Perched on the 21st Floor

Brooklyn Skyline
 Dream and Write Retreat August 17-20 2017 with special guest, poet Anders Carlson-Wee. 4 spots left.

Dream and Write Retreat August 17-20 2017 with special guest, poet Anders Carlson-Wee. 4 spots left.

I’m writing perched at the kitchen counter in my bare 21st-floor high-rise apartment in downtown Brooklyn. The container containing all of our stuff, at lease everything we couldn’t fit into a few suitcases, has been shipped and sitting in storage and is scheduled to arrive for unloading literally any minute.

On our first night in New York, Seneca, Elio and I decided to take the A train down from our temporary housing in Harlem, to Brooklyn as an experiment to either confirm or deny our suspicions that Brooklyn wasn’t the place for us. That night was also our 3-year wedding anniversary. We stumbled upon an understated Mediterranean restaurant called Mariam and swooned over eggplant, cauliflower, and cucumber salad—all paired perfectly with two glasses of good, dry Prosecco.

As we left the Mariam, we strolled up Brooklyn’s 5th avenue and chanced to bump into a kind woman, Sarah, who was locking up the doors of a yoga studio called Area, whose window-front signs boasted the grand opening of their new saunas. We began to chat with Sarah and Seneca mentioned that I teach yoga and am looking for classes to pick up. We exchanged numbers and before I knew it, I was scheduled to teach several yoga classes at Area Yoga. And though I didn’t know it at the time, I’d lined up a teaching gig starting quite literally from the day I arrived in NYC.

Hunting for an apartment in NYC is a blood sport where the hunters are the ones who are killed in the process. Seneca had made a dedicated apartment-hunting trip to NYC weeks earlier only to come home apartmentless, exhausted, and discouraged (all on a broken foot, mind you).

After that first night in NYC, Seneca flew to London for a training. I was solo with Elio for the next 8 days. I didn’t think looking for an apartment with a very busy toddler in tow would be very fruitful but decided that I’d try my best. I found a few promising places online, made some appointments, packed up the boy and made another trip down to Brooklyn.

I spent the next morning looking at several apartments and ultimately decided to rent the first apartment I saw. It’s tiny, devilishly expensive, and modern, and sits on the 21st floor of a high-rise building in downtown Brooklyn. It has great amenities like a roof-top pool and terrace that overlook the Brooklyn bridge and across the water to the inimitable Manhattan skyline. Looking at the apartment’s specs, I worried because the container that we’d stacked full of all of our belongings would equate the square footage of our new apartment. I thought we’d let go of a lot of stuff to move and it looks like we will need to lighten the load even more.

Elio, my twin (evil, cuz everyone needs and evil twin), and I celebrated our 2nd and 41st birthdays respectively with the perfect picnics in Central park. There was climbing on rocks, Italian sandwiches, and cake.

After 8 days, Sen returned from her trip to London and I started teaching yoga at Area Yoga. The studio and classes are small but the students and staff have been very welcoming. This friendliness I have received by the Brooklynites has truly characterized my experience with people here in NYC. The stereotype is that New Yorkers are all business and overly-agro, crusty east-coasters. I’m sure there are crusty people everywhere but from people helping me wield the stroller on the subway, to natives asking if they can help me find my way, cued into my lostness as I’m frantically looking at Google Maps on my phone, to friendly yoga students, so far, I’ve experienced the people of New Yorkers as very helpful and friendly. I have to admit that I’m looking around every corner to see if I and spy any of my favorite celebrities who I’m sure live in my same building.

I was a little nervous starting to teach yoga in a new town to a new crowd in a new place with a billion other yoga teachers where essentially I am an unknown entity. So far, people have given me quite positive reviews, for which I’m very grateful. People have loved the clarinet (always a crowd pleaser). One student said, “You’re so different than the regular New York teacher who take themselves so seriously. You are happy, funny, and vulnerable and your classes very informative, fun, and challenging.”

A bit of advice I received from all of my Salt Lake City friends was not to adapt to NYC but bring who I am to NYC. I really took that to heart and am working very hard to stay true to my own teaching style and sensibilities, even if that makes me come across as some overly affectionate and enthusiastic country bumpkin.

Yesterday I went to a reeehe-he-he-eeeeally nice studio in Manhattan called Pure Yoga. This studio was elegant yet earthy and had to have cost millions to build. Enough people had suggested I visit this place prior to moving that it was among my first on my list of studios to visit.

The teacher, Miles, is also friends with Dallas Graham who connected us (connections are the BEST! thanks Dallas). After class, Miles told me the story of visiting SLC and attending one of my yoga class where I had played the clarinet. Miles admitted to opening eyes in order to see if I was actually playing the clarinet. Miles invited me to play clarinet while Miles and Miles’s partner played harmonium and chanted at the end of class. Miles promised to make introductions to the person in charge of hiring new teachers, for which I’m very grateful. I’d really love to teach at Pure Yoga.

Miles’s class was exceptional with its refined but spare verbal cues, non-dogmatic flavor of spirit-in-practice, and a clear permission for self-acceptance, not to mention the fun and challenging poses Miles had us do. During class, I became suddenly thrilled about all the formidable yoga teachers here in NYC. Even though I’m new in town, already I’ve begun to formulate what we are going to do for the NYC Yoga Tour. Mark your calendars for April 19-22 2018 for the NYC Yoga Tour.

All in all, things are going better than I could have imagined. So far, I LOVE New York. It’s challenging coming from a packed schedule to one where I’m only teaching a few times a week. I’m hanging with Elio a lot and I suppose that I really ought to cherish this time with him. There will be plenty of career building time.

Much love to all of you.