Friday, September 24, 2010

#39 The Great Unknown

September 24 2010

It's difficult to believe that the year is coming to an end. Fall is here. Today was the first day it did not break into the 70's in Santa Ana and finally all the good shows are back on telly. College football is in full swing and Matt is up at the crack of dawn every Saturday morning watching the Premiership. Summer is over.

It has been nearly 6 months that we have been living here and the pieces are finally starting to fall into place. I am no longer "in trasition". When I left California all those years ago, it was largely due to the fact that I did not want to think of my life yet in certainties. I still wanted the thrill of the unknown. I wanted the option of having all the options. Now everyone is off getting married, getting engaged and getting pregnant and all of a sudden our lives seem like they are one long certainty.

Some of those getting married will get divorced, it's a certainty. Most of us will have children and at our age now some of us will have trouble conceiving, certainty. We will move out to the country or back to the beach, certainty. We will argue over money, where and how to school our children and how often we see our in laws, certainty. Quite frankly, it's all a bit scary.

I knwo that one usually finds comfort in such regularity. Schedules are supposed to be good but I'm not so sure. I've realized that the big transition is transitioning the thrill of my personal life to my professional one. This may be why there are so many workaholics. The thrill of your career is still one of the last great unknowns. Here in America, we are leaders in re-inventing ourselves. You may have the husband/wife, 2.5 kids and mortgage you can't afford, but for 8-12 hours each day you can still be whomever you want to be.

So perhaps this is where the great unknowns will still come from? Our generation has no problem in changing our careers and the recent economic downturn has spurned more changes than ever before. We are suddenly realizing that we still have all the crap we bought with our fattened salaries a few years ago. We don't need another pair of expensive Italian shoes but what we do need is satisfaction. I can now get by without buying a new handbag every season and taking a cab whenever I want to. But I can't get by hating my job.

So change and challenges will remain on the horizon. And let me not kid myself. While I think getting married (check) and having 2.5 kids may be the most standard thing in the world, I am without doubt that I will find ity the most challenging and exciting thing that I ever do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#38 Corona del Mar Part Deux

September 8 2010

It's coming on 6 months now and I must say it has been a smooth ride. Life is good, our friends are visiting, our dog loves the beach and Matt's paperwork is being processed. Life is moving forward and more importantly, it has become crystal clear that it was the right decision.

There is nothing more frustrating than looking back and knowing that you were wrong. That you made the wrong decision and dragged a bunch of people along with you to experience Rue Failure or Wrong Turn Avenue. We've all been there and I am ecstatic to have ended up this time around on Best Decision Ever Made Lane. Or is it Second Best Decision Ever Made... after moving to London. Well, you know what I mean. I feel liberated. I feel like I can breath again. I feel like I can make decisions again that are based on things other than buying myself another month. It was all my fault. I had gotten myself into a tricky position and knew that I had to get out. And get out I did.

I haven't read back on the blog in awhile but I am sure you could all smell my desperation. It was there written clearly between the lines. Now I am working in a completely different market, doing a completely different job, working with a completely different kettle of fish (ie, my family.) There is no training when you come back to work with your family. No manuel on how to work with your relatives and not totally upset them or them you. So as you can imagine, the past 5 months have been what I call "teething". That being said, I have learned a lot. I've learned that sometimes you must lose the battle to win the war. I've learned that sometimes an office of 5 can have more politics than an office of 50. I've learned that regardless of how highly I may view my international experience, in this office (experiene wise) I am bottom of the totem pole.

Humbling at times, yes. Exciting, always. For a company that has employed very little change in the past decade, this company has embraced change like I never would have imagined. Sure people hate change and it has not all been smooth sailing, but it was far exceeded my expectations in the manner in which it was embraced everything from a new website to a new ERP system. People who have worked here for 25 years are coming up with new ideas that seem to have been lingering away in their subconscious for years unsure as to whether their voice was validated. It is empowering to see it happen and to know that my return was a catalyst for it.

I've got 3 years now to learn the ropes until my Dad wants to retire. 3 years to cram a lifetime of knowledge into my brain. Will I get it all in? Not even close. But I am fine with making mistakes as they eventually lead to the answer. My mistakes have gotten me here so far and I am happy with that as I know that life is one big numbers game.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Where Art Thou London?

