My Very First Music Festival Experience

Pretty lights, yes please

Dancing until my feet hurt

Music festival

I had my very first music festival experience recently. As a young person in my late twenties, I feel a bit of a late bloomer but better late than never, right?!

I met my old grad school friend in Philadelphia and we took a shuttle to New York, where the festival happened. We arrived early Thursday evening and departed Sunday afternoon. Each day was jam-packed with famous and up-and-coming bands and DJs. We spent one to two months preparing for this event. We bought our tickets ahead of time. I made multiple lists of things to bring and buy and consulted with my buddy. I was generously supplied a small first aid kit by a medical professional friend and borrowed this same person’s sleeping bag (thank you!). I bought a sleeping pad, a backpack, a flashlight and various toiletry items. A few things I wish I could have brought include: a battery-operated fan, a cooler with ice, a camping canopy with folding chairs, and water by the gallon. Of course, that would have been made more possible had we traveled with a car of our own.

The vibes were great. Everyone was happy (off of life and perhaps a bit of happy drugs) and ready to meet new people. We met one person who had gone at least five times.

This was our first time at this event. Definitely a very memorable one for the both of us. 🙂

One (almost tragic) event occurred. On the last night, my camera did something wacky where I thought I had accidentally deleted ALL of my photos.



I was sad for this loss. Luckily, I had been very selective with my photos and only wanted the good stuff so it was not like 100 photos were missing. Still pretty bummed though. But what else could I do? Mope around on my very last night there?! No thanks.

Miraculously, the photos reappeared when I tried to upload the one photo I thought I only had onto my computer. Hooray! If you could only imagine my joy when they reappeared.



I guess the one tidbit I forgot to include in this story is that I finally buckled down and purchased a new digital camera since 2004. This was my first picture-taking experience with this camera so I had one of those…”you-should’ve-known” moments.

Now that I am back to reality and civilization, I can deeply appreciate flushing toilets and showering with water pressure. I have included a few photos for you to see a little bit of what I (and others) experienced.



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I would have never imagined…

Taken by yours truly, as a true observerPushing your limit.

Don’t forget to breathe, okay?!

Let’s do it again!

Four years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be chalking up my hands to boulder or putting on a harness to top rope climb. Who am I?!

A couple of months ago, I decided to take a bouldering class with a close friend at the nearby rockclimbing gym. I wasn’t and I’m not good by any means. I mean, it has taken me five visits to be comfortable with being at the top of a bouldering wall. And that is BARELY the beginning of my fear, which brings me to:

Did I mention that I am afraid of heights too?! Oh, yea, that too!

So today a friend of mine noticed my fear of heights. It’s sort of hard NOT to notice. I freeze mid way, I start to shake when trying to get at the top, and I start to shake when I try to climb down. Freak out. I just freak out. There’s no way around it. She suggested that I should really try top rope climbing. My eyes went wide open. I shy away and say, “Hmm, maybe next time.” I witness my other friend try her first time with rope. The holds are bigger. Seems a bit more easier. And you are safe. What’s there to lose?! I see my friend try two walls, one shorter than the other.

Oh, alright. I will give it a go.

Mind you, my hands are SWEATING when I am watching my friend top rope climb for the first time. The chalk has completely disappeared. Poof. Gone.

I try a 5.4. I will never forget this. Purple holds. Closest to the entrance. I get about halfway there, which is where the normal bouldering walls end. I stiffen. I glance at the rope. I’m okay. Keep. Going. I take a few breaks here and there to take a break, to breathe, to rechalk…and I finally make it to the tip top! And then I slide down. It’s over!

Looks like I will finally need to invest in a good pair of rockclimbing shoes…

By the end of this year, I will feel like a traveling circus with my yoga mat, hula hoop, rockclimbing shoes, and chalk bag in tow.

What else do you have in store for me, World?! 🙂

P.S. Please note that I am very new to the rockclimbing terms. Not sure if any of this even makes sense.

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Graduation is Near

Twenty-seven months.

Therapy, field placement, yes.

Graduation. Here. 

About two years ago, I started this blog as a way to keep my family and friends in the loop of what I am up to on the East Coast. I was accepted into graduate school and found out that I would be placed in New York. A place I had only been to once (!). I was scared shitless. So much so that I didn’t leave my Upper East Side apartment for a few days, scared that I would truly get lost through the subway system. I am not kidding you. How do you think I felt when I found out that I had to travel 45 minutes to the Bronx for my internship?! Oy.

Well, here I am.

Two years later.

