Monday, December 31, 2012

farewell 2012

greetings from temecula, california, where i am sitting at my family's kitchen table, typing away. My parents are sitting on the couch just to my right, watching korean news programs, and our dog, Simba, is sitting in his crate staring intently at each person one at a time, willing us to please give him some more ham.

everything about my current state is comfortable. I have a full tummy, my bank account is not depleting by the second as it seems to do in new york, i'm in sweats (and have been for the past week), and i haven't a care in the world. so i'd like to take advantage of this calm state to reflect on 2012.

when i first moved to DC, I lived with a woman who was into eastern religion and spirituality. on my 28th birthday she told me that every seven years or so we go through a complete shedding of our past selves and start afresh. given that i tend to be a late bloomer, i'm going to call this year my "7-year shed."

this year, I decided to go ahead and apply to j-school despite doing just fine as an editor. when i got into a program i liked, i decided to quit my job and enroll. i moved to new york. i got serious about relationships in my life -- building and rebuilding them. i attempted to be brave and fear less.

these decisions weren't without consequences. the risks of putting yourself out there are real and inevitable. i've felt the heat in my cheeks as i approached perfect strangers with personal questions, was yelled at and demeaned by sources, had my writing flashed on the big screen and criticized (jschool professors are keen on public humiliation). i've missed the company of familiar friends and felt adrift in an unfamiliar place. roots are profoundly important, and when they're gone, your heart aches with the knowledge that even if you were to go back to where home used to be, it wouldn't be the same. it will never be the same.

but that's life, isn't it? :) you hit the ground running, stumble, pick yourself up, learn from it, and start running again.

i'm thankful for 2012 -- a year of testing, changes, challenges, and a lot of learning.

through all of this, i wouldn't have survived without the many friends and family who rallied around my decisions with support and excitement and a lot of love. what a blessing you all are! and i'm thrilled as  i look ahead to next year because my friends and family are always there.

cheers to the new year!

Friday, October 19, 2012

two small things

two things from last night that i wanted to share.

i was leaving class on my way to meet chris for dinner
and it was drizzling  a bit. i've learned how to walk like a
New Yorker, barreling through people without
stopping to look around, but for some reason as I crossed
 7th avenue, I looked to the left. I was struck by how beautiful
Times Square looked. Usually, Times Square is a gross,
messy zoo, but yesterday, something was so lovely about
the lights, and the traffic, and the colors all diffused by the drizzly sky. 

i was at a duane reade when i saw this shelf of ice cream.
what the hell new york? you don't eat ice cream???

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hi my friends, can you tell I am trying to do right by you by posting a bunch? I know I neglected you guys for so long, so I'm trying to make it up to you right now.

During columbus day weekend, chris took me to Chicago as an early birthday surprise. I was definitely surprised when he told me what we were going to do (i may have shed a tear or two ... you know me ....). I couldn't believe it! throughout our entire dating relationship, we have wanted to go to chicago because it is a city that i love so much. i have often told chris stories about the good times i had while attending wheaton, and have always ended those stories with, "can't wait to go there with you someday!"

well it finally happened and even though i was kind of stressed out about how i was going to get away with not doing any reporting for a FULL weekend! eek! I did my best to not think about it and just have a good time. let's jump into the photos, shall we?

when i'm happy, i tend to assume this stance, not sure why.
But I was pretty damn happy! But also really cold.
Here we are in downtown chicago.

Did I mention we were cold? look at how red my nose is!
 I keep wanting to tell new yorkers, I have seen winter,
and it is TERRIBLE!

Chris hates when I insist on photos. Here he is
hating my insistence that I take a photo.

We took the El a lot because it was so much more fun
than plummeting through underground darkness.
but here we are waiting underground for a blue train?
red train? can't remember. the best part, though,
is when you feel the train elevating and suddenly
you burst out into the city, weaving between buildings
that can sometimes come as close as a few
feet from your train window!

we stopped to eat at one of my favorite brunch spots,
ann sather's, where every entree comes with 2 huge cinnamon buns!

look at that gooey melty deliciousness!

no visit to chicago is complete without a
visit to the bean! it was a gorgeous day

there's that stance again. I was happy bc I had an
intelligentsia coffee ... and I was in Chicago!

look who we ran into! hi hannah! (we missed you uno)
one of the trip highlights was an architectural
boat tour. Chris and I were totally geeking out!
Aren't the buildings lovely?

that skyline ... it's just not fair.

and here we are at the top of sear's tower.
this is just after i stepped out onto the skydeck,
which chris was not too happy about.

we got to the sear's tower right at sunset and watched the
city lights brighten as the sky went dark. it was perfect.

