Here’s part 2 of San Francisco –
- SF Botanical Garden
- Tartine Bakery
- Mission District
- My cousin’s baby (Jayden)
- My boyfriend (Ben)
- Architecture/Nature around SF
See part 1 here.
Here’s part 2 of San Francisco –
Almost 3 years ago, I made some unaccepted but certain decisions in my life. I took a break from college to travel and volunteer in South Africa. It stirred a lot of judgement from family and friends for me to just step down from a very important milestone in my life to fulfill what was empty inside of me.
With the beginning of a new year, I’m here to reflect how that part of my life really helped me become who I am today.
Before I left for Cape Town in the summer of 2013, I was dating someone who helped me grow and learn a lot about myself. Like young college students, we were idealistic and very naive. We were dreamers, striving for passion, meaning, and success. I left to Cape Town in the beginning of September and felt a part of me being filled by an experience I had to do in solitude. After I returned back to the states and saw him for the first time in a while, he jokingly shook my shoulders with his endearing hands and said: “You don’t have to be so strong all the time.”
Throughout the hard and frustrating moments in my life, that one statement still applies to me then and today.
In 2016, I bought one of those ginormous backpacks and hopped on a plane to Asia. I saw my best friends doing incredible and inspiring things all around the world. Each country I touch down upon was like a stomping ground for me to breathe new air. I met strangers who I now call friends, exchanged hilariously absurd and heart wrenching stories, risked my life a few times on some thrilling adventures, and dipped my toes in the Indian Ocean again.
2016 gave me another opportunity to make more special moments to travel, fall in love, work hard, and remind myself that it’s certainly fine to not be so strong all the time.
I’m inspired by the past, present, and future. I am grown by the people who have shaped who I am. I am open in expressing the pieces of love, sadness, laughter, heartbreak, passion, and kindness that has been apart and remains in me. Here’s to the past, present, and future of our lives.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”―Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
We shouldn’t resent the loss of old friendships or relationships from our lives, but to reflect and remember the value they have given us.
It’s the only way to positively live a happy life.
Day by day, I have learned to understand how much this way of thinking gives me clarity.
“The Universe isn’t random. At the heart-level, everyone knows this. But we pretend it’s random because it’s easier that way. But, what if we pretended other wise? What if where we are right now is exactly where we need to be? What if your heartbreak and your sadness and your loneliness and your joy and your happiness is perfect timed and that every moment stacks on top of every moment that came before it? How could we live our lives if we believed this? Would we breathe easier? Would we be able to stretch into where we are instead of resisting it? We’d find peace, and wouldn’t you think that’s probably the point?”
On Thursday night, I attended an event called, “An Evening of Modern Love” which featured NYTimes editor of the Modern Love Column, Daniel Jones. It took place at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, a few blocks from the Gallery Place / Chinatown Metro. Before Daniel Jones spoke, he was accompanied by columnist and author, Sara Eckel.
I waited in line outside of the synagogue before the doors opened at 6 pm. I was in a short line of couples, mostly middle aged, immensely stylish, and gay. Therefore, I stood there listening to the music from my headphones as I waited in line. And in my mind, I kept praying that I wouldn’t be the only single young college student there spending her Thursday night at a book event about modern love and relationships. Thankfully, I wasn’t. The night went on as I proceeded inside to grab my copy of “Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers).” I was here to see Daniel Jones, so I didn’t know too much about Sara Eckel except for the fact that she wrote “Sometimes It’s Not You, or the Math” for the Modern Love Column.
The synagogue eventually filled up, and I found myself sitting in a sea of romantics, couples, married or not, single, and the hopeful. They held onto each others hands. A woman clutched onto Daniel Jones’ book with the deepest linger for answers, and the stylish gay couple from before had sat in front of me with their heads side by side each other with the greatest adoration for one another. I sat in the center of the synagogue, and I looked up to see the stain glassed star of David gleaming on the ceiling.
Sara Eckel came out first to introduce her piece in the Modern Love Column, which painfully introduced the struggles and awkwardness of dating after a long hiatus from a relationship. She revealed the reality of how dating creates this sense of judgement women create for themselves about what is wrong with them and why they are single. She stated, “Like single women everywhere, I had bought into the idea that the problem must be me, that there was some essential flaw — arrogance, low self-esteem, fear of commitment — that needed to be fixed. I needed to be fixed.” Nothing was wrong with her or any of us. There was no point in picking little imperfections we may have because finding the one we love could care less about them.
I applauded in relief and understanding as Sara concluded her speech. Daniel Jones came onto the stage afterwards and joked with us as he stated, ” Who knew Washington, DC would be the city of love? Not I.” He introduced his position as the editor for the NYTimes column, his favorite stories, the happy and heartbreaking. It was great being able to hear his perspective on the stories of these 50,000 strangers who have submitted their own personal love story for the entire world to read.