Monday, January 10, 2011

Time Capsule

I've never had a time capsule. I have a fuzzy memory of other schools doing a time capsule from the first day of Kindergarten that you open when you graduate fifth grade or something like that, but I've never had the exhilaration of opening up some mystery package that I made for myself years before. I've always imagined that it would be pretty exciting though. This past week was the first time I felt like I unintentionally left myself a HUGE time capsule in the form of a storage unit of all of my things from when I last lived in LA, which was only about 15 months ago, but feels MUCH longer. It was definitely the most eventful 15 months of my life.

There is a very clear memory of shutting the door, locking it, and thinking, "Things are going to be really different when I get back." That feeling was spot on, but I couldn't have possibly imagined how different my life, my ideas, and my future would look. I actually unlocked the door the day after I landed back in the United States with my best friend Kat because I wanted to get some closure and separation from that life. I took all of what was my stuff out of the shared storage unit and moved it to another unit but didn't really rifle through everything because I wouldn't be back, living in LA until the New Year. That was simple enough.

Fast forward to two month later, when I'm hauling boxes and boxes of books, dishes, towels, curtains, etc., and loading them into my Mini Cooper all by myself and dragging them to my room in an apartment I share with a fabulous married couple. This is when I actually had to open these boxes and remember who I was 15 months ago and where my life was going.

It was really hard and really wonderful, but one of my favorite mantras is, "The only way over it, is through it." So I leaned into it. After a few days of feeling down, I woke up this morning feeling light and refreshed. I am supposed to be right here, right now, this way. I had spent a lot of time deciding what "the plan" was and the biggest thing I learned from this year and from opening up that time capsule of all of my belongings is that I can plan and plan until my face turns blue and that doesn't mean that a year from now any of those plans will come to fruition.

The beauty of it, though, is that means you can be a in a spot a million times better than you had "planned" so just enjoy the journey.

Since this blog was "The Road to Singapore . . . " I guess it's time for a new blog. Thanks to everyone who followed me through Southeast Asia! A new journey begins now. I will post the link to the new blog as soon as I decide what it will be!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today is my mom's 60th birthday. Being able to spend this birthday with her is all the more meaningful after having been gone for a year. We are also taking a trip, just the two of us, to New York City in three weeks to celebrate my 30th and her 60th (we are both celebrating milestones)! It's very fitting since my whole family is from New York and we are definitely a colorful, gregarious bunch. I never understood how New Yorkers get a bad rap for being rude or cold. Maybe it's because my mother is the warmest person I ever met. It's no secret that I look up to my mother a great deal and have always found her to be a huge inspiration for strength and kindness, but I get reminded all the time how lucky I am to have a mom as great as she is.

We were having lunch a couple of days ago and our waitress was pretty terrible and very rude to us. Of course, I was still cordial but I definitely wasn't going to go out of my way to be nice to the waitress after how she treated us. But, as we were leaving, my mom made a point to grab the waitresses attention and say, "Thank you again, so much!" with a great big smile on her face. I looked and her and said, "Ma, why are you going to go out of your way to be nice to her? She was so rude!" She said, "I'm not going to change who I am just because she's a witch." Which, of course, made me laugh, but it's true. My mom doesn't change who she is for anyone, but she doesn't need to. She always bends over backwards for everyone, to the point of sometimes getting walked over. I sometimes find myself in that predicament as well, but I'd rather be that way than shut people out.

My mom wanted me to visit her office after lunch to meet the ladies she works with. They were bringing her a pie for her birthday and she wanted to show me off. Every single lady said, "Oh, your mom talks about you all the time! I feel like I know you! You have an amazing lady for a mother!" I'd say, "I know. I'm a lucky girl." Even though my mom isn't working in the hospital directly with patients anymore, I can see that she makes it a point to take interest in the people's lives around her. I was also told that when she did work in the hospital, they would always give her the most difficult patients to work with because she would "kill them with kindness" and they would end up turning around and being much easier to work with.
The past year working in a different country, with all different cultures made me realize as time went on that I needed to be asking myself, "What Would Mama Muroski Do?" The answer was always to have compassion, patience and understanding. If I would get frustrated, I would try to step into the other person's shoes for a while. It was definitely a huge challenge sometimes but at the end of the day, very few people are behaving a certain way strictly to ruin your day. Either they are having a bad day, or they have to follow certain guidelines, or things are simply out of their hands. I have a tendency to have knee-jerk reactions, so I've really learned to take a breath, step back and think of how my mom would treat someone.

