Diaspora Diaries, Chapter 6: Metamorpho-city

I have run through yet another box of cereal. I eat so much cereal, it’s amazing that I still crave it at the end of the day. In Trinidad, I never ate much of it really. It was an occasional sort of thing for lazy mornings, or midnight munchies. It wasn’t something I bought often, and I had to be in the mood for it. Plus, all that sugar! In New York, I have more cereal than I do water. Even writing this, I feel to pour myself a bowl.

Day to day life is definitely different. Simple tasks can be so much more difficult. The little things I took for granted at home, are shaking their asses at me, with the satisfaction of an ex who you see out with their new squeeze.

Yesterday I went to the supermarket…. by train. Imagine a 5 foot tall girl carrying 35 lbs of food between a backpack and a near ripping fabric tote through the streets, then waiting for a train for 10 minutes in a crowded subway, then being jammed up in said train with a dozen obnoxiously raucous teenagers, standing for 5 stops, then walking another 9 mins to get to her building, where she lives on the fourth floor sans elevator. Here, this story is not worth a blink.

But after coming from a routine of having my groceries escorted to my car where I then easily drove them five minutes to my house with one flight of 16 steps, the train ride for groceries was an ordeal. I keep staring at the food in the fridge with the same sort of look my mother gives me when she’s about to delve into her “You know what i went through to bring you into this world” spiel.

New York is changing me, as I obviously anticipated. It’s mainly the little things I notice. The cereal for one. It’s cheap, full of fibre and requires no cooking. Issa meal. A lot of my friends turn to Cheerios for dinner; normal. Other little things would be my shoes of choice. I wear sneakers daily. I am told constantly how short I am. Thanks guys, I didn’t realise until you pointed it out. I always wore heels or wedges in Trinidad. If I did that here, my shoes (and feet) would need to be thrown in the garbage every week. I looked at the soles of all my shoes recently. Their mileage is definitely showing. I can’t believe I’m a sneakers person. I’ve previously only ever worn sneakers to school, or the gym, that one time I ever exercised. Same with backpacks. I legit walk around with a backpack and sneakers like a thirteen year old boy.

A couple weeks ago I recognized another impact living in New York has had on me; my concept of safety. It’s a far cry from Norway, but I surely feel safer here than I did in Trinidad. I’m oblivious to danger in some cases.

Ignorance can be bliss, or it can be dumb. Me taking the train home at 1 am from Harlem to Brooklyn? That was probably dumb.

Some fears have stayed the same, such as how I feel about school children. It seems high schools all over the world breed scary mofos. I walked by a group of school kids fighting one day. They were wild, and I had nowhere else to pass except for cuff-to-face range with these kids. Babylon pulled up and I thought “Oh Jesus. Am I going to witness one of those White Cop, innocent Black victim shootings?”  I’m mostly law abiding, save a couple instances of jay-walking here and there, but the sight of the police here makes me nervous. I wanted to run, but then he might shoot me. Overthinking on a hunnit. These children did not share my fear. They were giving the cops the finger, laughing in their faces, mocking the siren… madness. Don’t they watch the news! I don’t know what happened next because I slid outta there like I was bathed in KY Jelly.

New York is great. I’m loving every expensive moment of it, and I am so intrigued to see what other impressions it is making on me. It is a colourful place against a concrete background. You can get anything you want, available at anytime once you’re willing to go for it. And that it the moral of this whole experience, isn’t it?

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