Mar 242012

27 May, 2011



Ha! Yesterday I beavered away all morning in my office bed, following up all those leads and loose ends from the conference, and then hit the street for the Fedex office to post my books to varying appropriate people.

I googled the closest Fedex, walked three blocks to the subway, took the train to Jay/Metro Tech, clambered out onto the street and started walking the three or four blocks to Fedex. It was hot. It was sunny. I’ve lost my sunnies, by the way. My jeans were tight and sticky. My bag was heavy with books. And I walked. And I walked. And I walked. Block after city block. Thinkin’ ‘this is such a big city; things are always so much further than they look on the map’. And I walked. And I walked. Then I saw a sign for Sister’s Community Hardware – it’s a hardware shop in my neighbourhood. And I thought ‘wow, they have a chain!’. And then I saw the Senegalese Fashion shop, wow, they have a chain too. And so do the kids yoga people. And so does my little grocer that sells me fresh pear and ginger juice. And so does my subway station, just across the road. FAR OUT! I am in my own neighbourhood.

For a good five minutes I stood there stunned. How can I have come a complete circle? Slowly I worked it out – I was all good until I popped out of the subway at the other end and turned left without a single thought that went along the lines ‘should I turn right?’

And so there was nothing else to do but take a deep breath and disappear down the rabbit hole all over again 🙂

And I cannot tell you how pleased I was, once I got to the Fedex office, to be writing ‘REQUESTED MATERIAL’ on my book boxes. Yay!

Brooklyn is wonderful. It’s huge. I mean HUGE. It’s breezy. I think I am the only white person in my neighbourhood. Heather, the woman in whose house I’m renting a room, is also white – English mum, grew up in America, Egyptian dad. She’s a lot darker than me. Of course, I can hear people chattering about differences and the need to observe them or otherwise. It’s extraordinary to be so different. To be the odd one out. To be smiled at by people who know you’re a stranger and a very strange one at that – it’s in the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I navigate my world, the things that occupy my waking mind, the way my eyes take in the world around me.

Last night I caught the subway into town, crisscrossing the trains – I’m getting pretty good at the subway – and wandering into East Village. The streets were packed with people just rolling along in the warm breeze. I strolled past Union Station, the stunningly beautiful gothic Grace Church, that building with all the numbers counting along the side – it must be counting something! Streets and parks packed with easygoing happy people.

And then it was bedtime all over again. I don’t think I’ve closed my eyes before midnight since I got here. Imagine that, midnight, every night.

Life is full, of itself.



 March 24, 2012  Add comments

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