These is a photo collage of some shots from back in August when I moved and we took a little afternoon trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
I’ve missed you. I really have.
I’m sorry I’ve skipped so many of your recent birthdays. There was the time I was digging in Italy in 2008. And that other time I was digging in Italy in 2009. 2010 I made it to New York! In 2011, I almost forgot it was your birthday at all and spent it in Rome with friends, trying to find a good burger (for the record, that was not my idea that time). We had figured Hard Rock Café was our best bet; when we arrived, we realized it was more crowded than usual because it was July 4th. The wait was 90 minutes. We ended up eating at a bar near Piazza Bologna.
And last year. Well, last year I didn’t technically miss it. I saw your fireworks from the plane as we departed the capital; on the tail of the fireworks was a storm, I think. Booms filled the air, in any case. Your favorite colors did, too.
For the past few days, I’ve had three songs stuck in my head on repeat:
“New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra
“NYC” from the Broadway musical, Annie (aka one of my favorite musicals of all-time, especially at age five)
“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys.
Why, you ask?
BECAUSE THAT’S MY FIRST STOP STATESIDE. And although it’s not technically my home in that I don’t legally reside there, it feels like home (and I’d love for it to be someday).
I could barely contain my excitement during my flight. When we finally touched down at JFK, I had a huge crazy person grin on my face. The sun was setting and as I made my way from the terminal and entered the fray of the MTA to get into the city, as I heard not only English but Russian and Mandarin and thick Bronx accents, I saw Chelsea Papaya and Doughnut Plant and my crazy person grin fit right in.