Stay Tuned for the New Year!

I really do appreciate the time you take to read my ramblings here at A Week by the Bay. Looking back at the weeks passed and the subsequent writings from those moments, it’s been a blessing to figure how to combine all these events and my passion for writing into one space. I find that some essays are redundant and I’ve overexcited myself over commonplace things such as $3 water or terrible guys in San Francisco, and so in spite of all these ridiculous details, I thank you all!

You can always stay tuned for what’s to come in 2016 by here, and also:

Instagram: @pariskimwrites

Facebook: A Week by the Bay

And maybe this will be my only year in San Francisco– perhaps there shall be many more. But wherever I end up in this next year, and in spite of what I shall be doing professionally, just know that here I shall remain, always, for as the way to this blog says it all: Paris Kim is a Writer.

Happy New Year!!

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Stand Alone Beneath the Mistletoe

December 14 – December 20

Let’s start this with an excerpt from one of my favorite films:

“I always saw Christmas as a declaration to show where you stood in life. And for me, I was going to spend this Christmas getting drunk and getting stoned. ”

Hugh Grant, About a Boy (2003)

Christmas is only a week away. Yet, this busy week leading up to it is conviction enough for me to really understand that path for myself that I have been treading down.

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Two years ago when I left college, there were no jobs to be found on my little experience and underdeveloped writing. So I took up retail in a lovely but fast-paced paperie and stationery store in the city while commuting half of my grad life from BART train to BART train and even Muni bus. Add on the Craigslist freelancing and internship, and we find ourselves climbing a steady grade away from this bottom. And as I approach this Christmas, I think now back onto all these career changes, home changes, and relationships through the years since. But, let’s just narrow these findings down to the week. The week seeming not too promising as I suffered lack of sleep and two-day old makeup from SantaCon at a lunch with my parents when I should have been at work. But, upsides– here we were eating steak-fries and mussels at a beautifully intimate French bistro across from the gates of Chinatown surrounded by the bustle of San Francisco during Christmas.

If you were to present this scene in a snow globe to my past self, perhaps those two years would have been spared of all the tears.

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For all that the week before Christmas reveals, it’s that I still have a ways to go, but to what? My job has evolved in more ways I couldn’t have imagined it would, my paycheck has increased, and I’ve lived longer than expected in my warm corner apartment where friends freely gather for hot chocolate and brandy and bacon. Friends that weren’t there before. But life doesn’t stop at a happy spot in time– it defeats its own purpose. Even at one of the most anticipated affairs of the season, the Wish Holiday Party, it couldn’t all be champagne and roses (or more truthfully, champagne and prosciutto). I was distracted, and drunk, and feeling rather un-glamorous. It was the night that made everything magical and all was not. I was dateless and feeling like the dress I wore wasn’t spectacular, and my Joan Harris-inspired updo was too matronly. At least I got to take photos, and looking back on them, all my fuss was for nothing. So sometimes you worry about your current conducts, you worry that life in the now is not living up to the standards of the Love Actually storyline you’re meant to be living, according to that Buzzfeed quiz. But in trying to meet expectations, I’ve forgotten that, as a writer, I make my own story. The purpose of this life I have chosen for myself is never to have full satisfaction at any given point in my life.

But it shall be a gentle, kind journey. I am alone this Christmas and the gift I was seeking will be for another December– maybe sooner, maybe later. But in the direction life is headed is a gift of itself– perseverance and the right choices. Stay hopeful and kind– and in consequence of these values, have gained myself many meaningful relationships. These are people who move me forward in the difficult road that is the life of a twenty-year-old; girl friends who enjoy wine as much as you do and allow you to share a bed in their Russian Hill place overlooking Alcatraz and an empty lot where a witch’s house once stood. Friends from afar and would return afar this winter, but not before pulling you aside to present you one of the most ingenious mugs ever created– a gift that remains a symbol of their sincerity and sweetness to you just as you had wished to show back to the world.

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This is the time to find where we really stand in life. Where I find myself is not where I thought I’d see myself, standing alone beneath this hypothetical mistletoe. But not without the right place, time, and remarkable friends not too far from me and telling me to keep on waiting. They see that I don’t have to wait much longer, for really I wait for nothing. I stand now in my life and alone here, and that’s the best gift that I could give myself, the love and acceptance, and encouragement, of me. Until that next December hits I am alone and I am okay and I am in love with only myself and what I’ve done to get here–

and any addition to this pleasant party of one shall be most welcomed.

 

Winter Wear

December 7 – December 13

Winter wear is your most unpredictable style. As simple and practical as it may sound, you find that the body is quite useless; nothing more than a canvas for which we drench ourselves in knitted baubles and fur-lined coats that might not be the warmest, but ones in which Kendall Jenner led the runway last spring. This is when the Fall/Winter ’15 comes to life– December and its following months, adorned in holiday lights and sweet smells spicing the cold air, have turned into a masquerade. And the whole world invites itself.

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Sartorial style has always influenced my work. I never really write about it, but when I’m not together, nor is my mind– my confidence. The fashion sense of a writer is all that the writer stands for in their most realest and physical form. What goes on in our heads unwillingly reflects in our appearance; with each individual writer comes passions, inspiration, and taste. We develop our unique appearance just as we develop our writing techniques and styles. Zelda Fitzgerald, a great lady and everlasting fashion icon for the Roaring Twenties– a fierce fashionista conflicted with a wild lifestyle and deep desire to outshine her famous husband. There’s Steinbeck, my own hero whose very rugged, careless loose sweaters and lots of khaki reflect his selfless passion in writing for the common man and his ongoing plights. Then there’s the man whom I personally wish I had all the life #goals to when it comes to writing: Truman Capote. The dapper little dandy Southerner should could write– and dress– and pick friends– and give birth to one of the most cleverly twisted and genius genres in writing: nonfiction. I’d seriously doubt his genius if not for his eccentric yet stylish choices in his personal life.

