Something Good #12

8 very short stories

Hi, I'm Nina Iordanova and this is the 12th edition of Something Good, a newsletter filtered through my 🧠, 🖐, and ❤️. Coming your way every two weeks, I hope you find something good here.

Hi! I’m back! Back in Toronto!

It was a bit of a bumpy return. I had a flight scheduled for Tuesday evening, then a thunderstorm hit and after 3 hours of sitting on the plane, we got news that the flight was cancelled.

I had a bad headache setting in, hadn’t eaten since the early morning, had skipped out on my two double-shot coffees, and still needed to figure out a hotel for the night.

I’m terrible at these kinds of decisions in the best of times, and in the worst of times just paralyzed with indecision. Anyway, 45 minutes later (not bad for me) I’d sorted it out.

And that’s how I ended up having the best sleep of the month in a random airport hotel that lived in the back of a serial-killer-looking alley and had a receptionist who called me sugar and a bathroom with three kinds of lotion and no soap.

I took a lot of selfies in New York.

I think I wanted to see if I could document some kind of change.

Did I look different? Did I smile in a different way? Were my eyes brighter? Who was the Nina that worked as a Chief of Staff and lived in New York? Who was this woman who loved having dinner and a glass of wine alone, who stubbornly walked from Chelsea to the top of Central Park, and ate cake naked in a hotel bed to celebrate the 4th of July?

I brought one nice dress to New York just in case. That just in case never came up, so I decided to wear it on one of my last nights and go for a solo dinner at Planta, the first restaurant I went to in NYC.

I ended up spending the entire walk tugging the dress down every step and it was probably not super cute. That’s fine. I still love this dress. I feel like it straddles the perfect line between effortless and sexy, and I love it with a bare face.

And the bartender remembered me from that first night and remembered what drink I got, and that was enough.

I got my first manicure!

I was walking around Greenwich Village, snapping photos of the building I lived in 9 years ago and the little convenience store at its base. It’s where my friend and I would go to buy 6-packs of beer for our nights out, pre-drinking in our apartment before spraying ourselves with that week’s perfume sample from Sephora and prancing over to the Dream Hotel 3 hours before any nightlife started.

And as I was taking photos, I kept walking by these nail salons.

For as long as I can remember, my mom’s always told me that I have baby fingers and nails (stubby and wider than they are long), and that putting nail polish on them would make me look like a kid who’d dipped their fingers in paint. (I don’t know, this sounds more normal in Bulgarian). So I’d never gotten a manicure, and I rarely painted my nails.

I was always jealous of friends who tapped on their phones, closed their purses or gestured in the air with these flashes of sleek, dark red nails. And I thought that just wasn’t something that would work for me. The less attention I drew to my hands, the better.

But, fuck it I thought! I’m in New York. Nails grow. Nail polish can be removed. Who cares!

So I went in and got a manicure. I think it was a terrible experience (the woman literally tore out the cuticles on my right hand and made me pay halfway through the appointment?) but I really liked the result. And I kept the cuticles on my left hand.

It was a learning moment.

This was a stormy day. I turned all the lights off, dragged a hotel chair to the window, and watched the rain and lightning. There were sirens and it sounded just like you think New York would.

I don’t think this is a good photo, but I like it. Bare faced, tight high ponytail. One of my favourite blouses. This is the kind of “power” look I like - it’s so bare that it feels animalistic to me. There’s no makeup to hide behind, no hair, no smile. It’s just my face and my shirt. Let’s go.

I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with a friend. It’s absolutely beautiful, with huge swathes of roses, fields of trees, productive gardens, a perfume garden, a pond, and so many paths to walk down. As we were strolling through a rock garden, the sky opened up and it began to pour.

We hid under some pine trees and just grinned from ear to ear to the sound of rain and the smell of fresh plants, wearing our white dresses as the rain found our faces and shoulders.

Very pleased with myself, taking selfies of a selfie at the office after everyone left for the day. Also admiring how long my hair has gotten and how nice the blonde still looks.

This is one of my favourite photos. It catches all the things I think I am when I’m at my best. Patient, open, loving, playful, strong. I feel very present here - actually being myself instead of trying to show or pose what I want to be seen as. It’s what I want to show the people closest to me. It’s what love looks like.

Warmly yours,