Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

Since yesterday was my very first Thanksgiving in the States, I feel it would be proper for me to give some thanks. First of all, the biggest ever thank you to Ivan, for surviving me during the last months of mood-swings, attacks of defeatism and nostalgia. Thanks to all friends old and new for their support during the same difficult period. Thank you to my school for keeping me too busy to be crazy all the time. Thanks to all the pilgrims and slaughtered Native Americans, and decimated turkey populations for making this holiday what it is, and enabling me to have two days off from work and school. Finally thanks to those of you who still keep reading this.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Keeping in Touch

On Sunday, I’ve had kind of a crappy day. In line with my bourn-again-student life, I work in a restaurant. This is certainly not as stressful and demanding as my “serious” job back in Belgrade, but nevertheless it can be exhausting, especially in combination with all the work I need to do for school. Basically, I haven’t had more than 3 hours of absolute free time in the last couple of months. But Sunday was a particularly bad day at work. A gray rainy day, when everyone wishes they had stayed in bed and a restaurant terribly overcrowded with demanding customers amount to cranky colleagues, a charged atmosphere and a lot of shouting all around. If I ever have to make another skim-milk decaf cappuccino in my entire life it will be an eternity too soon. On the way home I also managed to get hit by a bycicle while talking with Ivan on the phone, which left a big scratch on my right knee.

When I got home I checked my e-mail. Nobody wrote. In fact, nobody has written in several days. In my grumpy mood, I started to get irritated. Most friends, when they do write, begin with : “Where have you guys been” or “Why don’t you write” and my letters similarly contain a version of “Sorry I haven’t written in so long but… (good excuse)”. Well I don’t want to apologize any more. I don’t want to sound like some sort of victim, as I am not, but it’s my life that has been turned upside down. It is I who has to adjust and cope every day with unknown situations in a new environment. All my friends and family and everything I know have been carried away by the planet, rotating away under my airplane. For those still in Belgrade, only one person is gone, their lives go on as normal, and still they manage to criticize this one distant friend, who’s probably too busy to write as he’s spending his millions in fancy NY nightclubs (I wish).

Anyway, this is all in the past. Like good Diaspora Serbs we picked ourselves up that Sunday evening and went to a new friend’s belated allegedly slava-related dinner party. Had some good food, drank wine. On top of that I am now beginning to discover the charms of Facebook, so no more criticism. Now I only have to explain how come, contrary to everyone’s expectations our life is just so ordinary and normal.

Friday, November 16, 2007

On Adjusting...

We took the taxi home after a night at the opera. Driving up the ramps of Queensborough Bridge on a rainy night you can look down Manhattan’s glimmering avenues. Fog rising from the East River makes the thousands of headlights soft and blurry. Between the elegant iron arches of the bridge and the fluttering canvas of the construction work you can see the dark water and the huge city shining around it. It’s easy to forget that you live by the sea if you always move underground.

Our life in New York is finally moving beyond resolving problems, beyond just bills and school and work. We’re making friends, we’re finding time. Yesterday was a friend’s opening night. Her costumes were wonderful. The whole production was witty and intelligent and fun. Afterwards, it felt a bit like Belgrade - we mingled and sipped punch. I loved being introduced as the photographer friend for the first time. On the way home I smelled the sea air and was happy that we’re beginning to enjoy our new home.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Across the Universe … from a Good Film

What a disappointment. I have to stop getting all excited about movie trailers. This film is a quasi-artistic, pretentious Moulin-Rouge wannabe, with a story that doesn’t really work, songs that were forcefully squeezed in, bad acting and characters you don’t really like. It did not move me a bit, and I tend to get emotional…

The good side is that it brought the Beatles back, quite a few great songs that I had completely forgotten about. And visually, there are some great scenes. New York looks wonderful, and living here now gives you a whole new perspective, but I have the feeling that the film was made only to link together a couple of pretty cool music videos. I don’t think that was enough.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Live for the Holidays

It’s the 3rd of November. Lights in the shape of snowflakes have popped up today in this corner of Queens. Shops are already starting to replace their spiders and skeletons with reindeers and snowmen. Just a few days ago the whole city was pumpkin-mad. I rode the subway with cavemen and commandos, I went to school with vampires and geishas. Today we’re already preparing for Christmas. I’m starting to understand. It seems people like to go a bit crazy during those two minutes of free time they have each week. If it means being allowed to go to work as the Wicked Witch of the East, all the better. It’s busy in America. I’ve been studying and working, plotting an unlikely big comeback to this blog and dreaming of having a weekend.