I was getting nervous. It was early winter and my fiftieth birthday was calling out to me from Springtime and promising tons of disappointment and dark moments of self pity if I didn’t have a “special plan’. Life had changed a lot in recent years…kids grew up and were unneedy for the most part, I was alone and shackle free and feeling well quite frankly as though the horizon was always mocking me with its endless views and nothing planned.
I just felt like even utterly broke as I was that I could not handle another disappointment. Which meant that I had to do something life changing for my birthday. Even as unavailable as my grown adults were…they did in fact make up for it by spoiling me with awesome gift cards for Christmas. I received a South West one with enough for a bit of a trip!!!!! Years before I had been to Ukraine with a return layover in Zurich, Switzerland and craved to be somewhere I could embrace the feeling I had to rub shoulders with lots of people from lots of places…I wanted a trip around the world and settled instead because of the budget crunch on New York City. Thus began my love affair.
I really had very little money. I used only thirty dollars on this trip that was my own. The rest had been a gift. I decided to stay in a hostel in Little Italy. I ate a lot of trail mix and walked and walked and walked. Before leaving I vacillated between being petrified of all of the details and pee my pants excited!!!!! Pee my pants excited won.
I love New York City.
The hostel was like a capsule of dialects with representation from all over the globe. Somehow I seemed at home and hadn’t been so comfortable since being in Ukraine. Go figure. It answered something deep inside. I was so glad that I came!!!!!
The meals I ate out consisted of a hot sausage from a meal cart guy…gotta experience the meal cart, a meal in a decent restaurant in Little Italy with glass ceilings, and and Gitane’s.
I love Gitane’s. Gitane’s is that old world deep blue with the name painted on the front window. It has a big yellow cash register and a tiny kitchen which is a sliver wide taking its place behind the counter. Bread hung on the wall beside a old photo of an Italian general…I think…some old cool photo…cool place…when I got home I saw it in the movie Definitely Maybe and kept pausing the film to jump inside of that wonderful place.
Little water towers on the rooftops, lots of brickwork, old and new together. Bicycles and scooters, streets closed off at mid-day to make more dining room and outdoor eating. Flower shop outdoor displays, dogs and their walkers. I was beaming from ear to ear…my heart was singing Happy Birthday to me and I felt like I was confirming my right to the spot on earth that I consume…be it ever so humble…JOY.
New York , I miss all of you, I love you, I will be back.
P.S. Everyone was so nice…except the rude Russian guy in the subway…you know who you are…ha