Monday, December 30, 2013

Farewell 2013, its been great...

Hello Friends - 

Somehow December sped by, but I didn't want to miss the chance to send my holiday hellos, updates and warm wishes. 
It’s hard to sum up a year in a few sentences, but here are my high points. I started a new job as Deputy Director of the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank that focuses on economic and workforce development in New York City. I finally decided to take the plunge and start grad school and enrolled in NYU Wagner's Executive Master in Public Administration program. I traveled to Machu Picchu in Peru, out to explore the west in New Mexico and had a fun weekend in DC for Obama's Second Inauguration.

I continue to explore New York and have been trying to get my exotic travel fix in neighborhoods I can get to by subway vs plane. For me that has meant dining on Russian food overlooking the ocean in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, discovering a huge Hindu temple in Elmhurst, Queens, visiting a gigantic food court in Flushing, Queens selling every kind of Chinese food imaginable, rivaling any hawker stand I saw in Singapore, and much much more. It also means chasing Banksy and other street artists who continue to change NY's streetscape.  Walking around the city is more fun when I try to look at every wall and light pole to see if there is anything new.  And most importantly, I continued to help NY recover from Hurricane Sandy by volunteering in the Rockaways and helping the city's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) by facilitating community workshops.  It has been incredible to follow the process closely and see just how hard recovery is.  The world moves on, but there is sooooo 
much to be done.
I really didn't plan to lead a life like this. I haven't gotten my white picket fence in the suburbs yet, but the black railing on my terrace between me and my skyline view seems to work for me too.  I'm doing my best to embrace the hand I was given and New York just keeps giving back.
I love watching your lives on Facebook and through other means. I hope you have found peace and balance in this endlessly stressful fast paced world.

Monday, December 16, 2013

"I'm often asked about the difference between a tourist and a traveler. To me, a tourist visits all the big sights, sees spectacles on stage, and returns home unchanged, with a suitcase full of knickknacks. A traveler becomes a temporary local, engages with the culture, and comes home enriched, with a vivid collection of experiences and a broader perspective"Rick Steves