Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I ate Tibetan dumplings in Jackson Heights

Never Done: I ate Tibetan dumplings in Jackson Heights

It's not really the greatest adventure Never Done ever, but it's one of those wonderful ones that come from noticing what's special about where you are, in the moment. Here's what happened. I woke up in Karen and Andy's house in Northbrook, Illinois -- a Chicago suburb. Karen brought Josh and me to the airport. We flew home to New York -- to Laguardia. Josh and I got in a cab that dropped me in Jackson Heights, and then took Josh to Brooklyn -- with all my luggage. I was about to hop right on the subway to go to work, when I realized that I was in Jackson Heights, and hungry, and why would I ever want to go to the Upper West Side to get lunch, when I could get lunch in Jackson Heights, which is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the country, and has an incredibly diverse array of restaurants and food trucks as well.

I do think I've changed as a result of this Never Done year, because instead of doing something safe and known, I decided to walk around the corner to Broadway and just see what was there. And what was there was a Tibetan dumpling house, and so I went in and ordered vegetable Momo. I'd never had momo, and they were absolutely delicious. I ate them as I rode the 7 train in to work -- as I thought about how much I missed Lake Michigan, and how much I loved my week away, but how good it's been for me to always try to find something to appreciate about where I am.

There's a Yiddish (Bundist) political ideology called doikayt -- hereness -- that is centered around the idea that we should fight for our rights, and for social justice, in the place in which we live -- rather than to look elsewhere (Israel, for example) for our happiness. While eating dumplings is not part of a righteous struggle for political freedom, noticing that I am in Jackson Heights, and taking the time to appreciate what is right in front of me is at least on the same spectrum as doikayt. And I even can make a case that it's a struggle for freedom -- freedom from longing for something else, and freedom from complacency and routine. Wow, I might have just convinced myself that eating dumplings is actually an act of personal liberation, rooted in Bundist ideology. Stop me before I make a case for dumplings for the Republican ticket. Can't be any worse that Bachman, Perry, and Romney!

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