Thursday, April 08, 2010
Friday, November 20, 2009
I have roughly 24 hours left in New York. I have a slew of plans for the rest of the day, but for now, this morning, I'm sitting in my living room, drinking a big mug of coffee and watching my favorite movie in all the world, You've Got Mail.
I first saw You've Got Mail on my 17th birthday, and I fell in love with it immediately. The movie, like Kathleen Kelly's mother, is simply put - enchanting. The charm, the romance... Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as their most lovely selves... the soundtrack, the dialogue. I just love it.
But my favorite thing about You've Got Mail has always been New York City itself. It casts the city in the most romantic of lights, from the Upper West Side brownstones to Riverside Park to the bookstores and coffee shops and bakeries that make the city come alive. From the moment I saw this movie, I had a dream. To live in in this magical world that I loved from the jump.
And I did. For 3 1/2 glorious, wonderful, challenging, beautiful years.
Over the last few weeks, I've been reflecting on the Ebenezers in my life - pivotal points God placed in my New York experience that remind me of his faithfulness, sovereignty and love. It has just been so sweet to remember how he got me here, how he prepared the way for a friend, how he placed me in a job that meant more to me than I could have ever imagined, and how he orchestrated minute details of my schedule over the course of 5 years to bring me new roommates and a new apartment when I needed both.
So why? Why do I mention my love for You've Got Mail? Why do I tell you intricate stories of my Ebenezers? And why did I move to New York in the first place?
Because these are all pieces of the story. God's story. And it's a story of hope.
I have tears streaming down my face now, not out of sadness for leaving the city tomorrow (although I am sad), but out of a sense of being... overwhelmed... at the unbelievable love of God. I had a dream, a dream that God started stirring in my heart when I was 12, a dream that he continued stirring and growing and fertilizing for the next 11 years...including when I first saw and fell in love with You've Got Mail.
And now, I am more convinced than ever that God planted the dream and orchestrated the details for a reason. Because he loves me.
Of course, I think there have been other reasons too. He used the city to grow my faith. He used the city to make me brave. And I hope and pray that he used me in the city to make a difference in at least one life. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he gave me the dream and planned my steps because he takes great delight in me and loves me more than I could ever comprehend. What a precious truth. What a precious God.
I hope you will be reminded that this God - the God who directed me to a soup kitchen in Atlanta and a particular table at Buckhead Church GroupLink and who closed the door at a job that I wanted desperately and took me to Serendipity for a frozen hot chocolate one summer night - is still determining my steps, your steps, our steps. And regardless of our circumstances, or feelings, or disappointments, his character never changes. He is faithful. He is in control. He works everything out for good. He has a hope and a future in store for each of us. And he loves us. Oh, how he loves us.
So have hope. Have a bold, audacious, qavah hope. Courageously cling to that hope, and remember that no dream is too big, no problem too difficult, no obstacle to challenging for him to overcome. Find hope in his goodness, his kindness, his mercy and his love. Because the God who created heaven and earth, the God who parted the Red Sea and tore down the walls of Jericho, the God who sent his Son to redeem us on a cross, is the same God who gave me a dream to move to New York and then made it happen. And he is alive and at work today in my life and in yours.
In You've Got Mail, when Kathleen decides to close her store, Birdie gives her this advice:
"Closing the store is the brave thing to do...You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life."
I know to some, moving to New York in the first place was the bravest move of all. But not for me. This city is my heart, and I could no more deny God's call to move here than I could choose not to breathe or blink. I don't know what the Lord has next for me. I know that it involves living in Atlanta and working at Chick-fil-A, but beyond that, it's a mystery. But as I dare to imagine a different life beyond this city, I am not afraid. I am not apprehensive. No. I am full of hope. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who was and is and is to come, will continue to be faithful, and I can't wait to see what's in store.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me for the last three and a half years. It has been a joy to be lulled by the train with you.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Toward the beginning of the summer, my high school friend Carrie called me to say that she was in town for the weekend. She was staying with her college roommate Keri Anne, and she invited me and Cal out to Serendipity to have dessert with them.
