1) Mel’s Cafe- Charlottesville, Virginia. Well-priced, southern soul food that has my mouth watering at the thought of going back there.
2) Badou- Chicago, Illinios. Amazing Seneglese dishes that are delicious and affordable. The owners are from Senegal and are genuinely nice people who work EXtremely hard. They deserve every penny I paid for my meal.
3) Dad’s Kitchen- Sacramento, California. Humongous Burgers.
4) Goodfella’s- Atlanta, Georgia. Philly Cheesesteak. That is all.
5) The Chatterbox- Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’d go again just for the atmosphere. There’s every board game imaginable there- and you can play while you eat.
8) al di la Trattoria- Brooklyn, New York. A delicate, romantic setting matched with perfect Italian food. The risotto was my favorite. This may be the most expensive restaurant I dined at (considering I was a homeless person wandering the states), but the prices were still not too bad.
January 29, 2014
I’m currently on the train, headed towards Atlanta. In New York, I met up with a Couchsurfer from Dubai. His name was Ahmed. He moved to Manhattan two days prior to get his masters in Business.
The first day we met, we walked throughout Central Park. After an hour or so of walking, we sat down on the cold concrete steps in front of a fountain surrounded by ice sculptures. I began explaining to him why I wanted to visit Tucson- for the Rock and Gem Show. I told him a street fair came to Eugene last year and I bought an amethyst for the hell of it. I had an inspiring conversation with the owner of the gem booth. The owner had informed me of the Rock and Gem Show; he swore I should attend before I die. I told the owner, “I’ll see you there!” in the same way I tell my sister, in Italy, that I’ll see her tomorrow. Just a silly promise, an empty promise. But I have the choice to act on it, and that’s what I’m doing.
Mid sentence, Ahmed interrupted me. “I”m sorry,” he said, “I can’t help myself,” and suddenly brought his face towards mine to kiss me deeply. This stranger… on couchsurfing…who I just met an hour ago. I thought our conversation was going well but that was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t even get the vibe that he liked me. Life is unpredictable. I broke away and offered a confused smile.”Wow,” I said.
I get mixed feelings about Ahmed because he has a default form of expression. It doesn’t fluctuate much. It’s hard to know what he’s thinking when there is a lack of emotion behind his words. I don’t know how much I like him because I don’t know how much I understand him. But apparently he’s my boyfriend right now- ha! When I went with my last host to see Isabella’s comedy show, she spoke about how important it is to choose the correct tone and emotion behind what we say.
“Where are you?” and “WHERE ARE YOU?!” make me feel two entirely different ways.
I may have an inclination that we’re not compatible with each other- but it is really nice to, for once, attempt to maintain a relationship. And when the other person has such strong, intense feeling for me… Why enter into a relationships I’m unsure about? Why not? I guess I don’t know why not yet.
Few things I know for sure. Few things I think I know for sure. I know that, to me, there is nothing more important than showing love to other people. This takes priority. And the result is that I’m not depriving myself of anything. By putting others first, I’m actually receiving the ultimate joy of providing love and support to someone who deserves it. Every single person on the planet deserves it. We didn’t choose this life.
This is what is what deserves attention…what is easy to discern as a path worth pursuing… and what is most meaningful to me. Treating people lovingly is not only the right thing to do tomorrow, or in 6 months, but is also the right decision in this moment, this very second. The right decision is timeless.
I can’t remember her name…but does it even matter? She is identified though her actions, her words. She was so interested in my life, in my trip.. asking me where I’ve been, where I’m going, who I’ve met. This soul sitting next to me fully entered my thoughts, absorbing each word as I spoke it. When someone is really listening to you, you can see it in their eyes. She told me where to go once I get off the train–take the metro to Market East station, which is where old town and historical monuments are. Once we arrived, she led me to the metro area and wished me good luck–the most genuine good luck I’ve ever heard.
IN Philly I spent the day mostly walking. No host. But feeling free. Entirely aimless. I truly loved the lay-out of the city–simple to navigate and the streets looked similar to Charlottesville. I took a train back to D.C to stay with Braden, my old host for a few days. I need to write about the conversation we had one night: him talking about his passions…what classifies a passion.. and also of how he judges someone–not based on their job/contacts/likes/dislikes but based on how they treat other people. He referenced the purposelessness and misunderstandings involved in war. People are so much more than their religious beliefs or the labels society creates for them. He said the only part he’s concerned with is the treatment of others, pointing out that couchsurfers invite me to stay with them without knowing what I believe in or without having similar interests. I’m still treated with kindness– and this treatment takes priority.
Is it normal to have this much indifference about the future? Shouldn’t I feel more anxious– being out in the middle of nowhere, by myself? With no plans for the day and no goals for the future? Why do I feel incredibly comfortable when I’m thrown into the unknown? Or do I hope to endure the punishment I think I deserve for being unmotivated in school?
I fear that part of me wants to be kicked around–just so I might feel something…just so I come running back home to appreciate everything I take for granted. I destroyed my life. On purpose. I did this on purpose. Do I like pain? I know I do. But do I like it more that happiness? Who craves suffering? I do. I crave it. And it is an addiction I’m drawn to because it feels good to give up and deem myself intractably helpless. I don’t consciously do this. But in reflection I see the truth.
I’m here and I’m on this train… but do I want to be here?
Or am I punishing myself for not being “normal”?
And by normal I mean robotically putting effort into systematic learning..and getting a degree.. a degree that says what exactly? That I conformed better than you did? You college drop out ?! How much of our conformity is a product of greed? How much is a product of desiring status? How bout, how much of our conformity is attributed to a longing for the idea of greed, or the idea of status? I wonder how much… I guess this is my way of finding out.
Why go to school? And by that I mean, why is it important to get acknowledged for learning? Take away money. Leave the rest. What is left? What part of me sees value in not only learning but in being tested over what I have learned — and in using my knowledge to influence, to make a tiny dent, in my community? Positively influencing my surroundings is a good value. Would I be able to more efficiently influence others if I was tested on my knowledge? What if a degree is needed to accomplish something that affects others in the most positive way I can think of? Do you think the best way I can help others is through sharing my passion? Who am I talking to?