Monday, January 14, 2013

Post Sandy, Part IV

"Embrace challenge. It's an accelerator to growth" - Sasha D (NYL blog's writer)

The month I was displaced wasn't the hardest month in my life. It was the most challenging.

The person I am, I like my space, I love my space! That was the reason I wanted to move to Long Beach in the first place. I needed more space. I wanted to get away from the city and its consuming noise. I was looking for an escape.

Imagine when you're looking forward to something really bad, counting days knowing that it's all set and waiting for you. And then you get it, but you only get it for a moment. The next thing you know, you're not only back to where you were but worse...

That's exactly what happened to me. I moved to a beautiful place by the beach, with lovely neighbors and friendly community. It felt unreal, it felt heavenly. I wasn't just happy, I felt like I was living my dream, I was writing my own book.
Listen, all my life I dreamed to live by the beach, nothing brought me to God closer than the water, and the Atlantic Ocean outside my windows was as close to Heaven as I could get.
I know it sounds a bit dramatic. But it is. It was.

So I move there, after 3 long months of anticipation. I don't care about the storm warning, I don't care about anything. What bad could happen if I am finally going to live my dream?

And then, 2 days later, my dream escapes me. I find myself in a dark cold place with no connection to the world, and a feeling of harsh awakening. It wasn't meant to be. I wasn't supposed to have my heaven yet. I am not done with the world. I have work to do.

The city simply didn't let me go. I am too young, I am too driven, I am too ambitious to escape the world and live my own heavenly secluded existence.

Instead I am thrown back to what I was running away from - life, people, action. And there was never as much of each as in a month to come. Every day was a survival, a new strategy, a new action. I was never alone, even for a second. That was the biggest challenge indeed. I learned how to live with others. Though I lived with a couple of boy-friends before, that was different. This time, it was vulnerable, even exposing. Despite the fact that it was uncomfortable for the most part, I learned how to get by depending on others. Something I always had a problem with. Never depended on anyone really, that was a new and profound experience.

I am not going to say Yes, that was amazing, I want to do it again :) No, I am still as independent as I was. But I am very happy I had an opportunity to learn how to accept help.
Lesson # 4: Accepting help from others is necessary at times. That will teach us how to help others.

It wasn't just help from friends I stayed with, it was help from friends who took care of my kitty, friends who drove me to Long Beach and back to get stuff, friends who offered storage for my things. Special thanks to all is at the end of this post.

Back to facts. As stated in my previous post about Sandy, the apartment I moved in on Long Beach would take months to fix. I wasn't sure what to do. Look for a new place, sublet something temporarily and wait till my place on LB is fixed? How long would I have to wait? Many Many questions to ask and answer. I was so lost, I wasn't even thinking for the most part. I was just taking steps, one at a time. And one small step along the way eventually brought me to my new place, my new home:)

After a month of confusion and chaos (domestically at least, never spiritually:) I was back in the city permanently. I can't say I found my new home. It was more that it found me. And now I am residing in the area that means NYC to me more than any other. Because this neighborhood was my first home not only in NYC but in the States. I am back to where I came first: near Columbia University. And it never felt more like home:)

To be continued....

Special thanks to my friends: Val, Marianne, Ksenia, Vas, Jeromy, Tulu, Joe, Serge, Natalie F, Roxana, Jonathan and Daniel :)

Saying Good Bye to Long Beach. A NY Times photographer captured this shot of me.

With my Sis (to the left)  at Columbia campus where I stayed 11 years ago
and now live 5 blocks away from it.

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