Friday, February 14, 2014

My Last Day as a Nanny


Dedicated to all my friends who love children, are mommies and those who want to be someday.

For most people life changes when you have a child and I don’t think an individual will ever understand what that means until it happens to them. For the past 11 months I've been the proud nanny to the most wonderful 5-year old boy, and although I've been a nanny in the past to the most precious little girls and boys something about this situation has been completely life altering. Maybe it’s because I’m at a different stage in my life, age and wisdom wise.

To some it may not seem like the ideal form of employment especially at 29, but honestly it’s been one of the best “jobs” I've had. But back to my point, many would describe him as special and not in the sense that a parent deems their child special because at the age of two they drew something that resembled a Picasso piece, but in the sense that medical professionals label children. The term “special” has been made into somewhat of a negative connotation or one that requires these individuals to have their own everything from schools to Olympics. But none-the-less he is special, in both ways, but more so to me.

The early years of his life up until now seemed like such a challenge and a struggle more so for his parents than for him. He really seems so content with his life and so happy, but I’m sure with an ivy league dad and very blessed mom it was hard to accept their child wouldn't have a normal life, whatever that is supposed to mean. I guess when you are endowed with so much and only know how to live that lifestyle it’s hard to transition into a different environment especially one you don’t know anything about. I don’t know how I’d react. I have however, had the fortunate circumstance to work with special needs individuals and coincidentally have had a great knack for it. Maybe it’s my gift of patience or just a genuine compassion for humans, but I connect with them and they are drawn to me. He and I’s relationship was no different. He came to me with ease and we enjoyed each other’s company. Listening to his mom’s stories about his early stages of development and what she went through to bring him to the level he’s at today was incredible. She spent a lot of time, energy, and money to make sure her child was growing into as normal of a child as possible.

He has speech deficiencies. His language isn't developed to much more than a 24-month old. He also has cognition delays and lacks the ability to send signals from his brain to certain motor functions. Oddly enough I still feel like he’s smarter than a lot of children his age. He’s sensitive and intuitive and that is a lot to ask from an adult let alone a five year old. I can just sense his level of understanding and know that he’s taking in a lot more than his test results and reviews can prove. What people label as slow shouldn't be a bad thing; shouldn’t taking your time be something we applaud? When he and I read a book he looks at the pictures so diligently as if he’s using those images to create the story in his mind. He looks at people’s faces and studies their eyes and mouth and expressions meticulously so that he can process his reaction.

Being with children is a second nature to me. I love kids. There are so many aspects of a child that makes me sad I had to grow up. It’s a definite Peter Pan syndrome. Once you’re old or older you lose that sense of creativity, naivete and general appreciation for everything. It’s like life makes you so desensitized to things that you just walk through it with general malaise. Don’t get me wrong not with everything, but at some point we feel that way about our jobs or relationships even ourselves and it’s hard not to. As adults we have the unfortunate inheritance of responsibility and that changes everything. A child lacks that and it makes their lives easy to some extent.  I've literally seen children stop and smell flowers and come up with the craziest stories all while smiling at you with these partially toothed grins and wide eyes. It’s hard to look at sometimes because you just think about how lucky they are to not understand war and money, but then it terrifies you and makes you worry about their futures and how we as adults now are completely responsible (there’s that word again) for creating their future. We are the ones molding and changing and building the world in which they grow up in. It’s freaky. So I get it. I understand how having a child changes your life, not only are you responsible to make sure it eats every day and is clothed and is comfortable, but also responsible socially, economically, politically, creatively, ethically, environmentally, whatever it is, in order to leave a mark on this world to improve their future world. Are we teaching them the “little things” we’re supposed to find important or appreciate? Until that moment happens to us we will continue to live in our self centered worlds and not worry about anyone else’s well being but our own, but as soon as we pass our genetics to that little version of ourselves it all changes. Children will perpetuate the human race and hopefully we'll continue to improve as humans. Yesterday was my last day with him and I hope I've impacted his life for the better because he truly has impacted mine.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thailand

"I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish…"
- Simone de Beauvoir

Thailand was such an amazing experience. Here a quick photo recap of what we did. I apologize I don't have anything prolific written down. If you want to hear all the crazy stories we need to schedule a phone date. Call me!
Golden Buddah Temple

Dragonfruit
Reclining Buddah



Veterans Day
Death Railway
River Kwai
Elephant Trekking

Felix Hotel







Map of all the places we visited in Thailand.


