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.
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.
6) Lil’ Frankies- Manhattan, New York. The best Italian food/ bar atmosphere combination I’ve ever witnessed.
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.
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.
From the top of the Rockefeller Center
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.
JP Morgan Museum
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.
There are so many types of people. Holy shit. Such variety in tone, behavior, appearance, outlook. How could I ever seriously believe I won’t find someone to spend my life with?
Some people put me at ease almost instantly; while it takes me much longer to feel relaxed around someone I don’t identify with. Whenever I’m around my host, I can’t help but feel incredibly engaged and expectant. I knew there was so much potential if only we asked the right questions about each other. The third night, we asked the right questions–questions that revealed a rare and beautiful connection between us. I laughed harder than I had in weeks– a genuine laugh–and I had never been able to relate with a guy, concerning so much, until meeting him.
View from the top of the Rockefeller Center
We were lying there and for a brief, powerful moment, we stared at each other fully aware of what was to happen next. I broke away my gaze and went to the bathroom. I returned to find him closer to my side of the bed. I got under the covers as he inched further towards me. For a second he gave me this intense, sexy look and a quick smile. After a few moments of silence and a few deep breaths, he placed his head closer to my pillow and told me how attracted he was to me and how our conversation only intensified that attraction. I felt my heart race instantly and blood rushed to my face. He positioned his face so that our noses brushed up against each others as he exhaled loudly. He said he really wanted to kiss me. I took a few moments to respond. No words came out though. I just gave him an anxious smile. He knew I felt exactly how I did: In complete awe of one another and that chaos had brought us together. He kissed me and then..you know..
Little did I know that this would be the third guy that would kiss me on my trip. I did not plan for this…
The next night: I didn’t allow much to happen. I liked him but I also told my host from a different city( D.C) that I liked him too. I had crazy mixed feeling and I couldn’t wrap my reasoning around my choices. I felt so uneasy. I also like my NY host so much that when he wanted to touch my body more than talk, I took offense. I wanted to continue talking, laughing, and getting to know him. By his behavior, I couldn’t tell if he only liked my body. I was getting frustrated with being treated as a shell of a person, empty beyond my “sexy” body as I kept being told. If I hear that word one more time…
Coming from my last host, I already felt materialized. My present one had the same tendencies. He would change the topic of conversation and inch towards me convincing me to consent. I was angry and a little hurt. I turned over and let my mind wander until sleep cradled me.
Being away from my belongings and distancing myself from materialism shows me just how valuable clothes, jewelry, and “statuses” are. Like what…? I’ve been wearing the same outfit for over three weeks (washing whenever possible). I walk into Macy’s in downtown NY and the truth could not be any clearer. So many people long for costumes so that they might be defined in a positive, superficial light. I haven’t worn make-up in over 3 months. Nor have I worn something “stylish”, or even changed my hair. And yet I’ve gotten more attention from guys than I ever have before. Need I say more about the pointlessness of masking ourselves?
No one would believe me straight up though. If you told me five years ago that, if I stop wearing make-up, it won’t change how guys see me, I wouldn’t believe you. These types of things people only discover on their own. Having confidence feels so much better than feeling inferior and embarrassed. I would like others to believe in themselves. The least I could do is set a good example. What do I have to lose, exactly?
My Couchsurfing host took me to see Isabella Rosolini and then out to an Italian Restaurant at 11:00 p.m. We drank a few glasses of wine over a candle lit dinner. The dim light flickered on the table and created shadows on his face, accentuating the friendliness in his eyes. We talked about his divorce, his kids, his doubts over finding someone else to marry. His delicate tone and hesitant word choice had me sympathizing with him from the first sentence to the very last. How did you deal with such heartbreak? I asked and he answered as if it had happened yesterday. He told me the divorce was not mutual. She left him. This guy is one of those rare characters who is incessantly nice to people without asking for anything in return. He said his marriage was going well and was essentially blind-sided. Good people get treat like shit and there’s nothing else to it. There are no mean of prevention. As much as it hurts to endure mistreatment, it’s ridiculous to try and prevent mistreatment. It is simply a condition of life. As Marcus Aurelius says, it’s assigned to everyone.