Archive for signs on the road

family & France

Posted in Burgundy with tags , , on July 30, 2012 by ana

There is a series of three photograph taken the day that my parents got engaged. They are celebrating their engagement with their siblings, all who were already married. Everyone is dolled up and laughing. I think they were taken in my grandfather’s study.

I used to be fascinated by these photos. I found them when I was in art school during a period where I pillaged both my parents collections of photographs. I was obsessed with family snapshots. I was never really sure why those photographs in particular captivated me but it had something to do with how fresh and young they all were. Looking at it from the future, knowing the significant events that occurred- the births, deaths, divorces, illnesses, accomplishments, that moment frozen in time, seemed like a pause before the first dip in a roller coaster. For some reason I woke up thinking of those photographs.


The other night I was in bed reading and absentmindedly playing with one of my teeth. This got me thinking about my grandmother. How she lost a lot of her teeth around age 92 or 93. This in turn made me think about getting older and getting old. About being sixty, eighty or ninety-six, the age my grandmother was when she passed away, and how I would look back on this time in my life and see my loves, my fears, my hopes. I tried to imagine, to get a feeling for how I would look upon this time when I’m older. For some reason this way of thinking about getting older, from the future looking back as opposed to from the present thinking forward, gave me a strange sense of reassurance. I realized that the thing that fascinated me about those photographs was that life hadn’t calcified into their bodies. The thing that I find most paralyzing about getting older is how much more weight our choices start to carry. From that stemmed the decision to move abroad. The fear that time was passing by and that I had to do the things that I had always wanted to do.

And because of some good decisions and a bit of luck I found myself today having a picnic by a field of sunflowers, then spending the remainder of the afternoon planting lettuces, carrots, and radicchio, and picking green beans for pickling, and unripe apples to make pectin.

When I got back it was so hot I started watching an Yves Saint Laurent documentary in bed. A St. Vincent song played in my head and wouldn’t go away. I stopped half-way through the movie to return some emails and somehow, amidst all the loveliness of the day and the anxiety of the future, while sitting in a pleather couch in a hotel lobby,  it hit me- the density, the loveliness of all I had, so far, lived and experienced in France.

jet-lag, thunderstorms & Burgundy

Posted in Los Angeles, paris with tags , , on June 25, 2012 by ana

I’m back in Paris. I had the worst jet-lag when I returned and couldn’t fall asleep until 5 or 6 in the morning for most of the week. During one of those sleepless nights there was a beautiful, raging thunderstorm. I sat by the kitchen window watching the sky light up and sound as if it was cracking open. The storm made me excited about the summer. I love thunderstorms.

My trip to LA was both lovely and hard. It felt like I hit true rock-bottom after a year and a half of banging myself against things. It felt horrible but in the end something about it felt very grounding, like I was finally touching firm ground not some ledge on the way down. For the past month in Paris I had been dancing with my demons, and when I got to LA it became a full on brawl. I felt like my confidence was full of holes. I felt extremely vulnerable and shy, and then on the other side of that I kept beating myself up about it.

I drove around asking the same questions I had been asking myself in Paris. Was I so lost that I had to loose myself even more to find myself? What had I done moving so far from home! There were moments in LA were I felt desperate to find some answers. Moments when I felt old and like I had strayed from my path. There were also lots of moments where it was wonderful to be there. To see the people I love. To witness my best friends get married and see all our old New York friends at their wedding.

At some point towards the end of my trip when I was feeling lower than low something clicked. I thought- you are such a shit. You are surrounded by so much love. You have such good friends. You live in Paris. Why are you looking at all you don’t have and not celebrating all you do have. You are the only one that is judging yourself. And as soon as I thought that something switched, and I thought, what if everything is happening exactly as it needs to. What if everything is perfect just as it is. I don’t think I have ever internalized that thought as I did at that moment.


The whole time I’ve been in Paris my friend Karina’s words have rang through me. When we were 23 she said to me two things that I still think about all the time. One was, never forget who you are. The other, I think the key word right now is perseverance. For as much as I think about her words I forgot, for a moment, who I was but in forgetting I found a clearer version of myself.

I got on the plane with a plan and a Kinfolk magazine. My plan was to do a French intensive for the month of July, look for work as soon as that was done, and then go to the Cordon Bleu in November. On the plane I read my magazine. After reading an essay about an American woman who had moved to Burgundy and opened a cooking school I decided to email her. I told her I had been inspired by her story and asked her for work.