Road Tripping

Yay!!! It seemed like it was never going to get here, the weekend of our girls only road trip, that is. I am so lucky to be blessed with such amazing friends and although I know so many of my dearest friends are busy with their lives and starting families I am still so lucky to say I'm always in their hearts and minds and they are always in mine. For those that do have the opportunity to visit its such an exciting time for me, as I still don't have super close friends here in the city.

Graci, Heather and I had decided to plan a road trip from San Francisco down Highway 101 to San Diego. It was a little hectic getting everyone together, Heather flying from Orlando to San Franciso and Graci flying from San Diego to San Francisco and then us driving back down to San Diego, but we were just ready for the adventures, pictures, stories and most of all memories.

HD is on the West Coast, again!
Our Baby Rental Car

When Heather arrived we picked up our rental car and cruised to the city. I took her on the fastest tour of San Francisco imaginable starting from the Mission to Downtown to the Ferry Building, Embarcadero, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf and over to Sausalito where we ended with dinner at were picking up Graci from the airport at 8PM.

One of the most exciting aspects of our trip was the opportunity to stay in a YURT! I booked it using Airbnb which I wasn't entirely familiar with, but the booking process was seamless and the reviews for the property were all great. But just as a forewarning try to arrive at your destination during the day if at all possible. Our drive down the dark driveway to the Yurt was like something out of the Blair Witch Project and the paranoid thoughts of my cautious friends turned it into something way creepier than it actually was, but it doesn't yurt to be safe. (Ha...see what I did there).
Reunited



After one night of drinking wine by the bottles and stuffing our face in cheese between secrets we passed out to wake up at 7AM and continue our journey down the 101.

Big Sur

Hike at Andrew Molera State Park

Priceless

Mcquay Falls
Manhattan Beach
Singing, dancing and storytelling

San Francisco's Growing On Me

Ironically in the second most expensive city in the United States, we’ve been afforded the opportunity to travel quite a bit. Oddly enough Tyler’s spent the majority of his time here on an airplane flying all over the US with work, for family and luckily for leisure.  He made the final count on our flight back from visiting his grandfather in Houston, that he just completed his 10th flight and trip in a 5 month span. I haven’t traveled as much, but after my best friend’s Florida wedding in May, I have been back and forth to San Diego and even took an impromptu trip to Vegas with my friend Jess.
Jess and I in Vegas
It’s not that money goes farther here. It’s just that the misconceptions which I was fooled by are actually incorrect. It's funny that I am writing this blog to defend San Francisco when a few months ago I wasn't keen to the whole idea of the city life. Don’t get me wrong I felt more at home in San Diego, but the city isn't so bad and it’s actually growing on me, especially since I’m getting the opportunities to travel.
1.       It’s not as cold and rainy as everyone says it is. We live in the Mission and most days it is sunny and a high of 70, with hardly any cloud cover and we rarely get a visit from Karl, the fog.
2.       Aside from rent, everything is priced equivalently to what I experienced in San Diego. Gas, groceries, beers, cocktails, clothing, etc is all about the same. We tend to spend more money on food here, but hell San Francisco has some of the best food in the country!
3.       "Everyone is a hipster or pretentious". Not exactly, there are a lot of hipsters and there are a lot of pretentious people and I think I've become a semi-pretentious hipster, but the city does it to you and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. They make best things accessible to you and introduce you to finer things and smarter ways of doing things and you can’t really help it.
Those are the top three things I can think of off the bat, but I’m sure there are more misconceptions that I’m happy to abolish. Living here for the past 7 months hasn't been the easiest thing I've done, but I’m definitely learning a lot about myself and what I’m capable of and that’s something that I find priceless.

