Thursday, September 09, 2010

goodbye to all that


Today at Rosh Hashanah dinner, I must have been asked 20 times where in India I'm going and what I'm going to do there for two months. The response remains: I don't know. I'm India-bound tomorrow (!!) because I miss my pretend older sister and my godson, and it's a fascinating country that's so different from everything here. It's fun to let Prati do most of the choosing, because she knows what's there, what I enjoy and how to combine them. Not knowing exactly what's going to happen doesn't bother me. Unlike that family trip to San Francisco where it was necessary to book tickets to Alcatraz months in advance, in India the most basic things are so different—monkeys instead of squirrels! Saris instead of jeans!—that just taking a stroll feels interesting and new.

That said, the follow-up question to explaining away worried puzzlement that I mostly don't know where I'll be in the next couple months is, "Are you excited?"

Surprisingly, no, not yet. I hate going through customs and sitting still for the amount of time it takes to get from New York to Delhi. And I still miss Ridgefield a heck of a lot more than I ever thought I would. What 25-year-old former city dweller on a reporter salary falls for an affluent bedroom community full of older folks and young families? This one does, it turns out. A friend recapped earlier:

 Friend: you can live many places
 me: sweetheart so can anybody
Friend: nope
me: ok then explain in more words
 Friend: nope
 me: people our age who have lived in ny are not supposed to like suburbia
  full of old people
 Friend: yes. but you are good at finding people and making them feed you
 me: yes, because otherwise i'm hungry
Friend: doesn't matter why
 me: is that not a normal skill?
 Friend: nope
 me: i actually didn't realize that. people are so willing to feed me
so now i know: i need a cute baby, a good yoga studio and a few friends around with a job i like and i'm good
  so that shouldn't be too hard
 Friend: nope
 me: oh—and a coffee shop
Friend: yes yes
 me: but contrary to recent practice, my yoga teacher doesn't actually have to be married to its proprietor. that was just an added bonus

I miss said yoga teacher and her studio's atmosphere. Even though I've carved out time for practice these past few days, and I now have the same necklace she and one other yogi regularly wear as a reminder of the person I want to be and the practice I want to be devoted to, I already feel disconnected, untethered. (The necklace says "truth" in Sanskrit, which I'm hoping doesn't make me one of those wannabe Indian westerners if I continue to wear it during my trip.) There's no getting around the fact that my moving out ends my consistent study there. I miss, too, my yoga pal and his wife—both entertaining, quirky, smart and kind—and their two amazing children. I miss a friendship that grew just before I left. I miss living two seconds from an organic farm's roadside stand, open seven days a week.

My job was untenable, and I didn't have the time to do anything as well as I'm able, and I leaped because I want to try and build a future closer to the one in my dreams (Hi Harper's and New Yorker and Wall Street Journal, I love you!). But I'm friends with and respect my former Fairfield County coworkers, I believe in the importance of what the journalism folks at Patch are trying to do, and I unexpectedly grew ever so fond of my adopted town. I chose to leave, but it's turned out to be the hardest choice I've ever made.

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