Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

Who is my neighbor?

I moved into my new Brooklyn apartment yesterday evening. Photos of my building, room, subway stop, and neighborhood are all in the gallery. When I arrived some of the Mexican families in the building were feasting out in the courtyard. I definitely plan to to get to know these people. They know how to live. I was immediately reminded of the Mexican family I know back home. I've had the opportunity to attend a birthday party with real piñatas, and I've had homemade beef tongue tacos (it may sound disgusting, but those things are amazing). Maybe I'll get to have something similar with these people right here in my building.

I only have with me what I could carry in two bags. I'm thankful that there's furniture courtesy my new roommate. And, yes, I'm a grown man now sleeping in a dorm room style bunk bed.

Today was my first day at school. Classes don't begin for a couple weeks. It's all orientation now. A young Masters student, probably from Pakistan, sought me out today as I sat in a session. Honestly, I found him to be quite annoying. All questions at all inopportune moments. It didn't dawn on me until much later what had happened. He sincerely was looking for guidance (even if he went about it in a way that felt rude to my cultural context). Somehow or another he came to think that I could help him and had answers for him. How he came to this opinion is beyond me, but here we are. Maybe I should hurry up and become accustomed to such things. I have a feeling more of this is going to come my way. Perhaps I should try being gracious in such circumstances in the future, and view these as opportunities to serve and come to know these people around me.

As I suspected, I'm one of the oldest students around. I found it humorous how the orientation leaders kept reminding all the students that we are all now adults. If suspect that if we were really all adults, we wouldn't need to be reminded of it. I'm a minority in so many ways — age, height, and whiteness. A security guard was visibly surprised to learn that I was a student.

I ran an errand after orientation — I went into Manhattan to pick up the card that will let me use ZipCar's super cool short term car rental service when I need it. When I popped up out of the subway, I was standing just a few blocks from the base of the Empire State Building. After picking up my ZipCard, I grabbed something to eat in a little cafe that has second floor seating. I watched the foot traffic on Broadway Ave pass down below me. The diversity of New York is amazing. Just today I learned that the entering class of graduate students at NYU•Poly numbers 1,000 souls from 53 countries. After my dinner I dropped down into Greeley Square Park just across the street to have frozen yogurt and people watch. So many people. So many neighbors.