Well, everyone, it is time to say So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!!
And by fish…I mean support, love, unending kindness, eyeballs to read my stories, stories to share back at me…the fish have been unending for 8 years. The fish have meant everything to me. The fish have changed my life.
When I started Nerd in the City, little over 8 years ago, I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on. I had no idea at the time that I was secretly a writer. I had no idea that I would meet new friends through here and that this place would become part of my skin.
But…it has and I did and I am changed because of you, little blog. And all of you who have continued reading the weird and wonderful stories I’ve shared.
It is time to start a new chapter. Something bright and different, but still undeniably me. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of the new direction I wanted to take and what it would mean to leave Nerd in the City in my past.
I have to say, the thought was difficult at first. Nerd in the City is me. I am it. We are one. So where do I start if it ends. But the truth is, friends, I don’t live in The City anymore. And yes…I’m still a nerd (that will never change) but things looks so different for me now. I need a place to represent where I am now. I need a space to share who I have become.
“Today, it is simply perfect outside. A little bit on the windy side, but the skies are blue and the sun is shining. It’s Louvre day.
I find the Louvre to be rather overwhelming. My cousin Sterling did recommend a book she let me borrow that has the whole contents mapped out and well explained. But I preferred to just wander my way through this time around. When I return one day, (and I absolutely will return one day!) I’ll bring that book and make a concerted effort to seek out all the art, artifacts, antiquities, etc. that most intrigue me and hunt them down. A Louvre scavenger hunt…that’s what I’ll do next time!
Part of feeling a little “Meh” at the sight of the Mona Lisa stems purely from my overwhelming reaction to Monet’s Waterlillies. In comparison, I just have to say…the Mona Lisa didn’t do it for me. It’s not her fault that Monet so completely stole my heart the previous day!! But the response of the crowd…and boy, do the crowds respond to her, that made it very interesting to watch. People fought their way to the front of the line…just to find out that yes…she really does live there.
Throughout my Paris adventures…you’ll see plenty of photos taken by someone else. More on that later. But a quick note…some people get it right (pictured below) and some people don’t know what they’re doing. Hedge your bets and ask lots of different people. If you keep trying, eventually you’ll get one you like!
Look…I’m not shy about taking selfies! Especially when I’m by myself. Yep…I want a picture of myself in this magical place. And yep…I can probably do it better than a stranger passing by. So, yep…I’m taking selfies!!
I got a little Pain du Chocolat before leaving the museum and in line I met a charming man from Turkey who was an artist and was immediately drawn to me because of my bright hair. We chatted over our tea and Pain. He drew me a picture on his business card and requested that we stay in touch.
Next stop: Notre Dame. I walked over there and as I did, the skies continued to open and the day grew brighter and more picturesque!!
I had a mind to attend morning mass at Notre Dame today, since it’s Sunday, but I’m glad I skipped it. Catholicism really is not for me and listening to just a sliver of their afternoon service left me with the sense that sleeping in was the right choice for me today!
The Cathedral is as breathtaking as one could imagine. Outside it towers above you, tall and majestic. The inside is equally as gorgeous. Though I wondered to myself ‘how do people attend church in places like this?’
It feels too grand and monumental compared to my church at home. It seems too much of a landmark to be able to actually worship here. But perhaps that is putting a constraint on God that does not exist. He is as present here in this massive behemoth as he is in the most intimate chapels. So perhaps it’s merely me that can’t seem to connect to His spirit here. That’s not God’s fault at all!
While I was here, I added an extra stop on my pilgrimage (which you will hear more about in the next post.) I lit a candle for my Gran, who just passed away in August. And I lit one for Wally, my dear friend who was taken away, just months ago. I lit one for me and I lit one for the people dearest to both of them. And it was very powerful!
I stopped for some lunch right next to Notre Dame. I had my first glass of New Year’s Eve champagne!!
