In 2008 the population of Manhattan was estimated to be around 1.6 million people. Manhattan is just under 23 square miles. That's about 70,000 people per square mile. That's ridiculous. If you think the numbers are scary, imagine living in it. It's amazing that there's enough fresh air to go around for all these people! If you've ever stood on a Times Square street corner at ANY given time you know what I'm talking about. The people rushing about from offices to lunches and meetings and subway stations... and let's not forget that they are literally running circles around the tourists that just kinda stand there in the middle staring up with their mouths wide open and their cameras pointed at the sky. Oh oh! And my absolute favorites are the ones that are posing for pictures with the lights and shiny buildings in the background and the photographer is trying to wait till there is nobody else in the frame.... .....Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ......... HA.
Just by standing on a corner in Times Square having a smoke for five minutes you can see the whole world go by you. People in this city remind me of bees in a hive - buzzing and busy. The city breathes in a low humming sound scattered with car horns, sirens and people screaming obscenities. Just watching the busy-bodied people around me often winds me up and has me yearning for a bubble bath in a tub that I do not have (yet). So for this post I want to talk about some of my favorite ways to unwind in the city.
I love music. Thanks to my wonderfully diverse college friends I have been exploring and loving all different genres of music. Last year, when I was abroad, I was without music for 3 months and it nearly killed me - my iTunes broke on my computer and an mp3 player I did not have. This year I was reunited with my music but not in a portable way as when I went to a friends house with my headphones, her pet rats chew through the wires (it's ok, I still love you little ratty babies). So upon arriving to NYC and having some money to blow, I decided to indulge and treat myself to something pretty as spending money ON MYSELF is not something I do very often. VOILA! Awesomely bright and obnoxious headphones that are a permanent fixture on my bodice - on the subway, at work, walking around town. Super comfy and great sound quality - perfect for blocking out all that New York noise. (Wearing them right now, actually, and grooving to this song!) Tea!
During the day, I'm all about my coffee. At nights, after being cracked out for 14 - 16 hours, caffeine is the last thing I want to put in my system. However, I still find something very soothing about the steam and warmth of a cup of tea at night. I discovered this tea when I was in Argentina and fell in love with it. I call it my bedtime tea and brought back what I thought would be enough tea bags (little did I know that my roommates would enjoy it as much as I do). This particular tea is made from a plant called Linden that is used in many cultures to control anxiety (although no clinical trials have confirmed its effects). Learn more here. For me, one cup of this tea and I'm out like a light and still waking up refreshed and renewed: body, mind and soul.
Another lesson on relaxation I learned while abroad was the wonder of bookstores. During my semester abroad I did all my studying for both my midterms and my finals in the cutest little cafe/bookstore in Buenos Aires. Sure, it was a 14 block walk to get there, but it was totally worth it. Boutique del Libro had delicious deals on homemade empanadas and those super cool ladders that roll against the amazingly high walls of books. With a semi-covered patio and big comfy couches, I don't know how I still get my studying done outside of this place. It was perfect. Aside from the comfortable seating and old-fashioned feel, I've always been a book lover. I love the feel of a good thick book in my hand, the smell of an old classic novel, or the crispness of the pages of a new book by an emerging author. I wish I had more time to read - I've loved reading ever since I was a little girl (hence the thick glasses since I was a little girl). When I went to New Orleans last spring, I walked along the streets of the French Quarters and stopped in lots of little second-hand bookstores. There's something so calming and pleasant about being able to curl up on a windowsill with a cup of tea and a good book... escaping into a world far, far away....
I started doing a little bit of yoga this year. Like a lot of people, I carry all my stress on my upper back, right between my shoulder blades. A little bit of stretching and some good breathing exercises have made a WORLD of a difference. Not to mention the notions of peace, serenity and inner strength that lie at the root of yoga. As a young woman living and working in New York City, it never hurts to have a little bit more of those things in life. If you've never tried yoga, I say shame on you. I live by the motto of try everything once, especially if it's something that promotes and improves health of the body, mind and soul. Seriously. Try it. Just once. [oh and just a side note - the picture for this part of my post was taken on my SLR film camera on black&white film. taken by me, processed by me, printed by me. hell. yea. come on...it's my own blog, i'm allowed to toot my own horn every once in a while hehe. special thanks to stacey for letting me photograph her!]
Hmm all this talk about things to do when you want to unwind has me wanting to do some of them ;)