Britt and I had finished the 1st draft of our dual blog post for last week when our writing process was interrupted by BRITT’S FUCKING HOUSE BURNING DOWN.
Pardon the f-bomb in the first sentence of this post, but SERIOUSLY you guys. WTF.
Jesus Lord. How would you expect me NOT to drop the f-bomb right about now?
Britt being a total superhero, we managed to get our post up, but I can only imagine how surreal and gut-churning and awful it is to watch your house burn. Because of Britt’s beautiful writing I can at least get a clear picture, but I can say with confidence that it is strange and uncomfortable to NOT be there when loved ones are going through a difficult time. To hear about the hardships over the phone and to be able to do absolutely nothing to assist. One of my classmates, Kim, a native to NYC, struggled with this in a huge way last fall when Hurricane Sandy hit her beloved hometown, leaving friends and loved ones homeless and isolated from one another. Another one of my classmates, Elmira, moved to the United States from Iran only three years ago, so has to deal with a constant onslaught of dubious news from across the globe.
Kim Flores and Elmira Rahim. Strong and brave and talented women!!
What do you do when you can do nothing to help because you are hundreds of miles away? The only thing that makes sense to me is to do your best to offer at least emotional support, and continue to live your life to the fullest. Everyone benefits when we are being our best as individuals, and life needs joy to balance out pain.
To be quite honest, my life in LA has been extraordinarily wonderful for the past week. No sudden tragedies, no gathering belongings from the wreckage of my home while simultaneously working a full-time job and acting in a play every night and still getting great reviews. And I know that Britt, in her wonderful sister-ness, would feel nothing but happy for me that I’ve had an enjoyable week after the end of my first year of grad school.
In light of this dichotomy between mine and Britt’s experiences over the past week, I can draw two conclusions.
1. The thesis statement of Two Evil Actors is still correct. Not all blondes are the same.
The Grady Twins: The original Two Evil Actors
Unlike the Grady Twins, Britt and I are not agents of Satan and we don’t do everything in tandem. Hence the irony of this blog. Most of the time, we are living total different, yet parallel lives.
2. Life has immeasurable value and beauty.
Thanks to facebook, I stumbled upon this kid’s incredible story as I was writing this blog. Zach Sobiech is a teenager from the Midwest who found out he had terminal cancer and less than a year to live, and instead of giving up, he lived the SHIT out of his last days. He wrote a ton of music, he fell in love for the first time, and brought a ton of warmth and beauty and happiness into the lives of his loved ones. He passed away this week, May 20th 2013.
If you have the time, I suggest watching some more of his videos on youtube. He’s incredible and inspiring and he will make you want to live your life to the fullest. I also like him a lot at the moment because he reminds me of Britt’s little bro Nate, who I am very glad is currently alive.
On the bright side, I have been blessed with a full and happy life for the past week, so while attempting to NOT sound like a braggy douchebag about it, I’d like to share some of my joy with you.
1. Sunset bonfire at Dockweiler Beach in El Segundo:
This beach is AMAZING. If you live in Los Angeles and you are reading this, then hit me up when I am back from India this August and we are going here EVERY DAY. It’s the most wonderful glorious beautiful place. I will fight the competition for claim of a fire pit. I will sleep there for days and claim my turf on this beach. I went with my amazingly beautiful friends Andrea and Daren. We made friends with some Christian teenagers from Northridge who shared their ‘smore stuff with us, we accidentally played extras in an Indie film that’s going to Sundance next year, and then we starred as the only non-Asians at Karaoke that night. Fun central.
2. Viva Las Vegas!
Kim often goes to Vegas to teach salsa workshops. Here are the ladies at the Salsa Social!
The stunning Kimberli Alexis Flores invited all the ladies in our class (that is, all four of us) to spend the weekend at her bro’s apartment in Las Vegas. We talked each others’ ears off about life, acting, grad school, USC, then got all gussied up and went out on the town. We ended up feeling super fancy at One Oak and I danced with a Puerto Rican military doctor from Miami. Unfortunately, I lost him in the crowd. If you are reading this, sir, thank you for the dance. You were a perfect gentleman.
The second night in Vegas, Elmira and I snuck away to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and my brain exploded approximately 10,000 times. I’ve heard that people have almost religious experiences at Cirque du Soleil but seriously. It is incredible. There are no words.
Actually, there are these words. These words were in the lobby outside O.
On the way back from Vegas, Elmira, Amaka, and I stopped at Peggy Sue’s Nifty 50’s Diner.
Amaka is a movie star!!
I met a dinosaur!!
3. Amaka and I joined up with a bunch of other USC people to go see our teacher David Warshofsky in a reading of Jessica Goldberg‘s new play, put up by Echo Theater Company. It was absolutely incredible. She is a brilliant playwright and the acting was BOMB, especially for a reading. If you are in LA you MUST go check out Echo Theater’s production of “Bob” this summer. It is by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, who also wrote “Hunter Gatherers,” which Theatre Vertigo produced in Portland last year.
Go see this!
4. With the help of some of my USC friends, I discovered The Bigfoot Lodge in Atwater Village, an awesome bar adorned with so much Pacific Northwest paraphernalia that I don’t know how they fit it all in one bar. I felt so at home! Plus they have karaoke on Mondays!
I don’t think this is a real place, but it should be.
5. Once again under the guidance of my USC friends, I discovered the glories of Wi Spa. We paid $15 to spend 6 hours on Tuesday in this Korean spa, pampering ourselves. What a deal!
The Salt Sauna. Amazing.
6. I discovered yoga and samba at Brazilian Yoga and Pilates in Atwater Village, thanks to Groupon. Such a wonderful little yoga studio with extra-awesome classes. Right now they just have yoga and samba, but they also occasionally have capoeira, pilates, and drum circles. So badass!
This is what yoga looks like. In case you were wondering.
7. Tarah and I went on a shopping spree to buy all the essentials we need for our big trip to India!! Thankfully, Tarah’s friend hooked us up with 50% off at Patagonia, and REI’s anniversary sale just happens to be going on right now, so we were able to stock up on everything we need for the trip! Two months in India and one backpack means one has to choose wisely what one brings. In that picture are ALL of the things I’m bringing.
I conquered that mountain. Boo yah.
Phew! What an amazing week! I don’t know what to say about it besides the fact that I am so deeply grateful to the universe for providing me with such incredible rest, relaxation, fun, and friendship to fill my days. I haven’t really gotten to do a whole lot of recreation or relaxation since moving to Los Angeles, and it turns out this city has a whole hell of a lot to offer. It’s been a long 9 months of work since being down here in Grad School, and I’m so thankful for this little interlude of incredible fun-ness and friend-time before setting off on my summer adventure.
Gotta run, friends! There’s still tomorrow! To new adventures! Follow your bliss! Love your life!