NY, NY- "I'm Leaving Today..."

Trip Start Aug 08, 2008
Trip End May 30, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My farewell to New York...

As the week crept on me, I finally decided on what was coming with and what was staying behind in boxes (Emily offered her place as a sudo-storage... I really don't have much- but in NY, any small space is a lot to give up- much props to her). As I dwindled down to just a large backpack, I've come to the conclusion; a person really doesn't need much. A few t-shirts, tank tops for layering, a few pairs of jeans, sneakers, sandals (and the Columbian in me had to pack one pair of heels) a hooded jacket, scarf and hat- and your golden! I did of course make room for my toiletries, one towel, pillowcase, sheet and laptop. Amazing all of that will be carried on my back! I tried to take as much as I could only for this leg of the trip due to the Euro being so expensive; I really can't afford to 'buy as I need/ go', so the idea is to pack what I can and perhaps leave a few things behind when I make it to the less expensive countries (India, Thailand). Nancy and I are going to look for jobs when I get there to earn some cash and make friends with the locals- let's see how that pans out. We are always coming up with crazy schemes and ideas that never really come to fruition, kind of like Lucy and Ethel.

I've been hitting the yoga studio everyday for the past two weeks. I'm really enjoying it. I've graduated from basic classes to intermediate, quite proud of myself! In the mornings, I started attending the meditation sessions, afterwards I just feel refreshed, clear minded and relaxed for the day ahead. After multiple years of multi-tasking, I've developed what the Yogis call 'monkey brain'.  When your thoughts are always racing and jumping around from one to another. This makes it pretty difficult for me to sit idle and simply breath... relax... center myself... As time passes, I'm starting to build a comfort with it and slip into medication with a little more ease each time.  I feel this will be a great practice throughout the trip. The yoga studio has a peaceful and new age feel to it, hardwood floors, ceiling fans and incense burning. It's a nice place to decompress and its only 2 blocks from the house.

Earlier in the month I responded to an add looking for a blogger in NY to blog events, so since I've been enjoying writing my own blog so my much, I decided I would respond. I've been talking to Guilherme Cunha. He decided he wanted create a blog not only highlighting events, but also people. It's called "The last Pink Starburst". The theory behind it is in a pack of Starburst candies, everyone always asks for the pink one. He's applying that concept to people, there is always that person people just want to be around. I fell in love with the concept! When we finally met, I was only a week away from moving so I was bummed in thinking I couldn't do the project, but not only does he want me to try it abroad, but he also is considering me as part of the Advisory Board since we brainstormed a bit on how to approach this! He has several great ideas and has his hands in different projects, Google him to see all the other fun stuff he is up to!

Even though this is my last weekend here, I decided to stay in on Friday night. I've become obsessed with practicing the new songs my Uncle taught me last week. The first is called- 'Mi Viejo' a beautiful, sad, Spanish acoustic ballad, while the other is called "Falling Slowly' from the movie 'Once'- it actually won the Oscar for best original soundtrack song. Its delicate, passionate, and plucks at the heart strings- its wonderful. I will be dropping off Amelie (my guitar) by my Uncle's house so he can use it while I'm away. It feels good knowing it will be used and making music while I'm away. Later in the night my roomie Emily (the new one) came home and also stayed in (I got her sick) so we rented episodes from 'The Office', we spent the eve laughing- its the quickest way to get/feel better.

On Saturday we were all a bit reluctant to go out into town, so we decided to hang by Rob's house (he hosted the rooftop party in the West Village a few backs). Although we managed to stay low key, I still didn't make it home until 3 AM.  The atmosphere was fun and light-hearted. A few of Rob's friends stopped by as well . We drank wine, mixed drinks and sat around the hookah to enjoy a strawberry tobacco! Everyone was in great spirits and was very chill. It was just what I needed. Apparently, after I left there was a dance off... dang it... I could've showed off my 'Re-Run"...

In the morning I peeled myself out of bed to eat a respectable breakfast before yoga. As I poured my bowl of cereal, the neighbors were practicing once again! It was almost as if they wanted to squeeze one more free concert for their adoring fan. Such a classical delight.... a lovely way to flow into the morning.

My best friend from high school , Cosimo, now lives in Staten Island; he comes from an ultra traditional Sicilian family, which means there is a big family dinner every Sunday afternoon. So of course, I was going to go for a visit and get my fill of some great Italian food!