My waiter is quite the charmer and wanted to take a picture with me. I’m not sure if the maitre’d meant to take a selfie or just didn’t know how the camera worked, but this is the souvenir I went home with that day:
On my way to Saint Chapelle, I stumbled upon Pont Neuf…aka: one of the many (now that it’s so popular) Love Bridges…aka: the purpose of my emotional pilgrimage. Luckily, I thought to put my family’s ribbons in my purse this morning, just in case. I had no idea when I was going to find it, but here it is.
My pilgrimage was completed on New Year’s Eve. How perfect is that. But more on that later!!
Next stop: Saint Chapelle, a recommendation from my cousin, Sterling and her husband, Wesley. They preferred it to Notre Dame. And I have to say I agree, as far as the interior is concerned. There was a significant amount of construction happening around the exterior and the pure majesty of Notre Dame’s exterior is truly hard to beat.
But Saint Chapelle sure gave it the college try!
But the interior makes think of a line from the song ‘Maria’ in West Side Story: ‘…say it loud and there’s music playing, say it soft and it’s almost like praying.’
That is the best way I can accurately describe the differences in the 2 churches. Just blocks from one another. One is big and bold and makes you think of bright, loud music. The other is a whisper when you step inside. It’s intimate and close and I could just imagine…when you find God inside Saint Chapelle, He’s sitting on a bench. He looks up…sees you and He nods, beckoning you to come over and join Him. You tiptoe, as not to upset the quiet you find there. You take a seat and He speaks so softly and…’it’s almost like praying.’
After Saint Chapelle, I trekked it back to my little room at Libertel Gare du Nord Suede…Room 105 for a nap and a costume change. It was New Year’s Eve after all. And I had a date with a Tower…
Today was rather exhausting and I took a longer nap than planned, something that is becoming a habit over here. I rallied pretty quickly and changed clothes. It was finally time to break out my pretty, flowery dress and pointy-toed shoes. I don’t have that much walking planned for tonight, so they should serve me well. (I’ll do a whole blog about my Paris wardrobe…don’t worry!)
I have a date with a tall, sparkly tower named Eiffel and she will not be kept waiting.
I MEAN….anything I was dreaming of absolutely pales in comparison to how she shines! I’m so glad I saved her for tonight…on New Year’s Eve.
She and I will start the night off right. I’m trying to remember if I felt this way about Times Square when I first saw it, or the Statue of Liberty. I think I felt really close to this when I saw Niagara Falls for the first time. I am small and the world is so big. These wonders have been here long before I came around and will remain long after I’m gone. Generations have stood here and had their breath taken away…just like me right now.
Legacy is something that I have thought a lot about this year. What we bring into this world…what we leave behind. Do we leave it just as we found it? Or do we make our mark and change what we see for the better? The Eiffel Tower has me thinking more and more about Legacy. What is mine? I did not anticipate these to be the thoughts running through my head. But here they are, just the same.
Every hour, on the hour, she sparkles like a diamond. I stayed for 2 hours and watched her sparkly night show twice.
At the base of her, there was a little market with such things as mulled wine (Vin Chaud) and pretzels. Crepes and hot chocolate. Seeing as I had big plans to eat a fancy dinner somewhere later, I opted just for the hot wine.
I found a perch to drink my wine and watch my Tower (for tonight, she shines just for me!) I considered staying for a 3rd sparkly showing, that would make 3 hours of Eiffel Tower gazing, but leave it to some sleazy man to come and try to borrow a piece of my perfect night. I let him talk to me for a little while. He spoke no English and seemed harmless enough. I was surrounded by people and in no real danger. But he just kept talking and weaseling and when he Skyped a friend of his to show off the “Très Jolie American” he’d found…and when that friend texted him ‘She sleep white you?’ I was officially done. He showed me the text and I LAUGHED IN HIS FACE, to be quite honest with you!
Allow me the briefest moment to rant…This brassy, assy Frenchman merely called me beautiful. Is that all it takes these days? It’s the most basic thing you can do for a women, call her beautiful! Women are beautiful…this is simple fact! You don’t get props or sex for having eyes. AMIRIGHT?!!
