They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!

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We All Can Fly

A couple Saturdays ago, 81 North Media and Productions, a local media entertainment and recording studio, presented Matthew Cornwell, a very talented musician also local to the area. He also happens to be my friend. No, really. He knows my name and everything, I’m not just making that up. I know him through his girlfriend, who does my eyelash extensions and who I travel around the world with. Only in Binghamton will you find such a strange collision of worlds…

But I digress.

The show featured Matt’s new album entitled “ICARUS,” which was inspired by the Greek mythology story of Daedulus and his prideful son, Icarus. Daedulus had created wings made out of feathers and wax so they could escape the tower they were imprisoned in. Prior to their flight, he cautioned Icarus not to fly too low to the sea because the wings will absorb the water and cause him to crash, nor must he fly too close to the sun because the sun will melt the wax and he will crash, to which Icarus replied, “I stickith to you, Father. I dost do what I desire!” Then he flew too close to the sun and crashed down…oh the arrogance of youth.

Now I will admit that I had to look up the exact story because I got it confused with the Minotaur and labyrinth story. Daedulus was the one who designed the labyrinth so I wasn’t too far off, but I had my stories mixed up. In any case, just the fact that Matt decided to reference Greek mythology is completely fascinating to me. One, I love Greek mythology, and two, not many people are familiar with it. Now since I know Matt personally, I was able to ask him what inspired him to use “ICARUS” as his album title. Fortunately for those who don’t know him personally, there was a portion of the show where Matt got “interviewed” about his album, so they got to hear it for themselves. What a brilliant idea! Who came up with that? (Not me)

So why “ICARUS”? Well, just like Icarus flew too high towards the sun in spite of, or perhaps because of, his father’s warning, Matt described the making of the album as embarking on a similar journey in his life, where he pursued his “Hollywood Hills” dream, continuing to go up, and up, and up…only to find out, the hard way, that success is not necessarily what awaited him at the top. That aiming too high up will only lead to crashing back down. Thus, he decided to get grounded, regroup, and come home to Binghamton.

A year and a half later, BOOM! “ICARUS” was born.

I have to say, all personal biases aside, the album is DOPE. Granted it is exactly my kind of music but I think even if it wasn’t, I would still appreciate how easy it is to listen to, the flow of the album, and the quality of the sound. Now because I do know him I also have the added benefit of knowing how driven he is and how much he cares about his work and the people he works with. With the advent of social media and consequently the birth of the instant gratification culture, I was impressed with how he waited until he was satisfied with the quality of his album, based on a higher standard that he put on himself, before releasing even one of the songs as a preview. When I talk to him, I hear fully formed ideas and a clearly defined vision. Now the details and steps on how to get there aren’t quite there, but… that’s why I’m here.

I’ve always been a systems thinker and a problem solver. If I can sum up what I’m the greatest at, it’s getting things done. So when I meet a highly driven person like Matt, who is from Binghamton, bound to be part of the growth of its community, and willing to pay it forward for the people he works with, I am compelled help. Specifically, I am compelled to take his vision, create a system with actionable goals, and get. It. Done. There is nothing more fun to me than to take a seemingly vague idea and turn it into reality. And if it results in paying it forward to this community I now call home, then my work has been done.

When Matt and I were brainstorming for taglines for this show, we came up with: wax wings, too close to the sun, we all have wings. But then he mentioned that one of the songs on the album has a phrase in Greek that translates to,”We all can fly,” and that just felt right. Because it’s true. We all can fly. And if I can help it, we all will. At least those I’m working with here in Binghamton.

Όλοι μπορούμε να πετάξουμε

πετάξουμε.We all can fly.


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A Rollercoaster of Emotions

Anger. Happiness. Guilt. Nervousness. Stressed. Excited. Joyful. Pride. Peace.

I went through all of these emotions the past couple of months in an almost cyclical pattern. You see, I had this idea to sell my condo in California, which was tenant-occupied at the time, and also buy a house in New York at the same time. I had this notion that because this was my second time around with the home buying process, I would be much calmer about the whole situation…I was wrong. By nature, the whole transaction involves people and things that are out of my control so when things went wrong, it got very stressful. It doesn’t matter how mature I’ve gotten or that I had been through this before. Oh well, it all worked out in any case and that’s really what matters.

And now?

I’m mostly happy. Life has been good. A few hiccups here and there but overall, I am very happy.

Especially, especially because lately it has become very clear to me how precious and good the people in my life are. Those who offered an ear when I was stressing out. Those who offered to help without me even asking. Those who send me cards and small gifts just because. Those who are genuinely excited for me with the things happening in my life right now, even though they also have exciting things going on in their own lives. Those who go on adventures with me. Those who make me laugh, even when I’m extremely upset. Those who listen, truly listen. And you. I am especially grateful for you, whatever role you may end up playing in my life. You make me want to be a better person. You’re showing me what I actually want…or more accurately, what I didn’t know I wanted…And more importantly, you’re serving as a spotlight, shining light on the shit that I was letting into my life simply by being you. You might just be the kindest person I have ever met and thank you for showing me that I’m worth someone like you. I wasn’t sure what it was going to take for me to really, truly let go of that one, but I guess it just took getting to know you. Screw that guy, and the other who is suddenly interested in me again now that I’m very clearly moving on.