Thanks so much Christopher for a great birthday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

fun photo time

i'm long overdue for a photo dump -- here are some pics of life in new york!

this popular mexican eatery in our neighborhood, fort greene, BK,
has a big outdoor seating area. on this particular night, they were
showing one of the old superman films (was it 2? 3?) against a building
wall. Chris and I were transfixed.

here is our new "grocery store." gone are the days when we shopped
at giant or whole foods or trader joe's. these days all of our food
comes from this little deli around the corner from chris's place.
it is actually one of the more affordable deli's, but i'm sure
if i told you the prices, you'd be pretty shocked.
chris and me on a walk around our hood.

while reporting near campus, i walked into the church of saint mary the virgin
to see what was up. this fabulous sign greeted me at the door :)

a really beautiful little archway in my neighborhood beat, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

one time chris was talking about something and mentioned "the big inflatable rats."
I stopped him right there ... the inflatable whats??? He was like, "You know? The big rats
that strikers inflate to shame their companies? Don't worry, you'll see them
somewhere." sure enough, a few weeks into my program I was sent to cover a
stagehands union protest and was SO DELIGHTED to see the rats for myself.
quite compelling, aren't they? read more about them here

one really bad weekend, I had my work cut out for me.
I had to do some radio reporting and a photo essay
and would have to work all weekend to complete it.
to placate my worries, I decided to get up early on saturday
morning and have myself a really good relaxing
brunch at a somewhat fancy schmancy restaurant in my hood.
it was a GREAT decision. 

so, the unglamourous side of reporting: I had to get up really
early to try and get some photos of a store opening up for the day.
the store owner said she would be there around 9 a.m., so I
arrived at 8:45, so as not to miss anything. Nobody arrived
until about 10:30, and I waited out in the cold the entire time.
i took this self portrait to show chris how sad i was. haha.
don't i look just awful?

But here was my reward: After spending the entire morning
waiting for the shop owner, and then photographing the shop,
I rewarded myself with a HUGE chicken parm sandwich.
well earned, if I say so myself!

long time no see

Hi friends, it's been a while.

School is in full swing and my comfortable, overfed, overly rested, overly consumeristic lifestyle has been replaced with .... no semblance of a life whatsoever. haha. my life is my work at this point and i try to eke out enough time for christopher and that's about it.

it's a shame, right? Because i have finally moved to new york city, the epicenter of culture and life and food and entertainment, etc., and all i can do is sort of watch it go by. no money, no time, and a lot of shit to get done. it's been a little rough.

this month has been the toughest thus far. the deadlines are coming at us fast and furious, and we barely have time to come up for air. not only are we trying to report on a variety of issues in our neighborhoods, but we are also trying to report these stories in multiple mediums. at one moment, it's a radio story, so you're busting your butt trying to get good audio. The next moment it's for TV and you're trying to figure out lighting and footage and angles. and then suddenly, it's a photo essay. we've all lost our minds!

but the other day, a friend posted a nice reminder on facebook: you don't have to, you get to.

WOW. that hit home for me, because for so long I felt like I was looking and looking for a chance to do some real deal reporting, and I never got the opportunity. Now I finally GET to do it! I have to keep reminding myself of this when the going gets tough.

i don't have anything fun and/or frivolous to report on, but here's a tidbit: my style has been reduced to function. i no longer take any pleasure in wearing a nice frock. when i get up in the morning, all i think is, what can i wear that will make me look semi-respectable and make my day as comfortable and easy as possible. this explains why journalists tend to dress rather simply. in my experience, it's good for a journalist to wear: black because you look acceptable in almost every situation and you never know what you will be covering that day (art show, city commission hearing, meeting with clergy, you name it); flat comfortable walking shoes because it is not fun walking the streets with foot pain (i learned this the hard way); and a jacket with pockets to carry your press badge, your notepad, and your cellphone, because you never know when you have to whip that stuff out. honestly, if i could wear a hunter's vest with pockets, i totally would! actually .... (searches them on amazon)

lastly, i thought i'd share a radio story I got to do in my neighborhood. can i tell you how much respect i have for radio reporters? it's not easy getting good, interesting audio that will actually compel someone to stop whatever they're doing around the house and LISTEN to their radios.

