10 April 2006

crossing a bridge into the future

When people start randomly telling you that it's been too long since you've updated your blog, then perhaps it's time to update your blog. This message from a friend was the kick in the pants:
your blog has not been updated for almost 2 months - I know you've been busy with school and everything, but are you trying to tell me you can't squeeze out a couple hundred words a day?

Ahh, but I have tried. Blog ideas float around in my head like background static (or the non-stop NYC traffic and ambulances outside my window). Nearly everyday I imagine myself going to www.blogger.com and finally letting my unfettered meanderings run free. Whether you call it writers' block (not likely since I was hardly a writer in the first place) or just plain procrastination, the situation is that I have found it really difficult to
share my voice with you. There is always a cause for such a block in energy, and lately I've been thinking a lot about what this might be for me.

The most immediate and readily identifiable cause is that I envisioned my next post to be an update, a herald of my life's major changes. Yet every time I thought about immortalizing the words in cyberspace (today's analogue to "putting the words to paper"), anxiety would take over and I would immediately numb myself with obsessive checking of email, surfing my cache of social networking sites, or perusing of NYTimes.com/CNN.com. Hmm, I am probably prolonging that anxiety at this very moment and reined you in anticipation of this news. Well, given that I have started telling the news to random strangers I meet, here goes: I will be moving to San Francisco to work on Dr. Yeh's research grant.

Phew. Well, not really phew. Based on my experience over the last two months of telling people this news, I will now preempt some questions that you might have:

1) When are you leaving?

I plan on moving to SF in September.

2) How long will you be there?

My position is for a year. I plan on applying to doctoral programs in this time for admittance in Fall 2007. For that, who knows where I will be.

3) But what about Jon?!?!
This takes the cake of the FAQ's. Almost always the first question that I get asked. After a lot of reflection and discussion with Jon, I decided that this is the right decision for me right now. It's an amazing opportunity and there's no better time for it than at this juncture in my life. Jon and I have been through a lot over the years, and while it will certainly be challenging to be so long distance, we know that we can be strong. I am so grateful to have a partner so supporting of my personal and professional life. Jon = the greatest!

3a) Wait, how long have you guys been long distance???
Officially dated for 7 years, long distance for 6.5 or so. Yes, it is difficult. But I have to share that it makes it even more difficult when it feels like the world is making out this relationship to be the paragon of long-distance relationships. I feel fortunate to have privileges which have helped to maintain the distance, like a cell phone bill my parents pay for (thank you, family plan), credit cards and income to pay for plane trips to visit each other in college, the $40 Greyhound New York-Boston line, and most importantly the Internet (God bless it). So many families and relationships have endured much worse. When my parents were first married, my father had to immediately leave the Philippines for the U.S. because his papers to immigrate came through. They were apart for two years. It is astoundingly common for immigrant families to endure similar separation from parents, children, and other friends and extended family members in hopes of greater opportunity and a better life. The point of this tangent is that, while I appreciate the sympathy of others, I am also very grateful for my relationship so far and for the resources that I had to make that happen that others do not. And when people keep reminding me over and over again about how awful it must be to go from finally living in the same city with Jon to going across the country, well it just makes me depressed.

Don't get me wrong, everyone has been incredibly supportive, for which I am thankful...I think it is more my own issues. Ever since I learned of this amazing opportunity, I have been battling the ambivalence of this situation. Leaving my long-time partner, old and new friends, and new big-city home = depressing. Living in one of the top three big U.S. cities while I am still young, working closely with my mentor, and doing work that will not only be personally gratifying but professionally enriching = totally exciting.

For a long time, it has been been like swimming through muddy water to get through that depressing part...and now I am to the point where I am aching to experience the excitement, taste it in a pure, untainted way. My interpretation of the future's uncertainty as dismal has blindsighted me to all the wonderful possibiities that the future holds. I know that there will be difficult times ahead, but I am willing to take it in stride. I'm proclaiming it here first: I am officially excited about the future and more specifically, moving to San Francisco!

And on that note, I will now take a cue from my melodramatic preteen years and leave you with the lyrics to Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway," which has been my anthem for the last two years and resonates once again:
Grew up in a small town
And when the snow would fall down
I’d just stare out my window
Dreamin’ of what could be
And if I’d end up happy
I would pray

Trying hard to reach out
But when I tried to speak out
Felt like no one could hear me
Wanted to belong here
But something felt so wrong here
So I prayed I could break away

I’ll spread my wings
And I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes
Till I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change
And break away

Out of the darkness
And into the sun
But I won’t forget all the ones that I love
I’ll take a risk, take a chance, make a change
And break away

Want to feel the warm breeze
Sleep under a palm tree
Feel the rush of the ocean
Get on board a fast train
Travel on a jet plane
Far away and break away

Buildings with a hundred floors
Swinging round revolving doors
Maybe I don’t know where they’ll take me but
Gotta keep movin’ on movin’ on
Fly away break away

I’ll spread my wings
And I’ll learn how to fly
Though it’s not easy
To tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk, take a chance make a change
And break away

Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won’t forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk, take a chance make a change
And break away
P.S. I am officially seeking a roommate because I can't afford to live alone. If you or someone you know needs a roommate, is on a tight budget (no more than $800), and wants to live in SF proper (near the University of San Francisco or easily commutable to is preferred), please let me know!

P.P.S. More on the other blog writing chi blockers in a future entry...

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