It’s been almost two months since my last post. The shops have started playing Christmas music, my gloves and cashmere are out of storage, and everything that was flavored pumpkin a week ago is now flavored gingerbread. Perhaps the biggest change is that I now live in Brooklyn, like every other twenty-something-year-old. Anthony and I moved to Ditmas Park two days after Hurricane (Post-Tropical Storm?) Sandy. It wasn’t the best timing, but fortunately, our new street seemed as unaffected by the storm as our old street. Thanks to a couple of college friends who were leaving America for Africa, we scored our very own apartment in one of those six-story brick buildings in a neighborhood of oddly suburban mansions, just south of Prospect Park. After a month of residing in our new place, we have finally chosen our favorite grocery store, determined the best layout for the bedroom, and learned exactly which car on the Q train to aim for on my way to work.
Since many of the subways were down due to the storm, I commuted to work with a stranger we met through Craigslist for my first few days at our new place. Vehicles were required to carry a minimum of three passengers in order to enter Manhattan, so subway riders and car drivers were encouraged to get in touch with each other and coordinate schedules. You know that myth that New Yorkers come together in times of hardship? It’s true.
Coincidentally, the person with whom we ended up commuting studied at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, which is where my dad studied for grad school. Then, on our ride back home, I met his partner who, turns out, spent a lot of time in Hawaii. After a roughly thirty minute ride of bonding over our love of restaurants in Fort Greene and our disdain for the color choice of Barclays Center, it was refreshing to see how much one can share with a complete stranger, in a city of anonymity.
The trains are now back to normal, Anthony has decidedly enough winter clothes, and our apartment is furnished with the bare necessities. We can finally settle in comfortably. With that, of course, comes the ironic yearning for change. People aim for stability in order for mobility. Now that we have our own place and feel like New Yorkers more than ever, we will be leaving the city quite frequently (or, as often as our income allows). We spent a weekend in Boston earlier this month and will be in Portland and the Bay Area next month. Eventually we plan to go to DC, Chicago, and back to Hawaii in the summer to visit my family and avoid part of the miserable East Coast humidity. Hopefully next year, we’ll be doing some international traveling.
Whether one goes to escape or to explore, traveling provides opportunities to discover how other societies function, try unfamiliar cuisines, and examine various ways of life. The monotony of life, even when completely satisfying, still tastes sweeter with the sporadic snack break. Now, however, I compare every city I visit to New York — my home, at last.