Christina Follow

A penchant for details. A thirst for words. A cynical dreamer.

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Having just witnessed a well dressed gentleman (cue Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie) slurping down the contents of a very, very delicious looking cup noodle, I decided to take matters into my own hands, instead of eyeing him green with envy. Terminal 1 of JFK is famous for its scarcity of food, and the closest haven was a Starbucks. Of course, it wasn’t like HARBS, where I could sit down comfortably, and feast upon the delectable whipped cream, the seasonal fruits, with soft, melancholic piano music in the background. Everyone had a rather complicated order, whilst mine was simply “one lemon pound cake.” Because you can’t really go wrong with something so basic, or so I thought. “You snatched the receipt. That’s not nice~” the checkout lady whined. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I just happened to have pay attention, and didn’t let her wait. But I’d take the not so nice part. But if next time you see a lady with a fast reflex at the checkout counter, say hi. The chances are,  it might be me.
Living in New York, you’re constantly exposed to a plethora of flavors. It’s no exaggeration when one can have Chinese for breakfast, Italian for lunch, and North African food for dinner, all with a high degree of authenticity. In fact, there is no where in the world that is as versatile as the food map in New York. So why is it so hard to figure out where to eat all the time? Granted, when someone asks you what are some of your go to places to eat, a national chain called Sweetgreen probably shouldn’t be your top 5 (never had a bad meal here, and I can’t say the same about Daniel, or Jean Georges). Now, there’s @kishkashnyc , where the fish is soft and moist, the baby food consistency side dishes packed with a punch. Where the food is simple, straight forward, and delicious. The Raku of couscous.
For as long as I remember, I have gravitated toward bar seats, even when table seatings are readily available. Cooking is intimate, but also a performance; and every chef has his or her own game theory. Even if a restaurant is booked solid for the week, utilizing bar seats as a first come, first serve is not only strategic, it’s borderline ingenious. You don’t have to worry about snagging the perfect seat here. At 3 on a Saturday afternoon, the only people at bar are the bartender, the server, and two other local patrons, bonding over their second, or third glass of beer. Come 4, be ready to brace the crowd.
“What makes music beautiful is the distance between one note and another. What makes speech eloquent is the appropriate pause between words.“ - Haemin Sunim. What makes life worth living , is making acknowledgement not only a rare commodity, but a constant blessing.
When you’re always out with someone, and he would rather take sneaky shots of girls in his photos that could result in confrontations (after all, not many of us are willing to be spied on), and post them on social media. Even though I’m right there, and the last time I checked, a girl 🤔. I’m not vain, but talk about a confidence destroyer. But hey, what I do know when it comes to “artistic interpretations,” or when “inspiration hits.” I suppose I can always take pictures of guys too. Starting with this adorable doggie that looked right at me ❤️.
🎤 Suddenly I see, this is what I wanna be.
The best, and perhaps the worst thing in life is its uncertainty. One minute, you’re happy as a clam, the next, an angry bird. But that’s what makes life worth exploring. Most of the times you’d win. Sometimes you lose. You can gamble it all away, or you can rely on statistics. The choice, is up to you.
If closure can be neatly tied up in a ribbon, books will probably have a harder time selling. In real life, they’re often messy and poorly written, ending far too early, or etched on your skin like the smell of Korean barbecue. I’d like to believe that we all deserve love, however big or small. That there is someone out there, waiting patiently for us. That some loves really do last forever, and not only exist in fairytales. 
Unfortunately, happily ever after is out, harsh reality is in. How do you combat the constant disappointments in life? You can’t, not really. Some days are better than others, but when they attack, it feels like a brick going 60 miles per hour, and ripping your heart apart with flourish. You can’t be prepared, but you can at least try. Never lose sight of the simple, and everyday miracles, even if you have to think long and hard what they are. You woke up today, and went to work? Good for you. You realized Amazon’s iPhone lightning cable are reversible both sides, not just the side with the logo, as someone haughtily claimed? You go, glen coco. Be a skeptic. Challenge ideas and beliefs. Don’t take things at face values and conform to popular opinions, because so and so said so. You do it, because You believe in it. Losing yourself, and blindly following should not be the norm, least in love. Having a stance because of your special  expertise, is most certainly not a reason to be penalized. One can be brave and bruised. But openly admitting your flaws, and not working on them time after time, because you’re not good with words, my darling, is not trying. Don’t ignore the past completely, and expect others to join you in your filtered life. Be a skeptic, dare to dream. Because chances are, you maybe onto something. #johnluther (basically a characterization on him). ps. Anyone else develops an accent from watching too much tv in s short period of time? My poison of the week is John Luther, and it’s hard not to be affected by the dynamics between Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson.