this is as close as i got to making something interesting during my first radio class. let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Me 'n E

My first NYC guests were none other than E and his family! It was a short visit, but so nice :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

be brave. fear less.

hello my long lost friends! it has been a while, hasn't it? i haven't forgotten about you, as i will prove later on on this blog, but how cruel of me to drop a huge life-change bomb on you and then leave you hanging for almost an entire month. a thousand apologies.

so i am currently typing on a brand new laptop that i opened today, with a brand new haircut which I got yesterday, in a tiny room in Brooklyn, NY! if i close my eyes, i can mentally transport myself into my little room on 16th St., just two miles from the White House. But when I open my eyes, it's evident that that little room is long gone. how can this be?

at the end of last month, I indeed moved from Washington, DC, my HOME for four years, to Brooklyn, NY. the few days before and after the move were the most difficult of all. not only did moving become a logistical nightmare, but i became completely distraught about leaving our great community of friends and family in the DC, VA, MD area.

two days before the big move, Chris and I invited our friends to celebrate with us over burgers and fries at Shake Shack. why why why did we plan such a torturous farewell? it was tough to see so many of our dearest people, all the while knowing that we would be saying goodbye at the end of the night.

you guys, i took it really hard. it's "get real" time on vintagejeannie. upon arrival in new york, I sort of became a shut in. everything was unfamiliar and ... just ... NOT HOME, you know? the smells and sounds were foreign and i felt like my entire knowledge base of restaurants, routes, metro lines, pretty parks, fun shopping -- all of that carefully curated knowledge was just wiped out. NO RELEVANCE HERE, new york said. ALL YOUR PRECIOUS RESEARCH? ALL YOUR EXPLORATIONS IN DC? worth nothing. but worse was feeling like i had no friends in the city. YOUR PEEPS? THEY'RE NOT HERE. start over. begin again.

I became paralyzed with fear. I didn't leave the apartment almost all day. the only time I ventured out was to meet chris when he finished work. but during the day, i sat on the couch watching old episodes of The Office several hours straight. pathetic!

but finally ... FINALLY, with chris's gentle chiding, I tiptoed out into the city. the first day that I went out on my own, I think I went to the Target about 3 blocks away to pick up some random toiletries and household items. that was about all I did that day. but then each day, I would try something new until I finally ventured on the subway by myself into the city to run some errands for school, but also to explore parts of the city on my own.

guess what? i gave new york a shot, and new york rewarded me in return. i'm really learning to enjoy this city (more on that in subsequent posts to come).

on one of those early days, chris and i went for a bike ride through brooklyn and on the way home i caught glimpses of two phrases that have stuck with me: one cafe that i peeked into had painted "Be Brave" on one of their walls. Hm, i thought. OK. tuck that one away. then, a few minutes later, we passed some graffiti on a wall that said, "Fear Less." I almost had to roll my eyes, it was so obvious! GOT IT. message received. haha.

so that's my motto for the next year and a half, anyway. I'm going to be brave and fear less. there are so many places in my life where this is applicable: in my reporting, in my relationships, in my approach to life. it's time to confront my fears, to be brave, fear less, and try new things.

as an added bonus, hopefully this experiment will yield slightly more interesting posts for you to enjoy :) here's hoping, anyway. stay tuned ...

Thursday, July 26, 2012


if you can afford to do it, i highly recommend not working for a season of your adult life. i don't speak these words lightly since i know that for many, the razor thin line between "making it" and "not making it" is a really big deal. frankly, i'm not thrilled to be living the next 1.5 years of my life on borrowed money (more on that later in the week), but i have just had to make peace with my decision to go back to school ... in new york, the most expensive city in the country ... in my late 20s, when i should be saving and preparing for a family. i've made peace with it. really, i have. really.

ok, not fully yet, but i'm trying.

that doesn't mean, however, that i am not fully enjoying my time off of work. i ended my job last friday and don't start classes until Aug. 20, so i have a full month to do stuff! yes, i have some plans (moving to new york, visiting my family, prepping for school, building a professional website, etc.), but i'm also going to indulge myself a little with all this free time :) here's what i've been doing this week:

went to my friend's kid's soccer practice

watched "you've got mail" about 3 times

                                      played guitar


There is still so much left to do before we move on Sunday, but we are getting closer. My room is starting to get that "empty space" look. it's strange to be leaving this place. there were so many good memories here! moving is tough man. so many people and places to say goodbye to.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Looking Back

in a bout of (planned) spontaneity, Chris and I invited our friends Ryan and Erica to come with us to Pittsburgh for a weekend trip. We reminisced about our old college days, ate a lot of delicious greasy food, went to the Feist concert on Saturday night, and stopped by Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house on the way back to DC. it was such a great weekend and it was nice to know that even when you leave a place, it moves on, but also stays the same.

