Maine isn't exactly a giant haven for that crowd).  At first, it was weird to have so many people right around where I lived calling out and whistling to my friends and me, but we got used to it and it sort of became part of what being in Boston meant.  We liked to joke around after a while.  Someone would come back from a walk outside and say, "watch it if you go to CVS-- the homeless guys over there are in major harassment mode today."

My time in Boston has taught me valuable skills in how to handle those types of situations.  I find that it's ok to feel good about them if you aren't really showing that you feel good about it, because then people will think it's ok to maybe do something that isn't so appreciable...I find it best to ignore it and smile on the inside.

There are some times when it's not just a whistle or kissy noises.  Sometimes it's a little harder to just ignore.  The other day, I was at the library reading a script for my friend.  A guy came and sat down across the table from me and started listening to music on some sort of MP3 player.  After a while, he just looked at me and said, "Hi!"  Now, I suppose some people could just ignore this, but it was so direct, and I have a hard time just ignoring that kind of thing.  So I just said "hi" back and kept reading.  He started talking to me about age and how old he felt (he had asked me how old I was-- I lied, but I don't think it really mattered- this guy didn't seem dangerous, necessarily, just...what's the word...pushy?).  He told me about how he was 30 years old and already had gray hairs.  I assured him that I had met younger people with gray hair.  He kept saying things, and I would smile and nod and go back to my reading.  Eventually, he got up to leave, said it was nice to meet me, and told me I had nice feet.  He told me that it reflected well on me that I took care of my feet, and he told me to keep taking care of my feet.

Ok- so it was bizarre.  But COME ON.  If I can handle myself, why not be kind to a creepy stranger?

...I feel like I'm trying to validate myself right now...I don't know why it matters.

It's interesting to see the way different people deal with these things.  Sometimes I'm impressed, and then sometimes I just think, "wow...that girl's such a dumbass."  One time, I was waiting for the T (subway) with a friend of mine, K, from Emerson, and a very clearly mentally challenged older man shuffled up to K and said, "will you go on a date with me?"  I was a little freaked out, because at the time, I still wasn't used to this kind of behavior, but K smoothly (and mercifully apologetically) replied, "I'm sorry; I have a boyfriend," and the guy just walked away.  I don't even think she had a boyfriend at the time.  That response just came really easily for her.  I was impressed.

Another time, a different friend of mine, H, was drunk.  A group of us decided to go for some late night pizza.  H came along and started flirting with some guys outside the pizza place.  Now, it was very clear to us (mainly because we were sober) that these were not guys you wanted to flirt with, particularly at 2 o'clock in the morning in the middle of Boston.  The guy she was flirting with kept grabbing her ass and saying, "come 'ere, baby..." and H didn't seem to mind or sense that the situation wasn't a good one.  Eventually our strong, male friend took H away from the guy and we went back to the dorm with our pizza.  Granted, she was drunk, but I couldn't help but think that if I'd been in a similarly substance-induced situation, I wouldn't have been quite so irresponsible...

Anyway, I'm not really sure what the purpose of this post was except perhaps to make the point that it's ok to be flattered by creepy strangers' behavior as long as you aren't stupid.