it wasn't my typical holiday this past december. i spent a lot of time in new york with my sister and her family and it was such a refreshing time for me. it was really cold and special. every morning i would wake up and look out the window, touch that chilly glass and just look out to the busy streets of the bronx. people bundled up would pass by seemingly comfortable with their city and their weather.
with this scene as a background, i would grab my book - which at the time was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - and a nice cup of coffee. A perfect compliment to my time in the bronx. [If you are interested in dominican history and dominicans in new york, this would be a good book for you. ]
being dominican myself, i felt so wrapped up in a bubble of my culture that i hadn't sensed in awhile. this little hole in new york, this little corner where my sister lives is full of dominicans and the culture, the food, the hair parlors, the smells and the coffee. oh the coffee.
you see dominican people are special. our homes are decorated differently. our food is seasoned differently and for the women, it's all about the hair. and we work real hard at it. i mean caribbean girls have extremely curly hair or extremely nappy hair or nice easy-care waves. nonetheless, the norm is mostly the tight kinky curls - sample picture above - which needs a lot of work to straighten out. unlike most of the dominican women in my life and the majority of the dominican women in the island, i happily style my natural hair. you see, curly hair is not typically the accepted style. mostly women spend hours and tons of money at hair salons to get rid of curls, while i spent tons of hours and money trying to maintain my curls. i've come accross comments from the family pleading with me to get a perm to straighten it out.
ugh, being there done that and it doesn't fit me. you see my hair is a special part of me.
to my surprise i saw plenty of girls with their natural hair in new york. even in the cold. which i thought would be difficult to maneuver, but actually it made my hair perfect. i live in a humid sunshine state where the curls usually don't feel very welcomed. but new york and it's cold, freakishly cold weather, loved it. all this surely made me feel at home. a home away from home.
i enjoyed the time with family and family that are more like an extended family, because you'll notice that everyone is your cousin when you are domincan, or hispanic period.
it was just what i needed to end a tough year. i needed a sense of home, a sense of assurance, of warmth in a cup and those crazy hugs from a 4 year old who loves her auntie. i needed this time away to recover and uncover more truth about me and my identity. i also needed the days of just nothing but warm woolly socks, continuous coffee and continuous reading. i was completely disconnected - i accidentally left my iphone back home and being without it for about 4 days was the most liberating of experiences.
and then there was snow. it was actually very little those days i was there, but one day it decided to rain and then some snow and i just had to go outside and enjoy. it was freezing for me. but it was beautiful. and i loved it so. it's truly the little things that count.