The squash courts on campus where Chris and I first became friends.
One day in the school paper's newsroom, I told him I was taking 
a squash class and he asked if we could play together. I had a 
mondo crush on him at the time, so of course i said yes!

Chris convinced the gym staff to lend us racquets
and a ball, even though we didn't have student IDs

Erica and I played some rounds. She was so good for a first-timer!

From L to R: Chris, Jeannie, Erica, Ryan

We rode the Pittsburgh Incline to the top of Mt. Washington.
During the height of Pittsburgh's steel era, workers used the
incline to get to and from their homes at the top of the mountain,
to the factories along the rivers.

Panoramic view of Pittsburgh from the top of Mt. Washington

Chris and me at the Feist concert! Brief clip of her performance to come.

the next day we visited my old dorm, Mudge House,
where I was an RA for 3 years. so many good times
were had in this building. looking back, i realize
how good we had it. community is hard to find.
on our way home to DC, we stopped at Falling Water,
a beautiful house by architect Frank Lloyd Wright
made for the Kauffman family (their department store
chain, Kauffman's, later became Macy's). this is a shot from
the visitor's center.

it had just rained and would rain again. we walked down
a short path through the forest to reach the house.

beautiful light through the trees

smile chris!

the house seen through a clearing!
it's essentially a glorified cabin in the forest.
personally, i think we look a lot happier than brangelina.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

charlie rose interviews terry gross

Terry Gross: I tend to write up my questions not word for word, but i try to prepare a narrative so it's not just like a questionnaire with a random sampling of questions. it has a structure, it has a story. It's more interesting if the questions add up to a story than if it's just, you know a questionnaire. 
Charlie Rose: Yeah, I keep telling people that what makes this fascinating for me, and for anyone who does it as well as you do, is a notion that you're telling a story. you're simply taking someone who's sitting across from you and you're telling a story. you're looking at the world through their life and through their experience, and the collision of my curiosity and their experience. and that's a story. 
Terry Gross: Mm hmm, and I find that I learn a lot about myself when I hear people talk about themselves.
they are an inspiration. the notion of a hardened journalist has never appealed to me. but listen to these two talk about their work! they're as moon-eyed and rapturous as two teenagers in love. i'm so excited to join their club, even if i remain a junior member for the rest of my life ... frankly, it's nice to have people who do it better than you. it's nice to have a dream. and I hope to always maintain my "real, honest curiosity," as terry gross puts it, come what may.

big changes underway

so, here's the news: i'm moving in less than two weeks to Brooklyn, NY! Can you believe it? I can't.

It's really a shame that the internet is so public because I've wanted to post about this entire process from the moment it started, over a year ago, but I had to keep things under wraps until everything was certain. now i can finally, publicly tell the world that come aug. 20, i'll be an enrolled student in the city university of new york's graduate school of journalism. (not to be confused with nyu)

how did this happen?

well, i'm not quite sure myself, but this is a perfect example of how a million tiny little decisions can lead to a major course correction in your life. did i move to dc four years ago thinking, at the end of this i'll be in j-school? hell no! when I took my magazine job, i was in it for the long haul. and i've spent countless hours turning the events around in my head, trying to figure out what exactly happened there. i still don't know, but that's neither here nor there. as my friend evelyn says, there's no room for regret in God's economy.

what i'm thankful for is that leaving my magazine job and going into communications made me realize that a) i don't want to be a magazine editor; and b) i don't want to do communications! HA! i shake my head at the time it took for me to realize this.

here's the thing that killed me about being an editor. we'd spend all this time brainstorming amazing story ideas that were so timely and interesting. we'd look at an issue through a prism, separating out every color until we decided on our publication's perfect angle. this process is so rewarding and fulfilling -- that's why i still think sojourners is one of the best damn publications out there. you should totally subscribe.