I've known Cosimo for approximately 16 years. He's the kind of friend that makes your stomach and face hurt from laughing so much. He can brighten anyone's day with a few words and his bright smile. Laurie, his girlfriend, is a Staten Island native and she fits right in! She's witty, fun, and completely in love with Cos- plus she helps out with the dishes after dinner... A Sicilian mom's dream. Coincidentally, she's a dream come true to Laurie as well ☺

On the way out there the train I was taking (the R) was being serviced so the remainder of the leg was being shuttled via bus. While everyone himmed and hawed when the announcement came on the overhead, I couldn't think of anything more splendid! A free bus tour of southern Brooklyn! The houses were humble and naturally there was a bodega on every corner s far as the eye can see... Seeing all the kids playing in the streets and hanging on their stoops just brought me back to my earlier days of getting into trouble with my brother as the annoying tag along little sister. Uhg... those tortured days of being forced into being the wrestling opponent for WWF... Why does every big brother do that??

For some reason, every time I see Mrs. Scalisi I cry. No real reason for it. Perhaps it has something to do with the warmth she gives off, that 'mommy' warmth... something only tenured mothers seem to radiate. After loosing my mama, I've become more in tune with it, or maybe a better description would more sensitive to it. Every time I'm around it and I get those soothing hugs, I bask in it. The feeling is so soothing that you could fall asleep right there in that hug.

Mrs. Scalisi cooked up a storm! Egg plants Parmesan, breaded chicken, veal, and her famous eggplant, cheese and pasta with homemade sauce... drooling just thinking about it. Cosimo decided to make me his legendary tiramisu as well- soooo good! A traditional dinner turned into a birthday dual birthday party, not just for me but also for Nino's girlfriend, Jennifer (Nino is Cos' little brother). When it was time for Jennifer to open her gifts, she received a special one... an engagement ring! So it turns out, it was an engagement celebration too! What an evening! Everyone was crying, hugging, and pretty emotional. I feel so blessed that I was there, at the beginning of their confirmed future together through life. Yup... lots of tissues...

Sitting around the table it felt like old times. An endless supply of flavorful foods, multiple conversations discussed simultaneously on top of one another and perpetual laughter. At the end of it all we were all ready to crash- but this party animal beat us to the sofa! 

For the way home I decided to take an alternative route so I jumped on the ferry into the city (free- hooray!) It was a great choice. The night was crisp, but not cold and the sky was crystal clear. The moonlight reflected was bright (almost a full moon) and seemed to dance on the waves on the dark, choppy waters. From the port you can see the Verrazano Bridge on the right, the Statue of Liberty and her flaming torch on the left, and the city's breath taking skyline smack in the center. A great way to remember the city that has re-energized me with life and a new path.

On my birthday proper (Monday) I headed back to Sandy Hook to loan my true love, Amelie (my guitar), to my Uncle for the next year. I couldn't bare the thought of it just sitting somewhere collecting dust. . I take great pleasure in knowing she will be used and well cared for. My Tia Mirta surprised my with my favorite dinner, gnocchi and the sauce was homemade from the herbs and tomatoes she grows in her own garden- so the sauce was beautifully fragrant and delicious!

On Tuesday, my friends decided to meet with me for a 'farewell/ bday/ last hoorah' drink in the city (Greenwich Village) to a little dive bar called Wicked Willy's. The main event was $5 drinks, beer pong, and karaoke. It was great fun! All of my new and old friends came to bid me farewell. Sondra even got up and sang karaoke It was fabulous It really meant a lot to me that not only did these people whom I barely met made the time to come see me off, but also late on a school night. I was really touched and still get moved just by thinking about it.

I've come to the conclusion that no friendships are coincidental, on the contrary, I find them so incredibly purposeful. Some reveal themselves in time showing their colors of meaning through the years, while others are instant- an immediate unexplainable connection. No matter the circumstances, you just know you want to hold onto it with both hands. I've been lucky to experience both and the latter of the two throughout this year specifically. What a journey life unfolds itself to be when you stop to actually pay attention to it.

Today I am off to JFK airport to embark on my first international stop of this rabbit hole. Once again, just would like to express my most sincere gratitude, not only to my new friend's incredible hospitality, but also to all my friends and family for sharing in my life through this blog and other forms of communication. I love you all. Can't wait to report to you from Italy! I will keep you posted... until next time... Besitos XOXOXOXO- Cindy
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