Ramblings: Just a Walk in the Park...










Memorial Day weekend always reminds me of moving to NYC – the heat, the humidity, the laziness of the first holiday of the year since New Year’s Day in the middle of the bustle and noise of everyday life. Subsequent years bore beach days and hungover days; brunch times and walks in the city;  Long Island days and barbeques in Bushwick. Every year I longed for Memorial Day weekend to arrive so that I could celebrate the beginning of summer, my real favourite season in NYC. This year it crept up on me, my first Memorial Day as a family: a day where no one needed to work, a day to spend together as we see fit, no plans, just mother, father and baby time.

Nowadays it’s really just the simple things that matter: a walk in the park, watching the turtles watching you with their little heads sticking out of the water, looking at the squirrel scampering away with the acorn in its mouth, relaxing on a blanket under a tree and closing your eyes. Choosing a pretty spring outfit for yourself and your daughter, knowing full well that she doesn’t care if you are in a dress or pyjamas, or if she is in a onesie or a dress, but doing it anyway because it is fun and because you can. Walking along the sidewalk as a unit, mother, father, daughter, altogether as one, making jokes and gazing at the pretty houses and gardens, imagining together what our next home and garden will look like. Tickling your child under the chin with a blade of grass and listening to her laugh and hoping that you will hear that beautiful sound every day, forever.

Flushing ended up being a good choice for us, because despite the commute into Manhattan, it really is beautiful here. There are parks and gardens and trees and flowers everywhere and a happy alternative to the race of the city and all that it entails. As I was walking around the neighbourhood yesterday I realised just how much every single priority had changed for the better. A walk in the park is just so much more enjoyable now, as are all of those little things that we take for granted most of the time, the turtles and the squirrels and the naps in the grass, the smell of concrete after a rain shower, and the lilac bushes in bloom on the street corners. I guess this is what my real happiness is…

Ramblings: Ah Jamaica!




 
I’m glad the holidays are over this year, as I really wasn’t feeling into them. I ended up regretting not going out to California or to England to be with my family, but at the same time I knew it wasn’t really going to be possible to take a whole week off, with work shifts needing to be covered, and the idea of planning a trip seemed too tiring. I felt very lethargic and uninspired for most of the month of December, in dire need of a holiday somewhere different and exciting, a new kind of adventure.

I mentioned to my mum that I wanted to go to Jamaica in January and that she should come with me. Next thing I knew we had plane tickets and a hotel room booked for a week at the end of January. All of a sudden life seems brighter again, and I have something to look forward to. A holiday in the sun in the middle of the cold New York winter, a trip to a country that I have always wanted to go to. It always seemed like some type of dream, Jamaica, but now it will finally be coming true. A real holiday, not one visiting family, but a holiday in a place I have never been to. It’s been a while since I have done something like this, as most of my time off over the past few years has been used going to California or England. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and miss them a lot, and am always happy to visit them, but I miss travelling and creating my own little adventures, discovering places and people, taking photos and being inspired to write new stories and essays and poems.

We will be flying into Montego Bay and staying there for 6 glorious days. It looks like the temperature will be around 84 degrees every day and the ocean is warm enough to swim and snorkel in. I can’t wait to wear shorts again and walk barefoot in the sand with the sun warming my face, feeling free to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I’ve never been to the Caribbean before, and I haven’t been on holiday with my mum for years so it’s going to be a wonderful holiday that we both need so much. The main point of this holiday is going to be relaxation but also adventure; neither of us wanted to stay in an all-inclusive resort for the week – I want to be able to feel safe, but also really see life in Jamaica. I know that safety is important and I doubt I will be as reckless as I was when I backpacked around Egypt in my 20’s; but I want to explore and eat and drink and dance and meet people and collect as many different impressions and stories and photos so that I can use it all at a later date in my writing and photography.

To my delight I also discovered that there is a Jazz and Blues Festival taking place in Montego Bay while we are there. I really really want to go, not only for the artists, but also just for the atmosphere. I love music and I love shows and I love being surrounded by people who love music as much as I do. That coupled with being on holiday in a new and unknown place just makes it all the more exciting! So expect many posts when I come back, full of impressions and feelings and photos and anything else I can conjure up about my trip. I doubt I will write much while I am there as I will be too busy exploring, but hopefully I will be back with a renewed creativity and motivation!