Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shiz getting real.

I just turned 28. I'm totally having a delayed quarter-life crisis. But not in a panicky, I-suck-at-life way. More like: I'm almost out of my twenties, I've survived so far, bless-my-heart sort of way. So I guess it's not really a crisis, more like an evolution, an acceptance toward my true self. Three years ago, I used to sit by my window in my suburban house waiting for neighbors, ANYONE, to come by so I could say hi and introduce myself and hope they like me and think I'm really cool and friend-worthy. Now? I seriously DGAF (don't give an eff) anymore. I am who I am. I'm 28--what do you want from me?!?

All kidding aside (sort of), this year is about finally growing into my skin, acknowledging what my true strengths and passions are, and doing what I want to do without thinking other people care or are watching. Not that I don't care about other people, but the bulk of what I've done in life has been tailored toward what I thought other people wanted me to do. What I am learning is no one is really tracking me (or you!) so there is so much freedom in just relaxing and following my bliss. I often joke with my sister: I've already flamed and bottomed out. So at this point, who really cares what I end up doing with my life?

Being 28 is great. It's freedom. I didn't do well as a young and angsty I-keep-making-the-same-bad-decisions-over-and-over-again Christine. I am inching toward womanhood and I finally feel like I am taking a step forward, not backward. Shiz getting real but I think I'm liking it.



New me
Edward and his Aunt Beth made me a bday cake.
New me
I am obsessed with taking care of my health now. I will do a post on my daily regimen soon.
New me
Since it's snowy and cold here, I've been in bed...writing...my...baby story...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

One foot forward.

It's really really cold here. Like, really cold. I just counted today: I haven't been out of the house in six days. It is hard to want to get out when the weather is so gray and icy. But also something happened the last few months. I've slipped into some sort of a depression. I finished the book I was working on for the last two years. Then Edward started school. I looked back for Steve and reached for him. But he wasn't there. I've been so distracted with motherhood and my book that I didn't realize Steve had slipped away. I cried for two months. I cried through the holidays. I didn't want to celebrate anything even though I had every reason to: my son. Let's try, ONE MORE TIME, to make things work. Because we have every reason to: our son. 

I don't know what trying is anymore. Heck, I don't even know what a relationship is anymore. What our relationship is. I don't know right from wrong. I don't understand what keeps people together and what pulls them apart. It all feels like shooting darts in the dark, hoping for a bulls eye but prepared that usually no one wins.

I don't think I know how to love. I tend to blame a lot of things on myself these days. Either I want too much from him or I don't want anything at all. Either I'm too close or he's too far way. Most of the time, I wait for him by the door while he sits by the window. Ships in the night.

I'm devastated, but also relieved. We truly haven't had a relationship in two or three years. It's amazing how little we can scrape by with. It's freeing to acknowledge our "non-relationship," to be able to say to each other how we both aren't getting what we want.

I keep having these dreams at night of people I used to know. People I haven't talked to or thought about for too many years. People who used to mean a lot to me. People who used to love me so much. It's like it is all coming back to me now, haunting me with the ways I've hurt others, the ways I've been insensitive. For such a feeler type, I can be very un-feeling.

Steve and I try to talk to each other these days. There have been a lot of tears. Some yelling. I wish he would just give me an ultimatum: either we are getting married or we are truly breaking up. And I think in the next few months, he will. I do not know how I will feel or what I will say. It's all just shooting darts in the dark. I hope we make the right choice.

Today, on the sixth day I haven't been out of the house, we needed groceries. And my son deserved to go out because we've not done anything since he's been on his winter break. I stayed in bed for two hours, quietly negotiating with myself how I will pull it together so I can drive to the store and see real people. Somehow, we drove and we went. And groceries were bought. I still feel like shit, but I put one foot forward. Sometimes that's all we can do: one foot forward. 

And then another.


IMG_3920

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Costa Rica

A recap of our trip a couple of weeks ago...