May 21st 2010

I miss London. There... I said it. Not enough to want to move back, but I do really miss it. I miss my friends. I miss getting drunk on Saturday's over boozy lunches and bottles and bottles of Prosecco. I miss seasonal produce and Richmond Park. I miss the dogs in South Park and walking Wicklow with her friends.

It's funny, Matt and I were talking the other day and I told him that London will be different when we go back. But that was not really the truth. London will be the same, we'll be different. Deep, I know. But it's true. There will be many aspects of London life that I won't miss. The dirty air, the public transport, the gray skies, pikey people. When I return and come across those, I will be reminded of how much I do love the so Cal lifestyle. But then I'll have my first glass of Prosecco at Sand's End and the nostalgia will set in. Someone will crack a funny and I will long for more of the British sensibilities and humour. People have trouble laughing at themselves in the US. Over here we tend to think that British people can be snobby and take themselves very seriously. But Yanks take themselves very seriously. While they are happy to have a laugh at someone else's expense, they tend not to fare so well when trying to laugh at themselves.

God I really miss my friends. We've already missed an engagement party and a 30th birthday and are missing another birthday this weekend (aren't you turning 27 again Bertie?) It takes a long time to find a good circle of friends and I didn't expect it to happen overnight. But I really miss having a close girlfriend at hand. Also, I miss Matt's family. They were a huge part of my London life and I miss drunk conversations with his Dad and singing Meatloaf with his Mom. Priceless memories.

So I guess I'm not trying to complain. Just reminisce. I can't wait to come back and visit in July. I feel lucky to have made friends that I actually miss. I know that it sounds terrible but I tend not to miss people. I've kind of gone my entire life not really missing people so this is a first for me. London enjoy your first weekend of sunshine and know that there are 2 people far far across the pond that are thinking of you:)

PS. Congrats Jackey on your new job. If anyone wants some All Saints gear hit up Jack at the Camden store.

Off to hang with the Cougs at Javiers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#37 Things I Will Never Do Again... At Least I Hope Not

Now I am not the most mature person in the world, but even I can admit that after turning 30 some of my days are numbered. I was discussing with a girlfriend this morning and we were talking about the things the one will likely not partake in again. Or at least should not partake in. I know tht age is just a number but there is a line between young at heart and mutton dressed as lamb.

Thing I will never wear again:

Backless tops
Short shorts (not that I ever wore these as my legs are my worst asset)
Cheap jewelry
Tube tops (note this does not include strapless dresses)
Trucker caps
Hemp jewelry of any form
Toe rings
Anything with no bra
Cheap handbags (1 nice bag is all you need)

Things I will never do again:

Drink cheap wine ( I would rather drink no wine)
Drink cheap vodka or bad spirits of any kind
Holiday at all inclusive places
Keg stands (although I think beer bongs are alright for a few more years)
Take shots in the middle of the day
Engage in competitive drinking contests with boys (this one always ends poorly for me, ie puking)
Have a Beirut table at my home
Be mistaken for a boy due to dressing like one ( yes this was many years ago and I had really short hair but it did happen)
Smoke 15 fags a day or more

Getting older doens't mean that I am wiser but I can at least attempt to learn some lessons from these first 30 years. I've lived a pretty adventure filled life and I have almost no regrets and I want to keep it that way. Being in California you come across a lot of women who are trying to channel their inner teenage daughter and I have yet to see it pulled off successfully. Women in their 30's acting like college freshman are sad. But that does not mean that I can't have fun. It does become apparent that what I see as fun now is a bit different to what I thought was fun 10 years ago. So getting wasted and skinny dipping in the ocean and then trying to put my clothes back on whilst wet and sandy... not that high on the list anymore. Eating good food that I've cooked and drinking good wine with my friends while having an impromptu Guns N' Roses karaoke session in my living room....soooooo much fun.

But then again, you know what they say... you can never say never.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

85 and Sunny

April 8 2010

I need to get used to this. 85 degrees and sunny and it's only April 8th. This is still a complete phenomenon to me. I am waiting for the spring showers to come and blow the sun away and kill all the fledgling dandelions. But alas, I am in Newport and not the UK. We don't have any dandelions over here and any showers we do have this year are attributed to El Nino rather than any yearly weather patterns.

