Looking Back

A re-printing of “New chapter in my book of life…” (FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2007)

Last night I walked into the open-aired courtyard of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and was immediately seduced by the sight before me. Several hundred people of all ages – but mainly in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties – milled about with wine and beer in hand while music – rock and electronic – played, sending the music up into the night sky. An open walkway was a floor above me where people stood sipping their beverages and talking with each other while waiting for the free rock concert to start. (We were there to hear Sea Wolf and Midnight Movies, now easily one of my new favorite bands!)

This sight brought back childhood memories of my backyard of my house in Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia, when my parents had cocktail parties. Strangely enough, we had a guesthouse that was not connected to the main house, but was up on four “stilts,” and from the second floor of the house to the guesthouse was a bridge connecting the two buildings.

And I remember – at five years old – standing barefoot in the damp grass with torches ablaze around me and frogs jumping over my bare feet. My two best friends, British sisters named Samantha and Emma, and I had tried to catch the frogs with our hands while we wore pretty silk and satin party dresses. Dozens of party guests walked around me as I looked up and saw a man talking with a woman on the bridge. I stared up at the bridge. They were in silhouette, but it was one of the most romantic moments of my childhood, if not my life.

My life is filled with those moments. They have been both rather simple situations, as well as the most hair-raising periods of my life. I remember standing in a bell tower in an old barn that had been built by one of the Vanderbilts in Vermont with my ex-boyfriend and silently watching tiny birds flying amongst the beams while light filtered in through windows, highlighting the dust particles in the air.

And I remember – when I was twelve – my apartment building in Moscow, Russia, shaking while I walked to the balcony with my Father to find what seemed like an endless line of tanks rolling down our street towards the center of the city in August of 1991.

I AM A ROMANTIC. There I said it. I love moments in your life when you have to stop and look around you and the only thing you can muster is a quiet, under your breathe, “WOW.” I love the moments you feel like something magical is happening. I felt that way a couple months ago when I flew to Prague to visit my friend Jamie while our friends were shooting a film. It was the first time I traveled overseas, on a whim, ALONE. It was the first time I took hold of a city and discovered it alone. It was the first time I felt free in a long time and when I came back to Los Angeles, I had a carefree attitude. I could do anything. Accomplish anything. And I was unbelievably happy.

With Maggie beside me, I stood smiling at the sight before me last night. Although it is a rather simple, ordinary event in LA, it made me think about my past and, in turn, my future. I could say that it feels like life has slowed down in comparison to my childhood and so my life’s ambition – renewed by a meeting two men two weeks ago – is to fill my life now with special moments, experiences, people.

I met two men, who are friends named Scott and Gary, in the last two weeks who both fueled my desire to enrich my life. Scott’s obsession with travel re-ignited my own obsession that had been born in me when I was a child. Gary, who has recently moved to the south of France, is a symbol of what I need to do. I need to live overseas. And soon! I almost moved to London in October 2006 and had a trip planned in March 2006 to look for an apartment (or flat) to rent, but the plummeting American dollar made me change my mind and I remain in Los Angeles…

After visiting Prague in mid-May, I itch even more to hop on a plane, forget the film I’m directing and fly overseas. For the last two years, I have been fixating on the idea of going to France. I want to go to Paris and visit family friends and get to know the city over a number of weeks. Then I would either rent a car or take a train to the south of France where I would visit my godfather, Gerard, in Toulon.

When I left Prague after my two-week stay, I was nearly in tears as I got in the cab at five in the morning to get to the airport. That night, at midnight, I had left a restaurant called Pravda that was near Josefov – my favorite part of Prague – and walked alone through the Old Town Square in order to get back to my friends’ apartment. As I left the restaurant, I said “adieu” to my newfound friends, and it began to drizzle. I walked by myself through the city and over the Charles Bridge as the rain started to come down heavier. I was getting soaked, but I did not care. I had a smile stretching from ear to ear as I walked the bridge with the Castle lit up in the distance. Czech police officers and lovers walked past me.

Prague. One of the most beautiful cities in the World. (See photographs from the trip on my Flickr.)

I need to fill my life with my favorite things – film, literature, music, and travel – and I must find those things here. I know what I want to do with my life and so I must start to live it now, in LA, with the intention of moving to Europe in the near future.

New chapter in my book of life…