Dec 19, 2015

06// W U J U

Last weekend, I met my cousin's baby boy in Atlanta. My cousin, the father of the baby, is the oldest cousin of all, and is the first to get married and have a baby, so this is kind of a big deal (we have a huge family on my mom's side, of two uncles and four aunts, plus twelve of us children!).

And here he is, Wuju Ryan So! Isn't that such a pretty name? Wuju means space in Korean. He is tiny. He is so soft. He poops really well. He eats well too. He's pretty calm for a baby I think (like I know anything about babies). I think he liked me. He threw up on my shoulder at one point (no no go ahead, it's not like it was my favorite shirt or anything), and even though I basically had no idea how to hold him properly, I managed to make him fall asleep in my arms (the best feeling ever). At the end of the trip, I concluded that babies are pretty freaking heavy. Kudos to all the moms out there!

We went to a park near my cousin's apartment for an impromptu photoshoot for the baby and the family. I must admit, I fell in love with Atlanta a bit this past weekend - it's calm and green, with rolling hills and attractive houses. It reminded me of Texas, but better.

Dec 10, 2015

05// reflections

Hi. This is what I look like.

Okay let me be real. I still have a lot of trouble explaining what "ariellamin" is because my name is Ariel and not Ariella, so why call myself something I'm not? It all started in freshman year of college when I met this guy who was really into classical/jazz music and one night he was driving me home and played Ella Fitzgerald and said something like, "Hey, your name could be like... ariELLA." No joke. So I came home and told all my friends and they thought it was hilarious so they started calling me Ella as a joke and that was around the time I made my Twitter account. Back in 2009 I didn't think Twitter was anything serious so I basically made the handle, ariellamin. Of course now I just regret that forever because some other Korean girl took the handle arielmin and SHE DOESN'T EVEN TWEET REGULARLY. But whatever. Such is life.

I also got brand new glasses because my eye doc told me to. As soon as I picked these up I went to go see a movie by myself to see if they help me at all. Turns out they do. Also, going to the movies alone is actually quite nice - I can cry at dumb scenes and no one cares.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, with 2015 wrapping up and I suddenly have a lot of things to do and undo. I'm learning to accept and deal with a lot of regrets and to be proud of some bold decisions I have made.

One thing I’ve realized while living in New York is that if you really put your mind to it, you can do a lot of things you thought you couldn’t do. Everything is a mind game, really. It’s more obvious here than anywhere else, because everything about this city is designed to push your limits. I find myself rarely comfortable, physically and mentally. If you let it break you, it will. But if you don't, it won't.

This morning when I heard my train rolling into the station, I ran from the street, up the stairs, through the turnstile and up another flight of stairs and wedged my foot between the closing doors and made a grand entrance into the train car. Everyone awkwardly watched me trying to catch my breath. But such obnoxiousness is nothing unusual in this city. I have a growing list of things odd things I’ve done and faced so far - like going to a sit-down restaurant (or the movies!) by myself, surviving getting stuck in a revolving door with another human, my uber being surrounded by a motorcycle gang in east Queens, bargaining with bartenders, surviving street harassment, scouting and picking up furniture from the street, barely avoiding stepping on a giant rat that in Brooklyn, being more decisive on an ice cream flavor, etc. Sometimes this city pushes you to do random things and you rarely have time to think about it. Indecisiveness is not one of the traits in the surviving species in New York, and I had to accept that quickly.

Dec 8, 2015

04// the paper kites - too late

I am definitely getting sick. I felt it coming when I tried to clear my throat after shoving a chocolate almond croissant down my throat during lunch. When it became pretty clear that it wasn't just the buttery pastry flakes that were clogging up my throat, I immediately took to the emergency supply of Airborne and throat drop I keep in my desk, but now that I'm sitting in bed at midnight, still with a sore throat, I do realize it is too late. TOO LATE. What more could I have done to prevent it? I wash my hands like a maniac almost every hour, I even wipe my phone down, and I try my best to never touch my face during the day. Ever. Plus I've been exercising almost everyday and trying to keep a good diet too. Thanks immune system. You had one job. ONE JOB!

Thanks to a lovely coworker, we took a quick lunch detour to the Columbus Circle holiday market to soak in the sun and a generous 50 degree weather before it gets completely dark again at like, 4pm. Did I mention New York has no chill when it comes to the holidays? There are holiday markets EVERYWHERE and it's pretty amazing.

