July 31, 2014 by Caroline Leland
As I mentioned in the blog post before this, my dear friend Zach extended his layover in NYC to stay with Ellie and me for two nights. It was a super-packed couple of days catching up and exploring the city together. I’m realizing that this summer I have perpetually been a tourist/host hybrid.
|the Coke can says “BFF”|
He arrived on Tuesday afternoon. As soon as he had grabbed a snack and a quick shower, we tried our best to go to a free outdoor bluegrass concert that I knew about downtown — but we arrived just as it ended. We got a Chipotle dinner with Ellie instead — something Ellie (who eats Chipotle about four times a week) was just as excited about as Zach (who requested it for his first meal back in the States after two and a half months abroad).
On Wednesday, Zach accompanied me to my grocery store tour in Bed-Stuy. As always, my work partner arrived about 15 minutes late, but this time Zach was there to help me chat with the tour participants before we were able to begin. He shadowed the tour and said he actually enjoyed it and learned some things! People are always surprised by the amount of sodium in canned vegetables and in pre-made soups, and also by the vast nutritional differences between turkey and beef (e.g. in sausage or patties).
|Even though I’m not the one who organizes the Bed-Stuy tours, I’m still great friends with the store managers. Today we gave Jon a t-shirt to thank him for his enthusiasm and dedication in helping us recruit tour participants.|
|This picture makes me laugh every time.|
After the tour, Zach and I used Yelp to find a great cheap Mexican food-truck lunch in downtown Brooklyn. Then we used Uber to find a driver who got us to the Bay Ridge Public Library, where Zach’s cousin works. The driver was disgruntled that we wanted to go to Bay Ridge and kept repeating, “Let’s go to Manhattan. We should go to Manhattan. We pick up your friend and go to Manhattan.” And we were like, “Noo, we want to go to the library…” It was 30% entertaining/funny, 30% annoying/weird and 30% awkward.
After playing with Legos and talking to Zach’s cousin in the children’s section of the library for a few minutes, we caught a train to Manhattan (tough luck, Uber driver). We chilled at a cafe downtown, where we eventually met with another Duke friend. The three of us sat and talked there for awhile and then took another Uber car to Central Park. All these rides were free because the app pays for your first ride up to $30, and also you get a free ride if your friend uses your special code when they sign up.
We walked through lower Central Park and then met with our friend Emily at 72nd street for a cheap pizza dinner. I found vegan pizza! Exciting because I’m currently experimenting with veganism. I’m mostly vegan when I cook at home, anyway, so I’m seeing what it would be like to try that all the time. It’s a gradual thing, though, and I don’t know that I’d ever do it 100%. I like cheese too much, I think, plus it’s just generally inconvenient to be vegan.
That night the four of us — Zach, Emily, Ellie and me — hung out in our apartment drinking wine and eating brownies while talking about things like mopeds and heteronormativity. It was wonderful.