Double Anniversary

I landed in Charlotte, North Carolina exactly four years ago today. Having led a relatively sheltered life in Cebu, Philippines, I've long wanted to explore living elsewhere. After two previous attempts to study in New York and landing a scholarship in Germany, the right time finally came after I turned thirty. Charlotte was not on my radar but it worked out. 
Cebu, Philippines
the Big 30 overnight cruise with my best friends

For most people in my circle, this wasn't the age to go out and do something different. It's the time to get serious and buckle down to whatever they expect of themselves or perhaps deemed by society. My restlessness was quelled by many exciting chapters, a few dalliances, travels, and a constant stream of stimulation from varied passions. There finally came a time though when I heeded the tugging of my consciousness. Within 5 months, a decision was made after asking my father, found a school, did the necessary paperwork and research, packed my bags, and immediately started a new life after my 20 hour flight. Picked a place with an international airport, a youngish demographic full of transients, no familial ties (they have to be within a 2 hr flight radius), and relatively close to furniture market. It was an interesting way to weave through life while getting to know myself more intimately. 
artwork by Dr. Joel Mendez 2003

A refreshing pace with nary a care in the world but my immediate goals and everyday to do list. I had the time to sort out experiences, nurture, and converse with myself. Truly a great period of affirmation, growth, and discovery. When one is almost always physically alone, there is a heightened sense of awareness and that was what I was after. This is also what drove me to walk 80 miles to Santiago de Compostela in 5 days in September 2007. My family and friends saw a different side from my usual gregarious self. For awhile, I'm sure that they thought I was mad.

I kept in contact and was thankful for many real and caring family and friends from all over the world so I didn't feel the need to socialize and seek out people in my new environment. Special mention to you dear friends for always being there. 

Thoughts of our beautiful beaches and 
sunny smiles brought warmth during winter.
Calicoan Island
a sandbar somewhere

The difference in time zones proved to be a good exercise in containment of emotion, whether high or low. If I was upset, there was no one to immediately call most of the time. My yoga guru would have been proud. Detachment comes when you don't seek it. Being a solitary spectator was meditative and I needed that after years of  being in the scene and sometimes, creating the scene as Gypsy Queen (my 6 year stint as a lifestyle columnist and I was out almost every night) aside from holding a day job at a furniture factory. My G.Q. experience gave me great sociological lessons that came in very handy. 

fishing in Ocala, Florida

Except for a handful of classmates, teachers and staff in school, a boyfriend, few friends from Withit, and a non denominational church (called Watershed --- which prompted my aunt to ask if I've joined a cult), I only know a few regular names...Google, Ed-my landlord; Eric-the fishmonger; Seang-the florist; Anna-the dry cleaner; Linda and Dan-stylists at Sloan,a fave boutique; Gale-the postman; and Carlo-the waiter at my perfect dine alone place, Coco Osteria, when I lived downtown.  I've had my fair share of addresses---from a cool downtown loft (my dad fondly called it the sanitarium, he couldn't quite equate industrial to chic); an established building 3 blocks away properly called The Jefferson ; 
 a Euro summer in Chateau de Pourtales, Strasbourg 
(with a whole chapter of its own akin to 
Before Sunrise (2003) and Before Sunset (2007)
  a historic duplex in Dilworth (the only place I felt truly at home in Charlotte) ;

a rambling pink Victorian in Warrenton, Virginia for my internship with the amazing Barry Dixon ; back to Dilworth ; a brief stint in a neo-chateau in Lake Norman ; and now somewhere in the Hickory woods. This time, the name Gypsy Queen, has truly hit home. All this moving is not futile though since I've learned to downsize and only buy if I truly like something or it's necessary. All my possessions are in a 10x10' storage and a few special furniture pieces stored in a warehouse. Of course, an opposite philosophy applies to the planet where my shoes belong :-)

Coming from entrepreneurial and furniture influences, the Snug partner and I decided to toy with the idea of a furniture business. So on our first sneak presentation at High Point Market in Oct 2008, we had a cocktail party and some friends and family in the industry critique the products. Then we put the thought on hold for a good year to see if we should still do it while working on our day jobs (still d0). I finished a bachelor's degree in Interior Design in 2.5 years just in time when the economy tanked. 
the lovely O at Home  ladies enjoyed lounging in the Lo Rider 
with caviar pie and Louis Bouillot champagne

Fast forward to May 2010, SNUG was launched in New York at ICFF. Pre launch, I had read about the importance of Social Media as a marketing tool especially for start ups and joined Twitter April 2009. Like many, I didn't fully get it from the beginning and was somewhat aghast about tweeting away too much info but eventually started enjoying conversations with like minded people. An intimate come-as-you-are virtual cocktail party. Coming from a different culture where it's not quite common to ask "what do you do?" immediately after shaking hands, I didn't say too much on my Bio, only to realize later that it's imperative to do so unless one is a known figure. I met many of these people online through tweet ups and upon the encouragement of Social Media maven Leslie Carothers (@tkpleslie) of The Kaleidoscope Partnership and maximalist Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo (@abcddesigns), I started this blog last Sept 22nd so my first anniversary is coming up soon. I plan to celebrate it all week by showing photos and snippets of the year that was for me in Social Media. It has been a fun journey meeting wonderful people and getting to know some of you extremely well. I've learned so much from so many! To me, it's not only a marketing tool but a way to communicate in our constantly changing world where sometimes, all you need to do to say or ask for something is to #just140it (there are 140 characters per tweet).

I spent most of the summer in Cebu and went on an unintentional blog hiatus, a no no  in the blogosphere, since readers expect consistency. I was Home and it was more important for me to spend every waking moment with loved ones and kept many in betweens for spontaneity and me time. I just needed that. In this day and age of instant gratification and TMI, sometimes it is more sublime to savor and save it for later.  
Thank you for sharing your world with me and 
taking a peek into my world!
I look forward to getting to know you all better.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story, May! So glad you decided to come to the States. Thrilled that I know you and looking forward to seeing you again very soon.

ABC Dragoo said...


First of all, thank you for the shout out. You were the first twitter friend I met in real life - and I have to say I feel so lucky = you're bursting with creativity!

I was so excited to see you share your spirit with the blogisphere. I just knew you'd take to it like a fish to water!

It was fun to read this personal post. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Unknown said...

What a gift you are to all of us! Happy Anniversaries with many more to come. Your writing is a delight to read, your images a feast for the eyes and your friendship...priceless!

traci zeller designs said...

I loved this post, May! Can't wait for our lunch. Will tweet you! I am SO JEALOUS of your trip to NYC to see Nate. My husband is in Europe for business so there was no way I could leave. :-(

Froulala said...

What a delight for me to read all your sweet comments and appreciate the love. Even more delightful is that we all just made memories in NYC together! How AMAZING is that?!?

@averydesign happy to clock in more time with you despite all the frenzy. always always fun and looking forward to more. thank you for sharing your personal stories, lucky to know you!

@abcd dragoo amy!! what an honor to be the first twitter person you met considering you have tons of friends and an amazing connector! thank you forever for everything!

@Marcy this is just the beginning...best is yet to come...xoxo!

@Traci no need to be jealous now since we actually did NYC and Nate together! can't wait for our chat over lunch next Friday!

Froulala said...
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