The Richness of Weekends

If there’s anything these last two years have taught me, it is this return to me and being comfortable with the things I love and a weekly routine inculcated when I was small. It brings me to this notion of how precious weekends are, especially when a birthday lands on them. This long holiday weekend, I’m discovering the music between the notes of an open road and a small-town charm with which I was first acquainted five years ago with a dear friend. While city-dwellers have now altogether swarmed Pescadero in California, at least for this weekend, I am still quite determined to hear those musical strains in the present in a newer context, with a little more bravado.

Personal Effects

I wasn’t sure if I could travel by myself, since I often go with a friend or family, especially if it’s for vacation. Last month, I went to Santa Barbara, and more than a long weekend getaway, a time of the year I don’t even typically go for a break, it was a reset of the relationship with me.  No sooner was I back in San Francisco, and it was as though my arrival cued in a kind of Spring awakening, one I wouldn’t have imagined as this.

I am effectively getting off that proverbial circular wheel most people I know are on and looking toward the next 20 years with more genuine optimism. A friend told me as long as I am facing the right direction–assuming it is toward the sun–while being introspective and letting the external circumstances take care of themselves, then I am on the right track. I am in the midst of its throes. After all, Spring has only just begun.

The Soul in Architecture

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A plaza opened before us on our way to the Academia museum in Venice.

I read an article last year about what architecture means to some well-known practitioners in the industry, and it made me reflect what drew me to my current situation with an interior architecture firm.  I wondered why I hadn’t pursued design in the first place, what took me off track.  When I was 11 and I had my own room, I decided to be creative with some corrugated cardboard and reclaimed toy pieces to create tables.  But it felt more like a passing fancy.  As I got older, a new passion took over and held my interest to this day. Maybe discovering and articulating the soul in architecture is the purpose of being here, while working on the financial and legal side.

s-marco-sign

It is said architecture is an expression of one’s world view.  It speaks to me none more so than in the confluence of cultures in restored Venetian building facades, and Venice’s plazas, San Marco being the ultimate manifestation of the public “living room” in an increasingly socially isolated world. Its cozy alleys that smack of claustrophobia, which if you let the discomfort pass, offer a level of intimacy that is rather personal, homey even. venetian-flag

Like the bustling under the windows of our pensionado during my 2008 trip there with my mom and sister, the pitter-patter of foot traffic was more a soothing murmur, not the profane cacophony of a major metropolis.  It was rather welcoming, the ambient sounds that would lull me into an eventual nap that afternoon.Serenissima room

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photo by Rhodora Ayuyang

 

2015 in Review

IMG_3638I am thinking lately where I was same time last year and remember feeling fair–that at least I was still intact, moving forward and finishing strong.  I would say the same is true for this year but so much more.  As 2015 progressed, I was growing more into my authentic self.  It is indeed a liberating experience. Once there is acceptance, the pace picks up, and life is a rolling stone going downhill.  I feel the power of the present with the notion that my life is also just ahead of me.  I think of my young nephews and how fearless, rambunctious and magical they are–so much hope living inside of them.  I see the goodness of this existence, and I don’t want to miss it anymore because quite frankly it’s much too short to be feeling otherwise.  Here’s hoping 2016 is another adventure, whether it’s crossing a long desert or wide ocean, let it be one more journey to the center of my soul.

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Child’s Play: Our last day in Hawai’i

Je Suis Paix

St. Benedict The Painted Church

St. Benedict, The Painted Church

As is often the case when I’m feeling blue or even trying to fill time, my last trip to Paris was my touchstone.  And now as my beloved City of Light is a victim of terror, I stand with her since she was my respite at the end of one of my worst years.  While I would lean on that trip 15 years ago to center me, other places I’ve discovered since are also instrumental in keeping me sane.DSC02182

A highlight on my recent trip to Kona in Hawai’i was a historic landmark in Kealakekua known as the Painted Church or St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church.  The moniker was given due to its colorful interior of biblical figures and stories rendered by the parish priest Father John in the mid-1800s. When we drove up, it had started to rain, turning to mist, just as it would in Paris or once in Berkeley when I would fall in love for the first time.

Colorful Interior

        Colorful Interior

The moment was both enchanting and spiritual, and I was most present and connected with my fellow travelers, this time with my brother, his wife, my nephew and my parents, just as I was with those whom I went on my Paris trip.  I remember being at a younger age not having the foresight how my life would be as I got older, perhaps because I didn’t know how long I would live.  But if there is one constant through the years, it is my family, and I would count on them for the spiritual love that I am seeking.

 

 

If I Could Always Be Here

Island State of Mind: Kohala Coast
    Island State of Mind: Kohala Coast

There are various stories to tell as I peruse my journaling during my vacation in Kona, Hawai’i: parents who cannot unplug from the rest of the world; a playful, incorrigible six-year-old nephew; a second honeymoon for my brother and his wife.  I would be burying the lead if I don’t include the adventures of a single daughter traveling with her retired folks, but that’s for a future book.  For the intents and purposes of this blog, what I’m after in October is how I’ve embraced doing virtually nothing but relaxing and simply being–something a city gal like me has difficulty wrapping her arms, much less her head, around.

In an effort to be more Zen

My effort to be more Zen

The surprise of Hawai’i is how much I love it, much the same way I feel about Paris and Italy.  But my takeaway is tinged with much less sorrow as though I would never see it again.  Only a mindset away, I can be a beach bum anytime I want to get away.  Quite frankly, I could do it for months, years even.  My trip forced me to think how I would want my life to be going forward–no more running on fumes as a result of a protracted daily grind and steady stream of stunning morons and smooth operators that have worn the soul dry.  The outflow, I hope, is the life I am meant to lead–less stress, more serenity, love, humor and fulfillment on every level in the chaos and messiness of reality–the measure of living without regrets.  Then, maybe, just maybe, when retirement eventually arrives, I won’t have to pinch myself as though in a dream to be in this paradise again.

Paradise Bound

No more excuses, it’s time to finally embark on that island getaway!

Packed and Ready to Go

Packed and Ready to Go

No More a Dream