So Long, Ox. Hello, Tiger.

31 Dec

Smurf Snow Day

Everyone’s been busy with Best Of lists, Worst Of lists, Year in Review lists, so I thought I’d get into the act. According to Wikipedia (almighty source of all human knowledge), 2009 was the Year of the Ox, whose famous motto is (again, according to Wikipedia) “I Persevere.” We had a lot to persevere through. Time Magazine had a great timeline a few issues back, showing all the crappy things that happened this decade, starting with the bungled first election of George W. (Oh, Al Gore! How we love you now!), all the way to this year’s financial melt-down. It was pretty startling seeing all those big news stories: Katrina, 9/11, the anthrax scares, Enron, Bernie Madoff, Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan.

Personally, this was the Year of the Big Move. CityBoy and I celebrated the beginning of 2009 in California, watching as my cousins and sister and brother-in-law downed tequila shots and rocked out on Rock Band. Tonight, we’ll enjoy the Early Bird New Year’s Eve dinner at a restaurant in Hoboken, battling the elements to celebrate a prosecco toast with a friend.

Come January 8th, I’ll have been in NYC for 6 months. On February 4th, I’ll turn 36. In July, CityBoy and I will celebrate our three-year anniversary. Hopefully I’ll be employed by then.

Everyone asks how I’m doing in New York. The truthful answer is: pretty good. I complain a lot, about the weather (it’s unbelievably cold now), about the people (I’m still amazed by how rude some people are), about the expense of it all (I now consider $30 per person for dinner to be reasonable), about missing my friends and family (which has been the hardest thing of all). But it’s how I process things. So while I am bummed out sometimes and some days (especially now) don’t leave the apartment at all (it’s freaking cold, people!), I still find joy and pleasure in the small unexpected things. Like how CityBoy still makes me laugh with his involuntary noises and obsession with the news (although how Perez Hilton and Gawker qualify as news outlets is beyond me) and weird (to me) books. I mean, the man has entire shelves of books on religion and law and learning Japanese kanji, many of which I doubt he’s ever read or will read.

The city is its own wonder box–you just have to keep your eyes and ears open to experience it. Yesterday, I got the fastest ride from JFK to the Upper East Side that I’ve ever had in my life (less than 30 minutes door-to-door) and even though I was half-terrified, I appreciated my driver’s oneness with his vehicle.

And before we left for Christmas in Southern California, we got an early White Christmas.

I bundled up super well (I’ve been studying the way New Yorkers bundle up for the cold–the key is wrapping your scarf around the outside of your upturned coat collar, effectively sealing out the cold) and we walked to Central Park. Snowdrifts lined the streets, built up on one side by the snowplows and by diligent doormen shoveling snow on the other side. I hadn’t realized how hilly the park is, and every sled-able surface was covered in pink-cheeked adults and children, sledding on plastic rafts and inflatable inner tubes, flattened cardboard, and even a giant black trash bag. It was pretty fantastic.

CityBoy and I enjoyed hot cocoa and coffee by the Boat Pond and walked down to the Lake to see if it had frozen over (just a thin crispy coating of ice).

I tried to convince CityBoy to make a snow angel in the snow. Seeing as it’s still New York City, I’m glad he didn’t. But the light was beautiful.

the light! the light!

2010 marks the return of the Year of the Tiger, which was also the year in which I was born (1974). Its motto is “I Win.” Let’s hope we all win.

Rock on, people.

– Jho

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