It's six a.m. and Lisablog comes to you from Jackson Heights, Queens. We inhabit a new homestead, or as the Beast says, we have a new habitat.
As always, moving shakes things up and we've been thinking about new unschooling possibilities. Learning Spanish seems like a good idea. In Sunnyside Bea picked up a little bit of Spanish from our friend Zenado at the bodega on the corner of our block. In Jackson Heights, the immersion will be even more intense. Sixty percent of our neighbors are from Central and South America, with Ecuador, Argentina, and Colombia high on the list of home-countries. So, Spanish it is. And very good food, of course.
Leaving behind the Americas, we have Asia. We're a stone's throw from the 74th Street strip of Jackson Heights that is dense with Indian groceries, restaurants, sweets shops, and fabric stores. Maharaja Sweets is our favorite for Indian burfi:
Burfi is made with condensed milk and nuts (cashews and pistachios). Trivia note: the Persian word of origin is "Barf" meaning snow (and these are cold white treats), and really you can call it barfi, if you must.
And hopping on the subway we can be in Flushing's Chinatown in ten minutes. My understanding is that Flushing Chinatown is a Mandarin community, where as Manhattan Chinatown is a Cantonese community. When I was a youngster (21 or so) I spent three years living in Oakland's Mandarin Chinatown and it was life-changing. (Being white meant being a ghost, and it was quite fantastic, and strange, to walk crowded streets and always be invisible.) And of course there is the lure of cooking delights: raw water chestnuts, five spice powder, and winter melon for soup.
Now, as my 45th birthday looms, I can really say I have the best birthday presents anyone could have. A share in a cooperative housing project (80 shares, that is), a Burmese Prince and a Beast, and a shift in the voting patterns of this country that finally brings us closer to an integrated civilized world. (I know, the last one is a little bit utopian, but at least the Mormon didn't win.)
And a final note about the neighborhood: we're walking distance from Malcolm X's house over near Laguardia Airport. So, that will be a pilgrimage too.