Cr
Early morning layover at JFK.
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We got to our destination in Liberia, CR in the early afternoon. I see sand and water!
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Our room was incredible. We had a nice ocean view and a private balcony.
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I loved the outdoor furniture even though I don't think I sat on this couch once.
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I definitely used to tub for a hot Epsom salt soak after ziplining!
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Right outside our room was a cute marketplace where we picked up souvenirs for Edward (he couldn't come with us).
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I started my first full day there with a morning hike with friends.
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I just want to dive right in!
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Coke with real sugar, please!
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Tamarind chicken salad with pineapple. So fresh!
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Mahi mahi ceviche. I love me some lime juice!
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I used an $8 workout shirt from Forever 21 as a swimsuit coverup pretty much the whole time.
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Is there anything better than fresh coconut juice?
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Heaven.
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Lots of neat driftwood along the shoreline.
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Volcanic rock?
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Volleyball at twilight.
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My outfit for Steve's company's cocktail reception: a nice shirt from Express and then this stretchy skirt I literally found for two dollars a few years ago in the clearance bin of some store.
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They strung bistro lights for us. LOVE.
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Happy and civil.
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We went to the bar every night. I seriously do not like drinking anymore.
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We were up bright and early the next day for ziplining.
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Getting our gear on!
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And then for lunch...the BEST burger I have ever had. EVER. It was called The Latin Burger.
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The ingredients for the Latin Burger are on the top right.
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I also ordered a surprisingly light and refreshing mango and basil milkshake.
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More food. We can't escape it. We had our fancy dinner that night and for an appetizer I got the tuna tartare. Also a BEST.
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A local favorite...some sort of a passion fruit muddled drink.
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The day after that, we chartered a boat to take us deep sea fishing.
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Steve caught the largest fish of the day, a Jack fish.
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We gave this to the fishermen as a tip.
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Our bonus day there, we both ordered huevos rancheros. I like my eggs extra runny.
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And this kale juice, of course!
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I wouldn't call this trip relaxing but I finally had a beach do-nothing hour.
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We then HAD TO go back to the Burger Shack for one more taste of our favorite burger.
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I got it this time with a side of spicy yucca bites.
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This sauce is everywhere on the island and it is incredible. It is like a tamarind sauce that I dipped everything in.
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We stayed at the Four Seasons which had a gorgeous golf course all around it.
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We had to stay in CR for an extra day due to the winter storm in the Northeast so we moved to a Hilton by the hotel.
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My last breakfast there: plantains, rice and beans, bacon, omelet, and some pork and veggie stir-fry.
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Outside the hotel we found a trail carved into the grass by ants.
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After a grueling trip back...Welcome to New York.

Below, I put together a quick video of our trip. Because I have too much time on my hands. Clearly.


Costa Rica Club Trip from Christine Wang on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yoga in Paradise

I just got back from a six-day trip to Costa Rica. My first morning there, I did yoga on our private balcony while waiting for Steve to wake up (he did after four hours). It was great, it was fun, but I won't recap it until I get some sleep because our flight didn't get in until 5 AM today (something about a snow storm that has been ripping through the northeast). Oh, and tomorrow is my 28th birthday so as an early celebration, I'm going to retreat to homemade fish tacos and a heavy dosing of reality TV (Edward and I love watching weight loss shows while cuddled tightly together in bed...don't ask). I don't want anything special for my birthday except for a chance to rest, indulge in some TV, and eat yummy and healthy food I make for myself. No parties, no crazy nights out, no fancy dinners. I'm in my late twenties now...sleep and a nightly glass of my fiber drink sound pretty darn good to me. Didn't I tell you I'm a good time?


Yoga in paradise

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm getting rid of all my stuff.

A follow-up to my most popular post ever: The Great Purge.

A year and a half ago, I had a sudden shift in habits and mentality about our consumer lifestyle. I realize now that when I impulsively moved to NY, I was running away from my unhappiness and toward what I hoped would be my happily ever after. Our apartment in L.A. wasn't super small (two bedrooms and two full baths) but I blamed its modest size for some of my internal strife after giving birth to Edward (because babies need, you know, so much stuff). I wanted the American dream, a full-blown house with a big backyard and a room for each one of us and all of our future children. When I found my house in NY, this was IT. We moved thinking it would solve all our problems for sure but after my first night in my house, I realized I was no happier in our larger space. I still felt insanely lost and unfulfilled. "I think we made a huge mistake," I told Steve. "We should have gone bigger, like 5,000 sf."

To make things feel better, I went on a major shopping spree. I bought curtains, rugs, pillows, vases, fake flowers, chairs...you name it. I wanted it all. I wanted to be happy so I bought a bunch of things that I thought I needed to be happy. Yes, our house is big (over 3,000 sf) but it filled up quickly. Soon enough, we had all of the rooms filled even if it was filled with just cardboard boxes and remnants of old projects. My philosophy back then when decorating was more is more. We inherited a huge basket collection from Steve's grandmother. I took all the lamp bases from her house. I just wanted it all and I wanted to display it all. Because more is more, right?

Well, let me tell you something to save you from all the clutter and wasted cash from the last few years: You really don't need that much stuff to live a really good life. Stuff does not and will not EVER equal happiness. It is just a temporary fix, an addiction, that puts a bandaid on deeper issues. So I went through a Great Purge a year and a half ago and while the results were good, it did not last. Americans collect so much stuff just randomly (like favors from birthday parties and holiday gifts) that just to maintain some sort of equilibrium in your stuff is an ongoing process. What was also ongoing was editing my stuff to a bare minimum and figuring out what I truly needed to live a good life vs. what is just stuff I am holding onto with expectations of one day needing it. Last year when I was purging, there were still many things I couldn't part with (certain dish towels, shoes, dishes...just lots of random things). I did a big purge a week ago and guess what? All the things I thought I couldn't live without were still hiding in storage, untouched. I am all for having stuff to improve your quality of life. But what we actually use on a day-to-day basis is remarkably limited. Everything else is just CLUTTER.