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom! I truly won the "mom lottery" and I'm thankful for it! I love you!

Friday, November 19, 2010


To the makers of the Garmin GPS system:

I have just purchased my second GPS system from your fine company, as my first Garmin was dropped so many times that the screen shattered beyond any real visibility. This was due to my incredible clumsiness and does not at all reflect the craftsmanship of your fine products.

I set my Garmin up today and chose "Australian" as the dialect for my directions, only to be utterly disappointed. Oh makers of Garmin . . . have you ever HEARD an Australian dialect? I'm no Aussie myself but I just basically lived with a slew of them and I can tell you that is NOT an Australian dialect. I suggest you go back to the drawing board (or the Golden Coast or Perth or SOMETHING). And while you are reworking the accent, I have some choice vocabulary you should really try out, if nothing more than to make me smile and miss my Aussie friends (ahem . . . I mean, "mates").

"There's heaps of traffic up ahead. Let's try a different route, hey?"

"Oi, missed that turn, didn't ya?"

"Nnnnyyyooooeeeerr, you are going the wrong way, mate."

"Your driving is ace."

"Are you keen to take the highway or the back roads?"

"Bloody construction! Let's reroute, yeah?"

Thanks so much! Oh, and if you need someone to do the voiceover for the new unit, I do a SPECTACULAR Aussie accent. Just ask any of my Aussie friends. They may say, "Nyoooerr," but don't believe 'em.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Final Twenty-Four in Singapore

Hey, that rhymes.

I've been back in the United States for ten days now but it's been such a whirlwind that I haven't had a chance to sit down and write. Now I actually have a little (not much) breathing room so I guess I'll start from the last twenty-four hours I spent in Singapore.

I was really surprised how heavy my heart was when I made my journey in to work on my last day. The year was so much different than I ever could have imagined but yet, I was very sad to say goodbye. I was texting back and forth with Giancarlo on the MRT and met up with him at McDonald's for our last sinful breakfast take-away on the way to work. We rode the shuttle together in to RWS and I took my last trip over the scenic bridge on to Sentosa Island. It was really hard to believe that at the beginning of the contract it was just a bunch of cranes, debris, and scaffolding. Now it was this beautiful gateway of a huge (fake) mountain with a waterfall and foliage.

Giancarlo and I stepped into our dressing room and saw Sean and Cassidy and I felt so at home; this has been my family for the last year. I had spent almost every single morning putting on my make up and sharing my life with Cassidy since February and our eyes kept filling up with tears knowing that this was the final morning of going through our routine together. I felt so lucky, though, that I simply love the three people I worked and shared a dressing room with (not to mention the other three cast mates who I worked with three days out of the week: Alexa, Whiley and Ramsey).

As my last set as Betty Boop was drawing to an end I started to notice escorts milling around the streets of NYC Universal. My tear ducts started tingling . . . oh no. All of a sudden a line of about twenty escorts along with a few stage managers and Daniel Bloomberg our costuming genius lined the street and applauded me as I walked off set the final time as Betty. I desperately tried to hold it together, but the tears started streaming down, luckily, as I was almost behind the scenes. I can't imagine what the guests in the park were thinking! Brian, one of the lead escorts, had said a tearful goodbye to me earlier in the day and it meant so much to me that I would truly be missed. It seems surreal that I won't be walking in to work, smiling and saying hi to these wonderful people anymore.

After work, I rushed home because GC and I had been working for the previous two weeks on a goodbye video for our Celeb-look-alike cast (well, HE had been doing 99 percent of the work . . . I swooped in to assistant direct and brainstorm ideas where I could). I got home to Kovan and my room mates helped throw everything together as usual, as I rushed to shower and change. It was my party and yet poor Greg was sweeping and ordering pizzas for me, thank goodness! (Did I mention I had the BEST room mates in the world?!)

