My homesickness renders me more American than I had ever imagined and a cafe lunch of grilled cheese (cheddar) on rye with dill pickles and chips becomes homage to a life that I've missed. Ethiopian food exceeds my expectations with red lentils so spicy and distinct in their cinnamon flavor that Emily and I are in love with Zoma forever. An after dinner trip to a store called Organic Forever and my bag is filled with snacks of dried cranberry trail mix, small boxes of soy milk. fruit leathers, my dearly missed Barbara and her Shredded Spoonfuls, and Dr. Brommer's galore.
New York was a whirlwind of root beer and soy bacon cheeseburgers, of kukicha tea and endless cups of green carried down the street just because I could. Enormous Whole Foods and fingers trailing along the Dagoba bars for my two favorites knowing that these are nothing compared to what I can get in Paris, but buying Lavendar and Roseberry anyway. Tiny bagels with guar gum filled Philadelphia and a fat cinnamon-raisin one with a cup of Chai in a cafe that stinks of coffee beans and Sunday mornings and the Times in my hand and it could beat out a Sunday walking along the Seine.
And there was Mexican - huevos rancheros in the West Village at a tiny cafe that Sara seemed to pull out of pocket, enchiladas with mole and salsa verde after a basket of chips with salsa as orange as queso fundito if it were made of Velveeta and guacamole at our table. At Zabar's, I bypass refried beans to stick Vermont Cabot Cheddar and peanut butter in my bag.
I return with a larger suitcase after breaking the small one and filling my bags with more sweatshop filled clothing than I imagined from Old Navy and Urban Outfitters, no yoga mat, and piles of magazines. I have no idea how my job interview went, it was as rigorous as I could have imagined and tiring and led me to some of the best homemade mozzerella west of Italy, but I feel lucky to have gone and seen friends and embraced consumerism and follow election coverage in real time. I find out on Friday how it went.