I had a hard time letting go of things because my stuff carries a lot of expectations with it. I held onto scrapbook making kits, cute tea sets, and clay pots because I KNOW I am crafty and I KNOW I could one day host a tea party and I THINK I like to garden. But guess what? The reality is I don't actually do those things (or not nearly enough to keep all the correlating stuff around) and my attachment to these things is just my failure to recognize what I actually do with my time. Just because I have a scrapbook making kit does not make me a scrapbooker. That fantasy just has to go out the door.

I am not a minimalist because I do like stuff. I do like having really high quality things. But I only want things that I use and I just don't use that much. So in the next few months, I am going to pare down my things to my bare minimum: My camera gear, computer and hard drive, a small book collection, a very edited closet, a box of important docs, toiletries, very small kitchen, a TV, my iPhone, and communal family stuff like a bed, dining table, and sofa. Because there are other people in my household, I can't live as edited as I would like but I definitely played a role in our consumer problem and I am finally finding my equilibrium with the stuff epidemic that many people suffer with. It is pure freedom, I tell you. It makes me love my house so much more when everything in it supports my lifestyle, not take away from it.

Let's take a look at some of the things from Trip 14 to the Goodwill:


Stuff
The boots on the left are so cute (and my sister has the same one in a different color) but the heels are very worn and the last time I wore it I slipped. The shoes to the right were cute when I was 21 one but let's face it, I can't quite pull off cheap shoes anymore (funny things happen when you start to age). So now I am down to one workout shoe, two heels, two boots, two flats, and a pair of sandals. That's it!
Stuff
After we made an offer on our house, I panic-bought this dining table runner from HomeGoods because I was sure this was my style and I would never find something like this again. Never once used it in three-plus years. Buh-bye!
Stuff
I got an adorable Anthropology apron for Xmas so this one became a duplicate. I initially wanted to keep it because I had fantasies of baking alongside my sister one day except who am I kidding? That probably will NEVER happen (we both don't like to bake).
Stuff
I bought this handmade scarf thingy from a family friend for a fundraiser. It's been sitting in my closet for two years and I've never found an opportunity to wear it. Don't think I ever will. Buh-bye!
Stuff
I developed a very strange lamp habit after I brought back ten-plus lamps from Steve's grandmother's house. I liked to put random lamps all over my house for "decorative reasons." They were never plugged in and they didn't have light bulbs in them. All they did was clutter up space and collect dust. This floor lamp was the last to go. I finally decided it made no difference in my quality of life and now that it's gone, I don't even remember what it was like to have it standing uselessly by our dining table. I mean, what was I thinking putting it there in the first place?!
Stuff 2
Which brings me to this: Cheap and random decorations from Walmart, nonetheless. Except it wasn't all that cheap (I probably paid thirty bucks for this). I don't even know what this is anymore. A floor vase? A table vase? It just had to go. Buh-bye!
Stuff 2
I tossed the branches that I used to keep in the vase as well.
Stuff 2
I got rid of lots of random things lurking in my kitchen cabinets. These are old kerosene lamp covers with no actual bases. I passed on these the first time I cleaned out my kitchen but this time around I just couldn't justify their keep to me anymore.
Stuff 3
I cannot tell you how disgusting our garage was before this purge. We had junk on top of junk on top of junk. Lots of warm and safe spaces for spiders to lay their eggs. And did they ever! This is the garage after I took a carload to Goodwill. Progress, but I'm coming back for more in the next few months. You can't see how much dust and insects and feces and hair was all over the ground. But trust me, it was there.
Stuff 3
After some reorganizing, a trip to Goodwill, and a thorough sweep, we actually have space to walk out of the car. Heaven!
Stuff 3
Nothing escaped my compulsion to purge. Including contents in my freezer. I baked a bunch of odds and ends for dinner so I could throw out their bags and be done with it.
Stuff 3
I salvage as much as I can but some things do just go into the trash. I threw out these tiles from my back splash project because I used up as much as I could (between my kitchen and bathroom) and these really are just mostly scraps.
Stuff 2
If an item has enough value in it, I sell it on Craigslist. While I loved my sisal rug, Steve didn't and the next place I live in will not be large enough for this (it is 9' by 12'). I got a lot of interest right away and two days later, I sold it for my asking price.
Stuff 3
Oh hi, Ben.