Goodbye, 2011!

I saw out 2010 going to the top of the Empire State building, watching Black Swan a block from Lincoln Center, seeing all of the major department store displays around New York City.  Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor’s…

Dinner was Korean food at a fantastic little place in Koreatown, Woorijip, where I had kimchi, daikon wraps, sweet meatballs, spicy mackerel, cellophane noodles, sauteed bok choi and shiitakes, and a glutinous rice goop reminiscent of angel food cake combined with an eraser.

I began 2011 at 57th and 7th in New York City, just having watched the ball drop in Times Square.  I was exhilarated, having seen in the New Year in one of my favorite cities on earth with almost one million people.   Over the next year I would:

  • pass through Chicago, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Columbus (OH), Harrisburg (PA), New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore (MD), Lancaster (PA), Boston, Cairo, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Alexandria, Milan, Nice
  • taste camel, bison, squab, escargot, a hot pastrami sandwich, cuttlefish, prickly pear cactus juice, real New England clam chowder in New England, Ethiopian food, deep-dish pizza, an egg cream, authentic fool and falafel, bulgogi, whoopie pies, hibiscus juice, carob juice, guava juice, arugula juice, a Rochester Garbage Plate, sugar cane, fried cheese, jalapeño ice cream, herring stomach, chocolate-covered honeycombs, foie gras, kunafa, toasted sesame ice cream…
  • dye my hair red, ash blonde, add highlights and then chop off 13 inches
  • ride on a motorcycle, a camel, a TGV train, and a feluka
  • swim in 3 different oceans
  • visit one of the oldest markets in the world (the Khan el Khalili), the Hanging Church in Cairo, El Azhar mosque, the Saladin Citadel, the Central Park Zoo, both branches of Air and Space, Natural History, Newseum, the Freer Gallery, the American History Museum, Museum of the American Indian, the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (life changing!), the Library of Alexandria, LOVE park, the Chicago Bean, Strawberry Fields, the Louvre, the Cairo Tower, the Jersey Shore, the Great Pyramids at Giza
  • see Dorothy’s slippers, Michael Jackson’s hat and gloves, Julia Child’s kitchen, and the original Muppets
  • feed a  fawn, a lama, and a dromedary out of my hand
  • witness an earthquake, even though I was in a notary’s office and didn’t really feel anything
  • figure out how to solve all the world’s problems with a 44-year old West Virginian lady who had never been West of the Mississippi and 75-year old African American lady who had seen Malcolm X speak on a Megabus ride to Pittsburgh
  • hear the story of a Romanian grandmother who had been a voice actress dubbing banned foreign movies in Ceausescu’s regime, but was now an aide to mentally challenged children in Quebec public schools–again, on a Megabus ride to Rochester
  • take belly dance classes
  • learn how to tie a hijab properly
  • witness just how low people can sink into desperation, namely the time I sat across from a woman on the New York City subway at 2 AM who was crying over the muppet puppet in her lap
  • stop biting my nails
  • totter around in 8 inch heels (3 inch platform, 5 inch heel) at the Topshop store in New York City
  • make some very bad jokes
  • learn about identifying human remains and all the icky stuff that surrounds it (yeah Forensic Anthropology!)
  • attend one of the last performances of the Merce Cunningham dance company
  • see Fleet Foxes, Ben Folds, Emmylou Harris, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Booker T, Ke$ha, a Sudanese music ensemble, and Jukebox the Ghost  live in concert
  • watch three separate whirling dervish shows, including one that lit up
  • spend 3 months living and studying in Egypt
  • lose 20 pounds
  • start this blog
  • witnessed a country remaking itself, from revolution to reaction to election.
  • meet a great many people, many of them movers and shakers or future movers and shakers in the world
  • open my brain a little further

2011 has truly been a fantastic year and (I hope) the start of a lifelong adventure.  I have done a lot, seen a lot, heard a lot, ate a lot, and met a lot of inspiring people who have helped me to open my mind and my perceptions of the world at large.  Thank you for being along for the ride these 3 and a half months and may your New Year be as incredible as the last.

!في صحتك Prost! Cheers! Skål! Proost! Kanpai! Santé! Cin Cin! Sláinte!

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” -Thornton Wilder

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Filed under America, Egypt, France, In Transit, Suburbia

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