Carpe Diem is YOLO

Posted: May 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

I am approaching the 2nd month of my arrival in California. I wouldn’t actually say time flies because it really has only been 2 months. However, I feel like those 2 months have been full and substantial. After all, as I mentioned in my previous post, I felt that I had come a long way since I left and I am slowly recovering from my financial downfall.

In hindsight, however, I feel that I achieved a lot in the two months that I have been here in California.

There were a few aspects in my life and in my move here, which and where I felt, I was not going to go further and farther or progress faster rather easily. One is the aspect of FRIENDSHIP, the other being in the category of OTHER ACTIVITIES.

Quasi-Prologue: When I left the east coast or before I left my old job as an ER nurse in New York, I had this nagging fear of not being able to settle down easily, especially at work. I remember my conversation with my then-coworker and good friend, Barry Kagan. We both agreed that we may be stuck in a rut in Mt. Sinai (Hospital), because we are both too old to readjust. That is, admittedly, part of the reason that it took me forever to move out of Sinai or even find a job elsewhere in the east coast, even with the advanced degree that I have. However, other friends were more optimistic and said “you will make friends,” as I cried at the prospect of readjusting to a new work environment.

I guess I came to the new job with the mindset of “I am just going to work and probably not make friends.”

And so I came to Stanford Hospital and it hit me, that, in fact, making friends was going to be a tough ordeal. I signed on to become a radiology RN and that entailed working in different clinics, which also means working with different nurses from different sites and, possibly, just seeing them once every 2 weeks or so. Not exactly a great way to bond, I thought.

So I let that go and just juggled meeting different staff members from different facilities in a month or so. I just worked and went home and ran or hiked on my days off. There were bouts of loneliness when I came home to an empty house and all I did was talk to the dogs and listen to Cigarettes After Sex. Once in a while, I met up with east coast transplant-friends like Mama Michelle, which was a great help with transitioning my social life– if any.

However, I must say that working in New York City did a lot in transforming my personality over the course of years. I remember how, as a new nurse, I was bullied and even, at one point, literally, pushed against a wall, and talked down to. Over 10 years ago– believe it or not, I was not the same opinionated, vocal, and feisty person that I am now. I attribute that to culture-shock. Not that I didn’t know how to speak English before I came to the US; it was more because words were not as fluid then as they are now when it comes to rhetorics and rebuttals. The ER taught me the survival skills and part of that involved being able to speak up and out.

Coming to California, I still was intimidated. Those thought recurred as I wondered if I will become subject, once more, to being pushed aside.

As I would discover, however, even as I moved from one clinic to another for work, people are nice and are receptive to this new person “from New York.” (Yeah, they refer to me as the one from New York. I guess because that is where I worked.) And people have all been nice and welcoming. ANDDD I am able to speak, to be fluid in conversations, and have more confidence in reaching out. In no time, I became more than just coworkers to a few people. And yes, it may be premature to say they are now my “friends,” but I actually like how I get to hang out with some of them and make plans for hike trips, drinks, or rock-climbing.

And speaking of rock-climbing, yes– I segue way into that other aspect that I want to talk about: OTHER ACTIVITIES.

When I just moved to California, one of (mostly-virtual) friends, Khristina Kurdyla, and I were in constant communication via text and Instagram messaging. I say virtual because she and I met once and only once at a race about 4 years ago. However, that did not keep us from being friends since then. She was among those who encouraged me, talked to me, consoled me– virtually– during those months that I was in a limbo. Once or twice she told me that now that I am in Northern California, I must seize the moment and engage in activities I have always wanted to do.

Slowly, I am heeding those words. And actually doing things and engaging in activities outside of South Bay!

I have always thought of rock-climbing but never really pictured myself doing it in New York or Jersey. On Tuesday I finally mustered the courage to do it for the first time– thanks to my coworker, Zach, who did Leadville years back, by the way, and Ian, a former coworker in NYC. While I was sore and scared shitless for a while, I actually enjoyed the activity and although I know I will never be as good as those teens and girls in their 20s, I realized I can use this as an alternative to sulking or being on social media.

Also, I have done a lot more hiking and running and have continued my running streak, which I started this year– thanks to the beauty I see outside everyday AND the absence of the billions of pollen that would have plagued me now, had I been in Jersey. I love exploring new trails and learning of new trails and even went back to registering for trail races. I think it comes with the territory of being here in Northern California, where you cannot not try to be fit, enjoy the outdoors, and find some physical activity to engage in.

Apart from this, I started looking into plays and shows that my not-endless-pocket can afford and actually watched Flower Drum Song in Palo Alto recently. While it may not be Broadway, it was refreshing to see people perform on stage.

Quasi-Epilogue: I do not wish to say “Ah.. this is the good life” because it can be better if Mariska were here. But I am appreciating these things that I achieved, did, and learned to embrace in the short time that I have been here.

Yes, the apartment is still a mess and I have yet to take the dogs out to a nice dog park to give them their share of happiness. But these times and opportunities I get spend with me to pamper me is what my former coworker, Felix, once said is essential so you can love and take care of others.

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