"Are you ready to go home?" is a question I have gotten from all sides in the last couple of days (I leave tonight at 7). I don't really know how to answer it. Here's an attempt:
I saw plenty of Broadway.
I didn't see enough Broadway.
I ate my way through New York.
I didn't eat enough in New York.
I learned a ton about China.
I still know nothing about China.
I hate my little dorm room with the bathroom down the hall.
Dorm life twenty years later has been more than "fun."
See? I can't answer it.
I have had the last two days to myself because the people in my program have trickled home or off to somewhere else. Originally, I had a list of museum-y, Ellis Island-y kind of things to accomplish. But what I really wanted to do, I realized, was walk...just like I did my first two days here. Fortunately, my feet are broken in, because yesterday I started at 122nd and walked downtown all the way to 1st. There's a math problem I can do: 122 blocks ("gorgeous blocks" for you Holden fans).
I knew my final destination because two weeks ago when I was in Alphabet City (East of the East Village) I planned to come back to see more of the community gardens and to eat at this cute little Italian place called Max at 51 Avenue B. In between I walked fifty or so of those "blocks" through my favorite place, Central Park, did a little shopping at the street fair and ate a few treats, (which, of course, I will explain in a second) and ended up at singer/songwriter night at The Bitter End-- a full twelve hours of walking. OK, the food:
This is an Indian Roti Roll, filled with spiced potatoes and sweet peas and topped with cilantro sauce and yogurt. Really greasy and good. I also splurged with a sushi stop: before I left, I found this very cool "Sushi Spreadsheet" - made by a New York lawyer who eats sushi every day and listing his top 100 recommendations: :http://www.epicurious.com/images/sushispreadsheet_epicurious.pdf
Well, the other night I tried the lobster roll at Neo Sushi on 83rd and Broadway (best on the Upper West Side according to the spreadsheet) as just an appetizer before heading to the Village for dinner, which just made me want to see what more this place to offer, so I stopped in again for a few (extravagant and expensive) tastes. Now, I have had some great sushi experiences, but these pieces were worthy to be called the best of my life so far. Neo doesn't even place soy sauce on the table, which I love because I just don't understand the soy sauce need with good sushi. Pictured here:
Left to right: Yellowtail with tofu sauce and avocado, kumomoto raw oyster, salmon miso and eel tempura. I also had four more which are not pictured, but I chose this picture because at the end, I had to get one more salmon miso and one more of the oysters. After each bite, I just sat there for about two full minutes tasting. Truly amazing flavors.
Oh, and the dinner at Max was great, too, but it was just ordinary Linguine with meat sauce, so I don't need to describe it.
Friday night was our final ceremony and it was held at The China Institute, which is on the east side. Everyone dressed up and they had drinks and appetizers and closing words, but the highlight, by far, was the music. Bonnie from Indiana surprised everyone with her bluegrass guitar (I don't know the name for it) and haunting mountain songs, and Craig backed her up with his saxophone. What a treat, and what a great group of people.
So, yes, I am sad to leave. How lucky can a girl be, anyway, to get this, and then to return to beautiful Seattle summer for a good solid three more weeks? I am excited for my bed and my kitchen, friends and family. Thanks for tuning in to my summer, and a special thanks to everyone for participating on the blog because that was really fun for me. I think I have one more post in me when I return, so tune in in a few days, too.
Oh, one more note for Seattleites: the other night we were heading to the train and a group of people were setting off fireworks yelling something about "A-Rod" and ".500." They were BIG fireworks, too.
And one more Imagine photo, from yesterday (see the John Lennon glasses in the middle?):
See you at home!