I like you

This is what I jotted down on my phone while I was on the train a few days ago:

“Sometimes I’m afraid nothing will feel as good as this fucking place. That nothing will be as classy, so full, and completely filling and fulling and fulfilling. That nothing will look as cool as a giant yellow cookie in the shape of a NY taxi.”

Sometimes life feels so raw and tender and good I want to bite it. Just like a crush who wooed me for months and joked that he wanted to bite me.

Yesterday when I was worn and aching and rubbing my head in a meeting that I also happened to be leading, feeling overworked and underpaid, I looked out the window onto the Manhattan skyline and couldn’t believe it. I was sitting on the 25th floor of THE non-profit institution leading a meeting. At times like these, I don’t even know how I got here. I sometimes take a minute from work when walking around to look out the giant windows to the street below. I see yellow cabs and people crossing the street and the Chrysler building and I try to breathe it all in as if the window were open. When working late, I have gone to the window to see the view at night; what is it about city lights?

This summer can just be a giant apple and I will be eating it. Get it? 😉


4 days alone

Day 1: Freedom

HD left early this morning on a 4 day trip. I didn’t even have time to feel sad or bad, so exhausted was I from the day before. C was still sleeping and I had been tired out showing her around Hartford. I woke up again just in time to have some breakfast with her and drop her at the bus station. Back home in an empty apartment, I realised that it felt great to be alone especially after so much activity. I had all these wonderful ideas of the wonderful things I was going to do now that I had a stretch of time to myself. I also made a mental note to allow myself some days home alone post kids. I can’t imagine how badly I’d need it then. I happily proceeded to cooking and cleaning up.

Day 2: Utter dejection

I woke up early looking forward to a busy day. I had appointments all over the place and made it on time for a 7:30 one. I am not sure how I had time to have the saddest epiphanies ever in between my busy day but I realised that I wasn’t doing too well and that although my life was happy and I was generally happy, I had taken a hit and it was time to acknowledge it.

I had lost my job a few months ago and there seemed to be no end to unemployment in sight. I had made it the 1st couple of months by getting more part-time work but even that ended last month. I was all ready and excited to move and move on, ready to move to a better city (preferably NYC) where I wouldn’t feel so alone. Which brought me to another realisation: I am still lonely. It is still hard to live here even if I have stopped expressing it; denial doesn’t make it go away. I still yearn for a close friend in the same time zone and for a sense of belonging. Worse, I don’t make enough effort with the people I have met here to get to the point of close friendship.

I have read stories about women getting married and feeling lonely which surprised them as they thought it would fulfill every want. Mostly in these stories, they did married men who didn’t understand them as well as they should have. I thought I knew not to have huge expectations in this regard and to not expect one relationship to fulfill me. I should have realised that one relationship is all I would have to count on if I moved though. My disappointment came not from HD’s lack of understanding – although he did struggle to understand why I needed friends – but from my own skewed expectations of married life. I think I had imagined it to be full of parties and friends, not two people stuck in a town with no parties or friends.

I lost my favourite aunt to some inexplicable illness a few months ago. I didn’t even know she was my favourite until it happened. Suddenly, I don’t see a point of visiting Khi anymore. Who else is going to look as forward to meeting HD? Who else will laugh and entertain us and make inappropriate jokes? I can’t imagine the void and I don’t want to go back and see it. Meanwhile another aunt is dying of cancer. Nobody says it like that but I know that’s exactly how it is and I would rather not have false hope.

Other changes include breaking off with 2 of my oldest friends. One had stopped being understanding and friendly a long time ago and the other had changed beyond understanding awhile ago but I held on to the past. I missed the signs to let go and it came about the way it did and now it’s done.

I was hugely disappointed and hurt by my cousins living close by and couldn’t figure out the rejection. Turns out not everyone wants to be close friends with me.

Over the past year and a half, I have suddenly found myself managing daily pain, going in and out of doctors’ offices, getting needles stuck in me on a monthly basis, put under general anesthesia twice, and generally feeling like my body is letting me down and holding me back. My mobility has been limited for the past 6 months and at times I have felt like a handicaped person without the car sticker. I was unable to attend my best friend’s wedding due to finances and unable to attend her bachelorette party due to my health and then I was angry at myself for it.

All this isn’t to say that I am miserable. It is just to remind myself that I still go on and get happy but it’s okay to acknowledge that some parts of life are tougher than others and sometimes I struggle. Somewhere in the business of life, I actually forgot to be sad and it all hit me like a truck on Day 2 and I finally cried over everything.

Missing London

London and I have had a somewhat tumultuous affair. Since high school, it was the place I aspired to go and study. That part of the dream came true. I was awed by its universities, its diversity, the social scene, the music scene… and of course, the romance. The chance that somewhere in its dense population, I might find ‘the one’. Those dreamy but windy walks on bridges, the shiny lights, those views from the student housing and LSE rooftops, those nights spent in clubs and student parties, those times spent walking around in heels to go to a bar, to pick up a friend, to catch a cab, to find an open food joint, that crazy fashion sense that seemed far too messy and unstructured for my Swiss taste. Even though love I did not find, I found plenty of emotions to go along with my experiences; the consuming emotions that London seemed to intensify with its stories and architecture. It came to the point where I wasn’t too sure about London anymore. So eventually, unable to make it in London financially, I left.

Love came much later and it brought me to… the East Coast. Just near enough New York to tempt me with its bright lights, big bridges, small apartments and small island. I still love these metropolitan cities although I am more daunted by them, but I also realise that I miss London terribly. So maybe it is time to give New York a chance and get caught up in the emotion and the bright lights of another great city.

Camden High Street

In the blue light of morning

It may not be the best idea to wake up in the early morning to write down some feelings that were fleetingly felt whilst waking up. Dreams do that to you, momentarily transporting your emotions from sleep to wakefulness and sometimes you remember the dream that is making you feel this way. Only in my dreams do I feel some emotions these days. Newlywed life for me means being too occupied to miss anyone or any place too much as the in-love feeling fills up everything. Only my dreams remind me of the transition I made almost abruptly. Dreaming of old friends and the closeness felt with them. In the waking hours, trying to make new friends. Dreaming of cities that once made me dream. In waking, learning to navigate new ones.

I have heard of my friends moving on, moving closer to each other and into London. It makes sense, people do that. Move their jobs, residences closer to family, friends. Or if they are too settled or lazy, they try to get others to move near them. I remember when I was in London and had made plans to move in with T or into the same building as F. So many of us try to keep our parents only a short distance away. That can mean a 10 minute drive to some or a 2 hour flight to others. To me a 7 hour flight, which would mean a whole day’s journey door to door, is too long. When we are done with our far away adventure, I wonder to whom we will move closer? Or who will move close to us?

Contentment is another strange emotion. One that I am feeling these days and yes it does feel ‘settled’. No wonder that’s why they call marriage settling down. That is a term I wasn’t very happy with as to me settling down also means laying down roots in one place, something I am very reluctant to do. That said, I have always been caught between wanderlust and falling in love with the area in which I am living.

This is still surreal. I walk out of the bedroom towards the kitchen and catch sight of the living room in early morning blue light. It is surreal to see that I have my own furniture, that it is lying there in the living room, not quite placed in the right postions yet, but still looking complete. An aspect of my new life that I still can’t take in. This apartment still strickes me as an unbelievable testimony to where my life has brought me. We will come to call it our first apartment and the furniture, our first furniture that we will one day call old and replace.