Things I Know Today

-I love Feraz more than any human being on the planet. He is my saving grace.

-Nothing bad can happen to you if you don’t let it. Even the worst things are the best things and if you tell yourself that again and again, it becomes true.
-Glee is the best show ever right now. 🙂 I’ll Stand By You on Glee is a mind blowing experience.
-I have the best friends in the world. And I am so lucky that they have spread themselves all over the world for me to visit!
-You haven’t lived until you’ve been to a Pink Party hosted by the Dutch Consulate. 
-My sister is my hero and my best friend. 
-I can write a novel.
-I don’t ever have to be afraid to be myself. Ever. (Neither do you.)
And those are some of the things I know today. Not very entertaining reading, but important for me to write down nonetheless. 

You got me begging you for mercy

Paris is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. I love the wide streets, the incredible architecture and the deeeelicious croissants. (Especially that last part)
One of my life long dreams has been able to idly sit in cafes and write lazily, to look out a window and see the bustle of the street below me and to walk around soaking up everything around me. It feels so surreal to be sitting here working on my novel and sipping a cafe au lait. 
The last time I came to Paris my trip was more rushed but this time I have had about ten days here and they have been pretty incredible. Being in Paris with Feraz was so amazing. It was very different from most of our vacations in we didn’t bother too much with the touristy stuff. We did see the Eiffel Tower and the Arch de Triomphe but mostly we just relaxed, lazed around and enjoyed the company of our friends that we were visiting. 
While Feraz and I were walking around in Paris we ran into a friend from Michigan. We were completely surprised as neither of us knew the other was in Paris at the time. We were able to spend a few days with him and kept laughing at the randomness of it all. Another friend of mine from Michigan also happened to be in Paris as of a few days ago so it was great to spend some time with him and some of his friend s here as well. 
One thing that really strikes me about Paris is the crazy amount of babies there are everywhere. This must certainly be the city of love if people are reproducing at such a fast rate! Our friend told us that kids start school when they are 2 or 3 and then they have a full day until five. That is why you don’t really see toddlers anywhere and also why people probably don’t mind having so many darned babies!
Our friends are pregnant and the advice that they give pregnant women here is pretty wild. They are told they can smoke up to ten cigs a day and that they can continue to drink moderately. They also give them crazy amounts of pills and are really against them traveling at all once they are in the last trimester. 
There seem to be a lot of mixed signals to the women! My friend also told me that the pressure to be thin is extremely high here and most women smoke like crazy and that is the reason that they continue to smoke during pregnancy. Never mind that their faces are going to look like crumpled leather on their diets of cigs and fake tanning.
Tomorrow is my last day in Paris but I am sure we will be back to visit our amazing friends who have been so incredibly hospitable and accommodating. By far the best part of traveling has always been and will continue to be the incredible people you meet along the way. 
(I will post pictures soon!)

If you failed the bar…

When I found out the results for the Feb bar exam, first there was a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and even shock. Then, there was a sense of relief. At least I knew. And then, it felt terrible again. I left work early and waited at the metro. All I wanted to do was go home and see Feraz. Standing there waiting for my train, with throngs of people around me, I wanted to scream, I failed the bar! How is everything going on just like it did two hours ago?

JFK failed the bar three times and went on to be the President. Jackie Chan, a personal hero of mine, failed again and again and again all his life. So did Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, and Abraham Lincoln. And so has every other person who has walked the face of the Earth.
When I called my mom today I told her, Thank God I passed. I may have been able to have dealt with failing for myself but the thought of facing everyone else again was agonizing. She said something she has said to me my whole life and something that strongly has defined me. She said, if you walk, you’re going to fall sometimes. That doesn’t mean you should stop walking.
I noticed that a lot of people saying that today was the happiest day of their lives. The happiest days of our lives should be the ones when we are with the ones that we love, when our parents show us that they believe in us no matter what, when our partner turns to us when we have made a terrible mistake and gives us a second chance, when we are laying on the grass in a park and we look up at the sky and know that God is there with his endless love and mercy. They shouldn’t be defined by whether we guessed correctly on 200 multiple choices questions. And likewise, the tragedies of our life should not hinge on something so arbitrary either.
So, if you failed today, its OK to cry and to feel bad if you want to. But remember who you are. You are the same person that has met the many, many challenges you have faced in your life. You are the same person who worked hard and made it through three years of law school. You are the same person that is a child of this universe and loved by so many. This a small kink in the big picture. One day it will just be a distant memory and another story you will tell about how you didn’t give up, you persevered and in the end you were better for it. Trust me, I know.

I pray you don’t look at me, I pray I don’t look back

The novel writing begins. I thought Nano would be a great opportunity to write that novel that has always been sitting at the tip of my tongue. All those nights that I can’t sleep, pages and pages of it write themselves in my mind. The characters have been dancing around for ages. They have been there for so long, that I am sure that they must be getting tired. If I don’t capture them now, they might be so exhausted that they won’t be there anymore when I am finally ready to write.

It is day 3. I have 5,000 words down and I am happy with about 27 of them. One of the things about nano is that you are not supposed to delete things you don’t like. In some ways, it is an exercise. You write and write and write. It won’t be your best work. It might be complete crap. But at the end of the month you will have 50,000 words and you are supposed to be proud of that. 
I recently read “Outliers” and in the book the Gladwell notes that we don’t need to be extremely talented to succeed. The smartest people aren’t the ones that get the furthest in life. In fact, you only need to be smart enough. Once you reach a certain threshold, you basically have the same tools as the genius. At that point, it becomes a matter of what you do with what you have, opposed to how much you have of it.
Gladwell also talks about the 10,000 hours rule. He asserts that to be really successful in any area, you have to have dedicated 10,000 hours to honing and perfecting that skill. He points to people like Gates, Oppenheimer, the Beatles, or Michael Jordan. All of them had put in 10,000 hours in their craft before they made it. Talent gets you to the playing field, but then you have to log those hours. You have to pay your dues.
We aren’t born geniuses as much as we’d like to think that some people were. When you look at the best writers, scientists, or athletes, they worked and worked to create the magic that inspires us all. The overnight success is a myth. Nobody wakes up and can play Wimbledon level tennis or can write like Arthur Miller or Sylvia Plath.
The truth is my book is probably going to suck. It is not even the story I’ve wanted to write all this time. I am too scared to write that one. But hour by hour I am putting in my dues. I might not be a great writer even if I do. But I definitely won’t, if I don’t.