Keri Anne was a summer intern in New York just like Cal and me, and the three of us spent almost every waking moment of the rest of the summer together. We got to be good friends, but, as often happens, once we went back to Auburn and Georgia, respectively, we lost touch a bit.
On September 4, 2007, I got a Facebook message frok Keri Anne. It read:
Always eager to make a new friend, I Facebook messaged Hannah:
how are you? i miss you and that amazing city you live in. well, i was writing you (and i think i'll shoot one to cal too) about my friend who just moved there. Her name is Hannah Flora. She is amazing! I'm not positive of where she is living, but i know she was eager to meet people when i told her about you guys. She is on facebook, but if you want to call her, i know she'd love that. Her number is 334-xxx-xxx. She said she came to gallery church one week. can't wait to hear how you are doing! have a great week.
Hannah promptly responded:
Hi Hannah! I am a friend of Keri Anne Davis', and she told me that you just moved to NYC! Keri Anne and I became friends the summer we both interned here, and I moved back about a year ago. How are you liking the city? What are you doing, and where are you living? I'd love to meet and hang out some time. Also, I go to a church called Gallery Church. We meet Sunday nights in Chelsea. Let me know if you'd like to join any time! Have a great day! :) jamie
So great to hear from you! I did just move to the city and I am friends with cute Keri Anne! I am loving the city, slowly but surely adjusting. I would love to grab dinner or someething! My roomate and I are wanting to get plugged in asap! Let me know if there is a time that is good for you!
Look forward to hearing back! Hope you had a great day!!
And a friendship was born. Hannah and I, along with her roommate Shelby and my friend Jay, had a blind friend date at Beyoglu. We got to be friends over the course of the next few months, and eventually, over many cups of coffee at Starbucks, Hannah and I decided to live together.
Hannah knew of a friend of a friend, Emily, who was looking for roommates, so we invited her to join. We thought that 4 might be a better number than 3, though, so we set out to find another roommate. One night, after some unsuccessful apartment hunting on the Upper East Side, I randomly ran into a then acquaintance from Gallery Church, Lindsay Ann. She asked what I was up to, and I told her, "Just looking for a new apartment. Interested in moving in with us?"
And you know what?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday is my last day at Horizon, so it only seems fitting to tell you about how I got my first job in New York over 3 years ago.
When I made the official decision to move to the city, job searching was one of the first things I did. I sent out resumes to every advertising agency I had ever heard of. I stalked people. I cold called companies and tried to sweet talk their receptionists into giving me the name of the HR Manager. I also emailed a lot of friends. One friend of mine from college, Mitch, put me in touch with his girlfriend Jenny, who was living in New York and working at Carat. They weren't hiring at the time, but Jenny connected me with her friend Sheyna, who worked at Initiative.
A few weeks before I moved to New York, I came up for a trip and interviewed at five different agencies, including Initiative. I immediately fell in love with a position on the Infiniti account at TBWA\Chiat\Day, one of the swankiest, most creative, brilliant agencies around. I was dying to work there, and they rocketed to the top of my list.
Over the next week, I was blessed to get four job offers. That is an 80% success rate. Guess which company didn't offer me a position? Yep. TBWA\Chiat\Day.
After some deliberation, I decided my second choice was Initiative, where I would be working as a Media Planner on the CBS/Showtime account. I was excited, but still a bit disappointed that the other job hadn't worked out.
This shred of disappointment blows my mind now, because I loved that CBS/Showtime job at Initiative. I worked in Entertainment, which is one of the most fun categories you can work on (I had no idea at the time). Through my job, I got massages and manicures and went to concerts and plays and restaurants and games. I gained amazing career experience. I HAD SO MUCH FUN at this job, and I worked on the exact same team, for the exact same clients, for almost three years.
