Today, I made some new friends. It started with Roland – a 56 year old lawyer, father of four, church-goer and polite African-American gentleman. We used the Super Shuttle – the cheapest airport transport that allows you to get dropped off exactly where you need to be. It is available from almost any American airport and costs about US$25 for a one-way trip.
Roland shared my ride with me from the airport. We shared insights too. I told him about my 36 hour flight from Singapore and my grand plans for church the next morning – he looked at his Cartier watch. It was 2am. He chuckled and wished me luck.
I found a church online and walked 20 min to it. It started with 20 minutes of community time, the church services were half the time of that in Singapore, and the people were all of another skin colour and accent. Other than that, it was same same no different. My heart was just as happy.
I sat with a bunch of young people and they invited me to lunch after. I didn’t really feel like Mexican food, but I wanted to hang out and so along I rode with my new friend Anna to Chipotle. We chatted about China, Telok Blangah and triathalons… She may have been American, but inside we were not so different. She was well travelled, shared my passion in Jesus and interest in community work. I think she spoke Mandarin better than I did.
Seth and Sherry were really nice, they moved from Michigan and felt the area I was in was a bit uppity. I laughed, I heard the same thing from other locals too – it must ring true.
The others shared with me about frisbee golf – a really popular summertime sport where you throw a frisbee into baskets with chains. Hole in one… Sort of.
We also talked about paintball, plane rides and squirrels. Seth and Sherry gave me a ride to the Museum of Art.
A world of culture spanning continents and eras await.
After the museum, I got a taxi downtown. Historic buildings mingle with modern architecture. White on black and white and black. Japanese Nissan sport cars are quiet next to the noisy rev and exhaust of horsepowered bikes. Classic American muscle cars park quietly by. For every American girl I see in a summer dress, I see a black-skinned male in a hoodie or jacket. They smile and greet each other as they pass.
The more I keep walking, the more I see contrasts between the old and the new.
I hear the clink clank of champagne glasses and the chitter-chatter of young voices, and so my face brightens up.
I stop walking and ask for a table, away from the smokers but outside enough to enjoy the al fresco.
I sit and my eyes do the wandering, staring at the restaurant’s menu and what people around me picked… Part of the American cuisine, people around me seemed to eat tacos everyday. Mexican food is like Malay food.. It’s everywhere. I am still full from my Mexican lunch, so I swap it for a small half-pint of draft beer as my Sunday treat.
I spend the rest of the sunlight watching friends catch up, and two skinny gay guys having coffee with their chihuahua.
A bunch of young men sit nearby, and I can barely stand to hear them talk about how hungover they are. They spent two hours calling up people to join them – they come to hang out and talk about how hungover they are too. I sip and soberly swallow my beer. I guess they remind me of some friends back home.
The sun sets late and the weather is perfect. I think about my dinner plans for the evening and realize I don’t need a burrito.. I need a run.
I’m currently in the US, busy with mostly work and a little bit of pleasure. I wrote this post last week while jet-lagged at a cafe sipping tea and beer, and have been meaning to finish and publish it.
Updates are a bit limited but I will post more pictures and better content when I can!
Obviously, I also have many more friends now.