Also, yes, I went to Times Square today. Why?! You might ask. WHY PUT YOURSELF THROUGH TIMES SQUARE OF ALL PLACES? AREN'T YOU LIVING THERE NOW? SHOULDN'T YOU KNOW BETTER? Yes, those are all valid questions that I've definitely asked myself as I dodged accidentally starring in the background of a group selfie while stuck in the crowd. I don't know. I've been feeling like I've been in a rut. Needed to do something and I work really close to Times Square. I like people watching, especially tourists, because they're usually really happy.

2015: I feel like I came to New York to grow up, be challenged and to pursue 'my dreams' yet it's so easy to get jaded and wrapped up in the usual challenges of transitions. This year was full of weird little beginnings and endings for me, and very few things felt stable or constant this year. In the midst of all that overwhelming whirlwind, I realize friendship is such a strange, perfect little thing that you can lean on. Whether they're old or new, the comfort, familiarity, moral support and honesty that they provide are truly an oasis. When you meet such kind people, even one or two, who want to invest their own time to understand and love you, you should know you are incredibly lucky.

Dec 6, 2015

03// absolutely no chill

I find New York most charming when I don't have any agenda. Yes, planning your day ahead is ideal, but sometimes you just don't, and you end up running into a lot of bulldogs and eat amazing food and somehow end up in the sea of tourists at the Rockefeller Center. This weekend, after walking around the Fifth Avenue and attempting to get near the Rockefeller tree, I learned that New York has absolutely no chill when it comes to the holidays. It's quite amazing.

Post-brunch ferry ride from Queens to the city (my first time! woohoo).

Then we headed down to Union Square for the farmers market + Strand (scored a signed copy of BJ Novak's book). Talk about being shoved around all night by an incredible number of PEOPLE. Holy moly. Again, Christmas time in New York has absolutely no chill.

Dec 2, 2015

02// blossom swing

Today's title is brought to you by Blossom Dearie's cover of The Surrey With The Fringe On Top. Her piano + vocal are absolutely perfect for such drizzly and misty early December days. Like, I feel like I need to go get whiskey and cigarette (two things I hate, because obviously I'm not cool enough) and head on over to a jazz bar or something whenever I listen to her.

Above: Law & Order is filming two blocks away from my office this week! I cannot confirm whether or not that man is related to the show in any way. It didn't seem like he wanted to be bothered much.

I went down to the meatpacking district after work today, hoping to score a pair of glasses I apparently now need (sigh). It's beautiful around the new Whitney, with glittery restaurants, fancy boutiques and cobblestone streets. Sometimes, New York's true beauty is only revealed at night.

Moving onto darker matters, gunmen opened fire at a holiday party in a social services office that helps people with developmental disabilities in California today. Soon after, we went through what has now become a morbid routine, again - Twitter blew up, news orgs reintroduced their charts and interactives on gun violence data in the U.S., the President said a few words, and we followed live streams and live tweets of the long hunt for the suspects. A new hashtag goes around, and we collectively voice how disgusted and sickened we are by all of this. I don't want this to be a pattern or a routine. I don't want to become numb to these kinds of events. While thinking about what we could do - I realized how helpless we are, but what we can do is love and hope and make positive changes - I know how cheesy I sound, plus it's easier said than done, but in the end, I firmly believe that love will prevail over hatred and evil. I really do.

Dec 1, 2015

01// ello, december

Oh my god where did 2015 go.

Crazy year! I've made some major decisions, like moving to New York for a new job and visiting Korea for the first time in 10 years. So many things happened, so many things were said, I've felt all kinds of things and turning 25 was incredibly bittersweet because frankly, I still feel like there is so much more to be said, to learn, to make and to do. And the weight of have-nots crushes me sometimes harder than others because time is so precious and I'm scared I'm not using it wisely. Maybe our strengths and beauty and flaws turn up in smaller decisions we make everyday. After that train of thought I decided I wanted to be more intentional in how I spend everyday, to break the routine and do tiny things that will someday make me a better person. Thus begins the december project, something I'm doing for myself that I hope will help me out of this weird slump (mid 20s crisis maybe?) I found myself in. The actual project itself is easy, like a) take photos everyday with my camera b) post them on this blog everyday for the entire month and c) really take time to look back at the year and soak everything in before I have to go live another one. It doesn't sound like a lot but I know it'll be a challenge, perhaps a good challenge to focus my mind somewhere in the midst of all these distractions.

Heeeere we go. Time is precious!