So I got lost today. In the Harriman State Park, without a cell phone reception, or a trail map, or anyone knowing where I was. Which is funny-ha-ha now, but wasn’t so funny a few hours ago when I had the panicky thought that one day a deer will stumble over my not-so-scrumptious remains, sniff snootily and wander off again.
I mean, how hard can it be to navigate through the forest, when there are clearly marked trails? Obviously I’m not the experienced hiker I think myself to be. In the city, it’s easier to orientate yourself. Besides the simple grid structure, there are clear signposts such as the Pret A Manger corner store, the cute little church, the California Pizza Kitchen, Duane Reade, and the like. But in the forest?
Anyways, I finally did manage to retrace my steps and find my way back, and I can tell you, I was never so glad to see a familiar tree.
I’m not usually scared of stuff or of life in general, but this time…. So for the next hike, I will make sure to have a map with me. And definitely more food in my backpack.
The weather this week has been fantastic, and I’m trying to cram in as many hikes in as possible before Saturday. That’s our official move-in day, and after that, Alex will need to use our car to commute 45 minutes to work, and the frequency of my beloved nature walks will be determined by public transport, or lack thereof. I feel like the Catholic who’s intentionally overdosing right before Lent.
Speaking of religious observances. All Hallows’ Eve came and went. And thanks to Chad and Paula, we had a fabulous time. Spent the weekend in the cutest little area of the world, ever. Taking walks, eating loads, playing dress up, scaring little children.
Alex and I stayed at a quaint little B&B on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, across the bridge from the sweet village of Stockton, New Jersey.
We took a stroll by the tow path along the river and chatted with friendly dog-owners and had brunch at a cozy place called Lovin’ Oven with Paula, Chad and their lovely friends. I ordered gluten and dairy free apple jacks, Alex had a pomegranate and apple juice. After which followed a walk through the twee Frenchtown with our new-found friends. That night, after the sun has set, the whole town was ablaze in all things Halloween – pumpkins and spooky things – and we partook in the festivities.
What was amazing was how graciously we were welcomed in people’s homes, where strangers came up and talked to us out of curiosity and friendliness. Among the many lovely people we met on the weekend was a filmmaker, a cookbook author and chef and a photographer. I’m like ‘Are you kidding me?’ It took me forever to find like-minded creatives in Munich, and here it happens just like that, 5 weeks into our stay. The whole weekend was as sweet and as American as apple pie. We had such a blast, I think we will have to go back again.
All of that thanks to our friends. It is such a blessing to know Paula and Chad. They give our new and strange day-to-day a normality. They’ve helped us adjust, introduced us to new places, shared their friends.
The two of them also lived in Munich at one point. Chad and I first met through a mutual friend way back when. Expats the world over know how important the right friends are. Without relatives around, your friends become family. You bond, fight, laugh and cry; you go through the worst and best moments of your lives together; you’re each other’s support. Even if we’re a bit more spread out now, our gang is still quite strongly connected to each other, and I think and hope that we will always be. Besitos! to Paula and Chad, and to the gang, for being part of our lives.
So on that note, I will listen to some more gamelan I think. One day, I will be master of my gangsa! (insert evil laughter) Until then, practice, practice, and more practice. Oi vey.