However, the best part of this job, far and away, was the people. I had amazing bosses who I loved working for, one of whom I still talk to almost once a week. I made great friends who helped acclimate me to the city... people like Megan and Jessica, who are truly outrageous, Joanie, who is the sweetest soul in the world, and Lauren Spina, a dear friend who shares with me a love for John Krasinski that few can match. But most of all, this job led me to these two people, who not only worked as the Assistant Media Planners on my team and sat right next to me for those three years, but also became two of my best friends in the entire world:
Look how adorable they are. They're fun. They have blonde hair (well, Bethany does sometimes). They listen to country music. They say y'all, because they're from Texas. They love reality TV. They write cute blogs. And they love Jesus.
Seriously. In this crazy city, the odds of these things cannot be higher than 1 in a million.
We have been on trips together. We hang out on the weekend. We go on spy missions. We've had birthday parties together! We make puppets. We go to Kenny Chesney and So You Think You Can Dance concerts. We camped out for SNL. We wear sparkly pumpkin t-shirts. We sit in each others' offices all day, every day...because in God's great provision, when Initiative lost the CBS/Showtime account and we needed new jobs, all three of us were hired at Horizon.
And now, looking back, I'm so thankful that I didn't get the job at TBWA\Chiat\Day that I wanted so badly. If I had, I might never have met Lauren and Bethany (a thought that causes my eyes to well up with tears). But instead, God closed a door, and in his divine providence, opened another one that led me not only to a job I loved, but to people I love, who love me, and remind me of how much God loves me too.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped."
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is my UGA crew. Various iterations of us have been watching Georgia football together for four seasons, mostly at the Village Pourhouse on 3rd Ave, where we have devoured more of their boneless buffalo wings than I could ever count.
Back in the day, when I was young and naive and thought New Yorkers were particularly strange, I featured several posts labeled "Only in New York." Come to find out, after living here for a few years, I've turned into kind of a crazy person myself.
On Friday night, Lauren, Bethany, Hannah and I decided to camp out for Saturday Night Live tickets. Our fav Taylor Swift was hosting and performing as the musical guest, so we were dying to go! SNL tickets are virtually impossible to come by, though, making the standby ticket experience... well, quite an experience! Numbers are given out at 7am on Saturday, and we arrived on a sidewalk at 30 Rock around 6pm Friday for a night of urban camping.
Knowing that the low that night was somewhere in the ballpark of 32 degrees, we prepared ourselves for a long night. This included beach chairs, puffy coats, coffee, snacks, books and magazines and earmuffs.
Seriously, we were rockin' and rollin' for the first half of the night. We discussed our favorite candy for at least 45 minutes (chocolate bar, chocolate piece, non-chocolate, with sub-categories for movie theatre and trick-or-treating), and, around 11pm, we ordered a Papa John's pizza to be delivered to us at 30 Rock, a BRILLIANT idea from Lauren.
From Elizabeth's blog today...
A few weeks ago Jamie and I had the idea that we’d do a blog carnival. And, honestly, I’m blown away at the response. 25 absolutely incredible bloggers participated and shared their hearts on home. I gave no boundaries as to what they could write about, but as i read through entry after entry i picked out a line or two that stuck out to me. I copied them all into my blog admin page so that i could quote from every single one, and as read through them all i realized something:
we just wrote a story. collectively. we don’t all know each other; some of us have never even met. however, we are intricately woven together as part of a Bigger story.
so this is what i did with it.
"When you think about it, “Where are you from?” is asking so much more than to simply name a city. Where I am from isn’t as important as where I am going. Home is not defined by geography, and neither am I. It is not a geography of latitudes and longitudes. It is not just a bloodline or a shared surname. Home is where you ache from the violence of separation, however temporary or eternal that separation might be. Home is where I’m good at being [myself]. Growing up i was a participant in the home my parents had built… now i’m leading and defining my own version of home. My roots are there, but my heart is here.