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Star-Crossed Lovers

One weekend I finally got to hang out with my brother’s fiancee, now wife, for a girls’ weekend. What this means is I finally got the details of how she met my brother. I had asked my brother a couple years back but in typical guy fashion, he did not give me much. The conversation basically went like this:

“So, how did you ask her out?” I asked my brother after a few drinks in.

“I didn’t. She asked ME out,” my brother replied, followed by a smirk.

Aaaand that was the end of the conversation. Typical guy. No juicy details whatsoever lol. However, as I suspected, it was not quite so simple. For starters, my brother’s wife was his apartment manager. In addition, my brother was never the type to pay much attention to the ladies, even back when he was in high school when all the girls would come up to me and say, “omg! You’re his little sister?? Your brother is SO cute!” and I would tell him. His reaction back then was to laugh and smirk, much like when I asked how he had met his wife. Then to make things even more interesting, his wife at the time barely spoke any English. So how then? How did this even start, let alone work out?

It all started with a knock on his door. When he opened the door, there she was, looking nervous but beautiful and asking him in broken English if he wanted to take a walk around the block. And then…magic.


My brother must have seen something in her that made him just know. I normally tend to roll my eyes at the cliche cheesy love stuff especially because I thought I knew twice before and I was wrong both times, but given this is my brother, who I had never seen this way with anyone before, it made me pay attention. It especially made me pay attention when they decided to continue seeing each other even after my brother moved to New York while she stayed in southern California.

“He’s moving to New York, right?” I asked my mom.

“Right,” my mom said.

“So…are they still staying together?” I asked.

“Of course!” my mom said.

My bad…there was nothing ‘of course’ about it to me…

I thought that was hard enough, but apparently, it was even more complicated than that. Timing really did a number on them. For one thing, she was planning to move back home to Mexico, which was what had given her the courage to knock on his door to begin with. Not to mention she had a work engagement the whole week immediately after their first walk together. And then, four months into dating, my brother got a job in New York and had to move. More and then, her student visa was expiring soon so she had to move back to Mexico.

So there she was, still living in southern California while my brother was across the country in New York and her friends and family were back in Mexico, with a soon expiring student visa. She had a good job lined up for her in Mexico that she had been planning to take before she met my brother. But she decided to stay.

I don’t understand. I really don’t, not going to lie.

Here was this young, independent woman, who had dreams of her own that did not involve anyone else…and yet she stayed. She is not that different from me. She’s very career-driven. There were SO many factors against them and logically it just did not make any sense. When I asked her about it she told me that her mind was telling her the same thing. The way they met wasn’t the best given the property manager/client relationship, my brother moved shortly after, she had to move to a different country not long after that, and yet it just somehow felt right to be with him, she told me.

Wow. I mean, that really amazes me. What does it feel like to meet someone that makes you realize life makes more sense with them than without them? What is it like to feel that being with someone is more important and will make you happier than following your own dreams that you’ve worked so hard for?

And then I went home (California) for their wedding and reconnected with someone at the last minute, as in literally an hour before I had to go to the airport to fly back to New York. Ah. So that’s what it’s like…and now moving back home doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after all… 😛


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I got it from my mama

“Behind every great child is a mother who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it all up.”

I’m actually not really sure if my mom feels this way or if she (or my dad) has any idea of the positive impact she (they) had on me growing up, or how big of an influence she (they) has been in shaping who I am. We don’t really do those types of conversations. Well, mother, if you ever stumble upon this post and my blog, the answer is no, you have not been screwing it all up.

I must say though…

“All mothers are slightly insane.” -J. D. Salinger from The Catcher in the Rye

My mom had to go to Connecticut for a work conference and decided that since she’ll be on the east coast, she’s going to visit my brother and me. So she was going to fly in to Newark, NJ, visit my brother in Albany, NY, visit me in Binghamton, NY, go to her conference in Connecticut, then go back to Newark, NJ…in one weekend.

Just to give a visual of what this drive looks like:



The reason her route is in a figure 4 rather than a circle is because I had already made plans that Saturday so she had to visit my brother in Albany first. Even if she went to see me first though, that is A LOT of driving! It’s a total of almost 8 hours!! Craziness! I think most people would’ve just either had people drive somewhere halfway to meet up or just say, sorry, I’ll see you next time. Not my mother, though. She wanted to visit her children so she found a way to make it happen. I love that. And as I get older I notice that I actually mimic a lot of the things my mom does or think the way my mom thinks. Do I think it’s crazy to drive that much in a weekend? Yes. Would I have done it myself to visit people I really wanted to see? Absolutely. And really, it’s like a 2 to 3 hour drive stretch each leg of the trip so it’s not that bad but it is still a lot of time spent in a car.

My mom making this insane weekend trip has made me realize that part of the reason my perspective about my move here is the way it is, is because she’s the same way. I don’t really see it as an obstacle to drive a few hours to do what I want to do. It’s just a path, or a step I need to take to get what I want. Ultimately I ask myself how much I really want something and if I want it bad enough, well then. I have to do what it takes, whether it’s planning out fun trips, making time for people despite everyone’s busy schedule, my career, and really, just everything in my life. One of the best life lessons I’ve gotten from my mom (and dad, because I’m blessed to have awesome parents) is, you want it? Then go get it.


And, you know, just keeping it real. 😉