new york love (free print downloads)

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

     In my continuing series of print downloads this week representing all the places we’ve called home, today’s location is New York City. I lived there for three years after college, teaching math for an Americorps program, earning a masters at night and hanging out with some of my besties Kathryn, Bo, Preston and Amanee. P and I also conducted our two year trans-Atlantic long distance relationship from here (he was in Berlin), that took perseverance and dedication and makes our current relationship easy as pie.
     Most of our friends live there and when we move back to the States that’s where we are headed. It’s a city that when you live there you feel like there’s no other city in the world worth living in. Living in other places you realize that there definitely are other places to live, amazing, mind blowing places…but yea, New York is still the best.
      NY means a lot of things to me (like uh-maaazing restaurants and willingly paid extortionate rents), bust mostly it represents the incredible friends I made there. One ritual we had was that for anything from a birthday to when someone had a really bad day (Bo once got her iPhone stolen by a student) to grad school acceptances (Bo, K and A finished up this spring at Harvard,Yale and Stanford, smarties!): we would buy a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake and bottle of Absolut vodka for that person, then we’d all help them consume it, usually after going out to some yummy restaurant. 
     B, K and I have a (not-so) secret future plan to all live in the same building and start a fantasy business (you can see we’ve put so much thought into this) and try and push any future children into marrying each other, who will then make incredible multi-racial babies.
**Click on any of the pics for the full size jpeg, (for private use only!). The last one has a heart on my subway stop, if you email me and ask nicely I could be convinced to move the heart to your subway stop. I hope you enjoy!  

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Catbird

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

While in nyc I made my annual pilgrimage to my favorite jewelry store, which I’ve talked about several times on this blog so much so that I now have officially declared myself a Catbird Evangelist. I’ve forced P to purchased several things from there but my favorite thing to get is their first knuckle ring. I routinely give them out as presents because they are the best thing ever. A hammered band that sits just below your knuckle. I now get it in the size xxs, because I’ve owned a few xs bands that have sadly fallen off into oblivion- and this time I got it in rose gold. I don’t think that xxs is available on their website but you could write it in the ‘notes’ section of your order. I also picked up their threadbare ring, which is a very very thin hammered gold band. They have the best customer service, and it’s a small woman-owned independent jewelry store that sells MOST FABULOUS designers. Can’t get much better than that.

Catbird is located at 219 Bedford Ave, just take the L train to the Bedford stop. Or shop online, for all you expats they do international shipping. Wahoo!

A lovely trip to the States

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

We went back to the States for a wedding of two dear friends and to see our friends and family. I know I said I’d be back on the 27th, but I lied- I took the entire too weeks to have a real vacation. But I’m back and ready to blog!

First things first, when my fam picked me up at the airport Neels (my mom) brought me my wedding and engagement rings, my earrings, and 2 bracelets, all stuff I got for my wedding that I leave behind so it doesn’t get stolen in Jozi. It was lovely to wear them again for 2 weeks. Priorities! =)

As you can see our lovely sisters flew back for the first weekend. A dinner party at P’s parents, then one at mine. My room at my parents’ house is one that I’ve never actually lived in, and it is FREEZING. My sister’s is spacious and warm so I always sleep with her when I’m home. I made P do it too. My mom (Neels) was going nuts with her iPhone camera as you can see.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

P and I shuttled back and forth between our parents’  houses like we were kids of divorced parents. We mainly went out to dinner and hung out with our families for the first week.

Then it was time to head to NYC. I haven’t been since last July, and if enough time passes I forget how lovely it is and when we visit our resolve to move back strengthens.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

True, on a normal weekend you don’t see EVERYONE that you know in 72 hours, which added tons of excitement/exhaustion to our visit. We stayed at our friends Jon and Katie’s apartment, it made me nostalgic for my tiny NYC apartment, there is something about living in a relatively small space that is a fun decorating challenge. We stopped by my cousin’s beautiful floor to ceiling windows Upper East Side place and I got to see one of my nephews (the other one was sleeping). He was adorable-y eating Cadbury eggs. He called us Nama Mausi and P Mausa (which is what you call your mom’s sister and husband) and it never fails to make my heart melt (in our culture, we do aunts and not second cousins).

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Then, it was off to Brooklyn for drinks with our friends and the bride and groom. We did pickle-backs, which are all the rage right now- a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. Often the pickle juice is infused with different flavors. I loved it so much I shall I have a pickle-back party in Jozi! Stay tuned for that, friends and line up your Goodfellas.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Then Friday, glorious Friday. It was a lovely NY day, we walked all around lower Manhattan (a relief after sedentary-ish Jozi), shopping and eating. We stopped at The Spotted Pig and I had their glorious burger that had been all I could think about food-wise for the better part of a year. We got P fitted for his tux and we hopped over to Brooklyn for some of NYC’s best pizza and stop in THE BEST JEWELRY STORE OF ALL TIME, Catbird. I bought a few things that will be featured on this blog soon enough. The day ended with a rehearsal for John and CC’s wedding followed by a beautiful rehearsal dinner put on by John’s parents.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Saturday, the big day- John and Christine got married in a beautiful church (St. Vincent de Ferrer) on the UES. I successfully draped my sari (seedha pallu style) by myself and momsy lent me some jewelry so that I could be dripping in emeralds and diamonds. I was glad  for my colorful sari amidst a sea of dark. In between the ceremony and the reception we had a silly time at a bar between the church and the hotel. We made a spectacle of ourselves, a rather large group in long gowns and tuxedos traipsing down Park Avenue. Walking even 10 blocks in 6 inch heels is NOT ADVISABLE, but I did it. The reception was at The Plaza and it was extravagant and wonderful. I probably had 8 oysters and then every bite of my filet mignon then danced my face off. Afterwards they bussed us to an old haunt, Jake’s Dilemma where we partied until dawn.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

**Yes, that is Julie and me with the Pope and also this is the first time I’ve been referred to as Mr. and Mrs. P.

On Sunday, when I didn’t take any pictures, it was more friends and more activities trying to reunite with everyone we know in the city. My friend KJB who goes to law school at Yale even took a 2 hour train ride from there just to spend a couple hours with us and it was truly wonderful to see her. Our other friends came down from Boston for the weekend to see us whenever we were not busy with the wedding. BTW, these friends from Boston are teachers and had a class be invited to the White House to perform the “I have a dream” speech for President Obama. How lovely.

Then back to MN for me, for a week of hanging with out my parents and an endless stream of happy hours with old friends. Neels (my mom) would make golgapas (aka pani puri) and we would eat them and watch Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. We had to shovel the car out after a snow storm which took 2 hours one morning (and made me glad to live in Jozi) and I saw friends from high school (one of whom is pregnant, congrats Cai and Tom!) and two of my dearest friends from college, Anna and Mo. We had a great time getting silly drunk and talking about careers and men and the future(what else is there?).

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

I’m so thankful for all of our incredible friends and family all over the globe! Wherever we go, it feels like home.