Heaps of my cast mates poured in the doors of my apartment and gobbled up some pizza and sodas as we gathered around the living room television to watch the goodbye video. It will forever be one of my favorite moments in Singapore. Here we were, this group of strangers a year ago, piled in (butt to nut as GC likes to say) my living room, laughing, crying, and reminiscing over our tumultuous year together. That is the joy and pain of this business. You do a show or a contract and become like family, but inevitably, there comes a time to move on to the next project and although many people stay a part of your life, it's never the same as that moment in time. I'm so grateful to GC for making that video so we all have something tangible to look back on with happiness and I know whenever I watch it, I'll think of sitting in my living room with everyone so close to me, even though now we are spread out all over the world.

Then it was off to Prince of Wales, our favorite little ex-pat bar to watch Dan and Gene play their acoustic set and for me to say goodbye to everyone. I actually held it together most of the night better than I thought I would. I had gotten to the point where I was just so happy and grateful that I had gotten to a point where I really LIKED Singapore and would miss so many people. I didn't want to leave with a bitter taste in my mouth from the things that didn't go as planned. I wanted to leave rejoicing in all the beautiful things that DID happen and where I am now. As the night went on, that got harder. It's difficult not knowing when or if you will see certain people again . . . but you just have to believe that some day your paths will cross again.

I barely slept a wink that night. Emotions were running high and, of course, I hadn't packed the last of my things. I think I got about two hours of fitful sleep and then got everything ready to go. I got to say a tearful goodbye to Bill as he left for work . . . then again (TWO goodbyes) to Jacqueline . . . and hung out with Tori for a while before Greg hurried home so they could see me off. I know I've said it to them a million times but my whole experience in Singapore changed the moment I moved in with these four incredible people and they will never know how close I hold them to my heart. It was so hard walking out of that apartment for the last time and getting in a cab to go to the airport.

On my first flight from Singapore to Bangkok, I sat next to the sweetest guy from India. He helped me get my ridiculously heavy rolling suitcase up in the overhead compartment and was so polite considering I was an emotional mess. Before we were about to land in Bangkok the flight attendants gave everyone a beautiful orchid corsage to pin to your shirt or bag. The nice guy sitting next to me gave me his, saying, "It's beautiful, like you." And I just had a huge smile on my face. Anyone who could call me beautiful right then with two hours of sleep, more hours than that of crying and no make up deserved a medal.

The flight from Singapore to Bangkok felt like I was surrounded by the different cultures of Asia. When I hopped on the flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles, I was back to a majority of Americans. Everything felt different and I felt Singapore sort of slipping away in that moment. Once I landed in Los Angeles, it felt like the last year was a dream . . . a crazy vivid dream.

I'll leave the saga there for now, and pick up with the fact that my amazing best friend Kat flew from Vegas to LA to greet me that night because that starts a whole new set of stories.

For now, it's a bittersweet goodbye to Singapore. I thought I'd be ready to walk away without a care and though it was only a year, I know I made friendships for a lifetime and experiences that have changed me forever (for good). This year taught me that you may think you have "a plan" and have it all figured out, but you really can't plan what's going to happen. You have to embrace whatever life throws your way and find the lesson because things just may turn out even better than you could have expected. If you had told me the story of what would happen to me in Singapore as I boarded that plane last year I would have laughed in your face. But in my dressing room, on the last day, I was about to do my last set and I was all alone and I just looked up (in full Betty Boop gear) and said, "Thank you. Thank you for every minute of this year, good and bad. I know it was all a part of the journey." Thank you to everyone who was in my life this past year. I have hope that our paths will cross again (and again and again). You will always be in my heart, lah.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Standing up

Oh Boy!

Going back to stand-up after a couple months off is pretty terrifying, but I pushed myself to do it last night and I'm so glad I did. I tried out almost all new material and it was a huge turnout for the Comedy Masala open mic (brand new) at Home Club. The club was packed wall to wall which didn't help my nerves at all. I had some friends there, though, which made it feel a little more cozy.

I want to get back to feeling comfortable with stand-up again for when I am back in LA. I feel like it's a good way to show, "Hey, I'm a chick and I'm funny. You should put me in a sitcom, where I belong!" That, and I love making people laugh whenever possible so it's a win/win. My friends Giancarlo and Chris are helping me get some decent footage so that I can possibly put a good stand up reel together. Hopefully I can post that soon so you all can see it!

