Thursday, November 25, 2010

To show how thankful I am, I'm going to reveal way too much of myself

I know in the past I've wandered a little beyond the "travel" theme of this blog and given a little insight into my life, but today I'm going to take it even further. It's a bit scary for me because I intend to reveal a lot that I don't usually talk about....with anyone...yikes!

But at the same time, I think it's relevant to travel. Exploring the world not only teaches you about your external surroundings; it inevitably leads to so much self exploration and revelation. I tend to have trouble staying present, and have been struggling for so long with really accepting or even knowing who I am and what I want. I've spent years either ignoring "me" or hating the "me" I think I am, or not living up to the "me" I think I should be. But when I'm traveling, I get a huge sense of relief. A mix of happiness and indifference, living in the moment that is so unlike my day to day at home. I went back to New York 2 weeks ago for work, and while every trip is great, this one was particularly enlightening. A big light bulb lit up in my mind as soon as I got home.

By going to work, I of course feel productive and realize how good I actually am at what I do. I meet new people and see friends that remind me that I am loved, and there's just something about walking block after block through that huge city that feels like there's so much possibility and future ahead of me. So coming home, I was already feeling positive when I was welcomed by my family and friends back here in Houston and it finally hit me....I am so, so lucky. I am surrounded by the greatest family and friends in the world. I have the best of the best as my role models. But instead of feeling blessed, this has led me to feel like I can't measure up, I will never succeed, never be good enough to give back what I've been given. And then it all backfires because if I can't be perfect I am better off not trying. Having such amazing family and friends can be overwhelming.

Exhibit #1- my parents. Could they possibly have accomplished more? When it comes to my chosen profession, they are some of the best in their industry. Their language skills and speed are unmatched in the interpreting world.  Now that I've been working as an interpreter for a little longer, I've learned that in comparison to your average interpreter, I'm pretty darn good, especially considering I've been doing it for only a year, but it's hard to focus on that when I expect myself to instantly go from point A to point B and become my parents. Also, let's not forget that they raised me and gave me more than I would have even thought to ask for. I was born into a life resembling a giant open doorway. I have to use this door, I HAVE to be someone they're proud of.

My brother's are both brilliant. David is both charming and probably has a genius IQ, a natural inclination towards politics and the ability to convince anyone of anything. Luckily for the rest of humanity, he was raised by my above-mentioned wonderful parents, so I know he will one day be making a huge positive impact. Michael has been a little inventor since he was still pulling his stretchy pants way too high over his diapers, and he'll probably go on to get PHD's and win the nobel prize. Of course, I fear that I'm not as good, as smart, or high achieving as they are, but more and more I feel an enormous sense of sisterly pride. These are MY brothers, we share so much already, and I'm even more grateful now that we're all getting older and can share on a friend level as well as sibling.

The other half of my vocational choice is yoga. Though it's so much more than that. I'm thankful for how much it has changed my life, my outlook, and the way I treat myself and others. I know that this will be a life long choice for me and will carry me through so many ups and downs. I'm also so excited to get certified to teach and share this with future students! My yoga instructors and fellow trainees are the most inspring people. I knew I was blessed at Yogaone Studios, but by traveling and seeing other studios, I've confirmed it. I feel so warm and welcomed by this yoga family. It's a collection of the most incredible, friendly, peaceful, beautiful and inspring yogis you'll ever find. Not only are they the most qualified instructors that I have been lucky enough to have teach me, they're approachable, inspriational and have made me feel an entirely new side of myself. I still question how I even ended up as part of that family. What did I do to deserve it?  It's been so good for me, and I only hope I can inspire my students half as much as they have me.

My friends from the yoga studio and from other paths my life has crossed, new and old, are all wonderful. They're successful in such a variety of ways; they're fun, intelligent, unique, and beautiful.  . They're there for me even when I've pushed them away. I worry that I am not capable of reciprocating equally. Whether I have that much to share, to give back. If I can be someone they feel proud to call a friend the way I am of them. But I'm lucky to have them, happy for the ones that have stuck around forever, and for the new ones I'm making and hope to become closer with.

