Friday, May 28, 2010

Part Southern Belle, Part California Sunshine...

But really just me...

This blog is all about the lessons learned I have had here. Would love to get your feedback.


I have always been super driven and passionate about every endeavor I take on. When I moved to Dallas I made every effort to make friends and network. I soon tired myself out. They always say it's harder to make friends as you get older. I have been super lucky that with some southern hospitality and a little effort on my part to make new friends- I have some amazing people here to help me move as well as give me hugs when I am sick. But it's clear with charm and similar interests how some friendships have the potential for more, and how others just fall at the waist side. Since I follow law of attraction, I overheard a conversation at a coffee shop of a woman who just moved here from LA and after approaching her, we still hang out almost every day looking for jobs together (go Nancy!). Cool eh? I have been lucky to find so many wonderful people in this town so far and as for my friends from back home, I think of you guys often. After all old friends will always be special, new friends will take time.


Someone owed me money, and though it's not a huge fuss, being laid off I have become very sensitive about every nickel and dime I spend. It got to the point I was losing sleep over it. Finally after much advice from my dad and friends, I let it go saying it was up to God, the universe or whomever to trust I would somehow get my money. The second I did let go, I finally got it. As my mom says, your health is more important than anything and the stress over money is not worth it. In the meantime, I have also turned down many job opportunities which required 100% travel and even one offering up to 120k/yr because I know why I moved here, to slow down and yes, to even take a huge pay cut. Trust me money is tempting especially when you are running out of time and money and all the commotion about the rocky economy. I continue to stick to my guns, trying to be courageous and hold on to my values (as newly defined as ever) and for dear life as I might add.


By the way, this has been one of the toughest things I have ever gone through. As my friend Claudia says its not like we are starving in Africa. Or as my friend Rich says we have a rich man's problem. But moving here, selling everything, leaving everything I know behind has been eye opening. I have couch surfed, lived out of a suitcase, had my car vandalized, was 30 ft away from a neighbor's suicide, I felt like I was living a life void of true enjoyment. Though not a financial emergency as yet, I am learning to live life with a little bit more dignity. For those who don't know I have left the Stardust apts in Dallas for a little nicer apartment, where I am enjoying it profusely and cooking up a storm (a joy in life is being to have my own place and able to cook again). I am getting my "mojo" back and savoring every moment. I don't regret being laid off- I think everyone should experience it. You learn to be grateful for the littlest things in life. I cry as much as I laugh. To feel, is amazing- as painful as it is.


I will save this topic for another blog post. ;)


I recently asked a waiter who lived in LA for several years, why the food tastes better here. He said because people enjoy life here, slow down, they really take care and pride in cooking. Instead of worrying about high priced rent in California, restaurateurs here enjoy food and making their customers happy. I am excited to try the local butcher, grow some okra and peaches (it is the south after all), and keep getting free drinks from the bartenders (yes people are that friendly here). By the way I am official Yelp Elite member now and a VIP in the eating world in Dallas. Woohoo!


Looking for a job has been a soul searching experience. As I have done many things in my previous life in the career world ( a consultant wears many hats) this is the first time to take a hard look at what I want- even in a bad economy. One as said before, money isn't everything especially when I want to focus on my health. Two, the bottom line there are many things I can do- I have seen and done many things. Ultimately I want to find a job where I get paid enough to pay my bills, but more importantly an environment that is stable, creative and with people who work hard and care. Simple isn't it? Culture to me is everything. That is why if you look at all the companies I have worked for in the past, they have always been voted as one of the top companies to work for. Enough said. I am one lucky girl.


My religion is kindness- plain and simple (and that I believe we are connected in some way). Though I have always been spiritual (never grew up under a formal religion even though my grandparents I assume are Buddhist and I went to a Catholic High School), moving to Dallas and being laid off meant being put in a situation where I needed a huge support system. I have never been a church goer, and though I still meditate without fail, I found this amazing liberal church to call home :) Oh and I do follow full moons and the mercury retrograde as well. ;)


Most of my life I have been selfish with my time- if I am not working, I am with my friends and enjoying life. For the first time, I am able to give back to the community. Since I have a love of kids and dancing, I have been volunteering kids at a local public school how to dance as part of their after school program. It's been a great love to be around kids, to dance and to learn about myself through the process. But I am not getting paid. If you would like to donate money to help me do this better (iTunes cards for music, Justin Bieber CD- they love him!, etc.- right now we are just using the radio) please donate at under If you write me I can tell you where your money is going and how it goes directly to the kids. Anything helps!

