Brooklyn Newsletter: Month One

Dear Brooklyn,

Today I took the subway uptown to meet the girls for dinner and ended up about 9 blocks north and 5 blocks east of where I wanted to be. Despite the fact that I've now officially been a Brooklyn resident for a month, my navigation skills on the New York subway still leave something to be desired. To be fair, I've spent much of the past four weeks in Yorktown and England, so I suppose I can argue transportation novice for another couple of weeks.

I started 2008 in England, visiting old friends in an old country. I felt really strongly that I needed to be away from New York for New Year's. Sometimes it seems that life here is so hectic and stressful that it isn't until I wake up on another continent that I can take a deep breath. My trip to England was exactly what I needed it to be: late-night talks, baking bread, walking in Wellies, parties in Notting Hill. I met so many new people and reconnected with some I hadn't seen in years and I would argue that this process, the introducing (or re-introducing as the case may be) of oneself is good for the soul every so often. Because when you meet someone new, you have to somewhat define yourself to them. And for someone who has been clinging to the indefinable for the past 6 months, it was good to feel like a solid person again.

One of the things that I loved most about my trip was spending time in real English households, a true benefit of traveling to places where you know people. It strikes me as completely stereotypical and yet true that British families do ten times more reading and radio listening than the average American. You might argue that it's the English major in me, but how can you not love a nation whose homes are filled with books, whose walls are specially designed for tomes upon tomes of fiction?

There is a beautiful spot on the Jubilee bridge (which looks a teensy bit like the Brooklyn bridge) where you can see the London Eye and Parliament lit up at night. I stood there, alone, for a few minutes the other night and thought about where I'd been a year earlier. 2007 was a year of deconstruction in many ways for me; so many elements of my life are different today than they were a year ago. For a moment it made me sad to think about, how far I'd come down this path towards the incredible unknown. But that is, of course, the challenge of happiness, the daring to imagine something better and the leaps of faith you take that just might get you there.

xo Jen

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