September flew. It was easily the fastest month of this year.
Before writing this post, I flicked back to my September 2019 recap, and felt so grateful but also a little melancholic for how much fun we were having – I think it was one of the best months I’d had since I moved and I remember being so excited and happy, feeling like all of my dreams had come true.
Life had started to finally click into place. I got my dream job, I was planning the trip back to Australia to get my US working visa. We had lunch at Eleven Madison Park, one of the best restaurants in the world, thanks to the generous going away gift from my former colleagues in Australia. Our friends Marlo & Josh visited from Australia and stayed with us for a few days, and our street was filled with life with the St Gennaro festival. I visited Chicago for a few days, my first solo trip in the USA.
I’m still having fun, albeit in different ways, but that blissful September does feel like a lifetime ago. This month has been a strange one so far. This year has been an emotional rollercoaster, and I’ve certainly found parts of September to have some real lows. I’ve loved having big chats on the phone with my family and friends from Australia. I’m really missing home.
I spent Labor Day on the North Fork, for work, because a political documentary series covering the upcoming election was filming a scene at the outdoor dining area of one of our restaurants. I took a pile of books to The Strand, got $12 for approximately 10 books. Because I’m using it as a store credit, I get a 50% bonus so I’ll have $18 credit which will probably be enough for a new Book – not bad! To be honest, the exchange program isn’t the best value, given than all of the books were less than 18 months old and either new titles or classics, including a hardback new release, but at least I’ve de-cluttered a little bit.
I’m including this blurry photo of Times Square below, because I popped up here out of the subway recently, en route to meet friends in Hells Kitchen, and I was totally disoriented – I had to check a map to check which way I was meant to be going. Then I realized I was standing on the corner of the building where I used to work, and I didn’t recognize it at all because it is so empty now.
I love Washington Square Park. It’s my favourite park in the city, because it always has a lovely buzzing energy, plenty of cute dogs and I love the fountain, arch and the view of the Empire State Building peeping through. It’s a short walk from our apartment, so I’m trying to spend more time. I went for a walk there by myself this month when I needed to clear my head and think about a few things, and I am so grateful to have such a lovely spot to do that.
On my way to The Strand, I passed the lovely Grace Church – aren’t these grounds beautiful!?
The Met! & Central Park
I was SO excited this month to finally go back to The Met. One of the things I miss most about pre-covid life is being able to witness beautiful art (and listen to it at concerts), and I totally took this for granted before – who would imagine a world without art galleries, museums and concerts? David, Lachlan and I had brunch at The Loyal, and on a whim David and I decided to head uptown afterwards to try our luck at The Met. You have to book time slots ahead of time now, but one of the perks of David’s work is that he and a guest can get free entry – but these tickets are only bookable at the front desk. I was delighted that we were able to get straight in on the day!
We re-visited the Egyptian, Medieval and Classical sections, and also saw two great new exhibits: one is a series of recreated apartments from France in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a new exhibition in the British Galleries about the phenomenon of tea & tea culture, including lots of beautiful tea pots and ceramics. It was so nice to be in the presence of so much art and creative beauty again.
Afterwards, we hung out in Central Park for a bit, watching the clouds. It was so nice.
Birthday celebrations in Williamsburg
My friend Sally celebrated her birthday at a friend’s place in Williamsburg this year, and invited me along – it was so nice to meet her friends Bryn, Vic and Caroline, it was such a fun evening. I really miss hanging out with a group of girls! It was also so nice to meet some new people, something I haven’t really done since pre-covid. After her birthday drinks, I met David and Lachlan in Hell’s Kitchen, because Lachlan had organized drinks with a bunch of his work friends – more meeting nice people! I really miss meeting people and making new friends, another thing I didn’t realize I was taking for granted.
Eating & Drinking
One Saturday, on our regular Coffee run, we were very sad to find that one of our favourite local coffee shops, Cafe Grumpy, had closed. It’s the second nice little coffee shop to close in our area, which is a little bit sad.
We wandered a little further south and instead went to Two Hands, an Australian coffee shop with some of the friendliest staff around. We had coffee & snacks, and the chef came out at the end to ask what we thought of his brie & toast (and other bits I now forget) special. We didn’t get a full brunch, but we have before and the food here is always SO good.
David, Lachlan and I had brunch at The Loyal, which I always love and has a delicious new brunch menu and range of new brunch cocktails. It’s so nice on the patio there at the moment.
With the cooler weather, I decided to make French Onion Soup – super easy and SO heartwarming and delicious.
The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett – I was so excited to finally get my hot little hands on one of the buzziest books of the summer. I am obsessed. I was worried that it wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype, but it was honestly even better. One of my favourite pieces of fiction, ever.
The Lost Man by Jane Harper – No one writes rural Australia like Jane Harper. The British-born, Australian-based author writes thrilling crime and mystery novels that beautifully capture rural Australian life and
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood – I read most of this on a same-day return bus trip to and from the North Fork.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo – This one has been on lots of anti-racism reading lists, and for good reason. Oluo’s work is frank, humble, intelligent and urgent. While it’s similar to Layla F Saad’s Me & White Supremacy, and discusses many of the same concepts, I’d still recommend reading both if you’re educating yourself about the way systemic racism is embedded in our culture – and in ourselves.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Septys – I read this one for Book Club, and devoured it in a couple of days. It’s a very easy read, although the subject matter is heavy – set during Franco’s Spain, it focuses on life under a fascist dictatorship, and one particularly disturbing government scheme that continued into the early 1980s and has affected thousands of Spaniards. Only in recent years has this scheme come to light, because for a long time after Franco’s rule ended, many of the country’s darkest secrets were swept under the rug in an effort to help the country move forward.
Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore – A little esoteric, but a really interesting read, Care of the Soul contemplates the ways we can live a more full life. This is totally different to anything I’ve read before about happiness, philosophy, and the good life, and I found this perspective very comforting and grounding in a turbulent time.
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