Bicoastal Tales: Spring 2011 SF Work Adventure
I’m back in NYC and predict that this recent trip is worth documenting for future Daniela. I spent the last four months working for Current TV in San Francisco, with a short stint at the LA office. I also went to the Sundance Film Festival in January (my first time at the fest).
What I regret the most is that I didn’t blog or keep a physical journal. Thankfully, I did take many mental notes 🙂 as well as some photos. I still haven’t gone through my 7D cards, but I wanted to share some memories and Droid snaps with you all.
When I wasn’t with my family, I bonded with myÂ flatmatesÂ in my Oakland sublet, explored SF — the city I made many trips to on my own ages Â 17-22 — after work, road around on the BART, and marveled at how much Oakland is becoming this mecca for artists and activists (and noting the permutations of gentrification).
So much has happened in the past four months — I left New York in a long-term relationship and returned single; I discovered a miracle skin product that I am in love with; I defined my future parenting goals; etc. But here are the top 10 highlights (NOT in order of importance) from my trip that I hope are beneficial to anyone who stumbles across this and are curious about what it’s like to make a home for yourself on both coasts:
1. Cali People Vs. New York People
Only after spending several months back in Cali can I finally admit to myself that this stereotype is true: Cali people are most definitely more laid back (generally speaking) than east coasters, particularly when it comes to office personalities in a media environment. East coasters are more direct/cut to the chase and tend to be workaholics who party as hard as they pursue their endless goals. Cali folks like to make small talk, are more likely to go on lunch breaks (a totally healthy thing to do!), and take work/life balance more seriously.
One of the greatest gifts to myself while in Cali was cultivating a stronger ability to chill the fuck out and to connect with different personality styles. I may be from Cali, but I definitely have an – ahem – more “intense” personality than the average Cali person and I appreciated the chance to balance myself out. I’ve promised myself that from now on I am going to eat while at work, take breaks (when possible), and value my own peace of mind just as much as I value my work environment.
2. Salmon Salad At South Beach Cafe in San Francisco
I literally ate here about three times a week just to have this salad. It is in my Top 3 foods of all time. I would take a leisurely stroll down EmbarcaderoÂ and treat myself to this delicious meal. I am actually a little sick of salmon at this point… I’m lying. I crave this salad and hope I can find an east coast equivalent!!!
The only salmon salad that came close to this was the one I had in Utah while at Sundance in January. It was pretty orgasmic too:
3. Nolita Selector, Fruitcake, And The SF/Oakland/East Bay Queer Scene
My flatmate Nolita turned out to be an amazing, intelligent, and charming young woman who also happens to be a talented DJ/photographer/party promoter/Jill of all creative trades (thanks for hooking it up, B!). I never did end up going to any of Nolita’s Fruitcake parties (womp) but we did spend a lot of time bonding in the kitchen and I met her mom, so that’s cool, right? This blurb in OP Magazine describes her better than I could. As does this video from one of her parties:
FRUITCAKE! Saturday, March 19th and every 3rd Saturday @ The Stud Bar, SF from Nolita Selector on Vimeo.
I do regret never going to any of her Fruitcake parties — I saw a bunch of raw footage while she was working with her editor and it looks super fun.
I am hoping she moves back to NYC very soon so hopefully we can collaborate on something together.
4. Bay Area Marxist Feminists group
I met some of these ladies during a reproductive rights rally in Oakland, right before I returned to NYC. I had wanted to attend their movie & discussion night but there wasn’t enough time for me to get it together 🙁 Luckily I found one of them on Facebook and I plan on connecting with their east coast friends very soon. I like interacting with people who are passionate and committed to a cause.
5. Red Branch Hard Black Cherry Cider
A hard cider from California. Um. This is like pouring heaven into your mouth. Apparently you can’t buy it in New York (boo) but you can order it online. Get some. The end. Thanks Nolita!
6. Watching Adults Playing Drunk Twister
It’s fun, it’s physical, and it’s a tad naughty — what’s not to love? Thanks for the memories, Jess! <3 7. Best Friends You Can Always Count On
I am so lucky to have a best friend on both coasts. I’ve known my Cali BFF Rose since I was 13 and we’ve been glued at the hip since. She is more than a BFF — she is my sister and the mother of my god children 😉 I love you, Rose!
