Posts Tagged ‘moving’
For awhile — a few weeks or so — I had such a loose grasp of time that whenever someone mentioned a date in passing, I was lost enough to believe that the date in question was, in fact, that day.
Someone mentioned on Twitter the other week that she loved Friday the 13th. A few days later, someone else on Twitter talked about 9/11. In both instances, I briefly wondered if today was that day.
I’ve been staying in an apartment with possibly the best view of the tallest building in Latin America — and now I’m on way back to the States. It’s been hard to pinpoint, the reverse culture shock I’ve experienced since moving to New York.
It’s weird to say that I’ve even moved to the States after four years away. Because though it’s been nice being back and seeing old friends, meeting new people and going to new places, I’ve also experienced a number of what I call culture aftershocks.
Like how orderly and predictable transportation is: the subway, the buses, even the car traffic to a great extent. And how sanitized and over-purified other things are: the water, the food, the environment. And how reserved and detached people are: almost tripping over themselves as they run through their disciplined daily routines. It takes an enormous amount of effort not to pull acquaintances in and kiss them on the cheek when I see them, instead of the awkward hovering we do when we run into each other. I already miss the feeling of pushing through a tangled crowd, eating a taco spilling chorizo that I bought from a street stand while fielding enthusiastic calls of “Morena!!” and dodging careening cars, buses and pedestrians as I revel in the messiness of my complicated home.
All I have are notes now. Notes within notes, notes pointing me to another notes, notes reminding me to note something down.
I currently don’t have an American cell phone (I plan to get one when I finally settle at an address here at the end of the month) and so have had to rely on these pages stained with my barely intelligible writing. Addresses to places I no longer remember, phones numbers — some labeled, others dangling mysteriously — and directions, so many sets of directions. I probably wouldn’t have done this in hindsight: in the age of e-mail-enabled cell phones, everyone is always running late, counting on the fact that they can text you at the last minute to say they are 15 minutes away.
So I sit, I read, people-watch, find ways to occupy my time as I wait for a friend. I stop in coffee shops and ask waiters if I can use a phone, and they kindly let me. I walk around mostly not knowing how much time has lapsed unless I can catch a glimpse of the hour on someone’s iPhone. But I think I’ll miss this sense of feeling unmoored, unreachable and almost free. I’m only responsible for my notes, these loose-leaf stacks of yellow Post-it’s and white lined notebook sheets that crowd my purse more and more each day.
So it was bound to happen. Mere months after I extolled the beauty and comfort of my neighborhood La Condesa, I moved. To La Roma, a place I considered its edgier and grittier neighbor. But, lo and behold, it has its charm, too.
Once considered the refuge of struggling artists and writers, the bohemian vibe is still evident in the numerous tiny cafes and bars that range from holes in the wall to pretty hip joints. It’s generally a cheaper area, with a wider diversity of classes and ethnic groups. I moved here because I fell in love with my new apartment, with its pink, graffiti-ed walls in the living room, and lovely wallpaper and hardwood floors in the bedrooms. The building is old, and I can get comida corrida downstairs for 35 pesos.
Now this is a ‘hood where the water hasn’t always been steady and the light has been known to be knocked by out by a storm or two, but as my friends and now fellow Romans tell me, it’s a necessary sacrifice.
I’m glad to be here, though, and want to explore Roma daily. But now I really need a new bike.