It’s a place where you should always feel loved. there is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS love. and that, right there in the middle of it, that is home. home is spending time in community. home is hope for what is ahead. Home…is where I learned that I could be myself (however crazy that may be) and still be loved just the same (and maybe just a little bit more). I feel like myself here. This is my home. For now. It’s relying on best friends who help keep me sane. it’s typically busy, it’s frequently crazy, it’s where i live. it is everything i love.
So in the meantime, i will fight to find meaning and a sense of belonging in each moment, each place. Home has a different meaning for me now than it did five years ago. It’s sitting around a table and sharing your life with someone. The table is just a device that draws us close. And yet it’s this coming together that makes home.
I’m really excited at the possibility that God could revolutionize my relationships with those people by revolutionizing my relationship with Him. I’m on a mission to know God and make Him known and sometimes that means I have to be a little embarrassed/uncomfortable/faithful/committed. We are all too often blinded to the reality of eternity. In our blindness we seek to construct, create or cultivate the most comfortable earthly homes and wonder when are hearts seem so restless. Isn’t home where we ought to be able to rest? Yet in the most wonderful homes there is a lingering homesickness for another place. It is Christ who remains. That is home. That is what we were made for.
I’ve been to these places and loved the people who live there now, yet not one location has been able to fill the empty spot I have reserved in my heart for a permanent “home.” The place that is so different from what I’ve always known, yet so comfortable and, somehow, familiar. This world is too large to live in one place for forever. whether it’s short- or long-term, i know i have somewhere else to discover someday. My fear is that one day I will meet someone that won’t know this part of me. They will not know that this experience has shaped me into who God is asking me to be. I have been challenged to go beyond so many comfort levels that I would have never thought possible; all the while learning that I can, in fact, appreciate the beauty in differences.
I love to write about home, but I also knew that it would come on the end of me leaving a place that I thought would become my permanent home. And when, in two weeks, I pack up my last suitcase and turn in my keys and hail a cab, I’ll be moving home, and leaving home, and going home, and missing home, all at the same time. "
Check out all of the full blog carnival posts below...
1. lisa far away
5. Annie Blogs
6. Bethany Michelle
17. Big Apple Angie
21. Freddy T.
25. Jenelle Rose
Monday, November 09, 2009
When I get off the 1 train at 86th St after work, I'm home. I walk up Broadway and admire the windows of Banana Republic and Club Monaco. I peer into Georgia's and read the chalkboard outside that lists their specials (recently, "Pies Galore! Who doesn't like pie?"). I walk up the steps and get out the middle key on my keyring, which opens the building door. I lean around the corner to see if our mail is on the table in the lobby. I punch the 9 button in the elevator three times... always three times. I walk into our apartment, careful to make sure our very loud, heavy door doesn't slam for the whole building to hear. I call out, "Hello, hello?" to see if any roommates are home. I sift through the mail on the table in our foyer (because it's never in the lobby by the time I get home, and it's always on the table in our foyer). I head back to my room. I set my purse down next to my desk. I put my keys in the green bowl that sits next to my computer. I kick off my shoes. I'm home.
When I fly into Hartsfield, I'm home. After walking what feels like miles and riding the tram, I arrive at the escalator that goes up toward baggage claim. My mom is there waiting for me at the top, always so excited to see me. She asks if I checked luggage (I probably did not). We walk out toward the parking deck. She goes through the line that's longest, but it's the only one that takes cash. She drives, and while we're talking, she gets confused and inevitably thinks we've missed I-75. (This happened once and has thrown us off ever since.) We get off the Interstate an exit early so that we can go to Chick-fil-A; I get a Chick-fil-A sandwich with no pickles and a medium sweet tea. I carry it home. I throw my bags in the bedroom I've slept in since I was 15 years old and immediately turn the radio on to Kicks 101.5. I'm home.
When I walk in the doors of Gallery Church, I'm home.
When I drive over to my grandparents' house in Marietta - the house where I spent every Saturday night for most of my life, where I read Babysitter's Club books and ate Mayfield vanilla ice cream - I'm home.
