We can be set FREE from our brokenness, for $19.99!

JK, it’s actually for free… not some Jenny Craig Program for the heart or something…

Last week, my women’s Bible study group was studying about brokenness. And as I was one of the youngest in the group, I didn’t feel like I had much life experience to share. People shared about broken relationships with spouses and family members and parents. People shared about death and mental disorders and other severe chronic ailments…

Mine? A breakup… sounds quite silly and young… actually. Continue reading

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Impending Move to MI

I’m so excited to move to Michigan, and finally be able to live with my husband after we get married.

But I am so so sad to be leaving Philadelphia. Every time I walk outside on the streets in Center City, I am saddened by the fact that MI cities will no longer be walking cities, large East Coast cities, where people bike and walk everywhere… even in the snow.

When I relax with my girl friends at the outdoor seating areas for restaurants along Rittenhouse Square, I’m saddened by the fact that I have to leave this area, this park with bi-weekly farmers’ markets, dog and art festival, random street performers, child violin prodigies playing Vivaldi’s various Seasons on the corners of Walnut St.

I run errands like a madwoman in Center City. First to the post office, then to the store to return items, stop into the bank, next to CVS to pick up some toiletries, and then stopping into Di Bruno Brothers to pick up some cheese, maybe into Sue’s Produce for some grapes and veggies, and finally the nearby Wine Store for a bottle or two of champagne…. and I’m all walking… within a 2 block radius. I know Detroit and Ann Arbor are both great cities, but none can rival Philadelphia Center City, with all these stores and offices so close to each other.

I’m so excited to finally have a car again, once I move to Michigan. I’m excited I no longer have to shop at Trader Joe’s with a basket, so to be careful I don’t over-buy and kill myself while trying to walk my groceries home. In Michigan, I will have a car, we have decided to buy an SUV. Now I can drive into a Trader Joe’s, park the car, load up a shopping cart FULL of heavy groceries (you know the ones, cans, bottle juices, more canned items, milk, heavy dense meats, fruits and melons …), and then roll this shopping cart to my car… no need to break my back (and arms) while carrying one or two bags of groceries along the streets of Philadelphia.

I’m excited that I’ll have a much bigger apartment that the one I have in Rittenhouse Square… all the while paying much less in Michigan than I am in Philadelphia. I’m excited that I get to redecorate a whole apartment all over again, starting from the furniture down to the wall paintings.

I’m excited to be living amongst a calmer population, more smiling people, and the midwest hospitality.

I am apprehensive of being the weird East Coast driver/walker that zooms around at twice the speed as everyone else in Michigan. I’m worried that I look like a maniac when I talk double the speed than everyone I meet. I’m worried that I come off too straight forward and direct, just trying to communicate, but being misunderstood by Midwesterners.

I’m so excited to be living with my best friend, my husband!, everyday! But I’m sad that I will be losing my entire community of friends and family that I have in Philadelphia. From my entire young adult crazy church community, all of our boardgames, and watching 3 full games of football on any given Sunday (starting up again last Sunday!), going out for beers on a random notice, etc. I will miss my friends from work and from around the city, as we continue to explore and critic new/old restaurants all around Center City (and when we feel “adventurous”, we will actually cross over the Broad St. boundary…)

I miss having a Sephora right across the street from a Victoria’s Secret, that is right across from J Crew and Express, and right next to a Godiva Chocolate. I will miss the little Dollar Tree that is nestled right on Chestnut, next to the H&M, Brooks Brothers, Staples, and Del Frisco Steakhouse.

I guess I will have to start shopping at these large malls in Michigan, not bad, but I think I’ve grown to love the street shopping in Center City. But at least I will have a car in Michigan and can take me to the Outlet malls anytime I want!

I can’t wait to be in Michigan, but I’m so terrified of the day that I will leave Philadelphia…
Am I just a big ironic paradox?! How can I want to leave and not want to leave?!

Midwest doesn’t like Obama… what?!?!

So a few more items that I found that may hinder my attempted subtle transition into the Midwest… I’m trying to be inconspicuous, and fit right in… Looks like it’s going to be a lot harder.

