Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Driving a car, freshly cut hair. It's a whole new me!
A visit to New Jersey to mom's house lightened my mood. Away from the harshness of the city into the snow covered suburbs, I felt a sense of calm as the train rolled into the Morristown station. Mom picked me up, looking like same Mom. Only difference? She spoke to me in Polish! We were able to talk for about 20 minutes or so, but when it came time to sit by the kitchen table and really tell her about my trip, we switched to English. Otherwise, the only things I would be able to say was that my trip was "fine," "good," "fantastic" and "pretty." She prodded through the box of family treasures I received and we both agreed that the whole thing looked like something my grandma would conceive. (We can imagine her thinking, "This is a nice box. Why don't I put some random documents in here...")
I learned that what I thought was my mom's report card was actually a health examination. My grandfather's old union identification card had a very young picture of him but was actually from the 1960s. We found out that when my grandfather was a prisoner of war in Germany, after the war, he received a free train ride home to Lipno. But if the war ended in May, why did he not come home until Fall? The answer to that, we did not know.
I went about town, getting a much needed haircut (feels amazing!), stamps from the post office (an easy breezy three people ahead of me in line), and new sheets for the bed (no pushing people!). My brother Pete joined us for roast beef dinner and I barely recognized the guy! After three months, he has gotten very thin, grown long hair and a scruffy goatee that made him look downright grizzly. It was so great to talk to them about my trip and after dinner, munch on some delicious brownies Mom made. I was never able to find brownies in Europe that tasted as good as these.
Going back to New York felt much better this time around, despite the homeless man who tried talking to me in the subway ("Hey! You should look at someone when they are talking to you!") I blissfully ignored him, turning my ipod way up, like everyone else around me.
I thought about why I am having such a struggle with New York now. I think because it represents to me the unhappiness that I felt before this trip: this work centric mentality, the idea of going through life in a rush and not stopping to enjoy anything. This trip really gave me everything that I was looking for: time for myself, the chance to meet new people, explore the world, gain perspective and enjoy the little things. I am nervous being in this environment that I will slide right back to my unhappy self, and that's why I think that I am in some ways, fighting with all might against it, in being back. I do not want to let this city infiltrate everything that I have gotten from this experience.
But I will have to come to some kind of reconciliation quite soon. It is official: Dan and I are moving to a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side. We received approval on our credit (with no help from me but much support from Dan's parents-THANK YOU). We move December 31, and apparently our moving crew will consist of all of Dan's workmates. If you are in the New York City area and interested in spending your last day of the year lifting heavy boxes and furniture, please let me know. Free food and champagne for all!
Pete: Grizzly man.
Mom and Ted. Mom: "That picture is not going to be on the blog, right?"