When I'm in Long Island City and look across the river at the glowing lights Manhattan, the beacons that are the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, I'm home.
When I travel to Santa Rosa Beach with my best friends from college, and we sit on the beach chatting (and eating), and in the living room chatting (and eating), and at the dining room table chatting (and eating), I'm home.
When I curl up in Starbucks with my iPod in and a New York magazine crossword puzzle, I'm home.
When I drive to Athens and pass my sorority house and business school buildings and the Baptist Student Union and Five Star Day and the stadium and a little yellow house with a front porch on Oakland Ave, I'm home.
When I sit on a bench in Central Park with a friend, gazing at the skyline and trees and the bridge and rowboats, I'm home.
And when, in two weeks, I pack up my last suitcase and turn in my keys and hail a cab to Laguardia, I'll be moving home, and leaving home, and going home, and missing home, all at the same time.
Elizabeth got a group of friends together to write about HOME today. Check out her blog here, along with other posts by dear friends on what home means to them. Really, really lovely.
Friday, November 06, 2009
I just feel like reposting this today. Oddly enough, I didn't realize that I wrote it exactly 3 years ago, to the day, until I had already copied and pasted it over. Guess it was meant to be.
Monday, November 6, 2006
Roots and wings
I'm New York.
I ride public transportation and love the cross-town bus. I eat Sunday brunch. I live in a shoe box-sized apartment where my monthly rent could feed a village and my furniture was bought on Craig's List. I read New York magazine and do the crossword puzzle every week. Central Park is my playground. I have Mallomars in my cabinet. I love Broadway, the Met, the MoMa, and the Metropolitan Opera. I watch the Marathon. I rarely eat dinner before 8:30pm. I shop at Bloomingdale's. I pass the Chrysler Building every day. The New York Times is my hometown paper, Good Morning America is my local news, and Gawker is my very own community gossip website. I love the West Village and hate Times Square. I stand in really long chopped salad lines for lunch. I get my iPod fixed at an Apple store that resembles the Louvre. I love Billy Joel. I have at least 12 different takeout menus in my kitchen drawer. And yes, my kitchen only has one drawer.
I'm New York.
But I'm Georgia.
I drink sweet tea. I say yes ma'am, no ma'am, please and thank you. I love SEC football. I listen to country music. The word "y'all" is a part of my daily vocabulary. I refer to all soft drinks as Coke and cringe if a waitress says, "we have Diet Pepsi instead of Diet Coke, that's okay right?" I'm still awed by snow. I love magnolia trees. I grew up Baptist...and I'm a Republican. I can navigate the winding Peachtree Roads of Atlanta...all 87,302 of them. I cheer for the Dawgs, the Braves and the Falcons, no matter how well (or poorly) they may do. My cell phone number will forever begin with (404). I could eat Chick-fil-A every day of the week; in fact, in college, I think I did. I love "The Vent" in the AJC. I've lived OTP and ITP and can appreciate both. I grew up going to the Stone Mountain laser show and am still a big fan. I know the answer to the question "Whaddya have, whaddya have?" And I think Waffle House is amazing.
So I suppose I'm both...I'm New York, and I'm Georgia.
I say thank you to my bus driver. I order sweet tea and hushpuppies at Brother Jimmy's. I go to Rascal Flatts concerts at Madison Square Garden and Pat Green at Irving Plaza. I am a registered Republican voter in the state of New York. I watch the Georgia football games at the Village Pourhouse every Saturday. I have precious New York friends...95% of whom are from the South as well. I frequent the Chick-fil-A in the NYU dining hall. I feel at home when I fly into LaGuardia, and I feel at home when I fly into Hartsfield. My cell phone number may begin with (404), but my work line kicks off with (212). And I appreciate the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery.
I'm New York.
I'm both. And I'm blessed.
"I'm happy in New York, Jake. But then I come down here, and this fits, too."
"Since when does it have to be one or the other? You can have roots and wings..."
Sweet Home Alabama