Eighteen months after finding myself in Brooklyn with a job at a reputable supportive housing non-profit, I am saying farewell to downtown Brooklyn and moving on. It's time for a new network and new experiences and, I'm almost sad to say, a new part of town. Instead of spending most of my time in Brooklyn, my new office is on the Upper West Side... and with school starting in just a few weeks, I will now be spending more time outside this borough than in it. Until now I was one of the few people I have met since moving to New York that not only lived in Brooklyn, but worked here too. Trading my glorious "commute" (read: a 15-20 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride) for an hour on the subway will be an adjustment, but I'm getting excited at the prospect of uninterrupted time to read and listen to music. Optimism, people.
Although there were ways in which my job made me unhappy and frustrated, I was very lucky to find employment when I did-- especially because, I hope, the negatives have only served to make me more patient and tolerant. I loved getting to interact with people every day. Both my coworkers and the tenants of the apartment building made each day into a story to tell.
Neomie was the rent administrator at the office and sat at the desk to my left. She is of Indian descent but came to New York from Trinidad about ten years ago. She is a gem of a person-- warm, motherly, hilarious, not to mention a fantastic cook. I will miss our chats and neverending inside jokes, saving each other from the tenants' lengthy TMI-filled conversations with a quick (fake) phone conference, and her infinite wisdom. I will miss her curry chicken, and the breakfast potatoes she makes on birthdays, and her chickpea salad (pronounced sa-lahd). Fortunately I will be able to think of her by throwing garlic, cilantro, carrot, and chickpeas in a bowl with a squeeze of lime juice. I hope to master her curry chicken recipe after she hands it off to me on my last day tomorrow.
As for her lilting Trinidadian accent and advice on womanly matters and men, I will have to rely on either memory or text messages. But, in the meantime, at least I will have her chickpea salad recipe.
Neomie's Chickpea Sa-lahd
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 onion, diced
A handful of chadon beni, or cilantro
Mix all ingredients together, preferably in the kitchen of your workplace. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve alongside your favorite chicken recipe. Then, after talking about the latest in office gossip, RuPaul's Drag Race (even if you've never seen it), and the men in your life, get back to work.