sundays are for trader joe's pilgrimages (nyc day 4)
It's only taken me about a day to realize that the grocery stores within walking distance from me charge awfully high prices for subpar groceries, so today I decided to make the trek to Trader Joe's (twice). Lugging bags of groceries back home on the subway reminds me how I've overlooked the importance of access to cheap, healthy food. If I were to go back a few months, I'd tell my past self to pay closer attention to things like proximity to good grocery & convenience stores. Now, I'd happily pay a hundred more dollars a month in rent to be a block from a Target or a Trader Joe's. The time I'd save is worth more than that difference.
Tomorrow I start work again, after a long four-day weekend. I'm dreading it. I remember being so stressed on Wednesday that I contemplated canceling my time off and working over the weekend, but after four days of hooliganism my brain is empty so I have to find my bearings all over again. It's going to be a long week. I still have to figure out how to do laundry at the laundromat and other exciting adulting things so stay tuned.
Friends have asked me many times if I'm having a good time moving to New York, and the truth is I've been having lots of fun. I've met up with close friends and spent irresponsible amounts of money shopping & eating good food. But contentment and peace are proving elusive. Even though I'm objectively having a much better time than I was back home living with my parents, I don't have the romantic idea of a summer in a new city to look forward to anymore, because that summer is here now and I don't feel like it was the change I secretly hoped it would be. My brain has easily caught up to this new speed on its hedonic treadmill, asking me Is this it?
I think if I distilled down my life wisdom into a few points, one of my aphorisms would be this: don't overestimate the ability of external factors to effect internal change. You won't magically find happiness or become a new person when you go to college or start a new job or find love or move to a new city. Your life isn't a book; you can't simply turn a page and start a new chapter. Don't wait for arbitrary signposts like the new year to make resolutions. Real change starts inside you and means making difficult decisions over and over again.
I miss a lot of things right now: simpler times from childhood, my parents back at home, my best friends in other cities, and even the friends I saw hours ago. But most of all I miss the kind of comfort that comes with knowing that someone out there, no matter how far, wants to hold my hand and stick by my side through thick and thin. That kind of reassurance is hard to replace.
Sunday, May 14th, 2023
- I bought a tamal oaxaqueño for $2.50 that blew my mind from a lady selling them on the eastern corner of 36 St and 4th Ave in Sunset Park. The tamal was hot, moist, and stuffed with tender, spicy chicken. I regret not noting the phone number on her pushcart, because I don't want to make that trek to Sunset Park all over again just to get those tamales again but I might have to. A good reminder that street vendors, especially ones that make just a single item from scratch at home, can be so good and to try to patronize them whenever possible.
- (I loooove tamales. They're everything I love about food: unpretentious, inexpensive, simple, portable, and nourishing. Tamales might not thrill my tastebuds like oysters do, but they comfort me like my mother's home cooking does.)
- I ate bingsoo at Grace Street Coffee and Desserts (17 W 32nd St, New York NY 10001). The XOXO bingsoo (sweet milk cream and strawberries, $17) was good but nothing to write home about.
- For dinner I tried the kimchi cheese dakgalbi @ Hong Chun Cheon Dak Galbi (2 W 32nd St, New York NY 10001). Like most things in K-town it was a bit underwhelming, and I don't know if I'd recommend it.
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