Friday, March 16, 2007

The value of culture shock

I just returned from a five-day vacation to the Dominican Republic. Though my time there was largely focused around sitting on a beach, I tried to experience as much of the culture as I could from my walled compound under the constraints of a woman traveling alone.

Now, back in New York, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have been "abroad," even if that foreign country was somewhere as near as a tropical island a four-hour flight from my hometown. For the last week, I was a stranger in a strange land, which in me, elicits an openness, a trust of people, and a desire to understand (probably in order to be understood). It's a disposition very different from that of the typical New Yorker; we're taught here to move quickly and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist.

As I re-entered the fray today, I felt myself a little more willing to trust my fellow riders on the subway—to imagine the stories of their lives and families, rather wonder, suspiciously, if they might harm me. It's a good feeling, one I fear will fade quickly as I work my way back into the city, but something I hope sticks around.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Speaking of rest...

My guilty obsession of the past two weeks has been watching old episodes of Felicity on DVD. It's all new to me—though I was most certainly in the target demographic when this show was on the air, I lived deep in the heart of the Midwest, a place that had yet to get that phenomenon called the WB (may it rest in peace).

It's so good. Like, good. I think my appreciation for it has more than a little bit to do with the fact that I feel like I'm reliving college by watching it (which, 10 years since I was in Felcity's little freshman shoes, is blissfully nostalgic), but all-around, another J.J. Abrams creation has found its way into my heart (and Netflix queue).

Vacation-related inspiration

I'd totally forgotten that I even have a blog until a couple weeks ago when a friend stumbled across it and said something to me. The end of blogging coincided with the beginning of my new lease, which came equipped with a longer commute and two roommates. I'm housesitting, in Manhattan, this weekend for friends who are on vacation. With a few days to myself, I'm remembering what it was like to have time to write. So, I thought I'd go ahead and give it a try. I've done plenty of writing in the last few months, but it's time to devote some energy to the stuff for which I'm not getting paid.

I leave a week from today for my own little vacation, to the Dominican Republic. It just struck me tonight. I'm going on vacation. I need to do things like buy novels to read and make sure I can locate my swimsuits. The last few months have been so busy that it's hard to get my brain to even think about slowing down.

But it feels good. Really good. Surprisingly good. If the anticipation is this enjoyable, I have high hopes for the trip itself. I'm grateful... for this little revelation, for a weekend on My Island, and for the rest to come.