Elwood wondering about the next time he’ll see his friends from Quebec
Goodbye is part of life, especially for travel writers and expats. I said goodbye to a very good group of people recently. As someone who has made three big moves in six years, I should be accustomed to this.
I am not. Especially because I know I probably won’t see these people again.
The Very Good People I speak of are a refugee family from Libya (originally Somalia) who I helped transition here. I showed them bus routes and where to find jobs and taught them simple English phrases. They cooked dinner every Sunday. Heaping piles of rice and pasta with sides of bananas and salads. Never a question if I would stay and eat. They assumed and set up a plate and ushered me to the kitchen.
I worked with the family for a few months. As I watched them pack, (offering to help, but not knowing what to do), I noticed they still didn’t switch their clocks over for daylight savings. I should have explained daylight savings to them. I should have showed them where to buy rain boots and jackets. I could have done a better job as their appointed American mentor. Continue reading →
I just got back from New York. It’s the first time I visited the city in ten years.
The energy astounds me. New York knows how to put me in my place and make me feel tiny. All of my flaws can be on display – like their garbage, on the street – and no one cares or even seems to notice. I spent half a day in Little Italy wearing these:
It was the best $6 ever spent.
No one said a thing, except one hustler, who called me Hollywood.
The search for fake fendis
Fake fendi…or it is real?
Did I mention I have a crazy family? Because I do. I have a mom, sister, and male cousin who decided part of the New York experience was being led down a hidden corridor and into a room lined with counterfit handbags and filled with teenagers dressed in “I Love New York” tee-shirts.
“Purses, watches,” a squat, middle-aged Chinese man says. My cousin looks at him cooly, smoking a cigarette.
“Ok, where are they?” he asks.
The man shows a make-shift catalog and says if we buy one, he’ll pull up with the bags.
This won’t do for us. We’re native Chicagoans and not naive. Continue reading →