I will be graduating in mid-August. I am awaiting my status on a fellowship in California. Waiting semi-patiently. I already emailed the Director a few times. He probably hates me.

I’ve been spending the last month or so looking through craigslist ads for rooms and jobs in New York or San Francisco. My heart is torn. Obviously going the New York route is the more riskier route. If I go the San Francisco route, it is much, much safer. I have the cushion of paying low rent for a few months while I stay with my step grandmother. Also the luxury of having lots of family and friends near. The art of finding a job in New York becomes more time sensitive. I have thought about giving New York a one-year trial. For shits and giggles.

What’s been your riskiest career move?!

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Meeting New Friends

Meeting new friends here.

Via Craigslist, might I add.

New York, you are great.

New York, you never fail to surprise me.

I don’t usually have a hard time finding people to go to music shows with. To my surprise, this weekend was a bad weekend to buy three back-to-back pairs of tickets. I was able to find someone to go with me to a Thursday night show.

I buckled down to the idea of going to a show solo on Friday night. What was I to do with an extra ticket to a sold out show? Craigslist, obviously. So I posted my ticket online. I received an email.

We were to meet in/near/around Union Square and do the trade off in the afternoon. Then I received a text message a few hours prior to meet-up time and she told me that she couldn’t meet up. Whether I could meet prior to the show. Sure thing. I am flexible.

Then I receive the dreaded Craigslist text message that basically reads: I can’t make it. Seriously?! Dread.

So I post my ticket online again…four hours before the doors open. I cross my fingers but most definitely do not hold my breath. Miraculously, I receive an email one hour prior to when I am going to leave my home. I text her and she wants my extra ticket! Score!

We meet up, we do the money-ticket exchange. I ask her whether she was meeting up with anyone. She said no. She asked me the same. I said no. And then she asks me whether I want to go in together. I would not have personally asked but that is exactly what I was thinking. Gees…how many times have I held back from saying what is actually on my mind?

Perhaps more often than I would like to admit.

We hit it off. She’s 35 and works in Manhattan, close to the venue. A lot of relationship similarities. Both freshly out of relationships two weeks ago for the same amount of time. Coincidence. We talk before the show, in between songs, and after each band plays/the other band sets up. She has to leave before the show ends because she is heading to Boston tomorrow morning (and I am heading there next weekend…another coincidence). We end with: let’s keep in touch and do this again.

Yay to meeting new friends on the fly! 🙂

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Going Stag

Going stag. New York

Chatting with new people. Cool.

Quiet. Lonely.

In late January, I wasn’t feeling so great. I thought to myself and realized that I had not treated myself to something recently. Since living in New York, I have only seen one Broadway show and I thought it was about time that I treat myself to a Broadway show.

By myself this time around.

So I went online, bought myself one ticket to see a Broadway musical. I had to reschedule it and considered buying another ticket so I could invite a friend. Although I hesitated, I decided against it. This show is for me. It is my treat.

I took the subway to Times Square, my least favorite place to go. You are surrounded by tourists from just about everywhere. It is crowded. People don’t know where they are going. They are walking slow.

Anyway, I find myself at the theater. Pick up my ticket at will-call. Main level seating. Row G. Left side. I make my way to my seat. Sit down, watch the music and singing on stage before the show. The lights dim and the show begins.

The thing about watching a theater show, music show or a movie by yourself is that you are not able to communicate and respond to the show with someone else. It becomes your own memory…it is not shared. Strangers are more likely to approach and talk with you, though…that can be interesting.

All in all, I saw a fantastic Broadway show. Unfortunately, I am feeling quite vulnerable at the moment and seeing a love story play out onstage probably wasn’t the best of best ideas. I wouldn’t take it back though.

I think everyone should do things alone. No matter how vulnerable and lonely one may feel.

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Inside a Virgo’s Brain

Deadlines schmeadlines. Boo.

Gasolina. Money now.

Vroom, Vroom. Fly away.

I can not count how many times in my life I have packed up and moved. It started off at an early age. I was one year old. My brothers were born. And we were flown to El Salvador, where we were to spend a few years. I returned to California to begin kindergarten. Then my parents divorced and created a lovely moving plan where we would spend one month with one parent and one month with another parent. I became an expert mover. Then came college and I moved every year for that. Also a summer studying abroad. Then came grad school, where I moved to the Midwest. I moved every year. Then I moved back to San Francisco, where I lived for three years. Moved about a handful of times during that period.

