Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week 10: Danbury, CT & Providence, RI

While we were in Brooklyn, I toyed with the idea of not going on to New England. I felt like I was pretty much done with being on the road and needed to lean into big spaces of rest and routine. I've been able to eat a lot of wonderful things and have been cooked for and treated to amazing meals, but I miss the grounding of cooking my own meals. We didn't have to be in the car in New York, so I didn't have to face the panic episodes I'd been having--and I always felt at home in New York, more at home than I feel anywhere else--so I thought about spending the next few weeks in Brooklyn to rest and write. My friends were on the ready to help me find a cheap sublet for the rest of the month. However, I was worried if I stayed in Brooklyn, I'd want to take advantage of all that New York City has to offer, and I wouldn't get much rest after all, so I agreed to head up to Connecticut for some down time. 
View out our hotel room, Danbury, CT

Danbury was a strange town. Landing in Danbury, the downtown area showed signs that it's been hit hard by the economic crisis, but then, after a day off on a country drive, we came upon on this grand mall and the upscale houses. But it does seem like all across the country, we are noticing a lot of houses for sale, particularly in areas where people might have their second homes. Though most of the fall foliage we saw was in New York--some of the trees were already bare in Connecticut--there was still plenty of fall in the air as we spend four days in Danbury. 

We stayed in a hotel with a fitness center and I finally had the chance to exercise. I was able to realize that exercise roots me in my body and makes me feel at home wherever I am, but that I really am a person who loves to work out in gyms, so I'd have to wait until we were stationed in one place for awhile to have that experience again. I'd have to find others ways to feel at home in my body--stretching, doing the seven minute workout in our living space, some other home exercise routine--if I wanted to feel that grounded. 

 Country drive
The countryside was just beautiful--as was the drive along the southern route of Connecticut, through New Haven, and eventually to Providence. I've always been curious about Providence as I know it has so many universities and a vital arts and food scene. Providence is downright beautiful. The waterways and the cleanness are stunning. Plus, we were now in a part of the country where there are just lots of old beautiful buildings and churches. Providence also seemed full of giant stretches of old cemeteries. 

We stayed at a spacious Airbnb apartment (that doubles as a yoga studio) in Pawtucket, just a fifteen minute drive from Providence and very working class. Downtown Pawtucket is nicknamed the Dead Zone by locals. I loved our apartment, it was a very healing space, full of inspirational wall hangings and beautiful art. There was plenty of room to stretch out in the living room, which the landlord uses as a yoga studio one weekend a month. 

Mall store display: Larry misses dogs so much he was happy to see this one
Our first day in Providence was spent at this giant mall. I particularly hate malls, but I needed some new shirts and there was a comfort in just being in a mall, a place that could've been in any city. This was one of the most complicated malls I'd been in, but we managed to buy some clothes, have lunch, and see a movie before heading back to our place. 

The next day, Saturday, I went to a salon to get my eyebrows waxed. I know that's a detail that sounds mundane, but this was a cool little place in Pawtucket that was blasting salsa music. The stylist sang to the Puerto Rican music while she waxed my eyebrows. I loved being there and having that experience. 

One thing that's so exhausting about being on the road is having to make every decision all the time. Usually, things like what you are going to do in a day or what you are going to eat become routine, leaving energy for other stuff. It was nice to have a fully equipped kitchen where we could have a normal oatmeal breakfast--and even a home-cooked dinner. 

We walked around a rather hip shopping district, me looking for gifts for my family for Christmas and us trying and falling in love with Seven Stars Bakery. Though Larry and I have each been, on our own journeys, people that have been on and off flour and sugar for different stretches of time, I decided to take the restrictions off my eating on this trip. It's been an interesting experience, to stop judging certain foods as good or bad, and to start to find myself craving celery and tomatoes and oatmeal, to start craving the restrictions I'd put on myself over the years. But to want to eat that way not as a punitive response to some kind of bad eating behavior, but out of self-care. 

On Saturday night, we had tickets for "Good People" at the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theater in Pawtucket. I'd loved David Lindsay-Abaire's "Rabbit Hole" and was excited about the chance to see another play by him. The theater was professional--most of the actors were Equity. And the play was brilliant. We loved it so much that the next day, we decided to go see another play--"Streetcar Named Desire" acted by Brown University undergraduates. Also fabulous, even if the students were young for the parts. They really did an amazing job and I was thinking that I was watching student theater. 

Clock Tower, Brown University
It was awesome to hang out at Brown University before the matinee performance. We then went home, cooked a meal together, and watched a DVD. We were able to have a bit of routine in Providence because we had a big comfy place to spread out and a full kitchen -- and we didn't feel a lot of pressure to see sights. We thought about going to the world class art museum at Rhode Island School of Design, but opted out of another museum for theater. We are loving the fact that we are discovering a passion for theater as a pass time we can share. 

Gate, Brown

Library, Brown
On Monday, with another stop at Seven Stars for coffee and a pastry, and some shopping, we headed to Massachusetts, where we booked a room in Plymouth, mid-way between Cape Cod and Boston. 

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