Everything I Need to Know…

30 05 2008

…I learned from Sex and the City?

New York has Sex and the City fever this week. Movie theaters all over the city have had signs up all week advertising pre-sale tickets, the papers are all buzzing with the hype and anticipation, and I must admit I’m not immune. I discussed it yesterday over lunch with a friend, have been emailing about it with Liz (my Buenos Aires buddy) in London, and the girls here have been playing email tag all week to decide on a move-viewing date and post-movie outing. We won’t be in the throng this weekend, though, mainly because Libby will be out of town, and we can’t see the movie without one of the girls. That would be something akin to sacrilege.

But today, when I saw a group of women standing out in front of a movie theater, all dressed up and ready for the show, I got to thinking: what it is about SATC that gets us so excited, that makes groups of women not only plan seeing the movie, but plan travel so they can see it in New York?

The other night, when a friend mentioned she’d love an alcove apartment, “like Carrie’s,” another (male) friend commented on how strange it is that the show has influenced women so much. And sure, it has stimulated the way we dress, the places we eat, even the way we talk, but there are a few things far more important about the show (and now, I think, movie) than the really great style.

There’s New York, for one, which SJP has called the fifth character. The show is as much about New York as it is about the girls, and living here now I actually understand it. (At least in the summertime.) There’s something about New York City that captivates and overwhelms. It’s not just the Empire State Building and Central Park, but the Shake Shack, and the Union Square farmer’s market. It’s a crisp fall day, or better yet the first warm day after a brutal winter, when everyone comes out of hibernation and the parks literally hum with excitement. It’s the feeling that you’re part of all this, that in a city of nearly 20 million people from all over the world and all walks of life, you’re part of a community. Not to mention that New York (and SATC does likewise) makes the perfect companion for the single girl. Just ask Carrie herself.

And the reason that New York is a single girl’s companion is yet another reason we love SATC: New York, and the show, stand for independence, risk, and being an individual. I often tell people who ask how I like it here that my favorite thing about living in New York is that eight out of 10 people I meet are transplants, and not only are they transplants, but they moved here to follow some sort of dream (even if that dream was just to live in New York) and they took a huge risk in doing so. The SATC gals are grand because they refuse to be “tamed.”

But most the most important reason we love SATC is what it says about female friendship. Strong, unafraid (and stylish) females are what Around the World is all about, and my favorite part of that is celebrating girlfriends. The ones who help pick out date night outfits, and are there the next day to rehash every detail of said date, the ones who celebrate our triumphs and help clean up our messes, the ones who join us on trips, to stuff our faces or climb a mountain.

And with that, as a strong, risk-taking female and New York resident (and a Sex and the City tour veteran) myself, I welcome all the girls (and girlfriends) who have come to celebrate the movie. (Before, that is, I climb under my rock so no one spoils it for me.)

Oh, and did I mention that SATC is also about shoes?





Identity Crisis

1 03 2008

No, it’s actually not me having the identity crisis (although one may be impending given my new status as jobless wonder). Currently the mental instability and missing sense of self is reserved for my blog, not me. I have been unhappy with the blog title since its inception. I coined it with 20 minutes to spare before I had to get to the airport for my flight to Buenos Aires. Something about it has irked me ever since.

Then, while in Tilcara, I was talking with my friend Alex (check out his fantastic blog, Spendthrift Shoestring), who said he enjoyed the “shoe theme” my blog had going on. At that very moment I had on my feet a pair of borrowed tennis shoes, and had at least two more shoe blogs in the works. Clearly I loved the shoe theme as well.

So in honor of my love of shoes, and in the spirit of my impending business venture with new friend Liz (I’m not divulging any more here, but I will say that it has to do with travel—and shoes), I have been obsessed with a new new name for Somewhere Beyond, something that better captures its goal, which is to encapsulate exactly what you get when you mix a fearless (well, almost) woman, the perfect pair of shoes, and the great unknown (aka the world of travel).

Enter a huge problem: writer’s block. For two weeks I have been driving myself (and some very patient friends) crazy with titles that incorporate travel and shoes. With a million and one shoe sayings and songs at my disposal, I was coming up with such gems as “A Million Miles in These Shoes” and “Anywhere, Any Way and in Fabulous Shoes” (which started to seem suggestive of many things other than travel).

The list of boring or inappropriate shoe titles goes on, but I finally have a winner, at least for now: I think Around the World in Gold Stilettos has just enough quirkiness and just enough pizazz to capture my goal. So no, you haven’t landed on the wrong site; it’s still Suzanne’s blog with a new focus: to encourage bold woman to travel without inhibitions, and without giving up their sense of style. And, of course, there will be the occasional shoe obsession on my part.





A Belated Thanks to Inclement Weather

28 02 2008

15000 Feet wasn’t looking pretty.
Is it me or do we look like those guys from Alive?

Last night in New York it was 24 degrees (feels like 11). I left a friend’s house and walked six blocks to the subway, my stinging lips cursing the cold the whole way. But then I realized: I wouldn’t be outside, leaving a Peru party, if it weren’t for the cold.

Flashback to one year ago…

At around this time last year, my amazing, will-do-anything-for-you (and from California) parents braved the frigid temperatures of a New York February, just to see me. At that time I had lived here about six months and, though I was happy, still hadn’t quite found my place. Despite having several close friends, I was far from home, battling miserable weather, and sometimes felt lonely. It may shock those who know her (note sarcasm here), but this worried my mother to no end.

Then the cold stepped in, with a little help from mom. While the parents were waiting for me to get out of my first day interning for EuroCheapo, the temps outside became unbearable, so they sought refuge in Aroma Cafe, just around the corner from my office. My mother couldn’t help but “overhear” the bubbly girl at the next table over, who happened to be talking about travel, and the more she overheard, the more she thought this girl would make a great friend for her daughter. And so my friendly mother struck up a conversation. (Neither remembers what she said.)

I met my parents after work and was surprised when my mother exclaimed, “I met the cutest girl for you!” I was slightly embarrassed that my mother was making friends for me, but decided to email Libby anyway. After months of email tag we finally met and were insta-friends. On our first “date” I told Libby of my plans to travel in South America and she immediately signed on to be my travel buddy. Before I knew it two of her friends, Rebecca and Tiffany, were talking about hiking boots and plane tickets with us.

After four “Peru planning” meetings—and having known each other a matter of months—we embarked on the most taxing journey any of us had ever before attempted. There were blisters, tears, freezing cold days… and that was just the beginning. There was also laughter, long chats, more tears (happy ones), and bonding. One thing there wasn’t: arguing. The stress of that trip, combined with the constant togetherness, seemed sure yield hurt feelings, if not out and out hatred. But we came off that mountain stronger as individuals and stronger as friends.

Now back in the comforts of New York, Peru is all we discuss. Last night, clean and warm, we held the first of what will be many Peru parties. On the menu was the fruit tea (with rum) that we drank on night two, toasted corn nuts, a Peruvian restaurant staple, and takeout Mexican (oops, how did that slip in there?). From the comfort of a couch in Brooklyn, we watched a hilarious, disgusting, and sometimes painful to watch, video about four girls who didn’t know each other all that well but became close friends at 15,000 feet. All because my parents needed to get out of the cold.

So one year after my parents’ visit, I am sending out a note of thanks to the cold, and one to my matchmaking mother who had to get out of it.