People keep asking me how we (Matt and I) are settling in and I dont' really know how to answer. Settling back into a place that you left purposely is very different than settling into a brand new place. There are so many familiar faces yet do I still say "hi"? I mean, many of these people I have not spoken to since high school and for good reason. We have been going out quite a bit this past week in our attempt to ingratiate ourselves into our new neighborhood, also our lack of furniture makes the flat pretty uninviting, and I feel as though I know half the town. Whether I am running into old volleyball teammates, girls I was a debutante with, family friends, old friends and just randoms it kind of feels like I never left. Sure everyone is a bit older, but no one appears to be too much wiser. The crowds are still getting drunk on a Saturday at the Shamrock or Billy's or one of the many drinking establishments, trying to avoid the increasingly aggressive cougars, and the only difference is that more people have switched to low calorie vodka soda drinks to avoid the middle age spread rather than drinking beer all night.

It's a funny ol' thing coming back to a place you grew up. Matt, on the other hand, is having a completely different experience to me. He's meeting these people for the first time and experiencing all this for the first time. I always think the first 3 months are the hardest when you move to a new place and by far the hardest thing is finding friends. Friends take years to find and although I know a lot of people all over the world, I can count my friends on one hand. It's why I feel so lucky that this time round, I am not making the move solo. I've finally got a built in friend.

All in all I am excited about what is to come. I am excited about renewing old friendships and making new ones. I am looking forward to the summer months and BBQ's and beach days. Wicklow is loving the beach and seems right at home. So while it still seems like we are on holiday, I am hoping that sometime very soon we will feel like Wicklow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

#35 Ode to London

March 25 2010

Ode to London

So this is it. I am packing up all the final bits of my flat and we are within 5 days of the move date. My life in London is well and truly coming to an end. Thinking back over the last 6 years and all my time here, I can't help but smile. The fact that I ended up in London was all down to a vacation that I had gone on with my old roommate from LA. There are so many small and tiny decisions that were made in that period that ended up having a monumental effect on my life. So I wound up in London, with little more than the naivety that only a 23 year old can possess.

London represents my 20's and freedom. It represents years of questionable decisions and nights that I can't remember and nights I wish I couldn't remember.. People and friends have come and gone, bars and clubs have come and gone, and like everything good.... London is coming to an end. I think everyone leaves London at some point. Whether they are searching for more space for a growing family or whether they are yearning for a more quiet and less smoke filled existence in the expanses of the countryside. But I leave here knowing that I did this town proud. I was packing up some things last night and came across an old journal of which had entries from my final semester at Brown all the way up to me meeting Matt. I also found a letter that my mother wrote to me the night before she left after having helped me move over here. I can honestly say it brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't have imagined then how it would all turn out. I also found another entry during those first few months, where I was so lonely that I used to cry myself to sleep. Now anyone who knows me will probably be horrified at that statement, but it's true. I had never ever been so desperately lonely as during my first few months in London. But it's all part of the process. If it was easy, then everyone would do it.

Bye bye London, I love you more than words can say.

What London means to me in a nutshell:

Best friends
Sterling, Bertie, Bondi, Hazzler, Colin, Dal, Megan, Sophie, Jeffers, Ryan, Becs
Eades, Badders, Scorch, Reena, Talisa, Jackey, Uncle Reesy, Garns, Brad, Glenn, Bobby
Brown Dog
Sands End
Duke on the Green
La Famiglia
the City
the District Line
Elizabeth King
The Ship
South Park and all the dogs - Mash, Benji, Teddy, Jack, Yorda, Lucy, Luca, Lola, Chantey, Hendrix, Willow, Coco, Oscar, Fin, Ruby, Preztel, Wilma, Luna, and all the rest of the lovlies
Travelling the world, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Croatia, Paris, Capri, Rome, Norway, Sweden, Zanzibar, Ireland, Tuscany, Edinburgh, Valencia
Early days of partying in Farringdon and King's Cross... Kate Dwyer
Thanksgivings with the group - Cotswold, Tuscany, Kinsale, Suffolk
Road rage
Soot in your nose
Commerce Partners
Harbor Group
Churchill Arms
Portabello Market
Vintage shopping
More rain
wash out summers
White winters
King's Road
Ledbury Road
Dover Street Market
Mount Street
The Berekely
The 22 bus
Richmond Park
Wimbledon Common
Teddy the German Sheppard
Edward Rutherford novels
Guitar hero
The Derby
Aragon House
Bond Street
Parson's Green
Broomhouse Road
Settrington Road
Parson's Green Lane
Westbourne Terrace
Musgrave Crescent
Shorrolds Road (yes I have moved 6 times in 6 years)
Sophie's Steak House
Mahiki birthdays
Hyde Park
The V & A
Men in skinny jeans
Ark Day Spa
Eve Lom facials
Elvis night at Novello's
John and Gail
Singing Irish songs
Rugby at Twickenham
Veal milanese
Chez Bruce
Me Me's
The Big Easy
Lucky Voice

I am sure there is so much more but I will miss all of the above and hope that the next step is just as big an adventure whatever it may be!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 16, 2010

Well well... quite a lot has happened since my last The Ride. I took a few weeks off due to internet connection issues, laziness and just a general lack of topics. But The Ride is back on track.