Side Note: It has taken me years to feel like I deserved more than a sloppy compliment from a stranger or anyone else for that matter. And there’s no turning back now!!
Moving on…These shoes were a mistake for New Year’s Eve. While the soles of my feet are holding up just fine, it’s the pinky toes that are suffering the worst of it. This is what happens when you don’t plan for all contingencies. Such as, going off schedule and deciding to take in the New Year’s Eve shindig at the Champs Elysées. That was not part of my plan! In fact, it definitely was not originally on my master list, I just added it moments before diverging from my well thought out and perfectly formed original plan…which included the Eiffel Tower, a fancy dinner and then my warm, comfy bed.
As I wait for the big show to start (the posters said it began at 21h, only 30 minutes to go) I can’t help but laugh. Because in the 8 and a half years I lived in New York City, I never once stepped foot in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Wouldn’t be caught dead there, is more accurate. But I guess…when in Rome Paris.
As I wait for the big show to start (it did not start at 21h like the posters said it would) I am reminded why I never had an interest in Times Square, or any other event with 8 billion people in attendance, on New Year’s Eve.
As I wait for the big show to start (apparently it does not start at 21h 30 either…time is coming and going so slowly now) I have a very short Asian woman tucked in at my arm pit…and though I try moving around to dislodge her, she will not be deterred. There is a swarthy Frenchman right in front of my vaping with what smells like cotton candy.
I’m never eating cotton candy again!
As I wait for the big show to start (it has to be soon…right? It has to be soon! RIGHT??!!) I can’t help but be thankful that my toes are frozen, because that is helping with the pain. These shoes were a perfectly fine choice for what I originally planned. But as we all know now…I did not follow the plan. I went off script…off book…off the map. And now I am close to no longer owning pinkie toes. Though, it is the least useful of the toes…so I do suppose it could be much, much worse!
As I wait for the big show to…….IT’S STARTING!!!!!!!!!!!
Sometimes we do things because we feel obligated, we think we should be doing one thing when all we want is another thing altogether. There was no one around for me to disappoint. If I hadn’t gone to the Champs Elysées and had settled for my beloved sparkly tower to end the night, no one would have known the difference. But sometimes the person we are worried most about disappointing is ourselves. There was a younger, more outgoing (if you can imagine), bolder, more fascinating, more personable, more energetic me once. And perhaps it’s my younger, 20 something-self I was trying to keep up with.
Yes…it was the first and the last time I will ever do a big city shindig on New Year’s Eve. But I’m glad I did it, after all. It’s Paris. It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s the Champs Elysées and the Arc du Triomphe. It’s days after my 35th birthday. It simply had to happen! And, if I’m continuing to be honest with myself (and why stop now) that 20 year old really knew how to coordinate a night!”
When I’m in the middle of a fitness series, especially one that has such a specific theme, I like to do all I can to stay in theme, as you could tell from my other blog posts this week. The foods I ate reflected Cinderella, the movies I watched, the music I listened to, the fitness activities I did and since I do consider myself a fashionable person, my fashion reflected Cinderella this week too. From my workout clothes to my nails and beyond.
Work, work, work, work, work…
On the steps of the palace…
Dancing through life….
After the ball…
Happily Ever After…
Is there something that helps you focus on your goals?
It’s been almost 2 years since I moved away from New York City. Some days it feels like just yesterday that I was walking the concrete jungle and trying to find my way in the city of dreams. And other days, the whole 8+ years I lived there feel themselves, like a dream. I haven’t been back since a whirlwind visit last year for a friend’s wedding.
Not for lack of wanting too, it’s just the timing hasn’t worked out. And to be honest, I feel like a part of me never wants to go back. What if I remember how much I loved it and I want to stay? What if I have another anxiety attack like my first time back after moving? New York was such a roller coaster city for me. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
No matter how I feel about the Big Apple or why I had to move away, I still consider it home. I’ve blogged about this before, but I found myself in New York City. I became a writer. I started this blog there. I created my web series there. I was bold and I was creative and the thing that makes New York…NEW YORK, somehow ended up making me…ME!!
