if a picture paints...

I can't help it. I'm giddy as a wide-eyed tourist, pointing my camera at every little thing I see. This city is casting its spell on me and I'm falling: willingly, joyously, deeply.

From where I'm sitting now, its easy to understand why Tony Bennet left his heart here. I've seen this view so many times before and yet each time, I'm still left at loss for words.

And really, who needs words? These pictures speak for themselves.

Check out the rest of the photos here.

living the questions

For as long as I can remember, I've always been asking questions, seeking answers, and searching for that elusive something that I can't even define. My innate curiosity and thirst for adventure has led me to believe that I was meant to live a life of wandering, learning, writing, and learning more. And I didn't want to belong, not to a place, a person, or anything else really, until I will find that which I have been searching for.

Or so I thought.

These past couple of months were the hardest for me. I felt like I was in a limbo, in that space between here and there. I was so done with L.A. and I was anxious to go somewhere else. At the same time, I had also begun to question if it was all worth it, all this wandering. Is it worth leaving friends, family, those people and places you hold dear? The days that I had spent home last summer were the happiest that I've been in a long time and it broke my heart that I had to say goodbye again, never knowing when I will come back. Is it worth all those goodbyes?

I really don't know. But I take comfort in the words of Rilke, when he said:

"Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now."

Now as I go through yet another move, in a city that I've always loved, I am quitely taking my time. There's this side of me that wants to ask how long am I staying here, the same part that's wondering where am I going next, but I choose not to dwell on these questions. In fact, I was reading through one of my journals last night and I came across my list, those things that I wanted to do in the next ten or so years:

Get a research scholarship in London. Work for UNICEF. Learn a foreign language, preferably Spanish. Live in Tibet. Go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Do I still want to do these things? Yes, no, maybe. Like I said, I will take my time. I will play, write, read, take lots of pictures, watch the sunset, get drunk, eat dessert, fall in love.

I will live the questions.

in a nutshell

It's been ages since my last entry. A lot has happened since then.

For starters, I left Southern California and moved to San Francisco. And if that's not enough news, I also bought a car. Yes, I am driving now. Isn't that amazing, not to mention mildly ironic? I lived in LA for almost 3 years (where driving is one of life's basic needs) and I didn't get a car and now I'm in SF where everything is accessible by public transportation that its almost a liability to have a car (think about the parking!) and yet here I am driving around, pretending that I know what I'm doing or where I'm going, when the truth is I really have no topographical orientation whatsoever.

But irony aside, I'm very excited and nervous at the same time. I'm excited because I've always loved San Francisco (read my January 1 and 3 entries) and eversince I was little, I've dreamt of living for a year or two in one of the world's literary cities (i.e. Paris, London, Prague, NY, SF), and now I am finally getting a chance to nurture my writer self and make this dream a reality.

I'm also nervous because it's a new place, a new job, a new car, and except for my relative who lives an hour away in Petaluma, I really don't know anyone here. Its like starting all over again - getting to know the city, making friends, establishing routines, etc. This time, I will be completely on my own, no crazy housemates and no one to watch movies and eat ice cream with. And knowing me and my knack for attracting misfortunes, I'm sure it will be one hell of a ride.

But then again, change is what I craved for, and change is what I need. Like what Frances Mayes (author of Under the Tuscan Sun) had said, when she first moved to a villa in Tuscany, "...life must change from time to time if we are to go forward in our thinking".

I completely agree with her. The entire experience of being a grad student in Southern California, working in a job that I love, meeting people from all sorts of backgrounds and eventually making lasting friendships was one of the greatest experiences of my not-so-young life. And I will always thank God for that single moment in time when I decided to move across the Pacific and study here. I've learned a lot and got to know myself so much better in the process. But like all good things, it has reached its end. Here and now, is a new beginning. A new chapter of my life that I intend to enjoy and live to the full.

Wish me luck.