Thursday, December 18, 2008

New York City at last

How does one make a graceful entrance into a new place? In a city like New York I suppose it doesn't matter. Manhattan proper averages about 70,000 people per square mile, so the comings and goings of one priestly girl on the Upper East Side matters very little, but this is the most fascinating thing about New York City. Brilliant and mundane events happen simultaneously at nearly every moment of the day throughout the city and most of us carry on completely unaware. This morning I woke up to a winter wonderland, my third Saturday living in the city. People work such long hours and tend to play hard, so the one sacred, quiet part of the week is Saturday morning. Even the taxi drivers seem to know the rule: less honking, less shouting, and a few moments of peace. I took a long walk in Central Park today and enjoyed the kiddos sledding and watching the most committed women carefully negotiating stiletto heeled boots on the icy sidewalks. I stopped by a Starbucks for a hot drink and absolutely loved the pieces of art that sleds and piles of coats and mittens made in various parts of the coffee shop. It reminded me of elementary school coat-rooms on snow days and for a moment I felt perfectly at home.

You may be curious as to my rationale for continuing this blog now that I have returned to the States. But as my quote from Pliny the Elder reminds us, “Out of Africa, always something new.” So there you have it, out of Africa, a whole new life to negotiate and while it might prove entertaining to you (this city is madness and full of good stories), it could prove life-giving to me.
These are pics from my apartment: a tourist’s dream by the way. My couch pulls out into a comfy bed, so pack your bags people. Come to New York for a weekend and we will be amused at mink coats and $600 pairs of shoes and go to the theater and eat exquisite food and try to make sense of this silly world together.

Highlight of the week: saw The Seagull with stunning performances by Kristin Scott Thomas and Peter Sarsgaard. Occasionally I forget just how good some Broadway theater can be. I wasn't mentally prepared for Chekhov and I believe Chekhov is one of those writers you must prepare for. A few summers ago I picked up a collection of his short stories and made it thru story number 6 before I needed to put the thing away for fear that I would succumb to a dark depression and find a hole to crawl into with a bottle of vodka and 50 packs of cigarettes. There was a point while reading I thought, "for the love of God, does springtime ever come to Moscow?" Sheesh. The performances were disturbing and absolutely enthralling. But tonight I found myself eating chocolate ice cream from the container, so perhaps I should lay off Chekhov for awhile.

I miss Zambia desperately and miss the pace of life in Kitwe. I continue to laugh at myself when there are moments that I still think I am there. When I "see" lizards out of the corner of my eye for example. Or when the litter on the sidewalk looks like packets of "Double-punch" (a cheap liquor sold in kiosks all over the compounds), but I am not in Zambia. I am living a very privileged life in New York City-- a life privileged enough for a great deal of brooding. And so there you have it: a warning. Some of these blog postings may be full of brooding. But the city is surprising and its beauty will force its way into these commentaries as well.


Tonyalynne said...

glad you're back in this crazy blogging world...!

only a plane ticket price away from crashing on your couch...



Brett & Shelly Faucett said...

Yeah Carmie,

Your back and better than ever. I missed you. I can uncurl from my fetal position and face life again. Did you get my last email? I keep replying to you and they keep coming back undelivered except for this last one. I keep trying to search for you on facebook with no luck. Why don't you try to add me on as a friend to your facebook. I am so glad you are back to blogging. I really missed your tracking/staulking your life. I'm dreaming of a white christmas.

Love you tons

The Mendes Family said...

Yay! You are going to continue to blog! I'm only two hours away in CT so if you ever need anything or want to travel up here to check our a very small state, let me know!

Doanz said...

Hi, Carmen. It's been years, but I wanted to say thank you for continuing your blog. I didn't know about it while you were in Zambia- just found you as a friend of Stefanie Clark's (Doan) on facebook- but was so blessed reading it on this very snow, cold December morning. Church was canceled, kids and husband are asleep, and I decided to indulge in surfing the net. What a treat to see your blog, and read so many interesting details about so many wonderful places ( I have spent over an hour learning about Zambia and the people through your eyes.)I am sorry the move is bittersweet for you, I can understand in some ways as we recently moved (not completely willingly) away from a place we loved. But God's plans are always good, and I hope New York warms your heart again soon. Seeing your beautiful pictures, I felt like I was looking at one of those neat coffee table books with professional photographers contributions- the way you view things is very cool. God bless you, Carmen, and have a very Merry Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior.
Renee (use to be Duke)

Staci said...

Yay!! I'm so glad you decided to continue blogging. Now that we are all so far flung from various friends and family, it's totally the way to go.

Lady, transitioning from Zambia to the Upper East Side is a case study in culture shock. Like, it's not even culture shock. So very beyond that. And *totally* broody-blog worthy.

So uh, how long are you in that AMAZING excuse for an apartment?? ;) And Kristin Scott Thomas live? So jealous I am!

Alissa Maxwell said...

Hooray for more blogging. I'm excited to hear how NYC will treat a priestly Zambia girl - even if it is brooding...that's real life. Wish a New York weekend could be on my travel list. Alas.

David Hallgren said...

What up Carmondo,
I am glad you are back to blogging. Maybe when Kristin goes back to Princeton for work, I can join her and we can meet up in the city??!! That would be fun. I will check her travel schedule. I hope things are going well. From one Winter Wonderland to another, blessings,