Saturday, January 20, 2007

Out in the World, Home in My Blog

Friends:

A (strange) fresh start.

Everything I own is in an 8x10 storage unit in Brooklyn. I have eight minutes left on my card in an internet cafe to explain it all -

So the short version is that though I may be leaving the country for five weeks, I'm returning to the blogosphere immediately. In some capacity.

The next five weeks hold in store (among many undiscovered things): a croissant on the steps of Sacre Coeur in Paris, a biscuit on the bullet train to Avignon, truffles served in every manner possible in Provence, boullabaise in Marseille, a morsel in Barcelona, a Guinness in Dublin on J's birthday, Irish breakfast in Dingle, a hot tea on the cliffs of Moher. And home again.

And I'll keep you updated at every internet cafe. Time's up!

I love you all,
Kate

*Update: I am happy to say that every one of these culinary feats was accomplished. Hooray!

4 comments:

Terry B said...

Sounds like a lovely trip! I look forward to reading your posts in progress. Be sure to buy a street crepe in Paris, but only from someone who has a griddle and makes the actual crepe right in front of you--not only fresher but very entertaining. You can get sweet fillings, but get a savory one. It's a delicious, cheap lunch you can eat as you head toward your next event. A free event you can do while sitting down [always a plus when traveling] is the free organ concert Sunday afternoons at Ste. Eustache, 5ish, I think.

Mom said...

Can't wait to read the things you choose to write about. I will look forward to hearing every detail of this adventure. I wish I could go along for the ride! Make lots of pictures and remember to savor a few paintings at the Louvre for me.:) Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I'm actually responding to a comment you left on Banana Bed-Stuy about feeling welcome and safe. I couldn't for the life of me find an email address for you, so I hope it's all right I'm leaving this comment:

Although I am not and have never felt Caucasian, for all intents and purposes, I look and certainly am considered white by those who don't know better. I have lived in Bed-Stuy for over a year, and from the moment I moved in, have felt more comfortable here than any other place I've ever lived--and I've lived many different places in this country. From reading your comment, I need not explain to you the beautiful qualities of most of the residents here. Race has and never will be an issue for me; I don't think it's possible for me to express how completely not racist I am.

Every day that has passed since I've moved in, I've only grown more comfortable and happy with this neighborhood; there have been days where I've thought that the pressures and inconveniences of living in the city had finally consumed me, only to return home to a beautiful brownstone surrounded by families talking together and children playing along my tree-lined street and feel an immediate wave of relief and rightness wash over me.

I was mugged in Williamsburg two months ago and after dealing with the police, they offered to drive me home. When they found out where I lived they looked at me sideways and told me I should move unless I wanted this to happen to me again. I yessed them to death, thinking, "This wouldn't happen to me in my neighborhood."

I felt this way everyday, consciously thanking whatever is in charge of stuff for allowing me to be so lucky as to have a place like Bed-Stuy to call home, to feel wholly at peace in. That all changed two weeks ago when, two blocks from my house on my own street, a group of teenagers attacked me and stole everything I had. Ever since that night, I've felt nothing but anxiety and fear--even in broad daylight. This experience has altered who I am in ways I don't like, agree with, or ever believed could happen. The 5 short blocks from the subway to my home are a panic attack gauntlet; I feel helpless, vulnerable, and alone. My sense of security is completely shattered.

Your thoughtful and expressive comment on Banana Bed-Stuy, however, made me feel a little better. I'm still a sweaty bag of shakes whenever I open my front door, but it was reassuring to know there are other newcomers here that feel the same way I do: I'm not here as a pioneer gentrifier into a land of urban savages; I fell in love with this place for everything it both is an is not. I am not here to change Bed-Stuy into something it's not, but rather, would love to be considered one of its own, helping to change it from within only in order to cover more of what's bad about it with more of the good that already is inherent in its character.

The two characteristics that stood out the most for me about Bed-Stuy were, of course, the beautiful houses and the fact that an overwhelming majority of these houses have been either maintained or restored by people who've lived here for generations. The beautiful thing about Bed-Stuy for me was not that it wasn't being gentrified, but that the gentrification was happening from within. I believed (and still do) that I could be accepted by the community and become a part of that positive change.

Although this attack has made me seriously reconsider my place in this neighborhood, knowing there are people like you here, having experiences like the ones you described so eloquently in your comment, makes a brother feel a little less like a fish in a barrel. To my embarrassment and disappointment, I haven't made any real friends in the neighborhood (haven't even tried), but rather than run in fear as a result of this experience, I think I'll first try and do just that.

Feel free to write me at andrew{at}andrewjimenez.com; I'd love to hear more of your thoughts about this place we both call home.

Best,
Andrew

(PS: Major yums to your site.)

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