Exactly one month ago, I was sitting in my empty room in Brooklyn. One month ago, I was fighting back tears and attempting to look nonchalant while I tweeted off the airport ipad. And one month ago, my grandparents welcomed me with open arms, sporting their notorious “woof” hats and took me out to eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Its been one month since my arrival and tonight we celebrated by going back to that very same restaurant.
We were greeted by a host who looked young and appeared rather inexperienced. She assisted us to our seats and timidly handed us our menus; she kind of reminded me of myself. I just started a job as a host downtown. And it’s the weirdest thing because I’m usually very outgoing and personable but for some reason in front of customers I am stripped of my natural essence and become really awkward. Like the other day I was refilling coffee for a woman and I was having so much difficulty. I stood there desperately meddling with the pot until finally God swooped down and magically made it pour into her cup. I’m probably being too hard on myself considering I have only had a couple hours of training, I mean at least I didn’t spill scolding, hot coffee on that woman, right?
We ordered our food and while we waited my grandparents told me about their weekend in Ohio. My grandma is in mid sentence when she turns very subtly to my grandpa and I and says in what was supposed to be a whisper
“That guy couldn’t look more like Hitler if he tried to”
and directs her gaze to the bartender behind us. My grandpa very obviously turns around, blatantly stares at him, and then wildly nods his head in agreement. They kept going on about this man’s disturbing appearance until finally I told them to stop. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way consider resembling Hitler a desirable look but I also don’t think it’s right to gossip about someone when they are literally right behind you. And it wasn’t even like this guy was a Nazi supporter or anything, he was just some misdirected hipster that couldn’t pull off facial hair and whose barber was clearly visually impaired. Thankfully our food came out shortly after so my grandparents dropped this topic of discussion. My plate was delicious except there was A LOT of cheese and if I’m saying there was a lot of cheese that really means something (my family calls me commander in cheese for a reason).
After we finished dinner, we got in the car to head back home.
“Hey kid, you wanna hear the GPS system in Spanish?” my grandpa asks me
“Barb, Sarah wants you to put the GPS in Spanish”
“Stanley, I am not going to put the GPS in Spanish”
“Why not, she might learn a thing or two”
This went on for a good ten minutes.
And while this conversation was taking place, I started to reflect on my past month in Wisconsin. I’m happy that I’m not in New York right now but, at the same time, I really miss it. When I was there, I had convinced myself that I was ungrateful to live in such an amazing place yet feel no sense of appreciation or desire to stay there any longer. I realize now that it had nothing to do with the city‘s unsanitary conditions but rather my own mental fog. Coming out to Wisconsin was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made but it was something I needed to do more than ever.
Whenever I’m feeling homesick, I just remind myself that New York is called the city that never sleeps for a reason and that, no matter how long I’m gone, it will still be there to shower me with polluted love and car crashing cadence when I decide to return.