Daniela and Rose in the Mission, SF
My NYC BFF Julia flew out to visit me in late January. She took me to see Interpol in San Francisco and we bonded over Netflix on my bedroom floor, Indian food, and frequent visits to secret clubs… I didn’t take a picture of her while she was out there but here’s a funny one from 2005 of the two of us (with one of my fav hairstyles):
Julia always has my back. She housesat for me and watched my cat Fellow for 4 MONTHS while I was away. She won the BFF Olympics with that move.
8. Rediscovering My Love For Claymation
There’s nothing like a new environment for sparking an old passion. For some reason, being in Cali brought out a long-buried facet of my creativity. I spent a lot of time in my Oakland bedroom creating little guys like the one above. His name is Wally and he likes french fries. I accidentally melted some of him with a lighter, but this photo is from before that horrible incident.
I used to make claymation shorts for fun when I was in my late teens, long before I knew about YouTube, so those tapes are hidden somewhere in the archives. My renewed interested inspired me to get an NYC pal to collaborate with me on a short claymation film and we are going to kick off the planning for this next week. I am psyched!
9. Discovering That I Can Handle This
Was it even possible for me to go back and forth? Would I have an emotional meltdown from the stress? How would I know until I tried? I took the risk, and now I know.
Sometimes things are just that simple, despite how much we bumble and complicate our realities. I’m going back to Cali in October and I’m looking forward to enjoying my time in NYC, knowing that each day is a gift I am giving to myself.
Self portrait: examining the proximity of technology in my life (physical and emotional)
While traveling for work or self discovery, my laptop is never very far away. I woke up to a soothing screensaver and felt compelled to document the woozy moment of strange intimacy.
10. Connecting With My Sister Wayane
Wayane is technically my stepsister but we don’t feel the “step” part at all. We grew up together and our love/hate bond has matured into something very dear to me. Over the years we have grown closer, particularly since she had her little girl and my niece, Elle (in the photo above). I spent a lot of time with them both during this trip and I am so proud of her devotion to Elle, inspired by her dreams and goals, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them both. She has also promised to babysit my future kiddos and I am holding her to that promise!! <3
More than anyone, Wayane has vocalized how proud she is of me and has always supported my nomadic existence. She "gets" what I am doing with my life and although we don't always speak when I am in NYC, I know that she loves me and has my back. Never were a Chicana and Jewish/Indo/Dutch stepsister duo ever so fabulous 😉
... So, there you have it! Obviously, not everything was sunshine and roses. I experienced strong feelings of loneliness and isolation. I had to adjust to a new city, a new way of getting around, and new coworkers/work environments. I became even more addicted to Facebook as a way to just keep up with everything. I slept with my phone to make sure I never missed a call from a loved one. But overall, the pain was worth the risk and yielded many wonderful experiences. Change always comes with a mixed bag of goodies, it's just up to you to see it all for what it is -- your life as you've created it to be.
This snapshot of my experience is pretty random but if I close my eyes and try to remember it all at once, these are the images and faces that come to mind. I can't end this without giving a shout out to my parents: Carolina, Larry, and Henry, for always believing in me and putting up with my shenanigans.
Context: After I returned from Paris in mid-October of 2010, I continued to stay in contact with my mentor (and now boss) Angela Morgenstern, who is VP, Content at Current TV. I had interviewed to be the Senior Producer for Current TV’s new series, “Bar Karma,” while I was in Paris (a few time-shifted 3 AM Skype interviews). They ended up going with Jim Goldblum (who has been doing a fantastic job) and I was offered a staff position at Current in November. After exactly one year of (very fruitful and exciting) full time freelancing, I was once again the grateful recipient of 401k benefits and dental insurance.
I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to be bicoastal and luckily Angela supported my goal. While my east coast hommies were battling Snowpocalypse this past winter, I was grateful to escape the cold and spend some needed time with my family in Cali.