Thursday, November 15, 2012
I am missing home. I doubted that it would happen. Maybe just to the measure that I am feeling it at the moment. It could be due to my listening to Kenny G's Christmas albums while working on my twenty-page term paper. I am suddenly at home. Thanksgiving is over and every tummy is stuffed. I always get excited because I know that the next day we decorate the house for the holidays. The season begins with smells of cinnamon from momma's T-ring and this music fills the house as wreaths, garland, stockings and trinkets accumulated over the years are hustled up the stairs to adorn the house. Every room is decorated. The bathrooms are given their penguin fountain and snowflake candles. A Precious Moments nativity scene is set up in one of them. By this time I have already had some hot coco and the house is close to being done.
It is almost as if muscle memory takes over when opening the boxes. Each decoration has its place. The carolers sing from their hymnals atop the entertainment center and the large red teapot that has the bear as its lid and a candy cane handle goes in the bookshelves. Needle point pillows go on their respective couches and the angel garland greets my sister and I above the hallway entrance to our rooms. I forgot what it means. To be home, I guess. The smells aren't in this apartment. Momma isn't cleaning the house so that the decorations are put out on dust-free surfaces. I can decorate with the few items I have and put an evergreen plug-in in the wall but it still isn't home.
How long do you have to be somewhere for it to be home? A year? Two? Maybe the difference is when loved ones are with you. Maybe when things are familiar it changes. Regardless, I am left here writing about my missing the one home I have known for the past ten years. I won't know what the Christmas tree looks like until the 21st of December. Someone else will take over my responsibility of stringing its lights and placing the ornaments on the branches. I never thought that being pricked by the fir tree's needles would be something I would miss. I will miss it.
The most wonderful time of the year. I still believe that it is with all of my heart. It will just look different this year. It will have less hugs from family than before. It will lack baking with my mom or going to the Children's Christmas Parade with my daddy and niece and nephews. Different.
34th street is decorated. They brought in the large wreaths and tree into my apartment building lobby just yesterday. This is an experience that most dream of and I find it hard at times to not wish it were just a dream. Waking up tomorrow I will still hear sirens and taxi cabs with their horns and shouts. I will look out the window and see the sun working its way between buildings and at some point it will find the streets. New York City.
Currently Listening: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Kenny G
Saturday, November 3, 2012
I walked to work with the cold November air stinging my face. I had pulled out my winter box full of scarves and gloves, for a sweater was no longer enough. I hastened to get to Times Square. After experiencing the welcome New York brought me this afternoon, the state of normalcy on 42nd street carried little shock. Vendors were back on the streets with their carts cooking hot dogs and men with dozens of handbags to sell lined Broadway. I passed families with young children taking in all of the glamour of the city; most of whom probably had no idea what took place here a few days prior.
It is a strange place to be in. What do we support? I assume normalcy is the goal after a devastation of that measure. Is it usual for people that were unaffected by the storm to go on as if the the Atlantic Ocean had not recently scarred the East coast? I suppose I was on my way to work without a change in pace. Instead of immediately jumping to creative ways to help the city and the displaced families, I focused on the inconvenience it was to not have the subway system to take to school (which was ironic because three trains which I would need to commute to school came alive today). Maybe America is tired of dealing with devastation. Perhaps after Katrina, Tsunamis and Earthquakes the nation is burnt out. This proposition fails to eliminate the fact that people are missing and millions of homes were destroyed; just like all of the other disasters.
I am in no way saying that there are not measures being taken to restore this city. Rather, my thoughts center around the strange way that theatre's phrase "the show must go on" funnels into a week like this one.
Be safe. Do what you can.
Currently Listening: "Morning Song" by The Lumineers
Friday, November 2, 2012
Reports on superstorm Sandy increased and found ourselves in prayer on Sunday morning trying to make the best decision. We worshipped our savior over some coffee and banana bread with chocolate chips. It was a sweet time. It brought us closer as roommates but even more than that, as sisters in Christ. I have had to choose relationship in this city. As with any new place, relationship does not just happen. I do not believe that a disaster of Sandy's nature is needed to produce this closeness, but it certainly opened the doors to opportunity.
The outcome of our time together was the decision to pack up a few things and head to our roommate's papa's house in New Jersey. It was a feat to find Penn Station. Who knew that it was only two blocks from our apartment yet we chose the scenic route. We traveled up to Times Square and on to Port Authority Bus terminal. Lousy directions placed us on the opposite corner of where we should have been. A few days worth of clothing became much heavier when carrying them across New York City. Finally, we found Penn. We hastily hopped on the train headed towards Trenton and an hour later we were in safety.
It is amazing what just a few miles outside of the city can do. There were beautiful trees with their leaves changing to bright oranges and reds. We got to know the small town of Audobon. A small tour of the town's popular places left the three of us starry-eyed and trying to soak up all of the Autumn color while we had it. We saw the church where her Papa grew up. We saw the land full of five or more houses where all of his family lived. Tales of Thanksgiving were told; he would run from house to house gathering scattered ingredients. Sometimes I wonder what life like that would be like. My family was always close on holidays, but never neighbors.
Once in the house we snuggled up. Coffee was brewed. Heat was turned on. We felt safe.
This stay has been full of laughs, homework, baked apple pie (inside of the apples I may add), and cooking a dinner with whatever we found in the cabinets. The storm was tragic. We have seen footage on the television of our home in the city and scarcely recognize the place we frequent. Subways are filled with water and homes are left in shambles. The city is in recovery mode and we have yet to see it. It is difficult to not feel disconnected, even when your home is in the city of devastation. We are calloused to the people that lost their home just a few streets away. The city will have to rebuild. Selfishly, we focus on the inconvenience of not resuming class, or not being able to utilize the subway system. It's not about me. It's not even about The King's College. It is an opportunity to be selfless.
So I sit here. I write my small review of this past week and await the trip back into the city.
Currently Listening: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Sufjan Stevens