I am sad. It’s not easy to say why– I guess I don’t completely know why. It really isn’t because anything bad or sad is actually happening, now. Ends of years, ends of vacations, not an end yet to particular uncertainties of my life right now. I am sad. I am actually a very hopeful person in many ways, but I wish I was one of those people whose default is buoyant!, cheerful!
We travelled– the three of us– to NYC to be with two sets of friends who live in different neighborhoods in Manhattan. We traveled on Christmas and returned yesterday. The snow that fell in the form of a driving storm on Sunday in New York was the main event in many ways and many of the things we wanted to do were closed on Monday when we wanted to do them, and sold out on Tuesday when we (and a million other visitors to NYC) were able to move about more easily.
We missed the Tenement Museum and some other things we hoped to do. When we walked past Rockefeller Center to see the ice skaters, snow was being whipped by 45-mile-an-hour winds into our faces and clothes and instead of idyllic, hip skaters, the rink held a huge snow moving machine, clearing the snow off the ice. But if the skaters had been there we’d have been blinded by the blowing snow anyway, so it didn’t really matter. It wasn’t a moment that really invited you to hang around.
My daughter and I each acquired a good pair of great looking and very serviceable snow boots in New York City. And our friends fed us delicious meals– one Indian meal and one Mediterranean meal of fish cooked in a clay pot with potatoes, peppers and kalamata olives.
On Tuesday with the snow high and the temperature low, but the sun blazing, absolutely blazing, in the sky, I took a long, kind of epic and magical walk by myself from Canal Street where the J train let me off through Chinatown to the part of the Lower East Side that is not Chinatown. At the end of the long walk to the museum, I learned that there were no tickets left for the Tenement Museum tours. But I felt in many ways– that the long walk through Chinatown had been my tour of immigrant life in NYC. It was really an amazing walk full of young Chinese people with some extreme and interesting haircuts, headphones and messenger bags. Speaking Chinese, not surprisingly. (Were they Chinese heritage? born in China? I do not know. I wish I knew.) I cannot completely say why the walk amazed me, but it did.
Our day did end with tickets to a Broadway show and we saw, for the second time, the musical, In the Heights, which blew me away for the second time. Seeing it with my daughter blew me away too. She could only be described as rapt through the performance, following every line, every dance move, taking in every costume and mannerism and joke. I will post about this in greater detail at least one more time, and post the surprise of the evening– but for now I will say that this time around, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Abuela Claudia character and her resemblance to my great grandmother, Rose, who was, like Abuela Claudia, a domestic worker. My Great grandmother Rose did domestic work until she was in her 80’s and was alive until I was 17.
We are glad to be home, but as I said, I am sad– though there is plenty of promise in the coming year. I will push myself to write my way through the year to come, even more than I have this year, sad or not.