I got back to Paris with a renewed sense of self, with my curiosity back at it’s normal level, and feeling excited about this here adventure that I am on. Somewhere in the past week I remembered just why I had decided to move to Europe. I felt that feeling in my gut again that pushed me to it. I started to rejoice about being in Paris. It started to hit me that I live here.

Then I heard back from the school in Burgundy, and so it is that I now find myself packing to go there tomorrow. I will be there for the next five weeks cooking, gardening and being, as Brie put it, the all around kitchen au pair. I will be their intern in exchange for my own apartment, meals, and a bicycle to ride to work. I am beyond excited. Who knows what will happen next. The French intensive is still a priority but it will have to wait. Off I go! Small town, country roads, vegetable patches-I have been craving thee!




Julie Delpy, are you the patron saint of my move?

Posted in 38 with tags , , on January 26, 2012 by ana

I sold my car on Tuesday. It felt so strange to let go of one of my most important possession in LA. When I told Stevie I was selling my car and that it made me a little sad she said, “those are just the cocoons getting shaken up.”  I had my car for nine years. As I walked over to hand off the keys memories of driving to the desert and up north to Napa and San Francisco came back to me. I remembered how often I got lost when I  first moved here and all the mini adventures taken in my car- drives to the beach, to parties downtown, to beautiful, magical houses where friends were house sitting in Laurel Canyon and above the Silver Lake reservoir.

Yesterday, I got my visa in the mail! So, it’s official. I can move to Paris. It’s amazing how everything is falling into place. Selling my car was the main thing that was stressing me out. Last week I asked my boss, who was sitting at the bar doing the schedule, if she knew anyone looking to buy a car. She looked up at the couple sitting at the other end of the bar and jokingly asked if they wanted to buy a car. It turns out they did and they were actually looking for the same car I had! They asked why I was selling and when I told them I was moving the woman said,”look at Julie Delpy. She’s doing it. She’s doing her own thing. She’s stumbling through it. She’s just did Two Days in New York. Did you know? It’s really good. You can be like her. You are doing your own thing.”  It was funny that she mentioned Julie Delpy because a month ago my friend Katy’s boyfriend said to me that he had been looking at Before Sunset for a project he was working on. When he saw her apartment in the movie he thought of me and imagined me living in an apartment like hers. I loved that he said that because I don’t know him that well but think he’s a real sweetheart.

Five days later  the lady at the bar bought my car. And if that wasn’t a sign that all roads lead to Paris, at the last minute I needed to go to the DMV for some paperwork. It was four in the afternoon and they close at five. I jumped in my car and miraculously made it downtown on the 5 in ten minutes. Ten minutes!




Tuesday: a three girl advice kind of day

Posted in lunch with tags on March 22, 2011 by ana

How do you find your career when you are not a career girl? I’m sick of being a waitress, of all the little dramas and gossip of working in a restaurant. I’m sick of not knowing where I’m going, of feeling like I’m on the plane waiting to take off and being delayed.

Today I went to lunch with my cousin, Rafael, the one whose house I’ve been living in rent free, and who is like a dad to me. I realize how good I have it. My friend Nai always says- you must have stepped on shit to be so lucky. And it’s true I always land somewhere and on my two feet. Why do I feel so scared then? Why have I been freaking out for the last three days? What do I mean when I say that I want things to fall into place?

My cousin asked me what my deadline to decide what I’m doing with my life was and that just sent me into serious panic mode. He and I have had conversations like this before, they always make me panicky. His advice is always the same- to get an entry level job somewhere where there is room to grow. A non-profit he suggests. I think we just come from different perspectives. He wants me to have benefits and I don’t want to suffocate. A desk job is not for me. Unless it is a writing desk. What is the right place for me? I don’t know but I feel like I have been searching for a long time. Maybe I’ve been going about it the wrong way. Things feel different now but are they.

There has been change, mostly personal. It took me a long time to admit to myself that I want to have a baby, that I want to be married. That I want that kind of commitment. There is a part of me that has always wanted that but then there has always been a part of me that has felt uncomfortable with it as well. There are some people in my life who think I’m boy crazy but I’m not. I wish I was. I wish there was some lovely man to have a fling with. If I am man crazy it is in the way that someone who has spent equal amounts of her adult life in relationships and alone can be. It is as someone who has dated, who has loved, who has had her share of flings and heartache and fun. A huge part of me has enjoyed being on my own but I also feel ready for a deeper kind of communion. That desire didn’t disappear just because my relationship did.