I feel as though everything is about to change and it's not just some niggling feeling, everything is about to change. I was commenting on how brave I thought one of my friends is. She is 30 years old and is leaving her entire life in LA and what she knows to move to London. She knows a handful of people here and has a great job, but I've really got to tip my hat to her. Not many people would have the balls to completely upheave their lives for something new and unknown. It made me realise how much I sometimes underestimate what Matt is doing for me. He is in the exact same boat. He is upheaving his entire life here in London, all of his friends and family, traditions and memories, for a new and unknown life in southern California. No matter which angle you look at that from, it takes a huge leap of faith. I guess I bring it up now as it's nice to see these big leaps of faith still being made, whether someone is leaping to a new country, a new relationship or a new life. As we get older we inevitably get more comfortable in our day to day lives and taking these leaps of faith and making huge changes becomes scarier and harder to do.
I know that I've expressed mixed feelings about the institution of marriage but like all major decisions, I think one has to take it with a huge leap of faith. My long term boyfriend, Matt, and I got engaged recently. It was one of those incredibly special moments that I actually prefer to keep more private than some of my other exploits, thus I won't be detailing it on The Ride. So not only did I turn 30, not only are we moving our lives to CA, but we are also going to be planning a wedding and wrapping our heads around spending the rest of our lives together. All making me leap with lots of faith. If I was religious at all, I am quite certain I would be praying!

But ultimately change is good. It's healthy, and staying too long in one frame of mind or one way of life can be boring and taxing. People harp on quite a lot these days about change. You have Change Managers now popping up in even small to mid sized companies and hardly a week goes by where you don't read something about embracing change. Even Obama's campaign slogan was all about change. So why is change always so hard then? Looking around at my demographic, many of have been avoiding change for as long as we possibly can. Whether we are delaying taking that next step in our relationship, or putting back having a child, or blaming our lack of career change on the economy rather than on our own fears, it's pretty clear that we are all not full of leaps and faith. I guess I could sit here and try to pontificate why but ultimately it's very personal. We usually only change when forced to and then when it does happen we are happy we did and we always say how it was "for the best".

So in 2 weeks times I'll be writing the Ride in southern California and I imagine the change that brings on will give me a slew of topics to ponder. Things like; who will I make friends with?How will I cope working with my family? How will my relationship change being in a new country and both in new jobs and surroundings? How much will I miss London and my friends? Will we be happy or happier? I have no idea and it's pretty exciting knowing that anything is possible. But I've done big changes and they've always been the best things I've ever done. Even when those first few months are the most lonely and depressing months possible (hopefully Matt and Wicklow will eradicate this this time) I know it's always for the best.

Cheers to change!

