I think cities are the most beautiful places in the world. As a kid, I used to walk through airports with my parents and just marvel at the churn of lives in motion. In my short years, I had the privilege of living in a handful of major cities around the world, a fact that I find astounding and deeply humbling.
Here, I thought my first time living on my own in a big city, is where so many stories converge. Where each path I could take is less predictable than the last. Everyone and Joan Didion tell me that I’ll outgrow the fascination. New York, Didion writes, is “a city for only the very young.” But at dusk, when the sun hasn’t quite set and the urban light-scape flickers to life, all I see is promise.
Last week, I explored Golden Gate park with my mom and discovered even more reasons to be enchanted – figuratively and literally.
If you live anywhere a source of news media, you will know that this has not been the best week for the world. You don’t even me to link to the events that have cast long shadows over the past few days. While bright things are happening every day – much of which I want to share with you – it feels disingenuous of me to share them without first addressing things that for all I know could be affecting you directly.
So this is me checking up on you. You ok? What’s helping you reorient?
The evidence arises spontaneously: Like this past weekend, when I arrived at the public library minutes before it opened on a Saturday morning. I lingered outside with the doors with a small crowd of retirees. Or a few weeks ago at the grocery store, when I compulsively reached toward the community college course catalogue.
But Pia, you protest, aghast. You’re done! You’re free! Graduating undergrad is your first major possibility for radical self-determination – why do you do this to yourself?!
This weekend, my friend So Yun and I meandered through the crisp, perennially sweater-weather air of San Francisco. We were in Hayes Valley for the San Francisco Urban Air Market, a marketplace that features independent artists and sustainable design. Vendor tents lined several blocks of the neighborhood, with a free painting party in the center and live musicians tucked into the corners. So Yun and I weaved through wares from jewelry makers, illustrators, alpaca fleece weavers, and a surprising number of handmade baby clothes makers.
My Fall Fashion Alter Ego reads the New Yorker on cafe terraces, against a backdrop of autumn foliage. She speaks French better than me. She has clear skin, and, like a true cool-girl, her beauty secret is drinking plenty of water. (Ugh.)
Of course, I’m well aware that Fall Fashion Pia is a veneer, a fiction constructed by my irrational perceived shortcomings, etc. I’m pretty cool with my own life, flaws and all. On the other hand, I’ve always been a believer of faking it until I make it – at least in terms of charm, wit, and having-my-life-together-ness.
So while I don’t want to be my Fall Fashion Alter Ego, I do want to dress likeher. And as autumn lazily descends on the Peninsula, my mind is on big ambitions and achieving my goals… or at least the semblance of it.
Thus, I present the pieces that I’m coveting for fall, the ones that glamorous Fashion Pia would wear. Sidenote: Fashion Pia has a much bigger budget than Real Pia.
My dad and I drove seven hours up the coast from LA to SF on Sunday, during which time: he gave me advice on making friends in a new city (maybe I should actually go out on Fridays?), we bought buckets of drive-through soda to stave off the 110° heat, and I found out that my dad can rap the first full three minutes the old-school funk classic, “Rapper’s Delight.”
We made the drive so that my dad could visit me, and so that we could cap off the summer by watching the LA Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants. It was more than a game — the victor of this match would settle, at least for a night, the grave and virulent debate of which is the superior half of California.
It’s more of a beginning-of-the-year for me than January is. School supplies, the elegant transition to fall, cinnamon and persimmons. (As Tom Hanks’s character in You’ve Got Mail marvels: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”)
Septembers are studious and ripe with renewed possibility.
Of course, I probably feel this way because up until this point in my life, my goals have revolved around the school year: get good grades, read a gajillion books, learn a ton.
And for the first time, I don’t have a school to go back to this year. I get to read, learn, and strive for whatever I decide. How appropriate that a new blog, and a slew of new projects I hope to share with you soon, has been born in September.
So welcome to my blog! Here’s to a month of creating new things and asking daring questions.
What are your thoughts on September? If you’re a new post-grad, how do you feel about this moment?
There is little I can say about Charlottesville, and the events that have unfolded since, that hasn’t already been said more eloquently, by wiser people than me. When a mob of white supremacists attempt to negate the human life and dignity of entire populations, and when people in power condone hatefulness, it’s hard not to let the waves sorrow, anger, hopelessness, and disillusionment erode you.
You shouldn’t stop yourself from feeling whatever it is you’re feeling. But when you’re ready, there are small steps you can take to heal and resist. And one of the most meaningful ways to resist is to read books by diverse authors.
Confession: I stopped updating the blog for two full weeks while my boyfriend was visiting me. (You haven’t noticed because the blog hasn’t launched yet.) I decided that since this was the last time he and I would see each other for a while, I wanted to spend my time with him fully and with a degree of privacy.
So there’s a lacuna on the blog where 2 extremely eventful weeks of life had been – which brings me to reflect on the blog/life disparity.
Not to perpetuate a stereotype or anything, but summers growing up in Southern California were amazing. With the ocean a quick drive away and warm nights in Los Angeles, there was always a wealth of fun, carpe diem-y things to do. Summer was a sparkler – bright, ardent, and fading fast.