Now I am in this silly grad school program where I am a champion mover. Western Massachusetts to Manhattan, spend a month in San Francisco, back to Western Massachusetts to Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, I am in the midst of searching for off campus housing for the upcoming summer. What does this mean exactly? A lot of logistics.

As a typical Virgo, I need order. I need to super plan things out. Sometimes that means that I am always booked. Sometimes that means that I am thrown off by spontaneity…though I am working on welcoming this with open arms…it is definitely hard.

I started to look through some moving websites this morning and was/am overwhelmed with how much planning I will need to do in the next month and a half. I think my head might just explode. I am looking at a few places for the summer this weekend…all with different start dates. My thoughts? If a sublet starts in May, I can bring all of my stuff at the beginning of the month and leave it there.

Here’s how my brain works…and I wish I could somehow draw it…because it would contain a bunch of boxes, arrows, and red exclamation marks. Like this: !

– Housing: If I find summer housing that starts in May, I can leave all of my belongings there while I am visiting California. However, if I find summer housing that starts in June (saving a month’s worth of rent), I will need to rent a storage unit. If I rent a storage unit, I would need to ask someone to pick me up from this storage unit…or call a cab to take me back into the nearest town.

– Transportation: I will most likely need to rent a Zipcar. My miles and gas would be mostly covered. I would need to rent it for two days since there is only 180 “free” miles per day. I am thinking that will round out to $300, which is less expensive than $19.95 plus $1.29 per mile (does this include gas?) that I see for a popular company’s cargo van. However, if you know of cheap companies, let me know. If I rent a Zipcar for two days, depending on whether my lease starts in May or June, I may need to find a place to sleep overnight. It is less expensive to rent/zipcar a vehicle and return it to the original destination, which brings me to flights.

-Flight: Depending on when all of this moving occurs, I will need to reserve a transportation company to drive me to JFK with my carry-on, backpack and my super big luggage. I will mostly likely need to leave for JFK shortly after returning to Brooklyn.

All in all, I kind of have a big headache. So many logistical things to figure out. Rawr.

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…and you call yourself the “Big Apple”

Bring it.

City of lights, dreams

Yellow cabs and subway rides

Bring it on, Big Apple

New York, you big intimidator you. You make yourself to be so big, so tough. Guess what?! I am not scared of you anymore. Take that. 🙂

I have been living in New York City for the second round since September and since then I have had three run-ins from people in different paths of my life. It makes me feel like New York is not as big as everyone makes it out to be.

Let me count the ways. (Please keep in mind that I grew up and went to college in Northern California.)

Run-In Number One: A friend from California is visiting the East Coast. It is me and her Brooklyn friend. We decide to meet at this bar near Terminal 5 for some pre-party action. I look to the left and spot my BFF Jim from high school. (Apparently, he works at this bar.) I don’t really believe my eyes. I wave him over and it is definitely him. Jim has lived in New York longer than me but we sort of lose touch here and there. It was great to see him and catch up a little bit…not to mention he also hooked us up with the cerveza. I mean, seriously?! What are the chances of running into a high school friend at a Manhattan bar?!

Run-In Number Two: I don’t have an office on Tuesday afternoon at my internship. I used to try to scope out various coffeeshops around Chelsea but I became lazy and eventually became a regular at the somewhat nearby coffeeshop. My chair is so that I see all of the cash register action and am able to see who comes in and out of the coffeeshop. Lo and behold, an old co-worker from college walks into the coffeeshop. You’ve got to be kidding me. I say “Peter?” And he says “Ileana?” We catch up. He just moved to New York this summer. I mean, seriously?! What are the chances of running into a college friend at a Manhattan coffeeshop?!

Run-In Number Three: I am a member of a gym that grants me entry to any gym in the United States for that specific gym company. I’ve been dying to take a step class in New York and found one on a Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t visited this particular gym but I will muster up a two-hour roundtrip for a step class. That’s how dedicated I am. I am way early. I overestimate how long it would take me to find the gym, get dressed, etc. I am outside of the gym class prior to my gym class…I look in and spot someone that looks like someone I went to grad school with…in the Midwest. I take my step class. I feel shy about asking this woman whether we went to school together. In the large locker room, she just happens to be in the same area as me after class is over. I tell her that she looks familiar and whether she went to X school in Michigan. She says yes. We were in the same program, same school, same university…except she graduated a year before me. I mean, seriously?! What are the chances of running into a grad school person at a Manhattan gym?!

As I recall these run-ins this year, I can’t help but think about the “Small World” kiddie ride in Disneyland. And when you think the world is too big…it is only really so small.

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