Tourist In My Own Town

I was debating the title of this post for a long while– originally, it was to called “How to break out of the moody blues.”  I also toyed with calling it “How I turned my frown upside down.” However, those titles seemed just a bit too general in a sense, like if you do what I did, then you too can be happy and full of joy, which is so not true. Everyone has different methods of lifting up their spirits– I wanted to just show you how I myself broke out of my own self-imposed funk. . . by being a tourist in my own town!

Yesterday, I woke up sad and anxious. I know the recent changes in my life (again, I promise to reveal soon, but just know they aren’t that bad in the scale of all things that could have happened!) are weighing me down a bit and impacting my moods and behavior. It’s really the uncertainty of the situation that is getting to me, and that feeling is preventing me from enjoying the beautiful summer we’ve been having so far here in Rhode Island. All I feel like doing is staying home and watching tv, which is not really what I need to be doing all day long since it makes me feel even more anxious over the fact I am not enjoying my life to its fullest capacity, like the world is passing me by. Yesterday, after I got home from the gym, I was uninspired and feeling down, and I almost let myself take up residence on the couch for the day. Just as I was about to turn on the tv though, I looked out my window, and at that moment, I felt inspired.

IMG_5133 View of Trees From House

I thought to myself, why sit at home and sulk when I could go outside and enjoy the beauty I am fortunate to have access to everyday? I live in Providence near Brown University, which is a thriving, gorgeous and fun neighborhood with loads of attractions and sights within a mere few steps from my front door. Was I really going to feel bad for myself and hole myself up in the house, or was I going to grab my purse and camera, head out the front door, and see what my neighborhood had waiting for me? I decided to buck up and choose the latter option. I then became a woman on a mission– I was going to be a tourist in my own town! I was going to go outside and see all the awesomeness of my immediate world that I often overlook. And I was going to document it, so I could always remind myself how truly fortunate I in fact am just being able to live where I do. With that realization, I headed out the front door to search for all the good around me. Believe me, I didn’t have to look that far or that hard!

Just outside my window (pictured above) are a few trees. When I got outside, I actually took a moment to observe the tree right on the curb in front of my house, only to realize it was growing fruit!

IMG_5103 Pear Tree 1

Pears to be exact!

IMG_5105 Pear Tree 2

Don’t get me wrong, I knew they grew either pears or apples, but I never paid enough attention to know which one, and I certainly never paid any mind to when they grew fruit! I was so shocked to see pears, especially this early in the summer, on trees right outside my doorstep! That’s definitely a “tourist in my own town” win!

I headed up Thayer Street, which is Brown University’s main drag. All the students have been gone for a few weeks now, and I started to pay attention to the marks they left behind as they moved out for the summer a few weeks ago. I happened to look up, and see all these sneakers hanging on a wire right outside of some of the dorms. I can just imagine a bunch of college students for one of their last hurrahs of the school year, throwing sneakers out of their dorm room windows hoping they would catch the wires! That sounds like a pretty classic “school’s over” thing to do!

IMG_5106 Shoes on Wire

I was merely three or so minutes away from my home when I observed the food vans/trucks that have begun to take residence here in my neighborhood over the last year or two. I always get excited when I see food trucks on vacation, but never truly acknowledge the ones that are actually within walking distance from my house. Most would consider themselves lucky to have coffee on their corner! As of yesterday, I certainly feel that way!

IMG_5107 Joedega Food Truck

And how about some Korean barbeque? Vegetarian options available!

IMG_5108 Mama Kim's Food Truck

I stopped to take a photo of this iconic Brown University arch that leads into its main green.

IMG_5112 Brown Arch

Not only did I notice the beauty of the arch, but I also noticed how cool my shadow was of me taking a picture of the arch!

IMG_5111 Ami's Shadow on Thayer 2

I walked a few more minutes on Thayer Street until I hit the Brown bookstore. Brown is my alma mater, so I decided to go in and check out what’s new in the world of college gear.

IMG_5113 Brown Bookstore 1

Every year, the bag I use for carrying around all my work stuff is a tote I purchase from one of my two alma maters, Brown and Harvard. Each school year, I buy the latest style of tote bag available in August, use the bag throughout the school year, basically destroy it by June from overuse, and toss it or donate it to make room for another bag. I decided to treat myself early and get Brown’s latest tote bag yesterday instead of in August, featuring Brown’s famous Van Wickle gates which are only open twice a year– once at the beginning of the school year to welcome in the freshman, and once at the end to say goodbye to the graduates!

