The Queens World Traveling
Roaming around in the ethnically diverse areas in Queens has became a weekend ritual for my husband and I. It started because of my husband's Indian cooking addiction, and we also love exploring. We started going to Jackson Heights, which some people also call a little India. Now we explore (and get delicious and cheap brunch/lunch of course) in Woodside and Flushing too, where Chinese, Taiwanese, Tibetan, Himalayan, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Indian, Bangladesh, Central/South American (and so on!) immigrants are all mixed and making a interesting life activity. As about a half of population in Queens are immigrants, if you look at the entire Queens, it would look like a world map.
Yesterday we had a delicious lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant called Sri Pra Phai in Woodside, then visited a Himalayan corner grocery store where things they sell really reflects people living near there. It was owned by a Tibetan family, (as I see Dalai Lama picture displayed) they sell Tibetan, Central American, Indian, North and South asian products. Then we got some spices at Thai grocer and walked to Jackson Heights. On the way, we found a lovely yellow storefront called Tawa Food, a indian bread store. We went in, and we saw the indian ladies wearing beautiful Sari working to make indian breads in the back, and the interior was decorated in pastel color with blue flower wall paper. We bought The handmade Paratha. When we arrived to the main street of Jackson Heights, it was raining and nicely decorated by the lights and flags, as the community was celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.
I love seeing and knowing the life activity from people from different culture. If it's more close to "their everyday life activity" I get more excited. That's why I prefer Jackson Heights than Murrey Hill (Curry Hill), Flushing than Manhattan China Town. Since immigrants live and form communities in Queens, I think Queens carry more authentiticy than the city, and the signs of how their culture mixed with others are more honest and interesting than the touristy commercial place. I'm not only seeking the authentic experience, but I'm interested in how one culture become mixed into others.
I have been learning many way to live and work from people from different background, and seeking a way to output the things I learned in a special way I can make or do. For example, inspired by African patchwork pants and making a necklace as Wonder Wonder, etc. But I really not meant to rip off the other cultures or only profit myself. I really want to give back something to where I learned from. That motivates me to let Wonder Wonder grow and that is something I really need to take seriously.
Every time we visit Queens, we are always filled with bright imagery of life activity. All the visual expression like graphics on sign and product packaging, its color and pattern, smell of food and spices, sound of people talking and music they play, taste of food they sell communicate and show me many culture and history behind it. I don't have money to travel all the countries at this point, but if I take $4.50 round trip on subway, which I think it's not that cheap though, I feel like I'm world traveling.