Sending you all love from Dallas, Texas.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

From Cookie Cutter to Culture

Hello from Texas!

I have been delaying this post for a while, I was on quite a roll for a while- brimming with enthusiasm to share my adventure. Not to sound anti-climactic but I am often numb these days, not in a bad way. This journey is only beginning and in so many way I feel like I am in a cocoon phase- growing, re-defining myself, and slowing down...stay tuned.

This post starts off talking about my road trip and my initial thoughts on Dallas:

Months before I decided to move, I had a feeling (or maybe a self fulfilling prophecy) that I would be doing the dreaded drive from California to Texas. People who know me well know that I have limited attention span but worst of all, after over 7 years on the road for work, I learned to fall asleep easily in the motion of moving vehicles be it train, plane or car. I was worried that I would not only be bored, I would fall asleep at the wheel. I remember one time it got so bad, I opened my laptop and watched a movie while I drove. If you think that is dangerous, it was a life saver in terms of better than falling asleep at the wheel. Long story short, would I ever do it again? No. But it was an amazing opportunity to spend time with my dad (he did the first leg with me). Overall, most of the time I was a zombie (as my friend calls long distance driving by yourself a meditation on a roll). My sleeping patterns at night were restless (stopped in Phoenix, El Paso and Odessa) let alone stopping to meditate in the car in the heat was also not really an option. The last 2 hours of my drive, I was at wit's end as if my body knew I was almost there. During this time it rained A LOT. So much so, I really though this was how it was going to end. Everyone was driving 80 mph and every time a truck (pickup, big rig, or otherwise) passed by I lost all visibility and was driving on fate. The most rewarding part of the trip is arriving into Dallas and as if the rain was a sign of clarity, Dallas just showed up like it was next door. Long road trips in my opinion serves only one purpose to realize how far you have gone, that your new home is really within reach and that our world is very, very small. Tips? Drink lots of water (forces you to stop and take breaks, stretch, etc.), eat light, satellite radio, and pray.

When I got here, it was emotionally overwhelming. Thanks to my sister who helped me move in and also bring a piece of familiarity to a new world. Day after day, I meet people and find new things to do in Dallas that I find so delightful and I want to share some of it with you. You might wonder how I am able to discover all these things- through actively networking (looking for both jobs and new friends which as Rich would say, they will find you), keeping an open mind and just doing what I like best- being an anthropologist to understand what Dallas is, the people, and how I will fit in. Most of all, I wanted to share my change of heart. In 2008, I worked in Dallas for about a month. I never wanted to come back. Dallas to me was just highways, fast food places along the way and a place that lacked luster when it comes to culture, liberation, or otherwise. I could be further from the truth (with my free time, I realized from writing this blog, I want to write a book about the transformation of thoughts as I have moved from California to Texas so stay tuned- encouragements welcome). It probably helps that I found the cutest little neighborhoods...Here are some random things I have found to use as a resource if you visit:

I have yet to check it out, by nice to see a local farmers market...

People in Texas are proud and loyal folks. What better way to encourage growth than from within. Here is a group I volunteer with

Yoga, meditation? LA eat your heart out here...

Plug for El Paso: If you ever get the chance, El Paso was a hidden gem. There is not much to do there but the cultural irony in this town is fascinating and in so many ways reminds me of the Hispanic integration in Miami. It is a meeting place between Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona. Food wise, the Mexican food is authentic and tells such a rich story of people, survival and love...Ask me about it sometime. Check out Crisotomo and

ps I realize though I have a love for food, I didn't want this blog to turn into just a food blog but more of a way for my friends and family back home to keep track of my progression. If you want more info about my food adventures, ask me about my Yelps.

Next post will be about what I do with my free time (besides job searching)- volunteering, giving back to the community and dancing.