It’s 4: 39 a.m., and as I read the answers culled by my questionairre, I periodically glance over my shoulder at my two-year old son. Outside, goose-like horns squawk out from the bicycles of men selling pan de sal. We have no heated water, and the weather is such that after taking a shower, I feel rejuvenated by the sensation of cold beads meeting calm air. It feels like October in New York City, but it’s July and I live in a province of the Philippines called Laguna.
This is what I’ve got so far. Is this the beginning of the article I’m writing? The book that I’m working on? A personal piece? I’m not sure yet. I only know that I just finished taking six amazingly long and study-intensive exams, our maid quit yesterday morning, and I have two hospital appointments this week (one to see my doc and one to get my urine/blood checked to make sure I’m UTI-free). I’m working on an article about 20-something New Yorkers who moved abroad during the recession, and as I’m reading answers on the questionairres I sent out, I’m feeling an angle coming into view. Something about who we are as a generation, and how our collective identity has allowed this amazing change in locale to occur and, with it, the trading of our wilder, younger days for more conventional fare made under the pretense of dramatic introspection and unbelivable adventure.
The eclecticism, the multi-culturalism, the sophistication and adrenaline rush of it all – it’s very New York. And yet, somehow, I can’t escape the feeling that in moving abroad, we’ve found the Yellow Brick Road to conventionality. It’s as if this downturn in the economy has sanctioned the shedding of our freakish skins and deemed it okay to join the masses.
Or, at least, that’s what I’ve gathered from the first couple of questionairres. Let’s see what the rest of them have to say!