More than anything the disintegration of my relationship has made me rethink how I want to live, and how I want to love. It’s made me really aware of my emotions and the power that being awake to them and my needs bring. I have almost always shied away from some of my feelings. Withheld them out of fear, out of wanting to be liked, out of wanting to please. I’m not saying all that is gone but now I am more aware.

Today I felt miserable but tonight I feel okay, better than okay. I went to a dance class, a very sexy dance class, and literally danced my ass off and got a lap dance. It was hard to concentrate because I kept thinking about my woes but something about how loud the music was and all the prancing and twirling did me good.

When I got out of class I checked my messages and Alicia had called. I had thought about her during class. And as usual she was solace and love. I’m doing this really intense seven month therapy workshop called Revelations. It’s like diving from the high board into your shadows. It has been amazing and I’m sure life changing. My sister and Alicia both took the workshop. Alicia said, “commit to the workshop. Don’t do anything until it is done. It’s the only thing that matters right now. Do extra work. If they ask you to write a poem, write a play.” I had told myself that I wouldn’t make any decisions until the workshop was over but the truth is that deep down I’ve known for awhile that it is going to take me longer than the workshop to make any concrete decision. I had already made up my mind to take the rest of the year. It may not take me a whole year or it may take me a little longer but I’m going to try and not beat myself up about it.

I need to recommit to my goals. It’s mid-March and I’ve been slacking. Not in everything but in some. At the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself abut being picky. Picky about what I read, what I watch, what I eat, what I listen to and I’ve found myself slowly meandering back to my favorite gossip sites and reading more magazines than books. I want to dive deeper into my workshop and continue deepening my relationship with being present. God knows I am one girl in a sea of daydream.

Earlier in the day I talked with my cousin Carolina. She gave me some really great advice about moving to NY. In case I haven’t mentioned it before my whole family wants me to move back to the east coast. Carolina told me to make a list of all the people I know in NY that could help me find a job and to call them. That seems so scary but it makes perfect sense. I told her I had to sit with that one for awhile. The thought of asking for work terrifies me, stupefies me, makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. I told Carolina that I would rather sing “La Boriqueña”, Puerto Rico’s national anthem, in front of 500 people.

Tonight before I came home to finish writing this post I met my sister for a quick bite at Malo. Sometimes a girl needs her arsenal and today was a three friend advice kind of day. Sore and hungry from my class and happy to be near someone I can hug and squeeze, we sat at the bar and shared some fish tacos and drank margaritas. Hers with salt and mine without. Lela said some really wise things to me. It’s really pretty great to get useful advice from your younger sister. It really makes me feel like a mom with a grown up daughter, which when you are thirteen years older than your sister is kind of what you are. Lela told me how she thought that during revelations you had, well, some revelations about your self but that it wasn’t until after that you really had constant aha! moments. Both Alicia and Lela said- you are in the thick of it just go with it. My sister also pointed out something so true. She said I make changes and expect instant results and when I don’t get them I give up. Commit to the writing. Commit to Revelations. Stick it out. I don’t know if those were her exact words but that is how they stuck in my head.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 11, 2010 by ana

When all the signs on the road point towards exit, how do you even begin to separate your life from someone else’s? And when that person seems completely unaware that the end is eminent is that easier or more difficult. I feel incredibly alone even though I know I am surrounded by people who love me and who want nothing but to see me happy. My dad asked me the other night, who is your best friend here? Then he said, because you are going to need them.

It’s hard to let go of all the hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let go of the idea that this man and I were starting a new home, and that this home will never be. It’s hard to think of who we were before we moved, and how much we wanted this new home. What happened?

I miss the sense of well being I felt in my relationship, the comfort, the love. We always laughed a lot and life often felt exciting and special. I’m not saying that these are things I only felt in my relationship, I have felt all these things when I have been on my own. What made it remarkable was to be able to have them with someone else. And I foolishly thought that was the sign, the clue that meant that what we had was exceptional.

But now, apart, I also think of all the things I had to put up with. All the things that held me back because for as fun and loving and lovely as my boyfriend was he really wasn’t a walk in the park. He has a bunch of annoying neuroses that have been bubbling in the last few years, he has a hard time respecting boundaries and being present to other people’s time and needs. And at the end of the day I’ve realized that things have mostly revolved around his needs, his views. And that the way he sees the world is very different from me. He lives in fear and I do my best to look at why things scare me. When I think about all this it makes me angry. It makes me question the past six years. It makes me wonder if he really loved me as much as I though he did or if I simply confused the fact that he enjoyed me and cared for me as love.

Little by little things become a little clearer even if the steps to take feel completely alien.