Monday, September 30, 2013

Cross Country ! Part 2…Chapter 8

New York (Brooklyn)
As soon as we left the train, all was a blur of humid subway stations and dinging and “the doors are closing” and garbled voices over an intercom before we walked up some stairs and Ta-Da— we had arrived in Brooklyn! The humidity keeps the air lingering around your body, similar to Texas but not as domineering. The culture, the people, the gum-stains on the sidewalk, however, replace the trees and space and air back home with a strong reminder of the presence of people.
I love visiting friends and family in the city because they each have such creative and unique ways of living in small spaces that are still personal to them. I have always been obsessed with small spaces. Sometimes I google “tiny houses” (tumbleweeds are my fave) to imagine living in less than 200 square feet- just enough to keep your stuff dry but enticing you to live outside, where the real living room is. 
So, seeing the simplicity and the personality of the space of Amil’s brother and sister-in-law’s 2nd floor apartment always gets me excited for housing possibilities. This time I was especially excited because I have this possibility in the back of my mind of moving into our own little house in Albuquerque.
In addition to the simplicity of their home, I enjoy the accessibility. The layout is very inviting- sit on the couch or gather around for dinner, the furniture seems to say. Still, there are some things that will be markedly different because Amil and I are, of course, different people. The fridge will likely be jam-packed with all sorts of concoctions, and the counters full of sprouts, jars of fermentation experiments, etc. In our excitement for having such a welcoming home, we sort of began to transform their productive space into our food lair. Despite their understanding hesitations at our kitchen takeover, Amil’s family sat down to a fully vegan-sprouted meal including a Domincan-themed beans and rice, fried plantains, and some homemade gluten free crackers with a chickpea-salad topping, all created by Amil (crackers included). As we have been growing to be more picky (I hate calling the desire to eat raw, unprocessed foods picky, but I think it’s easy for others to see it that way), it was nicely reaffirming for the family to eat what we consider a good, healthy meal, and feel satisfied. Amil’s brother commented on how it was one of a few fully vegetarian dinners he had eaten, and yet he didn’t feel he was missing out. Success. J
The rest of our week stay was a delicate dance between our excitement at the freedom of having a kitchen to play in and a fridge to hold our stuff, and their adjustments  to our occupation. On one occasion, after returning with bags full of carrots, greens, peaches, apples, beets, and onions from the Union Square farmers market and chopping the kale into a lovely salad, Amil noticed a cute little caterpillar on a leaf that had just barely missed his knife’s cut. Worried that it would die without ongoing nutrients from the kale, he generously put it in water and supplied it with some of his expensive super green meal supplement powder for it to have nourishment as it grew. All this happened in his own quiet creative world, and I only noticed the jar of green goo with a leaf coming out of it a few hours later. Before long, though, unwilling to host a creature that may emerge and fly at any moment, the kale was quietly discarded.
In that week we lived, and played, and visited, doing activities that are completely unusual to our lives as traveling hippie tree-huggers. We went to Long Beach and stayed into the night, watching the sunset and the stars peek out. Coming from New Mexico, where the Milky Way is so thick it brightens the night by itself, the showing of stars was pretty sad, but our company remarked on how amazing it was. Oh, Perspective. We went out to dinner afffterward, long after our tummies had shut down for the night, and near our usual bedtime.
It was fun living life like a New Yorker…fast-paced, full of possible activities, a way I envisioned my life when I transferred to college in NY. Although we didn’t make it to any shows, I did fulfill my craving for falafel, and we even dined on the rare treat of a NY hard pretzel. Although I was fascinated by the facets of city life, I concluded that Albuquerque might be an ideal place to have city and stream, motion and mountains, space and community. Hopefully I’ll get to find out.

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