Tag Archives: brooklyn

There’s a beach in Williamsburg?

One of the things I love most about life in NYC is the sense that I can never completely know it. There will always be secrets to uncover. Something new replacing something old. Mysteries just down the block.

Photo property of ScoutingNY.com

Photo property of ScoutingNY.com

And here’s one: a beach of sorts right in my neighborhood.

OK, so it’s not South Beach, or even the Rockaways. But I had no idea you could get so close to the shore of the East River.

Who knows: maybe in a few more years, we’ll really want to.

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This gluten-free thing…

I woke up, filled with dread. This day had loomed in my mind like a dark cloud on a distant horizon.

I rolled out of bed and left my apartment, still wearing the clothes in which I slept. Turning the corner, I walked into Swallow Cafe and evaluated the pastry selection.

Where were the weird gluten-free pastries I had seen just last week — and turned up my nose at? Not at Swallow, apparently.

Starbucks pastries via EatAtState.com

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Things that are hard to explain to a Kenyan teenager

You may have read this list elsewhere. However, this is an edited version with new! exciting! items. OK?

Some things are hard to explain to Kenyan teenagers.

  • Skyscrapers
  • The subway
  • A dog as a pet versus one who herds cows, goats and sheep
  • A dog wearing a coat made for a dog

dog in a coat

  • Snow (which is how I ended up showing them the picture above in the first place)
  • Why I have pictures of food in my phone
  • Being child-less and husband-less
  • Not living with my parents (which is where Kenyan singles live)
  • Being an only child – polygamy is the norm, as are large families
  • Seamless.com
  • Same-sex marriage

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It’s good to be home

Although to be honest, I keep thinking about Kenya. It made a big impression on me.

But my weekend in NYC was fun. On Friday, I took a Pure Torture Barre class and later, had dinner with visiting friends.

On Saturday, I grabbed cocktails with other friends at Cafe Colette.

Cafe Colette

Delicious French fries too.

Cafe Colette

There are lots of exciting things happening in NYC this week including this and this.

How was your weekend?

Presents!

Google Maps told me the walk would be 0.9 miles. The humidity was rising, but a mile isn’t so far.

Plus I had just eaten a chocolate muffin from St. Balmain, justifying the indulgence by noting that there would be zero chocolate muffins in Kenya.

Once I passed the McCarren Park pool, the walk started sucking. The part of Greenpoint I found myself in would be best described as Not Cute. Homely, perhaps, as opposed to homey.

Greenpoint

Around the 0.7 mile mark, I wanted to shout “this is for you, Maasai kids!” but they couldn’t possibly have heard me over the noise from the BQE.

I started crying almost as soon as I walked into the Greenpoint dollar store.

Not because I was in a dollar store, per se, but because as I shuffled up and down the aisles, I was reminded of the directions my trip organizer had given me about how to choose a gift for my “buddy,” the student who would be my companion during my days volunteering at the Maasai school.

Books need to be culturally sensitive. Don’t buy candy–most of the kids won’t have a toothbrush.

Avoid anything that requires batteries or electricity. These kids don’t have access to either. A well-intentioned volunteer gave his buddy an iPod, but once the battery dies, it’s useless.

Good gifts include a simple journal, a solar-powered flashlight or a puzzle that shows a picture the kids can relate to.

At the dollar store, I felt like a failure. None of the toys seemed right for my teenage buddy, a fourteen year old boy named Steven.

As I put a notebook, a pack of pencils and a pencil case in my cart, my heart sank: I had just committed to buying office supplies for someone who will almost certainly help me have an eye-opening, life-affecting experience.

I suppose he already has, in some ways.

Hopefully when the time comes, my modest gifts will somehow be the right ones.

[For context, this post was written on late on Thursday, July 10 and scheduled for Monday, July 14. I'm set to present these tokens to Steven on Friday, July 18.]

Why can’t this weekend last longer?

After a week of miserable rain and humidity, Saturday dawned perfectly pleasant: sunny and dry.

Weather

But it wasn’t the prospect of a good hair day that had me smiling. Instead, it was the fact that the future owner of an unwanted – and very, very large – piece of furniture would soon be removed from my bedroom in the new apartment. Continue reading