Friday, February 19, 2010

#33 If I Were a Boy

February 19, 2010

If I Were a Boy

Last week’s The Ride was skipped purely due to the fact that I had not much to write about. I figure there is no point boring you guys with some contrived article or topic that I am attempting to make interesting. However, this week is different. This week I am once again in California and in a mere 4 and a half days, am attempting to find a place to live and start building a foundation for a new life here. It got me think yesterday how different things would be if I were a boy.
I was thinking how often my directness is misunderstood for brashness and how my confidence is misunderstood for arrogance. People are always trying to find my ‘soft side’ and are convinced that I must be nicer and more empathetic than I really am, unwilling to accept the fact that as a girl I could be anything less. But then I was thinking that if I were a boy, everything about me that seems a bit off right now would become crystal clear. My love of fast cars would not seem masculine or butch, but completely and utterly normal. When I say out loud that I want to buy a Ferrari 599 for my 40th birthday, those quick slightly disapproving glances would be no longer. The fact that I get along with guys so much more than with girls would not make me a “guy’s girl” or a tomboy. It would never seem strange that I am able to discuss the weekend football at the office. My ambition would never come into question and there would not be the never ending and no winning debate of children or career. Men have both quite easily and always have.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I would not trade my bits for their bits any day of the week. Most of the time, I am more than happy being the fairer sex. But, I would be lying if I said it was all the time. There are times when I think it would be easier to be a boy. Not in a transsexual way, but more in an envious way. We still live with so many old fashioned values. I have a number of guys friends who are about to be 30 and some well into their 30’s who are single. Does anyone look at them with pity and wonder why they haven’t married and “what is wrong with them?” No. In fact, it’s the opposite. Their bachelorhood is celebrated and their stock goes up as they ‘focus on their career.’ How about my girlfriends who are in the same group? Of course people wonder why they are not married! They are labeled as too ‘career focused’ and that then becomes the very reason for their singlehood. Their stock doesn’t rise as they pay packet rises. They don’t become more attractive as their job title becomes more senior. It’s the exact opposite of what happens to the boys and it sucks.
So what am I trying to say? That I am bitter about being born a girl? Well that might have been the case had I been born in China (where they probably would’ve killed me) or in Japan (where first born sons are so clearly favored). But luckily for me, I was born in the States, where it’s probably the best place in the world to be a self-professed ‘guy’s girl.’ Growing up I could body surf with the boys, play sports with them and hang out with them without ever feeling that I was that weird. But as we get older, what happens to us tomboys who don’t ever stop being a tomboy?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

No Ring, No Bring

No Ring, No Bring

Feb. 4th, 2010

Ok, so I am beyond frustrated. I had nearly finished writing the whole of this week's The Ride on when my entire computer randomly shut down and everything was lost. So I shall try and attempt this for the second time in an hour.

It seems in the past 8 months that the entire world has gotten engaged. Now, a large majority of my friends from home and school have been married for awhile and are now having kids, but my London friends had been holding out. But in the past year that has all changed. One by one London is getting engaged. Then it seems like over Christmas and New Year it was everyone from Russell Brand to (allegedly) Kate Moss. Meanwhile, I find myself wondering if I am going to turn out like Jennifer Aniston's character in "He's Just Not That Into You" but minus the happy ending.

What really makes me wonder though... is why? Why does my generation still hold so much stock in the institution of marriage. As I near my 30th birthday and also my move date from London to CA, it's a question that is unavoidable. So are you married yet? Are you and Matt going to get married? When do you think you'll get engaged? It's just so easy to get sucked into that world of the 4 C's and some sappy engagement story and believe me, I have been sucked in hook, line and sinker.

The reason I find this topic interesting is that I would say a solid 70% of my friends and acquaintances both here and at home come from either broken homes or seriously disfuntional families in regards to marriage. So yes some parents may still be together, but living in separate wings of the house or having their bit on the side at the ski chalet does not count. You may as well be divorced and are certainly not grounds for a good marriage example. I hate to point the finger at our parents, but come on... I don't know many divorced grandparents. Our generation are only 1 generation off of when marriage was forever. Now marriage is 'til divorce do us part and is a very big gamble.

Many of us are intelligent and savvy business people. Would any of us invest everything we have into a venture in which the odds are only a 50% success rate? Somehow I doubt it. Yet the dream is still there. Sure there are some examples out there of the happily unmarried, but it's far too progressive for the majority of society. Besides, we all know Johnny Depp would marry Vanessa Paradis "in a minute" anyway. Yet my entire generation, bar a few, all see themselves getting married and having a family. Having a family, I get.. but why do we need to be married to have a family. One of the great things about living in the UK is that it's close enough to Europe to have had many forward thinking and liberal views rubbed off onto it. Many couples over here have children and are not married and no one blinks an eye. In the States, those children would still be seen as "bastards". I actually don't know anyone at home who has a child outside of marriage and I am sure it would be gossiped about if it did happen. Over here I know loads and no one gossips about it as it's nothing new.

Yet, I still want to get married and have my own family. It is because I come from a very tight family unit where we have no divorce on either side? Or is because it's what is expected of young women my age? Is it because I am still quite conservative (that Newport upbringing) and do want to get married and then have children? Is it because it's just what you do and what we all want and are taught if you don't want this then there is something wrong with you? Or is it because we are in love and want to spend the rest of our lives with this other person and love them so much that we want to have their children?