You can’t deny that there’s something about New York that can bring out our inner angels…or demons. New York forces you to be yourself…”after all, everyone else is taken.” Isn’t that how the quote goes?
The truth is…I miss New York. Maybe not the winters…I’ll always be happier in the sun. But I miss the pace. I miss walking 47 blocks after work on a Wednesday, just because. I miss sushi delivered at midnight and brunching all day with friends. I miss cab rides (who thought that would happen.) I miss my friends. Sometimes, when I’m delirious, I even miss dating in New York…though not too much!
I’m excited to return to the City. I want to see how it’s changed. I want to see how I’ve changed. I want to see if it still feels, even a little bit, like home. We’ll see what happens.
New York is unpredictable by nature. The only thing you can rely on is that it’s unreliable! As a hurricane, I can relate.
Today, I feel like this:
I hope I find that who I was back then and who I am today are working together to make me who I’ll be tomorrow.
After all, I wouldn’t be me without New York or Florida or California. So…New York, I’m coming back for ya! Please be kind, I’m a little rusty!!
I spent the better part of my 00’s teetering around in the highest of heels. In fact, I was a firm believer that the higher the better! And I didn’t even know who Carrie Bradshaw was back then. So, it wasn’t from a desire to live the Sex and the City lifestyle.
There’s just something about wearing stilettos that is empowering AF!! Maybe it’s that “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality. It reminds of that quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire:
Heels make you taller obviously! They make you walk with confidence, unless you don’t know how to walk in them…then they make you look like this:
Ladies, back me up on this! We’ve all had those shoes that just made us feel like we could rule the planet, if we chose to. But we’ve also had those shoes that we immediately regretted wearing.
And…I will confess, my desire to play baby giraffe at the office, on a Friday night, at brunch with my girlfriends or on a date has waned. I won’t blame my age for it. Those “the older I get…” statements make me cringe. And I don’t actually think it’s about being older. Plenty of women and hell, men my age and older are still rocking stilettos that even strippers would think twice about wearing. So let’s not blame age here.
I think I’ve just experienced the high heel lifestyle. Been there…worn them, and in New York City no less. That’s living the Carrie Bradshaw dream life right there!
And look…I still love a great pair of heels, I just prefer them to be a little more comfortable, a little less sky high. Like these kitten heels I rescued from Goodwill. They are just my height.
So, to all the ladies out there doing everything that men do, but backwards and in high heels. No matter how high your heels are today, just know that you are strong, powerful and a freaking bad-ass!
Recently I have been binge watching the, sadly, short-lived Carrie Diaries (only 2 seasons…sad face.) And like all the teen dramas I’ve enjoyed in my life (Dawson’s Creek, The OC, One Tree Hill, etc) watching it makes me feel like maybe I missed something.
I never had a first kiss in high school or a date to the prom. My girlfriends and I never asked the good questions about sex and while I had plenty of crushes on cute boys…what’s the point if none of the boys ever knew it?
That’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of seminal moments in my high school experience. There were. But what little remains of my spotty memory of events is mixed with stories my parents told me, pictures in a yearbook and a box full of notes from people I haven’t seen in over 15 years.
Maybe teenagers these days are more self aware because of You Tube and Facebook and the internet in general. They’re creating a generation of people who are watching themselves grow up on camera…in print. Permanently, for the world to see and share. Then again, maybe it was just me. Maybe I was the only one floating along and phoning the whole experience in. I was a D student who never raised my hand and rarely spoke up in class. A far cry from the Nerd you know today!!
Looking back at those tender, wonder years I wish a piece of who I am now had been found back then. If only because maybe I could have tapped into my confident, ass-kicking, girl bossy ways much sooner. It’s not like that girl wasn’t somewhere inside me back then, waiting to break out. I was just too scared of who I could have been, of who I eventually became.