(Rant ahead. You’ve been warned) Ever have one of those days where you’re just sick of being patronized? Just let me be who I am, a realist, which, by the way, is entirely different from a pessimist. Why does everything needs to be all sunshine and rainbows, especially if rainbows appear after the rain? Because god knows those moments are more often staged, where I stand on the sidelines kicking pebbles, and watch them happen. But apparently critical thinking, where you lay out the pros and cons of a matter in a detailed, comprehensive description, is out, and captioning posts with street names, or inanimate objects is in. Nobody wants to read too much, and anything longer than a sentence is deemed as such. Maybe i should caption this post as “Chicago Athletic Association Hotel” instead. Wouldn’t that be perfectly  dull and uncontroversial, as if I couldn’t muster anything more sophisticated than its stage name. The rule of thumb is that a picture is perhaps more well received if it is bright and airy, as opposed to dark and moody. Well, sorry mate. My iPhone 6 has terrible focus, and I’m honestly lucky to manage half of this . But don’t you worry; I’ll take responsibility for my words and actions, if only because you couldn’t.
One of the highlights during the getaway was watching the sun rise. At 7AM on a Saturday morning, the whole city was still in slumber. I, and I alone, had the pleasure of watching the city gradually unfold. The consequent walk in the park could have been better with some heat tech, but life ain’t perfect.
After some much needed rest at the hotel, we dragged our tired bodies to the train station again. This time, for dinner. 
It was too late to cancel politely anyway. 
No one warned us, to me at least, that @elskerestaurant was situated in the middle of nowhere. Fifteen minutes of walking, or twelve if you were terrified. It wasn’t like Brooklyn, where one side had a rundown factory, and directly adjacent from it was a million dollar listing condominium. This was walking in the seedy darkness, the cars swerving dangerously close to you, the only light from the flickering street lamps, and the feeble light from Google Map. I couldn’t help but to envision the walkaway as a perfect place to plan a kidnapping. 
I did a silent prayer, and strengthened my laces. Better safe than sorry, right? 
The restaurant happened to be down the block from The Loyalist, and ironically enough, next to a posh condominium. There was a doorman in a suit, so at least it more posh than my living situation back home.  An outside patio welcomed us first, with fur throws draped artfully over chairs. A roaring fire completed the open air look. If only we weren’t already few minutes late to our reservation, and the weather wasn’t 32 degrees, but felt like 27. 
We stepped inside the glass encased restaurant, and was greeted warmly by the hostess. She led us to a table overseeing the entire restaurant, but away from the chatters. I asked for some warm water, and was promptly given a cup. If only they took a second to wash the residual tea leaves from the pot, it’d been splendid. I pointed excitedly at the cup, recognizing instantly as ceramics from Heath. Empty gazes were returned. Food and service are undeniably paramount,  but it’s the little details like these that are supposed help set apart a Michelin starred restaurant. Or so I thought. But I’m trying this new facade where I’m warm and welcoming, not hypercritical, so let’s move on. ->
“At least it’s not raining,” we mumbled to each other while trekking to Au Cheval. The bus was 9 minutes away, and walking seemed to be our best option. A minute later, it started raining. The howling wind also did not help with the weather. But our goal was clear, and there was nowhere else to go, but to cross the bridge. Au Cheval, with its claim for the best burger in town, if not in the country, naturally clamored a glorious wait time. 120 minutes, we were quoted, after the lunch rush. Good thing Sawada was close by. The cold  warranted a hot drink, even if I was dubious of its quality. In all honesty, It might not have been the best cup of coffee, especially one swirled with espresso and laced with matcha, but it was also pleasant. Au Cheval, on the other hand, was glorious in its initial bites, but left me in dire need of a green juice. The sewage water looking ones, with spinach, lemon, and all that Jazz please. Thankfully the hotel was by the train station, with multiple fireplaces to ward off the cold. Look at this marvelous, velvety sofa. If I sat down, I wouldn’t have been able to leave.