I was, as usual out here, the only female comic and I guess it can be a blessing and a curse. Last night it definitely made me feel a bit intimidated, especially since the comics were really strong. This "open mic" didn't feel like an open mic. It felt more like an actual show because of the turn out and that made me start to think, "Shoot, should I just go back to the material I know works, or forge ahead with this new stuff?" I went with the new stuff because I felt it was pretty funny and I think a lot of it worked. I am growing, but I definitely have a LONG way to go before I would actually say, "Yeah, I'm a stand-up comic," and not make a million excuses as to why I'm not REALLY a comic.

There was only one guy I felt so badly for. It was his first time getting up ever and he was an Australian bloke whose set was just basically him explaining why Singaporeans are stupid. I'm no expert, but I would imagine that being completely racist towards the majority of the people in your audience is not going to get you a lot of laughs . . . and it didn't. The poor guy was booed off the stage and I was just cringing for him. Needless to say his first time doing stand-up will be memorable for him.

I hope you guys who are in Singapore can come out October 19th to the open mic again, as it will probably be the last time I am able to do it before returning to the U.S. HOWEVER, I plan on hitting up the open mics in Orlando while I'm there to warm up for LA as well so I'd love the support!

It's 11pm and I'm EXHAUSTED. It's my day off but I ran around all day doing errands and then a student film exercise at NYU Tisch Asia which, although I was thrown in last minute, ended up being a lot of fun and will hopefully have a good moment or two to add to my acting reel as well!

Thanks for following along with my blog! This one is more of just an update but I hope to have a nice meaty story for you all soon! By the way--finding a flattering picture while you are doing stand-up is damn near impossible! So, forgive these gems.

Good night!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bug Eyes

Lately I look in the mirror and I find all of my flaws so quickly. Maybe it’s because half of my day I have to look in the mirror and be concerned that my makeup is flawless because I’m a “face character”. I have never spent so much time looking at my face as I have this year, and at the same time I haven’t been through so much stress and climate change so that has been a bad combination on my self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am an attractive girl. I am happy with what I was given because I see so much of the people I love from my family in my face, so how could I not embrace that? But, like almost everyone, some days, you look in the mirror and you see all the things that you don’t like.

Tonight, as I was getting ready for bed I couldn’t stop looking at my eyes in the mirror. Oh, how they have been a blessing and a curse! My entire childhood I was ridiculed for having big eyes. “Bug eyes” is still ingrained in my heart as this hurtful, embarrassing torment. Even though I would look at my mom’s big beautiful hazel eyes, and the big beautiful round eyes of my Aunts, it just didn’t look right on my face. I felt like an alien. I hated it. I felt like if I just didn’t have these big eyes, I’d be pretty. At the same time, as a stage actress they have been such a blessing! You can see how I feel on my face all the way to the back row of the house! But, up close and personal I have always been incredibly insecure about my eyes.

Then, at 17 years old, my high school sweetheart Brion came along. At first, he’d call me Bug because of my eyes, but it was coming from a sweet place. I didn’t understand this, at the time, of course because of all of the previous torment. I remember getting so mad at him, saying, “Stop calling me that! I hate it!” and he’d say, “But you’re my little bug! I love your big round eyes!”

He was mister popular, party guy. I was president of drama club. I don’t know how or why it happened but he was smitten and so was I. He’d drag me to the cool kid parties and I’d feel humiliated because I felt like all the popular kids would look at me like, “Why is Brion bringing this DORK to the party? What is he thinking?”

And my eyes have always completely given me away! I’d get in trouble in school for “rolling” my eyes when a teacher was a jerk. I’ve never been able to hide when I’m hurt behind these huge windows into my heart. No matter how hard I’ve tried, these eyes give me away every time.

Brion would hold my hand and be by my side the entire time and even go so far as to say to people, “Isn’t she so beautiful? She’s so beautiful!” I would want to crawl in a hole and die. In my mind, everyone wanted to say, “NO! She’s a freak! What are you thinking?!” But, he never cared what anyone else thought. Ever.

Brion was my first real boyfriend and we were together for a little over two years. We started to grow apart in our second year of college because we were going to separate schools and had developed totally different lives and worlds. Now, he is married to a beautiful woman and they have two girls and a little boy on the way. I couldn’t be happier for him, and I know he is probably the most incredible husband and dad.

