What? No Time for a Siesta?

La Siesta by Bridgman
La Siesta by Bridgman

Do you have time for a Siesta?!

Since I am no longer working full-time, and in fact, looking for new gainful employment opportunities, while simultaneously trying to launch, City 2 Suburbia, my own real estate and planning firm, I have had to re-calibrate my time and efforts quite a bit. This is both good and bad. Not having steady work, or a 9 to 5, can wreak havoc on ritual, but this is not something I am unaccustomed to. In fact, it is more of the norm with me. Let’s look back:

– In Los Angeles most recently, I was working nine hour days, but my schedule often started later in the day, rather than earlier, so it wasn’t a traditional 9 to 5.

– In Barcelona before that, I was working on a freelance basis most of the time, sometimes teaching, or as a docent, carrying out interviews or translation work and so forth. The only time my schedule was more ordinary, so to speak, was when I was working as a Project Manager for SuiteLife Barcelona.

– In Upstate New York I was a graduate student and as we all know, schedules are dictated by coursework and extracurricular activities; still not exactly your normal 9 to 5 workday.

– In Kyoto, Japan before this, I was working at a school, and well, this was essentially a regular work week, though it still wasn’t exactly a 9 to 5.

– In Bar le duc, France, I was a part-time language assistant.

I guess I’ve been thinking about this for several reasons.

Firstly, I’ve been thinking about this in general, just because I often nostalgically look back on my time in Barcelona , France, Japan and most recently, Mexico, and about how the rhythm of life, at least in the more traditional sense, seems slower there than here in the U.S. (The exception being Japan, I suppose.) I definitely miss the siesta sometimes, or that afternoon break when many establishments shut down, and traffic throughout the city, Barcelona in this case, still seems to dissipate just a bit, even in today’s modern times.

Secondly, my little sister and I often share motivational stories and advice in our professional pursuits. We recently talked about working from home and how, though it is not always necessary, it can help to get up and start the day just as if you are leaving the house. That is to say, showering, getting dressed, having breakfast and so forth, are all habits that help to start the day off right. She often works from home, too, obviously.

Being the constant dreamer and adventurer, I’ve come to realize how imperative it is to manage my time, effort, and even, thoughts. I’ve especially learned the last part through writing, which forces me to slow down, process, and then, hopefully, articulate myself so that any reader can follow.

So, what have I been doing with my time here in L.A., aside from laying idly? Well, I’ve been reaching out to various organizations about part-time and full-time work projects. Also, though I refuse to intern ever again, I can’t seem to stop volunteering. So, if launching City 2 Suburbia is PROJECT #1, let me talk about PROJECTS #2 – #5.

PROJECT #2: THE LOS ANGELES CONSERVANCY – Docent Training and the Modcom Working Group

In my last blog post, I wrote about my experience taking a couple of architectural walking tours with the Los Angeles Conservancy. Recently, I’ve started to volunteer for them as a docent. I’m just going through the training now, but it looks like it will be fun and something to look forward to this fall and winter. In addition to working as a docent with them, I’ve also become a member of Modcom, or the Modern Committee, which serves to advocate for the preservation of modern architecture in Los Angeles, and which plans events such as the holiday party I attended last winter at DWP.

The Los Angeles Conservancy came into being in 1978 (the same year I was born) when developers were threatening to tear down the Los Angeles Public Library, which was becoming obsolete, at least in terms of size, given the population growth in Los Angeles. They managed to save it, thankfully, and it is now one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in DTLA.

The Modern Committee came about 5 years later in 1984 and will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. In my opinion, these are exciting times to become involved with these organizations, especially the Modcom working group, since there seems to be a sort of frenzy and growing interest and appreciation for all things moderne in L.A.

PROJECT #3: DOWNTOWN DREAMING & MISADVENTURES

Not working full-time allows one to go from Beverly Hills to Venice or Santa Monica for lunch, then all the way out to Downtown for an afternoon meeting (with the L.A. Conservancy!) Here are a few pictures, I took in Downtown the other day, after randomly having lunch at Wildflour Pizza in Santa Monica with a friend of friend visiting from Madrid, Spain.

The last picture was taken at, well, The Last Bookstore. I had seen pictures of this, but had never been. It’s just off of Spring and 5th Street in Downtown, not too far from Pershing Square and the PacMutual Building, which houses the Los Angeles Conservancy. My favorite part about visiting the store was finding and flipping through Spanish and English versions of Anaïs Nin’s diaries. I love reading about her travels to and from Paris and Brooklyn, NY, and eventually want to see how she made it out to L.A. It turns out she died in 1977, the year before I was born. Needless to say, I think I channel some of her creative and sensual energy. But seriously, she was such a literary genius. I don’t think I’ve ever read anybody quite like her… I hope to read much more of her work in the next few years.

I also found out The Last Bookstore hosts all types of literary events, including open mikes and is the point of departure for these history tours by Brady Westwater.

I look forward to exploring Downtown L.A. the most in the next few months.

PROJECT #4: CATCHING UP WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS

I’ve managed to spend a little extra time with friends and family in the last month or so. My sister was in town visiting from Japan, and we did lots of cool cultural stuff together, including taking a trip to Mexico for a family reunion. A good friend from high school also came over on Sunday night, and we went out to eat at Sun of Gun, one of the many restaurants I’d been wanting to try (by the creators of Animal) off of one of my favorite sections of L.A. just south of where I live now in Beverly Hills, on 3rd Street, also near The Churchill and the Little Door (French), two other places I hope to visit soon. We sort of celebrated her birthday, but I hope to do so a bit more next weekend. More on that, and on my birthday brunch and dinners (yes, plural) to come! I really know how to stretch out that birthday month!

We actually went to one of the JVS employment resource center for a motivational talk regarding finding work and just to get information really. They didn’t say anything too groundbreaking, but I still think it is a valuable community resource for anybody actively seeking employment. Apparently, they have locations throughout Southern California, too, including one in Marina Del Rey, but also in other parts of Los Angeles County. Ironically, my friend and her mother recently established their own resource center and art gallery in Upland, California. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the grand opening as I had plans to go the Hollywood Bowl that night, so it would have been too much of a haul.

This last instagram was taken at the Tchaikovsky Spectacular this last weekend. (I also saw Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine recently at the Landmark theatre at the Westside Pavilian, and Chicago and Bjork at the Bowl earlier this season. Lucky me!) I still hope to see my family and grandparents more in the next few weeks, and also, to write about it for either a blog post or article, which leads me to my next project.

PROJECT #5: NEVER ENOUGH TIME & STILL MORE PROJECTS… 

Aside from all that, there are more projects in the works.

And oddly, despite the fact that I am not technically working full-time, it’s still hard to keep track of everything. It seems I’m always trying to keep up, preparing for some event or other. And I keep missing stuff!  How could I have missed the Watermelon Festival at the Rose Bowl? Also, I recently missed an exhibition on the micro-studio! (Note: I love Alyssa Walker by the way. She also recently wrote about L.A.’s 232nd birthday since it was founded in 1781. The celebrations are on August 31st.) All these happenings are fun, but also definitely distracting.

How can I keep up with everything going on in L.A., spend time with family and friends, work on my projects,  volunteer, AND still manage to blog about it all, and do more writing? Well, I probably won’t be able to do it all, but I will do my best to prioritize and resist taking too many siestas!

Signing Off,

~ Erica

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