At one point I’ll do something more fun like a restaurant review, or take some posey photos of myself dressed slightly more presentable and call it a fashion post, but these days I’ve just been going home and vegging out in pyjamas with junk food and Gilmore Girls. Except for Wednesday evenings – that’s reserved for cell group :)
Anyways, today I ended up at the Apple Store in Grand Central Station after work (explanation to come at a later date) and since I am walking everywhere these days, Google Maps told me to walk along the waterfront back home.
That’s when I realised… I actually live in a really pretty area. I took these photos on the way back:
(I took these photos on my iPhone and ran them through Google Photo editor so they look fancypants and pretty. I did not do this for the rest of the photos in this post, also taken on iPhone. It takes too long and I’m lazy sleepy.)
It’s been exactly 2 weeks today since I moved to New York from my home in beautiful, sunny LA. So far it’s everything I imagined it to be: horrible weather, cramped, expensive, dirty and smelly, but hey, praise God I’m not comfortable here otherwise I’d lose sight of what He sent me for/has planned here for me right? :)
Actually my situation isn’t bad at all. My room is massive by New York standards, it’s in Manhattan and I’m only a 13-17min walk from my office depending on footwear (+5-10mins for coffee). The office is located between the Empire State Building and the Flat Iron Building, more or less. My housemate is super nice and I pretty much have the apartment to myself 90% of the time.
My entire transition has been nothing short of miraculously smooth. Within a day I’d already unpacked, decided on a local church (Redeemer – Tim Keller’s church) recommended to me by brothers & sisters at CBCWLA and signed up for a cell group. Within a week, I’d already met and made friends with one of the cell group co-leaders (who, crazily, is high school friends with one of my CBCWLA worship leaders) and one of the other members, met a bunch of other brothers & sisters at Redeemer and signed up to serve at the church.
Within 2 weeks, I’ve already made some friends outside of church, wandered around Manhattan from east to west, found some cool coffee joints (yet to find one that blows me away though), gone clothes/shoes shopping (and returned with a massive haul that made my mum proud) and cooked at least 6 meals for myself (and sometimes for my housemate too.)
That said, it doesn’t change the fact that I miss LA like crazy. My apartment smells like cat (less so now that I’ve slowly but surely been giving it a deep clean), the weather here has been getting me sick (seriously it’s more temperamental than a woman’s mood on her period, pretty much like London weather) and you literally cannot walk five blocks without finding rows of garbage along the pavement.
Following on from Part 1, this is a story I want to tell in full as it really warms my heart! I was about to head home anyway when I received the text from my housemate but most certainly had not been expecting company. Confused, I asked her who she was talking about?
She told me 3 guys had shown up that she didn’t know, but they left since I wasn’t in. She had met one of them before. I deduced two of them to be Ryan and Jon, and gave Ryan a call. It turns out they had stopped by to wish me a happy birthday and drop something off but were already on their way back home since I wasn’t there. We had just missed each other.
I wasn’t even disappointed since the mere thought of that gesture had been so sweet! I thanked them, said I thought it was a shame that I wasn’t able to thank them in person but could understand that they were tired. I live around the corner from Roberto & Bean so I arrived home a few minutes later.
I walked in to see a bunch of cupcakes on the table, wondering if that’s what they dropped off, but didn’t touch them in case they were my housemate’s instead. I did look around to see if they’d left anything else, but nope, didn’t look like it. I still had groceries to unload from our grocery shop during the day and had just about finished putting everything back before plopping down on my bed to rest… only to receive a text from the third and final guy I hadn’t deduced, DC:
“Hey Crystina, happy birthday. We stopped by but you weren’t home. Hope you had a great day!” Followed by this vid. I was sooo touched I almost cried! I thanked them and told them they were the best, and that it was the sweetest thing ever.
He replied, “No we’re not… if we were, we would’ve stayed”. I’d hardly finished responding when my doorbell rang and who should be singing happy birthday again at my doorstep with guitar, cajon and vocals?
One month ago, on 4/4, I turned 21 for the n-th time. It was truly special; full of joy, laughter and a couple of firsts, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved on a birthday before.
What ensued was more or less a week of celebration, with a 3-birthday combined party the night before my birthday and a ridiculously sweet surprise to end my actual birthday. Sorry, all photos taken on iPhone, I got lazy about taking an actual camera around with me, plus so much of it was unexpected.
To start, my dad flew out to LA to visit. He arrived on Thursday 3/31 and stayed for a week, literally just to celebrate my birthday with me and see how my life is in LA. I’d told my family about how much I loved Santa Monica and my CBCWLA family, and naturally my family were relieved albeit curious. He had free time, so came to visit.
Can you believe it? So much time has already passed and we’re already into May. It’s crazy that the last blog post I wrote, even before my site went down, was last year. At that time, I’d just left my London home and moved to LA. Now, I’m writing this from my new room in New York City.
A couple of months ago, my company asked me to relocate to NYC. It’s not a place I’ve ever wanted to be and honestly, I fell in love with my home and church in Santa Monica so I didn’t want to move. However, I know it’s where God is calling me through one miracle after another, and that’s enough for me to follow.
As of Monday I now live in NYC. In my mind, I’ll be here for 6 months and then I’ll return to LA, but my plans often aren’t God’s plans for me, so we will see :) Who knows, I might love it here and never want to return (so far, that’s not the case. It’s pouring outside and the city is as smelly and dirty as I imagined it to be) so there’s always an option to stay.
It really was an awesome 9 months in LA though! I realised I stopped blogging after my break up with Jason – 8 months ago now – because life happened. God led me to the church into which I would eventually settle, surrounded me with brothers and sisters and seekers to love and serve, and meet some of the best friends I’ve ever had. It was a wonderful life… it became a comfortable life… I stopped relying on Him, I became complacent. Thankfully He wasn’t finished with me.
That’s why I’m here today. I hope to find what God wants from me in this city. It’s been an amazing journey thus far. Join me for the next leg?
In the mean time, let me share a few more highlights from my time in LA – or more specifically, my church, CBCWLA.