I can say with confidence that every boyfriend I have had has taught me a big lesson and given me something to look for in a mate or avoid in the future. I was such a child when Brion and I first started dating that I didn’t realize how important the way he treated me would impact me over ten years later. I wasn’t jaded yet. I hadn’t been cheated on. I was a trusting, insecure, smitten little girl.

Tonight I found myself looking in the mirror after I washed my face, hair pulled back, analyzing my facial features and all I could think was, “Gees! My eyes are so big! I hate them!” I thought of Brion saying, “But I love your eyes! You’re my little bug!” And I smiled. I thought of the random things that have endeared me to past boyfriends that they might have found to be flaws and how much I adored those endearing “imperfections”. When you are crazy about someone, all those silly little things you hate about yourself, generally become the things that endear the other person to you, because they are YOU. They aren’t perfect or like everyone else. Embracing those things only make you better and happier. From being close friends with some of the most stunningly beautiful women on this planet I can confidently say that no matter how gorgeous a woman is, she can tell you at least three things she finds absolutely disgusting about herself. Frankly, that sucks. As much as I get mad at all my pretty girl friends for talking down about themselves, I have to face the music myself and accept and love the exterior that this soul has been given.

I took a deep breath and tried to look at myself through the blue/green Irish eyes of an innocent 18 year old boy and thought, “Okay, that’s me. I can embrace this. This is how I look. I’m okay with it.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Free-writing . . .

I'm trying desperately to write a stand-up set for Tuesday and I'm so distracted. I just found out a friend of mine from college who, last I heard had a brain tumor but was recovering, is not doing well. The cancer came back, aggressively and he is in hospice care. I believe he is 29 years old (give or take a year) and his wife is about to have their first child in five weeks. These are the times you look up, around, anywhere and go, "How does this happen?! How is this fair?!" I have to believe there's a reason, but it's just one of the most tragic scenarios I can imagine, for everyone involved.

On the website that the family started to keep everyone in the loop you can see how much love is pouring out from friends, family, and acquaintances. It's beautiful.

I had some silly things happen at work today and yesterday that got me all in a tizzy and all I have been able to think tonight is how ridiculous it all is. My worst day of work is still a blessing. It's so easy to forget how lucky we are and how even at our lowest point, there is always someone who's got it worse. The important part is the love and respect we have for each other.

I called my mother tonight after I heard the news and, of course, being cut right from the same cloth as her, she cried along with me. Then (as if brain cancer wasn't tragic enough for the two of us to talk about) she told me the story (that I'm sure everyone in the US already knows, but I'm just hearing about) of the gay college student who killed himself after his dorm roommate posted a YouTube video of him having a sexual encounter with another student. The gay student hadn't come out yet and was so distraught that he threw himself off the George Washington Bridge. Yet another heartbreaking story for completely different reasons, but I'm just trying to wrap my head around all of this.

I guess it just all made me think about how quickly and easily we will say something negative about each other or situations that arise instead of taking a breath, having compassion and being grateful. I am completely guilty of it. It's something I try to work on but some days, someone will just hit the right button or you've just had enough and there it is, an entire rant about how shitty everything is or how deplorable someone is.

I was just helping my best friend Kat edit her scholarship submission for the Aveda school. She wants to become and esthetician because she is working on creating a nonprofit charity called Beauty and the Bus to help underprivileged women. Kat and I have been best friends for twelve years now and she is one of the most positive, joyful people I know. I rarely hear her say negative things about people and she always tries to approach difficult situations from a very peaceful and calm angle. Her essay was about love and how if she has lived her life with joy and love then she is happy. She can't guarantee that what she does will make others happy, all she can do is try to share the light of joy. I just admire that and feel like I wish more people were like her, as well as hoping I can be more like her.

There's no one that can answer why these crappy things happen. Tragedy happens every day, somewhere. Amazing, life-changing, beautiful things happen every day too. I guess, in the scheme of things, there is balance.

Sorry, there really is no structure or theme to this blog. It's just some free-writing because my mind is swimming and I want to get some focus. I get so caught up in thoughts sometimes that it's hard to wade through it all and concentrate on one thing. Then I end up doing nothing at all. I figured I'd at least write, as an exercise if nothing else.

Now back to trying to make people laugh on Tuesday. Yeah. That should be a snap.