Saturday, October 5, 2013

Capturing Clues Across the Country …9

2 hours after departing the bustle of Brooklyn with Amil’s brothers, weaving through taillights on busy New York highways, zooming past growing stretches of green in our venture up north, we arrived in Garnerville, at Amil’s aunt and uncle’s house. Amil had spent several weeks here after we met, recovering from surgery and we had spent time here on our last great cross country journey, so I greeted the vibrant green hills behind the staunch straight houses in the suburbs with a bit of a warm welcoming in my heart.
A lot had changed in this household since our last visit a year and a half ago. This, along with the contrast of personal beliefs between us and Amil’s family’s was illustrated best with the dinner that night. 
Like many of the activities we were invited to in New York, we weren’t really told what to expect, where things were happening, what time, etc. My only expectation of this family gathering was that we would be eating dinner, (probably bbq) together, since we hadn’t all been together in over a year.
In reality, all was a blur of movement and eating, and talking, and settling. Some people opened bags of chips they had just bought, others offered dips, some grilled, others chopped onions, while others made a salad. After almost an hour of greetings and check-ins and hustle and bustle in the kitchen, one by one we made our way to the table, putting out one dish after someone else had filled their plate, or filling our plate with one menu item but not the other. 
We dined, as family, eating our own independent interpretation of the meal that was pulled together by the unique individuals around us, off of paper plates on a mirrored table. Conversation between this group of people- Amil’s brothers with his Aunt and Uncle, their daughter, and his brother’s significant others as well as the two of us, had never occurred before, and ranged from food to politics, to society, law enforcement, and education- all pretty heavy subjects for a first meeting. I couldn’t help but admiring the different opinions and the different emotions behind them, as I watched a glass of water ripple on the table under our conversation. In the mirror of the table, just as in the undertones of the words spoken, the water seemed to bounce and wave, but on the table, as our appearance and politeness attempted, the water’s underlying ripples were unseen, and it was apparently motionless.
The next morning I again tried the sea-level run. The air here, although humid, had a slight twinge of cool that I hoped would help me push though, and it did. I had two great runs through the little neighborhood, while also taking advantage of their jump rope and weight set.
Although we were away from the big city and all it’s easy subway connections, we had found many opportunities just a drive away from where we were staying. We got a massage, cooked a lot of vegan food, and I got to experiment with several vegan ice creams- avocado coconut (the lime is everything!) and chocolate peanut butter banana (this one I may keep in my back pocket. 3 easy ingredients whipped together and chilled before dinner, perfect after dinner treat. We about killed the whole bit). On another day, Amil’s aunt drove us to the mall for him to get his eyes checked out for new glasses. Driving in her car to the second largest mall in the country, walking around between the four floors, avoiding good-smelling temptations of pretzels, burgers, and frozen yogurts…I felt thankful for my quaint life in the woods in the last year. Away from products and things people are trying to sell you, and tell you that you want and you should be. Most of all, the driving, the buying, the avoiding was an interesting contrast to our next visit just across the Hudson.

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