I've finally created a little business for myself and although I've never worked so much in my life, I’m glad to say that I’m doing it and I’m a better person because of it. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to work with 3 amazing clients and 1 amazing little boy and I have some money to spare in this expensive city to visit Thailand, plan New Delhi and well, who knows. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What’s the word lately?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted last and to be honest I haven’t been that busy. I think I just wanted to have exciting stuff happen so I had something solid to write about. We’ve been in San Francisco for a little over two months now and as I’ve been saying, “so far so good”. I like the city, but I’ve come to realize over the past few weeks I’m not as much of a city girl as I thought, which disappoints me in a way because I thought I would love this lifestyle and the accessibility and don’t get me wrong it’s great, but I am more of an ocean minded soul at heart. I miss the hot sun and the ocean.

I think this became more apparent on my recent trip to Florida to attend my best friend’s wedding, the now, Mrs. Ashley Jones.

Me, Ashley (Bride) and Maricel, Friends Forever

Going back home always given me that choked up feeling. It was so nice to be surrounded by familiar faces and pick up right where we left off, without any of the “where are you from?” and “what do you do?” Filler conversation.

Speaking of that, I am still working remotely for EHGRP (the marketing gurus behind Brian Malarkey’s restaurant empire), but I’ve recently started working with a little 4 year-old boy named Dylan as his part time nanny. I love this setup because I get to work with the same amazing team in San Diego and also see the city with Dylan.

But back to familiarity, I just realized I missed that ocean-centric lifestyle and having friends and family close by doesn’t hurt either. I’ve met a few people in the city, some from our roommate Michael and others through Tyler’s childhood friends, but it has been a challenge. Working from home and hanging out with a 4 year-old doesn’t give me opportunities to meet new people and when I do I guess I’m a tad bit socially awkward. So needless to say I’ve got a handful of people I’ve met through other people, but I’m still overly excited when friends come to visit.

The Saxons came to visit and introduced us to Christina 
A few weeks ago we had visitors, William; Tyler’s best friend’s little brother and his friend Derek, and our child Austin, in town for a pretty epic weekend. We went to Sonoma for a 3 vineyard wine tasting that turned into a, “I don’t really remember” kind of time and then we experienced our first Bay to Breakers at our friend Eric’s house party. The city comes alive and it’s an anything goes type of affair; nudity, drinking, dancing, costumes, floats, you name it and it was probably a part of this race.
Starting at 6AM we were pretty much done by 1PM and we were incredibly happy about it, because that weekend felt like 7 days.
The Wine Country Crew
Just recently our San Diego sunshines, Graci and Colbee came to visit. Tyler typically doesn’t do the “tourist” thing, but since Colbee didn’t get to see much of the city on his one day visit and Graci had never been, I figured let’s do all of the “must sees” touristy or not.

Saturday, was pretty much a walking tour of the city, starting with breakfast at Stable Café then a BART ride to the Embarcadero to see the huge farmer’s market at the Ferry Building. We stopped for a drink and then continued on to the Fisherman’s Wharf and an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista, then Ghiradelli Square and finally to the Marina District for Tacolicious (their carnitas tacos are the bomb).
Irish Coffees at Buena Vista
Afterwards we all took naps like old people do and woke up for our favorite restaurant experience, Beretta.
Sunday Funday commenced at 8AM with a light breakfast at the Grove, a cute little ski lodge theme café and off the Bike and View to pick up our rides! We biked from the Marina to Fort Point and across the Golden Gate Bridge. The views were amazing, but it was super windy. We rode across the bridge to Sausalito where we stopped for lunch at Scoma’s and had a drink at the Trident, which is also owned by the same guy who owns Buena Vista. After our drinks we hopped on the ferry to ride back to the city.
It was an amazing weekend packed full of activities and I was so happy to experience NEW things in the city and show friends around our favorites.