So many of these fears are explored and overcome in high school and yeah…I managed to bungle my way through some of them. But out of all the lessons I’ve watched play out on these teeny bopper, baby mama dramas, I have to say (lamentably) it’s the things of a more romantical nature that I really missed out on the most in high school.
I was a bit of a late bloomer in that area…in fact, I’ll let you know when that actually happens. Because I still get crushes on boys that never know about it. Needless to say…I missed a lot of things that would have been much easier if I’d gotten it out of the way in high school. But that’s not my story.
And, Hey!! Maybe it’s never too late to bloom.
I am where I am, who I am and what I am. And the only thing worth wondering about is…what’s next for me?
Whatever it is…I feel it coming!
For more of this month’s Instagram challenge, head over to my Instagram @nerdinthesand or follow along here:
I LOVE Disney. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know this. That being said, I’ve never done Disney on my own before. I’ve always gone with friends or family. And the day is usually very mapped out. Everyone has their top picks and there is lots to cover in a short period of time. I love to go with a plan and I love to go with people, but this day was different.
There was something really freeing and exciting about a solo adventure. Just me, nerdself and I.
I did have an agenda in the form of Crazy for Disney’s scavenger hunt. It kept my day just organized enough without feeling rushed. And since I only paid for parking and dole whips, I didn’t feel like I had to “get my money’s worth.” There is no shortage of Disney adventures in my future, that’s for dang sure!
So take a look at my adventures and if you want to do a scavenger hunt of your own try Crazy for Disney’s. But also, keep an eye out for my own scavenger hunt. There were some things I definitely wanted to add on the list (and some that I did add on the list!)
First up was Hollywood Studios:
What I found at Hollywood…
A Movie Theater
Large Green Army Men
Kermit the Frog
Star Wars Characters
Tower of Terror
Giant Letter Blocks
Woody or Jessie
Mickey Mouse Balloon
Handprints in Cement
A Potato Head
(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…A Giant Ant or Bug, Mater, Pizza Planet, Giant Mouse Ears, A Spaceship.)
Next was Epcot:
What I found at Epcot…
Giant Silver Sphere
Someone Wearing a Sombrero
Boat (Monorail was on the list, but I substituted it for a boat ride.)
Characters Made of Plants (this picture is actually from Magic Kingdom, I couldn’t find plant characters at Epcot to save my life!!)
A Planet (BAM! I found 2!!)
Statue of a Viking
A Chinese Building
American Flag (I spent way too long trying to get a picture of the flag flying. Alas!)
A Clock Tower (thanks Germany!)
A Park Bench
A Street Band
A Sea Turtle
A Live Disney Character
(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…Statue of a Horse, A Double Decker Bus, A Kidcot Sign, A Dinosaur.)
Then, Animal Kingdom:
What I found at Animal Kingdom:
Tree of Life
Statue of a Disney Character
A Large Mountain
A Safari Vehicle
A Stream/ Flowing Water
A Live Disney Character
A Large Set of Bones
Someone Wearing a Safari Hat (Bonus for finding someone wearing a hat and a vest!)
Someone Wearing a Vest
A Truck Selling Ice Cream
Rafiki (Got a two for one on this one with #2)
(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only couldn’t find Flik from a Bug’s Life and it was only cause I was running out of time.)
Finally, Magic Kingdom:
What I found at Magic Kingdom:
Someone Wearing Mouse Ears (so many to choose from including myself!)
Statue of Walt Disney
A Castle (Correction…THE Castle!)
A Popcorn Cart
A Big Treehouse
A Flying Elephant
Turkey Leg (I added this one to the list)
A Former U.S. President (Lots to choose from but I went with good ole Abe)
A Flying Carpet
Mickey Mouse (sorta cheated on this one and used #2 twice…time crunch)
Dole Whip (I also added this one to the list, Dole Whip is an absolute must!!)
(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only missed Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom and it’s because I was trying to find the Pooh himself. Oh, well…next time!)