So there it is - my Catch 22. I've been burdened with the task of trying to be the best daughter/ friend/ sister/ yoga instructor because it's the least I can do to show my appreciation for the incredible people that surround me. Poor me, right? For now, I still feel stuck, like I'm in limbo, making lots of plans but never really accomplishing anything, never as pretty, never as smart, or SELF CONFIDENT (key word) but I think it's getting better.

In all seriousness, I am totally unbiased... my friends and family are the best. You all would love to have my life. So I'm going to stop whining about it.  I'm going to stop wondering and worrying whether I am worthy of being loved by my loved ones. I need to stop over thinking life and start living it.

Today, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Rally for the sake of ...Rallying?

I'm sure most of you by now have seen the photos, or watched it on TV. Last weekend was the Rally to Restore Sanity and/ or Fear hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. If you haven't heard anything about it, look it up! There were some great speeches, performances, comedy segments, signs, and costumes, and I was one of the lucky 250,000 or so in attendance!

Since I'm normally a very opinionated person and love my politics, I could have a lot to say on that aspect of the rally, but that was not the intention of this blog, and I really feel that this rally was not out to divide us on any serious party or platform lines. I think it accomplished everything it intended to do: bring together peaceful, intelligent, forward thinking Americans who just wanted to get together and have a good time while still letting our country know that we expect change and progress.

This trip was also multi-purpose. I was able to visit my brother who has been working/ studying in DC since August. He's doing a really amazing program through the University of Texas that takes a very select few students from all the UT schools to do political internships while continuing to take classes and it seems like he's getting an amazing experience. I'm a little jealous, but, shucks, I'm just a proud big sis :)  I flew up to DC the Thursday before the rally so before and after, I got to hang out with him, meet his friends, and explore the Capital. I'll keep the words short and just give you a photo recap!

Hey there Abe! I actually had not made it here when I was in DC back in June. 

Me and the parents behind the Jefferson Memorial. It has beautiful fountains! There's also a long waterside walk and park that was perfect to walk through at sunset. 

My little brothers. David on the left is the one working in DC. Michael on the right is in high school here in Houston. This dinner was in Arlington near our hotel. It included some delicious gnocchi that I only got to hear about because they had cheese, but my pizza was delicious as well. 
I had perfect timing on this photo! 5 minutes later when my dad wanted to take the same one on his camera, the sun wasn't hitting it the same way. 

Crazy amounts of people in front of me. I could barely see those screens, I was holding the camera as high as I could here and on my toes! 

Oh the signs, haha. There were so many good ones!

We found fellow Texans!

More people behind me extending all the way down the Mall. 

That was the rally, and I had so much fun being in such a huge crowd of super excited people! And also knowing that all the great performers like Cat Stevens, Sheryl Crow, Ozzy Osbourne, Stewart and Colbert, and so many others were up there in the same general area was kind of cool even though I was no where near close enough to see them. 
Some other things to add to my summer DC guide- I went back to the Museum of American History, and that was a lot of fun. I had two lunches at Sweet Green, where you make your own giant salad. It has tons of fresh options, including the seasonal squash, and you HAVE to get the falafel. I also tried Java Green and tried kelp noodles for the first time. They were a little weird, and definitely no replacement for noodles, but the texture kind of grew on me. The way they were prepared was way too spicy though. It's a cool restaurant but definitely for the more adventurous taste buds, and I did really enjoy the big cookie I took for dessert! I love anytime I can get vegan cookies. My family also tried Obama's favorite burger place. I'm blanking on the name at the moment, but they all really liked it and it's a really popular place on Capital Hill. David, if you read this, what's it called??
The first night I went to the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, and as I mentioned earlier, the park behind the Jefferson Memorial is really nice to walk through. We also went back to Georgetown for a nice early morning stroll down M Street , and that's always a cute area, but most things are closed on Sunday mornings. 
All in all, short trip but I had a good time! 

Tomorrow early early AM I'm off to NY again! I'm living on airplanes these days, but I can't wait to meet up with more bloggers and do some more work networking this week. That means I'll be checking in soon with more fun in the city!