I guess only time will tell if my generation does marriage more justice than our parents. In the meantime, I am off to another engagement party.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

#31 The "Poor Chip"

January 28th, 2010

The “Poor Chip”

Ok, I can already tell just by writing this that some of you will get it and others will miss the mark wildly and crucify me as a hater of all poor people and a spoiled brat. For those of you who don’t know me, yes I am spoiled but no I am not a brat. Those of you who do know me would probably disagree. But, it’s my blog and no one is forced to read or endure my opinions any longer than they so choose to. So with that out of the way, let me clarify. I don’t hate all poor people. In fact, I really only despise a small percentage, who through hard work and graft have long since been absent from that socio-economic bracket.

I am talking about those with the “poor chip.” I have come across people, and in particular worked with people, whose belief is that unless others grew up similar to them, ie poor and usually from the North of England or in an old industrial city, then their successes are valued at less than their own. So even though they are now successful and have achieved such success through their own hard work and graft, they will never be as great as their potential. This is mainly due to the boulder sized rock that sits squarely on their shoulder, essentially holding them back. I am using in this article the “poor chip”, but it is easily substituted for any other chip on one’s shoulder.

So why choose this topic for this week? Especially since in my experience only about 2% of the people that I know or meet or have worked with possess such a chip, thus making them a very small group in the overall population of people who grew up less than privileged. It’s probably because having grown up quite privileged; I am always fighting against the poor chip. Working in the City, you come across a lot of grafters. People who will find their way and they success through a mixture of hard work, graft, street smarts and savvy. I really admire these people. It’s so very American. In the USA we celebrate the success of those who come from backgrounds of adversity, those who reach the top regardless of their situations. What many people fail to understand is that adversity and difficult situations are not exclusive to those who grew up outside of the country club. I am by no means trying to gain any sympathy here, but believe me, I know a lot of people who grew up with seemingly everything...aside from being given any guidance, love, support, a work ethic or any real values. That is no small mountain to climb either if that person ever wants to experience success of their own.

Should we value and place a higher regard on Oprah’s success rather than Obama’s? I mean Obama may have grown up without a father, but Punaho is not exactly a school for the underprivileged. Or do we undervalue Bill Gates’ success due to the fact that he grew up with relative comfort and had access to the expensive computer equipment that his inner city peers certainly did not have. No, we don’t do this. I believe in taking people for what they are now and what they have achieved. Yes where they come from is very important and does factor in to a lot of things, but it’s far from being the only thing. The “poor chip” or reversely the “rich chip”, which certainly exists as well, is just a form of ignorance. If you didn’t grow up poor, rich, middle class, lower middle class, whatever then don’t assume you know how anyone else grew up or got to where they are. Take the chip off the shoulder and not only will your posture improve, but that bitter taste in the back of your mouth will miraculously disappear.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leaving London - An Easy Decision

The new article for Here is the City

Leaving London - An Easy Decision

Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

#30 You Can Take the Girl Out of Newport Beach

January 14, 2010

You Can Take the Girl Out of Newport Beach

It’s been a very interesting past 2 weeks for me. I have been in southern California and a few days in Mexico and it’s the longest time I have spent in this part of the world since I left it 6 years ago, very nearly to the date. In fact, 6 years ago tomorrow, I got on a plane to London to change my life as I knew it. I have always been a reluctant and distant fan of my hometown. One cannot argue with its beauty or lifestyle, but the town and its people always rubbed me the wrong way. When I hit 18 I could not wait to get as far away from this piece of paradise as possible, and I did. And I stayed away for a long time, until now.

But I have come to realize that although I have been absent from Newport Beach for over a decade, it’s never really left me. You can take the girl out of Newport but you can’t take the Newport out of the girl. We’ve all heard this saying batted around and many times Newport is substituted for places like Essex or Queens or Jersey, usually places people don’t necessarily want to be from. However, it fits me perfectly as I rarely wanted to be associated with the vapidness that can be people from Newport. But coming home literally brings it all home. Newport or anyone’s hometown is in your blood. You can never escape it and for whatever reason that comes along, you will often return to it.

Newport Beach has the good the bad and the ugly. Although I have lived and travelled to some pretty faraway places, the fundamental snobbiness that growing up here places in you has never really left me. I have stayed in my 2 pound per night Indian beach huts and have done the travelling thing in the hostels, but where I really want to be is in a 5 star luxury spa retreat with my own butler. Not only do I want to be in that spa retreat, I kind of think I am entitled to it. Why? Because I grew up in Newport and that is the kind of luxury that I have grown accustomed to and for the past 6 years, I have worked bloody hard to get to that spa retreat.