IMG_5131 New Brown Bag 3

I passed by Providence’s beloved independent “artsy” cinema, The Avon. . .

IMG_5114 Avon Cinema 1

as well as this iconic collage of Providence artist Shephard Fairey’s Andre The Giant images over near the local tattoo and piercing shop! Read up on his interesting “Andre The Giant Has A Posse” sticker campaign here– it’s so cool to know it started pretty much up the street from me!

IMG_5115 Andre The Giant Paintings

I ducked into Berks Shoes to check out their Toms. . .

IMG_5116 Berks Shoes

but they didn’t have my size in the ones I really wanted, so I moved onto Urban Outfitters.

IMG_5117 Urban Outfitters Sign 1

Urban Outfitters is one of my favorite stores, and I remember before it existed in Providence that the closest one was in Boston. I would make a trip there once in a while when I went to visit my brother as he was attending Boston University Medical School. It was like heaven to me– so many funky, trendy, hipster clothes. The one in Providence has been open for years now, but it is still the only one in the state. It kind of hit me how I should appreciate its existence here in Providence more, since it is one of the few places I shop on a regular basis!

It’s famously known that retail therapy can aid in snapping someone out of a bad mood, so I bought this dress (on sale!) to test out the theory. Yes folks, it did make me feel better!

IMG_5119 Urban Outfitters Grey Dress 2

I looped around to head back down the street towards my house and walked by Johnny Rockets, which was hustling and bustling with an early lunch crowd. There were lots of kids with their parents– I am sure going to Johnny Rockets for lunch must be such a fun and exciting “school’s-out-for-summer” treat for kids!

IMG_5120 Johnny Rockets Sign

Just when I assumed the campus was empty of students, I glanced upon this sign. I guess high school kids are invading Brown’s campus for summer school! I too was one of those kids who took classes in the summer at Brown– it was a truly incredible experience because you really felt like you ruled the school! Just imagine how excited the students must be, spending their summer in good old Providence!

IMG_5121 Brown Summer School Sign

I finally made it back home, but before I stepped inside, I noticed some more beauty that is literally on my curb, but never pay attention to.

IMG_5122 Roses at Home 1

I have rose bushes outside of my house, and sadly, never paid them an ounce of attention. . . until yesterday! So, so pretty!

IMG_5123 Roses at Home 2

At this point, my mood had totally changed. I felt more humbled and appreciative of everything I do have, and I honestly stopped focusing (at least for a while) on all that is going to be uncertain in the near future. I don’t want to come off like I solved all my issues with this one walk, because that is far from the truth. Really, this exercise gave me a much-needed break from my own seemingly relentless thoughts. It also opened up my eyes to the fact life goes on outside of my own little bubble. In other words, my reality was checked– my fears and anxieties are most likely justified, but in no way, shape or form do they warrant enough of an impact as to make me so unhappy. Point blank– my life is not so bad. I needed to get out there to see that, and the message made itself known loud and clear.

I came home to enjoy a fantastic lunch salad with cucumber, daikon, mixed baby greens, romaine, sprouts, amaranth greens, grated carrots, avocado, vegan parmesan, cracked pepper and pico de gallo all mixed up together.

IMG_5135 6-28-12 Salad

Plus I enjoyed the bounty that is summer fruit!

IMG_5144 6-28-12 Fruit

After that, it was time to watch some tv, but believe me, it was with a much better frame of mind! That’s a screenshot of my new latest tv obsession, Hollywood Exes, a reality showing featuring celebrity ex-wives like R. Kelly’s ex, Jose Canseco’s ex and Will Smith’s ex among others!

IMG_5138 Hollywood Wives 2

I know this post is about to explode from being way too long, but let me end on one more amusing note. On the show, one wife wanted to give another new-to-Los Angeles wife a true “Hollywood experience.” She took her here– any guesses on what this is?

IMG_5142 Cupcake Machine 1

OK, I’ll tell you– it’s a cupcake vending machine!

IMG_5141 Cupcake Machine 2

Clearly, buying cupcakes out of a pretty pink vending machine is so so L.A.! R Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea sure got a hoot out of that one!

And I did too!

How do you snap yourself out of feeling sorry for yourself (and thank you for making it all the way to the end of this epic post!)?

This walk did wonders for me, and I will be keeping this idea of “being a tourist in mu own town” as a tool in my “fight bad mood” arsenal.

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