First of all, people in Michigan speak with an accent. I am NOT joking. It’s very slight, but it’s most apparent in how they pronounce their “a”‘s, particularly the short “a” sounds…

Tangent.

Second of all, everyone (ok, fine, not everyone, many people….) is Christian and Republican. (obviously excluding places like Ann Arbor where there is high percentage of high education, research, teaching, education….) Apparently, it’s common for dinner table conversations to be bashing Obama and the administration.
Now, obviously, as left as NYC and CA can be… people aren’t always 100% pro-Obama and think he’s God’s chosen one… However, we also know to be PC and polite and not be bashing a certain side of politics in mixed company. What makes you think everyone here is Republican?! And even if everyone is Republican, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees!

It just makes me really uncomfortable. When people start going on and on and on, and suddenly if they bring up religion + all these other things, then I am not sure. I should stand up for what I think, right? I shouldn’t feel like I’m being silenced. But it’s strange, we’re talking about a “free country” and a “free market” yet suddenly, I don’t feel like my speech is very free anymore… We don’t have to agree, but to be condemning and mean is just not okay (no matter what corner of the earth you’re from…)

And moreover, WHY ARE YOU STILL YELLING?? Is it really the policies? Or perhaps its the race that you’re bothered by, but since you can’t openly complain about that (against federal law of racism) then you displace your dissatisfaction and target his policies and parties. Look, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Obama’s decisions and policies either, but I don’t say horrific things and bash the leader of our country. I still try to give the man some basic respect, you know, the ones promised and mandated by the Constitution? Oh, and btw, I’m also Christian. So now what? Why are you telling me that the Democrats are the devil?

Obama is already in the 3rd year of his term, if anything, why don’t you focus on who’s running? As opposed to, “Let me count the ways of his mistakes, and though I can’t do better, nor do I understand or know better, let me just complain, instead of using my complaints and energy in a positive way to influence the community, you know, in that same way that you think Obama isn’t doing well.”
Ohh, but of course, you’re Republican and Christian (?! I don’t see how this is relevant here…), and you think there should be a new development on ways to euthanize poor and sick people (oh, and don’t forget the immigrants) so that YOUR tax dollars don’t have to pay a cent.

Except, why do you have income today? Don’t say “because my own two hands got me here.” That’s never true. I went to some of the most expensive schools in this country, and I KNOW that I can’t ever say “by my own two hands,” because it’s just NOT true. It’s so untrue.

If I were born a different race, or a different family background, how about a different SES? Then what? I could work with my “own two hands” but I wouldn’t have the guidance “towards what should I work for”, “how should I work for”

ok, stepping back. This blog was never supposed to discuss politics.

Anyhow, I just found another obstacle in my transition to Michigan. Great…

I’m not saying I have to find friends that are pro-Obama, not at all. But I hope I’m not clamored with hoards of people/politics bashing company… Hopefully, we can have intelligent and cordial discussions, where we can talk about our thoughts and opinions. I always want to know what people think and why they think so, even if it’s worlds apart. But it shouldn’t become a battle, or attacks, or anything mean and barbaric.

Anyhow, I guess I shouldn’t hang my Obama poster back in 2008 anywhere visible. I kept it, thinking it will be an awesome memorabilia, since it really was our first black president ever. Thinking I’ll keep something to show my kids “I was there!”

But now… I guess some parts of the country think that it’s a disgrace, and want nothing more than to scrutinize and crucify his every move.

Good job, Midwest America. Finally overcoming 300 years of racism, and you just set us back to the 60s. Good job.

My Beloved City

This weekend, I went to Michigan for 4 days, Friday – Monday. My fiance is a doctor in the midst of trauma surgery residency… he gets one day off (which he usually uses to catch up on sleep) and the other days he works 5am – 9pm.

So a few weeks back, he’s already  moved into our new apartment, however, two days after the move, he started back on trauma day team. So he’s been living out of boxes (the few that were half unpacked) and plastic forks and paper cups.