Our Farewell Ferry Boat Ride
FYI- whoever wants to come visit is more than welcome, I created this interactive map http://bit.ly/10Mccm9 for my lovely duo and I will do the same for each visitor along with a customized itinerary J . (Heather, Jay, Ashley, Justin, Sarah, Kevin, Maricel, Damion, Jamie, Tim, Kelli, Lisa, John, Ceara, Meagan, Nick, Nick B, Brandon, Angel, Jason, and the list can go on and on….) Until next time….

Saturday, March 30, 2013

San-Francisco


Have you heard? We’ve moved to San Francisco! (I've sent out my address, but if you didn't get it message me.) It’s been a hectic few weeks, but it’s been good to get the pressure put on to show you how easy you’ve really had it and to put things into perspective and appreciate everyone and everything around you.

At the end of February Tyler got the job offer, by the first week of March we were packing boxes and moving things. The second week we were saying our goodbyes to fellow co-workers and friends and then packing the Budget trailer and saying goodbye to our little house in PB. It was unnerving realizing the amount of junk we accumulated over the course of two years especially knowing that we moved here in just the Camry.
On Graci and Colbee's Rooftop for brunch
 Our loving friends threw us a lovely farewell “see you soon” brunch and we had our celebratory last meal at Rocky’s.
Desi had it easiest
On the road which was much easier for Desi, we traveled the 9 hours to San Francisco, towing the Camry which was severely scary (especially for Tyler since he drove). It was funny, but it felt normal, leaving something we knew behind to move and live in the unknown. We had gotten so used to life in San Diego I think we forgot that anxious, yet exciting feeling of the new.



We finally arrive in San Francisco at around 9:00PM and see our new roommate at “The Whiz” an old-fashioned burger joint around the corner, maybe our new Rocky's? We unload the truck in a matter of 2 hours which seemed unreal and was exhausting on the back, but we were double parked and had a sense of urgency in our veins. After unloading and unpacking we finally fell asleep at around 4AM.
Our dining room

Our Bar

Our Living Room

More of our really big living room

Day #1 in our new city

Unfortunately our internet situation was far from existent, UGH AT&T! So I had to find an alternative which wasn’t so bad because I had a chance to cruise around the neighborhood and posted up at a local coffee shop Rodger's Coffee (there are no Starbucks in the Mission). Actually commercialism is dead here, everything in this neighborhood is mom and pop and it’s comforting that way. While I worked “from home” Tyler had the annoying task of moving our rental truck and car every hour due to the street parking limitations. Our trailer was blocked in the garage so we weren’t able to return the truck first thing in the morning as planned. It was a hell of an ordeal.

Tyler had to move 2 cars every hour at least one block from each other. Finally we decided to just try to move the trailer out of the spot and with the help of our neighbors were able to barely fit it through the two cars. We hitched it to the truck and then I ran to move the car into the garage. Low and behold I was 11 minutes late and suffered the consequences of a $72 parking ticket. I guess it was the quintessential Welcome to San Francisco.  Finally we get the truck to Budget and thank the heavens we’re rid of it. #Iwillneverdriveinsfagain!


Day #2

After life’s hiccup we got the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood the next day to check out our little grid. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and there were puppies and people everywhere. The best way to describe our neighborhood would be hipster-chic/Chinatown with a mix of Mexican. I know it’s not the best description, but we’re in a hybrid area.
Target in Union Square was HUGE

Uphill run in Noe Valley

Run to Bay Front Park

Stroll to the Port


Desi in Delores Park
At around 12 I had to go to the airport to embark on my 18 hour journey to Florida for my best friend’s bachelorette party. Although I was exhausted from my SD to SF journey I was very excited to see familiar faces and be around my girlfriends. SFO>SAN>CTL>JAX>DES