Monday, November 1, 2010

Why a Good Night's Sleep (and Walk) is a Cure-All

I walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn today. It's not as bad as it sounds - just crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and coming back. I also slept until 7:30am, which is considered "sleeping in," for me. I woke up feeling revived from the previous few weeks. Sleeping well is rather like how I feel after eating a satisfying meal, almost. I was dressed with a slight Halloween twist from the morning, since today's yoga practice was the annual "Halloween Mysore" session. It appears that the "genie" idea is very conducive to practicing in costume, since both my teacher and I were wearing "genie pants" (harem pants). She had a blue wig on though. I had a white OM scarf around my waist that I eventually tore off and flung to the side as the practice went on. My other teacher, however, came in a tutu and long-haired wig. When he was helping me with dropbacks today, it took three tries for me to stop cracking up so we could actually proceed. As I was practicing yoga today, I kept becoming aware of the various muscles of my legs and ligaments of my hip joints. I'd just spent the previous day poring over the numerous muscles and ligaments of the lower extremities, and the fruit of those hours was that now my mind would suddenly screech that my gastrocnemius muscle was cramping. Anyways, after practice, another student inquired how the pants worked out for me during practice. I replied that they were surprisingly comfortable, aside from garbha pindasana, where you have to thread your arms through your legs in full lotus, and I had a hard time pushing my hands through the extra yardage of fabric.

After practice, it was so nice and sunny outside that I couldn't return back to my study cell right away. I took the subway down to the Brooklyn Bridge and decided to do the touristy activity of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. I passed by clusters of tourists angling their way to the most picturesque view of the Manhattan skyscrapers. The Statue of Liberty shimmered in the distance and I casually stepped around (and into) foreigners' excited photography of the Manhattan skyline. Couples rode by on tandem bikes and small hordes of tourists dressed in peacoats, windbreakers, and jeans on rental bicycles narrowly missed running me over as I took a brisk walk to the other side of the bridge.

It was just too beautiful outside and I couldn't bear to descend into the bowels of the subway, so on a whim, I followed a sign pointing to Chinatown. I didn't have my phone with me, and wondered briefly whether I might get lost. Chinatown was perfect today. Not crowded yet. Lots of old ah-ma's out early for grocery-shopping, and groups of yuppie foodies scouting for the best hole-in-the-walls. I gravitated towards the $1 boxes of blackberries, and to my amazement, found guava for sale! It was hardly a "sale" though. $4/lb, but I still got two. I can hardly resist anything that reminds me of Taiwan, of home, or of good times in the past in general. I came across the "hot mini cakes" vendor ($1 for 15!) that my friend Jessie had introduced to me the first time I came to the NYC Chinatown, about half a year ago now. The smell of the Chinese bakeries, the sound of Mandarin and Cantonese, the sight of garish signs advertising feng shui, massage, fast food, and cheap decor. Sometimes you don't even know you miss your own culture until a blast of it hits you in the face, and the familiarity is so endearing.

The fall foliage is also currently displayed in glory. Usually, I have a panoramic view of Central Park from the window of my anatomy lab, right above the head of my cadaver. We'd missed a week of lab due to a big midterm the previous week, and when we came back, the leaves had all suddenly changed color. From a lush green, Central Park is now a diverse array of oranges, reds, greens, and yellows. The leaves are but clinging to the branches by a tenuous thread right now. I'm sure with the next rainstorm or bout of wind, everything will be knocked right off the trees. I must visit Central Park sometime before autumn passes by without me. It seems like we are but a hair-breadth away from winter. In the mean time, I'm still trying to figure out how to dress for cold weather. I did a better job last night keeping myself warm when I went to meet Esther in the Village, but upon returning to my apartment and seeing a gaggle of classmates, I was asked whether I'm a skier for Halloween. It is hard not to go overboard one way or the other. I'm still trying to find that balance.

Happy Halloween! And Halloween is always exciting for me because it is the coming of November, which means - Thanksgiving! And turning 24.


  1. You sounded like you had such a lovely weekend out. I miss NYC!

  2. "Sometimes you don't even know you miss your own culture until a blast of it hits you in the face, and the familiarity is so endearing."

    I love this quote. Also, this post sounds so peaceful. I envy your ability to do yoga and maintain such a healthy lifestyle through all of this... meanwhile, I am devolving into pigging out and spending nights in the library. :(

  3. awww kelley! i try, but i don't know how "peaceful" i always am...sometimes i feel like i'm barely hanging in there! but my former boss had written me a nice card where she told me that no matter how good/bad it gets (and it's bound to, in professional school of any sort), always HANG IN THERE. ;) it's probably some of the best advice i'd ever gotten...