but, we'd craft this perfect story baby and then hand the baby over to another writer! no longer. I want those story babies. I want them. (wow. those are the two worst sentences ever published on this blog)

so that's why i'm going to j-school. i'm so excited to get on the streets, talk to people, ask questions, figure out a neighborhood, figure out how the city works, find stories, tell stories, all in the fine city of new york. actually, i'm pretty sure ny is going to kick my butt numerous times over, but i'm going to do my best to keep strong.

so -- that's it! that's the news. i'm scared, excited, nervous, happy ... mostly scared. haha. but i'm thankful for all the support from my family and friends, including you, reader. hope you'll stick with me through the next phase in my life! get ready for a lot of public online cryfests.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Chris found this old video that we made in the columbia heights best buy while checking out the macs. it is dated may 16, 2009! I find this pretty freaking hilarious. how about you?

scary thing, though, is we look pretty young in this video! remember when you'd look in the mirror as a kid and will yourself to look older? now I look at photos from 2 years back or 3 years back and I'm like, who is that girl? and why do I look so haggard and weary nowadays? ooooh adulthood. so wonderful, so stressful, so confusing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

opinion poll: leather bow

yesterday, i picked up this leather bowtie hair clip at american apparel. is this too infantile for a 29.5 y/o lady to wear?

honest opinions appreciated. here it is in my hair.

i think it could work in the right environment. definitely would never wear it to work ... maybe just on the weekends. at the end of the day, who cares? I'll wear it because i like it, but i felt like i needed to throw in some frivolity on this blog since it's been a while :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

only in new york

At the corner, I felt a presence and turned around. The man with roses was walking toward me very fast. The rose heads bobbed up and down against his chest, and I thought of a dozen bareheaded babies. “I know you,” I heard him saying. “We’ve met.” 
I did not rule this out. I have lived in New York only three years but have had many memorable encounters with strangers. More than once, I have had the same taxi driver twice. The man stopped in front of me and stared into my eyes, as if trying to read my mind. Then his eyes brightened. “Did I write a poem for you?” he said. 
I stared back, searching my memory. A curtain lifted: Winter, 2009. Two in the morning. A snowstorm. I get out of a cab at Seventh and Christopher, and see a man on the corner. I give him the five bucks left from my cab fare. He thanks me but says he never takes something for nothing. All he can give me is a poem in return. He gives me a list of options ...
of course, you must read the whole thing.

slow it down

sometimes i move through life at a pretty fast clip, but some unexpected situations have forced a major slowdown in activities. chris sprained his ankle a month ago. the first week after the sprain, we tried to keep up with our regularly scheduled activities and had a pretty tough time. i felt bad for chris -- he was a good sport about everything, but i could tell he was in a lot of pain. so we've gotten used to doing little more than sitting around reading or going on really slow walks.

do you ever realize how fast we city folk walk?

whenever my sister visits, she is always complaining about how fast i walk. in fact, i injured her knee during her last visit because i was rushing us to catch a bus to the airport (sorry sister!). so what's with the hustle? I have no idea, but when chris's sprain was so bad he couldn't walk well, it was like torture trying to walk at his pace. when i finally got used to it, i was surprised by how many things i noticed -- a bird here, a piece of street art there. i probably would not have seen these while rush-rush-rushing to the next location.

patience is a virtue that yields a lot of gifts!

anyhow, one event i was really glad we kept on our calendar was going to the Feist concert at Strathmore. It was a really weird venue, in my opinion, but it was a lot of fun to hear Feist play. I saw her once before at the belly up tavern in san diego, long before she was made famous by that Apple commercial. her show was raw and simple, and she got the entire crowd to sing along with her.

the day after the strathmore concert, i was so enamored with her performance, and yet so disappointed by the shitty venue that I convinced Chris we needed to see her again. So we got tickets to her pittsburgh show in July!!! it should be a much rowdier crowd (pittsburgh being pittsburgh :)) and it will be an outdoor concert. (hopefully the sound is good). y'all can look forward to photos from that experience in the near future, but for now, here are some strathmore pics :)

me being an uber dork. how cool is this walkway though?

poor chris on crutches (in bokeh!)

strathmore: super cool for classical music, super lame for rock

chris puts on a brave face, but there is misery behind his eyes

feist and band ... she is my hero!