Whenever I'm feeling stressed or needing some time to think/grieve, I block off a day and plan an adventure for myself. This past Friday: Brighton Beach!
  1. 9 am: get up, eat almond butter out of the jar. Scroll through Instagram, Twitter, email. ListApp. Make a green smoothie to counteract (sort of??) future carb consumption. Put on bright yellow sundress and huge sunhat.
    Fuck yes, already feeling better.
  2. 10:30 am: get on the train.
    I should be working on audition sides but instead I spend the whole ride people-watching and wondering where everyone around me on the train is going. A lot of times when I'm on the train I think about my own secrets & fears and how no one here knows any of them. Visa versa. It's kind of comforting, like we're all in this thing together. PS, if you are ever sitting on the train next to me I will unapologetically read your texts/newspaper/crossword puzzle over your shoulder.
  3. 11:30ish: arrive at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanus.
    I've been stalking this coffee shop forever and I am READY FOR PIE! Adventures centered around (or involving) food always make me happy, and nothing makes me happier than going somewhere new. Talk to the very friendly cashier with septum piercing about what slice to get. Settle on fresh nectarine with whipped cream on the side, and a coffee.
  4. 11:45-1 pm: eat my pie (GOOD CHOICE, CASHIER WITH SEPTUM PIERCING), drink my coffee. Read my book.
    Cute guy sitting across the room from me and working intently on his laptop gets free pie delivered to him from cashier. He looks so happy about it that it makes me happy, too.
  5. 1 pm: my mom (via text message) convinces me to get a to-go slice of the other pie flavor I was deciding between (NO REAL CONVINCING NECESSARY). Back on the train.
  6. 1:45 pm: arrive at Brighton Beach!
    Beeline for beach. It's practically empty, with white sand and quiet rolling waves. The water is insanely warm. I'm converted!
  7. 4 pm: leave beach in search of lunch.
    BB is known for its authentic Turkish, Ukrainian & Russian food, as it has one of the highest concentrations of first-generation Balkan immigrants. I had done some research and written down a few recommended local spots. Eeeeee!
  8. 4:15-5:30 pm: lunch at Oceanview Café.
    Walked into this mom-and-pop café and was greeted in Russian (good sign!). Order borscht, potato & mushroom varenyky (boiled dumplings) topped with crispy half-caramelized onions and their pickled herring with dill & garlic potatoes. Brown bread. Sour cream on the side. Amazing people watching. Success!
  9. 5:30-6:30 pm: wander through Brighton.
    Spent awhile in Vintage Turkish market (new favorite place), an authentic bazaar-style food shop full of imported spices, syrups, candies and heaping bins of nuts and dried fruit. I pore over every aisle, eat samples, read labels, Google a lot (what can you cook with grape molasses?) and buy lots of fun (and completely unnecessary) things. Eat most of it on the way through a huge, hilarious Russian bookstore and back down to the boardwalk.
  10. 6:30-9 pm: walk down the boardwalk along the beach to Coney Island.
    Who knew they were so close to each other?? NYC is hilarious, as there is both a high school drama class performing a play and awful karaoke happening on the boardwalk within 5 minutes of each other. I ride the Ferris wheel. Walk through the arcade. People watch some more. Smile a lot.
  11. 9-9:30 pm: set up for fireworks.
    Spread my blanket out on the beach, and watch the most smeary-indigo sunset over the pier while I wait for fireworks. They do them every Friday night for free on the beach during the summer (awesome). Eat leftover varenyky. Put toes in the sand.
  12. 9:30-10 pm: fireworks!
    I don't think I breathed the entire time. I felt like a little kid, huddled with my knees to my chest, inadvertently gasping and laughing at the beautiful colors and huge, booming sounds. It seemed like I was right under them. I felt the explosions echoing through my chest. I felt very small and very full and very alone/not alone in that way when something's just for you.
  13. 10:15 pm: back on the train, homeward bound.
    Covered in dew. Skin smelling like sweat and salt and sunscreen, dirty feet. Full of sun and tastes and brain buzzing with good, big, scary thoughts.