This weekend, I brought my data and my work, but in the down time, I was planning to do some deep cleaning (of the kitchen and bathrooms) and also unpack as many boxes as I can. (He somehow has more things than I do, although I have not packed up my Philadelphia apartment, I know I will not have 70 boxes, which is what his old apartment packed up to be…) Before I got there, the boxes were just all around the living room, hallway, master bedroom, guestrooms, stacked up 3-4 boxes high… I don’t know how he lived in that place for a month…

I spent some time putting down contact paper in the kitchen cabinets and drawers, then I moved on to working on the bathrooms. Later, I started unpacking the boxes, I think I unpacked all the boxes except for maybe 4 boxes. (Ones with labels like Tech, or Motorcycle, etc… his guy stuff… I figured I shouldn’t try to unpack or reorganize them… )

He came back and was overjoyed!! Overjoyed that he can drink out of glass cups now! Instead of being so careful not to lose his only 2 paper cups that he’s been depending on for the last 4 weeks….

We also got to look at some of the wedding reception sites that his parents had suggested, for when doing the 3rd reception in Michigan

We are living on the 26th floor of our apartment tower. The view is gorgeous, and we can see Canada (Windsor!) and a full view of the river (not sure which one it is yet… I’m sure I’ll start learning the names…)

I love our new space!

I fly back into Philadelphia on Monday, and as I’m walking down the streets of Center City, I take a deep breath and smell the cars exhaust, the pollution, the heat, the Septa buses, and I still love my city, Philadelphia. I know in the next few months I will start packing, and saying good bye to some of my favorite restaurants and streets and parks.

I know Michigan has parks and restaurants. I know they have museums, I know they have a large city, Detroit. But it’s not the same. It’s not an East Coast crazy city like Philadelphia. It doesn’t have short walkable blocks lined with overpriced retail stores and overpriced and undersized gourmet food. It doesn’t have Rittenhouse parkview restaurant. It doesn’t have a festival (some crazy ones, too) that happen every other weekend.

Yes, I took a deep whiff of the Philadelphia City air, and really missed it. Someone think we’re dirty, some people think we’re rude and mean. Some people vow never to live on the East Coast. Well, I only left Philadelphia for 4 days, and when I was back, I couldn’t wait to step right back into my little beloved city.

Yes, bad air and mean people and all, I’ve missed you.

Taking the day off for Good Friday?

Some people at the office were really shocked that I came in today… They said because I am so religious and because it is Good Friday. (They actually called it Easter Friday…)

Then they proceeded to ask me which day was it that Jesus turned into the Easter Bunny… Somehow, I find this really offensive and insensitive. Can I say this is some type of discrimination?? Should I confront them?

How did Christ respond to ridicule and shaming? I guess this is exactly the right season/time to meditate on it.

Should I have taken the day off? Am I now not as good a Christian? But I also have good work ethics, if this day wasn’t allowed to be off, I can’t really just declare a holiday for myself.

I asked around my friends from church, and everyone was still hard at work, diligently and faithfully working on what God has put in front of them…

How do you find a wedding dress?

I think I am up to 60 dresses now…

And I have come up with…. zero.

There was an okay one at Alfred Angelo, can’t remember the designer. There were two okay ones at Van Cleve, Pronovias was the designer for both. There was one okay one at David’s Bridal, can’t even remember by who.

David’s Bridal made me cry during our appointment. It’s crazy. It was like a zoo. The consultants were nice, but very pushy and demanding. My bridesmaids had to fight some of them off.

Van Cleve is ridiculously amazing. They only book one appointment per time slot, so the whole boutique is yours to skip around in. They have wonderful service and a very knowledgeable assistant.

Alfred Angelo was really nice. It was quiet, but our consultant was new, and wasn’t very knowledgeable, and kept pulling out dresses that I didn’t like. Finally, my bridesmaids each went to pull 2-3 dresses. And that’s how I found the “okay” one.

But after… Still weren’t too happy about anything.

I did my homework, as people instructed. I looked in bridal magazines and tried to learn about bridal dresses and what I liked.
(No, I’m not that girl that knows what type of dress she wants since she was 10 years old.)
I have started a binder, also instructed by many of my friends who already planned their wedding and is also an organizer freak like me.

But every time I go to the store, and start trying on dresses, I learn a whole lot more that magazines and billions of pictures could NOT convey. Not even close.