Another part of my being raised here that has never left me is my love for the beach and the ocean. It’s probably quite difficult for people who know me now to think that I was a beach bum because living in a metropolitan city doesn’t give one the chance often to indulge in that pastime, but I do remain a beach bum at heart. In fact, it’s the thing I miss most about my hometown. I love the ocean. Whether I am surfing in it, or paddle boarding on it, fishing in it or just swimming. It’s in my bones and was a huge part of my growing up. I would often go to school in no shoes and sand on my feet and if I did have shoes on, they were Rainbows. Now it’s either Rainbows or Chanel. A truly perfect metaphor for growing up Newport style. I met up with an old girlfriend of mine from my days here and hadn’t seen her for about 3 years when she was in London visiting another friend of ours. It was funny because she was telling me that she was curious to see what I would be like after not seeing me for so many years and then she said, ‘You came in to the bar dressed exactly the same, you even had your Rainbows on in London.’ Guess what? When I saw her in LA over the weekend, I probably had the same outfit on. Jeans, tank top and Rainbows. I guess some things never do change.

So as I head back to the cold, snow and rain that is my adopted hometown of London to live out my final 4 months of being a Londoner, I do so with a new found appreciation. London will never leave me just as Newport has never left me. It’s in my bones and blood now. Just as I replaced walking on the beach with walking in Richmond Park, I will replace my afternoons sipping Prosecco in a gastropub with afternoons drinking Corona Light on a boat. And just as the pull of Newport brings me back home, so will the pull of Blighty. Because no matter how much I complain about both places, and we all know I enjoy and good whinge, I love these 2 towns. And next time someone needs to describe me to someone else who hasn’t met me, they can use this as an example, Corre’s AAhometowns are Newport Beach, CA and London, England. You can take the girl out of either one….

Thursday, January 7, 2010

#29 Starting Over

January 7th 2010

Starting Over

January always marks the start of a new year. People make resolutions and set new goals as they strive to be a better version of themselves. However, January this year marks a new start in more ways than one for me. I am not only starting a new stage in my career, but am doing so in another country and a completely new industry. It’s exciting and scary all rolled into one.

I have once again gone from being top of the tops to bottom of the barrel. One of the reasons I think that I have done moderately well in my career, is my willingness to try new things and to put myself into situations where I am the least experienced. When you come from being the boss to once again answering to a boss, you automatically have to check your ego at the door. I am used to people coming to me for answers and 95% of the time having them. Now I am going to have very few answers and am going to have to go to everyone else for them. This is a humbling thing. But I have done it before and I can do it again. I don’t mind being the least experienced if I am one of the hungriest.

Starting over often means that whatever you have been doing before didn’t work out. Whether it’s starting over in a relationship or a job or a new city, it usually implies that there was little choice involved in the new start. This is where I slightly differ. I am starting over in 2 of the 3 above, however it’s entirely by choice. My old company is still alive and doing well. They are growing and my departure has given 2 of the guys a real career opportunity that has thrust them into a new position that probably would’ve taken at least another year to come about. So all in all, a win win for a lot of people involved.

That being said, I think starting over is going to be a great thing for me. A lot of people have slated me saying that I am running back to CA for the easy life of working for a family business. I have been in London for 6 years and was running my own company. What is easier? To stay in a flat that I own and love, where 90% of all my friends live and my boyfriend and his whole family live, and working for a company which I half own and run and where my entire life is…. Or uproot my entire life, my other half’s entire life, leave my company and my friends and leave London. I can tell you right now it’s not the latter. I can also tell you that working for your family is NOT the easier route. Think of your family right now, your brother or sister, your Mom and Dad. Would you be able to work in a close environment with them every day? When I say close environment, I mean there are 7 office staff and your family, not including you, compromises 3 of them. That is close. Again, not the easier route, but that is another article altogether.

So the start of 2010 certainly has taken on a new meaning as I have a feeling this is going to be a very pivotal year for me. I have now come off a 2 month break and will have another 4 months to go before I am sitting in this very office every day. There are times when I question what I am doing and if it’s the right thing. But I know that change is good, I know that I am a better person for the changes that I have brought about in my life so far, and I know that I like the sun way better than the gray and rain. Here is hoping to an awesome 2010. The year I am hoping to get my sanity back and also my tan.