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Stepping back into the present, it is a Tuesday in December. Not chilly out; I can still hold the pen sitting by the open door to this coffeeshop without a shaking hand. They serve $3 draft beers here and Frankie Valli’s “1963” just came on. I might want to dance. My look of the day makes me feel rather okay to do this. Wool tights, heeled leather booties, and a classic trench set the mood for someone who outwardly has her shit together. In fact, her hair is due for a washing and her handwriting is not legible on any level. And she got a beer on a fucking Tuesday night. Young professional? To be disputed. At least a trench eases the awkwardness. This is my usual look nowadays, and for me in the city, it’s fun to see how others present themselves, for the winter speaks for itself. It keeps the bleak season interesting with ugly sweaters and Bohemian-printed wool jackets and plaid– plaid is EVERYWHERE. If you look closely to the seemingly drab attires they’re quite brilliant. Even dogs seem dressed for the occasion as they strut the crosswalks of Nob Hill off leash and with neon lights latched on to their swinging collars.

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The rest of this week would have it that I step into this cold world and its unpredictability by the arrival of one of the most anticipated days on a young San Franciscan’s holiday itinerary– SANTACON. My fourth year in attendance, I am aware that this is that unpredictability at its finest, and there would only be one outfit to say it all about the joy and cheer of Christmas binge drinking. Even if winter for me is not the most lavish, for one day I revel in the strange sameness that was in fact, the most diverse crowd of Santas and reindeers and elves. For the same motifs, a familiar sight becomes the best way to highlight not just dressing in the form of Old St. Nick, but how you manage to reflect yourself into the look. For being rather dressed down, I had no way to know that my red lace crop top and leather skirt would be the defining look for my own Winter. No way to know at what attention such an outfit would grab, what drinks would be bought, what photos were to be taken or which new friends would be made– if they even had intentions to be more than friends.

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So maybe the adventures to be had in this week were the ones meant to shine for my own modest attire. In the life I try to lead, creating the right look for me is the easiest way to create the confidence I sometimes lack. These layers and adventures and even spiked punches are the style choices I’ve made for the look that is my Life. Life is that bare canvas, just like the human body in winter. Winter wear is your most unpredictable style, and style is just the beginning to the many winters to be had. They are markers along this runway for the show you’re living.

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How to Christmas by the Bay

November 29 – December 6

It takes only four days away from San Francisco to come back and notice suddenly that it’s a changed city. The pure white neon of the snowflake installments line the lamps of Market Street among its rotting-like trees and the black pavement stings your senses with a frosty and damp smell kicked into overdrive by the chill of 40 degree air. There’s little fog to see exceptionally well the glow within the buildings downtown as their lobbies are lit in various-sized trees. The City by the Bay has changed for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. December is now.

And now it begs the question, how does someone get on board with the holiday cheer? It’s easy to bundle up and turn on Christmas music or put up a tree; get warm and get happy. But for the individual human soul, the happiness to be felt comes in various ways. No two people get into the spirit coming from the same place. And so, for this little soul here, living in this city by the Bay, I’ll do my best to lay before you what little things and sentiments prepare me for such an emotionally charged time. Frankly put, how to Christmas by the Bay.

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And the obvious start is to surround yourself, especially if now you have the space to do so. From the glittering hearts of Valentine’s and through the orange lights in Halloween, my studio is shining more than a simple merry and bright these winter days. I’ve adorned the walls in my handmade snowflakes of an antique gold shimmer and laced the doorways with garland and my own tassel banner from last year’s DIY party. Rustic, charming, me. The creative freedom I’ve found within this past year rules over all, especially in the place I where I write the most. Then you get to reading. It’s the best way for a writer to get into the mood for anything, and for Christmas time,

A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Some of these titles I would have never read, were they not Christmas presents from generous aunts in my childhood. Anne of Green Gables particularly generates a sentimental longing for puffed sleeves on blouses come December and to always be in search of a wonderful home as lovely as Green Gables was for a lonely, despairing Anne Shirley. They’re the kind of stories that make the most of the holidays on what little is had by the characters, drawing our imagination into meaningful little details as picking windfall pecans, or marshmallows popped into a cup of good, hot cocoa after the funeral of your beloved father. I savor these moments, moments that make me feel alive despite their darkness; lines that come to life as in a snow-covered flat in Brooklyn or a chilly kitchen for which to bake thirty fruit cakes as I drink whiskey in my chicory-spiced coffee. These stories solidify the wondrous sense of humanity that shines the most during the holidays.

Lastly, surround yourself in the right people– the simplest start, if not the most obvious. For if the right friends and family are close, so shall the cheer of the season that these books and songs and storefronts sing of. It only takes a few simple actions to get be close with loved ones: too many wine nights, or walking about the cold streets of Pacific Heights in search of the right elfin tree for the apartment, to barely make an ice skating session. Beside each other you’re seeing this changed city with the one constant that is love. Love never ruined the moment, did it?

I’ll do my best to abide by my discoveries, driven by fond memories of Christmas by the Bay past and recent occurrences that demand my full heart and soul– be there for those in my life that may need the love and assurance more than I do, more than I feel I deserve now. Maybe that is the gift to myself this year, to revel in this single life as to not lose sight of doling out my own advice for a lovelorn sister, or to remember the smiles of those whose hands I’ve filled with a few bucks that I can give as I pass them outside these cold, towering buildings. Love is constant, love is fluid and takes on many forms; as that cheeky British film I had on repeat Saturday and Sunday nights said it best–

Love actually is all around.

To Christmas by the Bay is to surround your self in love, by giving it yourself.