I realized that though I love the trumpet look, there are many levels of trumpet. I realized that I love the poof. I wanted a dress that had a dramatic and big poof on the bottom. I learned that I like beading and lace. I learned that though I love satin, most satin won’t have both beading and lace.

Thank goodness I’m not in the bridal dress business. Just typing those words and details made my head and stomach start hurting. Is this what they call a panic attack? Anxiety?

Alright, thank goodness I’m on the East Coast, land of everything. My bridesmaids are from all over the East Coast, DC, Boston, NYC, Philly, etc. So they have made an extensive list of all the bridal dress shops in the cities: Philadelphia, NYC, DC, Boston. We will conquer each city, one by one. I’m sure that in these cities (all which are part of the Top 10 biggest cities in the US)  I will find ONE dress.

It just has to be there somewhere. I’ll definitely find one…. Right?

Enter: Bridesmaids!

Just a while ago, I had happily gathered with my bridesmaids, with some mango mimosa (amazing, btw) and some sushi, I love my fish raw!

My 4 bridesmaids are from my different walks of life. My maid of honor is with me in Philly, she is in my small group and goes to the same church. She was deepest undercover operative that my fiance used to gather valuable intel from me, regarding surprise birthday parties, ring size and ring preference, and finally, to get a manicure before the proposal. She is my maid of honor, who has quiet strength, but some impressive fits of delirious giggles and explosions when needed (like Jiggly-puff… apparently). Using color codes in notes and spreadsheet is her specialty.

My next bridesmaid is my college best friend. We met as freshmen, we were in the same class, then we had the same major (both had Physics as our double major). So thereafter, we had every class together till the day we died… I mean, till we graduated. We were in dance together, we were part of the same close group of friends. I brought her to my church and my college fellowship and eventually that’s where she got baptized. She currently lives in Florida with some gorgeous dark red hair. She has some crazy ideas, but has the biggest and most generous heart one has seen before.

My next bridesmaids is was someone I used to mentor (I guess still? since mentoring is lifelong??). I used to be her college advisor, but soon after she graduated and started working in NYC, we became close friends. It kind of felt like a Paul-Timothy relationship, except without the crazy age gap. We’re only 3 years apart. She is a crazy NYC person. She sometimes can be the most clueless person in the group. But she brings a type of calmness and happiness into the group as well. Schedules and itineraries are her specialties. Armed with electronics and maps in hand, she is never afraid of getting lost or asking for help. She can reserve and book us into restaurants of any caliber. She is a yelp fan and can easily tell us why we should go somewhere somehow.

My next bridesmaids is my close friend in Philly. She is an ex-athlete. Trained with the type of endurance only a professional athlete can have. She has crazy endurance. And that includes when she is dragged out to shop for bridal dresses. She is the only bridesmaid who has accompanied me to ALL bridal dress appointments. FIGHTER! 🙂 She also spends a large amount of time doing event planning along with her phD, like me. So we have similar lives. I support her events, she supports my events (and on occasion bounces at my too-large events). She is ALWAYS on her Droid, and loves spreadsheets and google calendar. Her specialty is forcing me not to accidentally drift back to becoming event planner on my wedding day and remind me to be pampered and have fun.

Honorary member: She is more knowledgeable than 10 brides combined. She has more knowledge than any bridal consultant I’ve met. She’s planned more weddings than the fingers on her one hand, and been in at least 4 bridal parties. She is knowledgeable from centerpieces to dresses to flowers to stationary. She is currently in Philly and studying to be a nurse. Her energy is indispensable and her knowledge is worth millions. Her specialty is fighting off the bad people during anything, giving off positive energy and excitement to keep the group excited,  and also finding the best ideas/deals/inventions.

Me, being very type A and way over-organized, had handouts printed for them, googledocs ready for them. They, being my beloved bridesmaids, are also super organized, didn’t miss a beat, and started also creating multiple spreadsheets and documents for: dress shops, florists, types of flowers in season, centerpiece option, bridesmaids shoe options, etc etc…

They are amazing. They make my life amazing. And they do it with a smile. And they do it all happily. We are having a blast. It’s awesome! 🙂

Best part of my wedding so far: My time with these ladies!