Friday, April 30, 2010

From Oahu to Washington

Well, I got back from Hawaii on Wednesday and am still kinda struggling with jetlag (and the pile of emails that I've yet to address). A couple people have written me messages regarding this blog and if you are reading this, thank you! I will get back to you soon. I promise.

Areca palms (Dypsis lutescens) at a
plant nursery in Wahiawa

Between site work and my free time in Oahu, I took about 1200 photos! I will do you, dear reader, the favor of not sharing them all. (And indeed, I can't post work photos, which is a shame since the work was quite fun.) I'll sort through some of the best pics and pepper in posts from Hawaii in the months to come.

View northeast from Diamond Head summit

It's also as good a time as any to announce that I'll soon be moving away from New York. This summer I will relocate to Washington DC. My 11 years in Manhattan have been wonderful, but it's time for a change. I hope to freelance and slowly build a practice of my own in the region where I was first introduced to the worlds of horticulture and landscape design. The fact that my parents, brother and sister live there certainly sweetens the deal.

Haleiwa Town on the North Shore

I've always struggled with classifying myself as a "New Yorker" -- but this trip to Hawaii brought some of my New York characteristics into comic relief. While hiking at Diamond Head, I could precisely time when to pass other hikers with the agility of one who regularly walks on crowded Soho sidewalks, darting tourists along the way. A couple from Vancouver actually started following me, impressed with my steady (but polite - really!) progress to the summit.

Can you spot the sea turtle?

I wore my Yankees ballcap everywhere, trying to avoid getting too tan. On the north shore, a couple heard me approach the hotel elevator and held the door for me. When I entered the car, sure enough, the woman was wearing a Red Sox hat. We mock-gruffly nodded to each other, amused to find rival fans so far from the east coast.

Mineral falls, Waimea Valley, North Shore
(yes, that's me in the ballcap).

As a New Yorker, I was startled to find such scant Hispanic influence in Hawaii. It's obvious enough that there wouldn't be a large Hispanic culture, but I still found myself surprised to find the second language in Honolulu is Japanese. Not that my Spanish is particularly great -- these days it mostly consists of sentences used in MTA ads ("si ve algo, di algo").

Mango farms, flanked by Norfolk Island Pine
(Araucaria heterophylla).

And bagels. God, let's talk about bagels. I may be a reluctant New Yorker, but my pride in our wonderful bagels is only equal to my dismay when I rediscover this truth, which happens to be every time I leave the five boroughs. I met a woman in Waikiki who asked (upon noting my hat) if I was a New Yorker. She was from Centereach, Long Island. The next thing she said (quite woefully, I might add): "I miss bagels."

Dole Pineapple Plantation (an aside: when in Hawaii,
it's always worth it to spring for the convertible)

I love New York, in the deep, complicated, and at times barbed, way one loves a former lover. I want what's best for New York. I'm a little bit afraid of what life will be like without New York. But I know that it's time to leave New York, before I become embittered by New York. I'll visit often (and will continue to teach plants at Columbia). But it's time to be on less intimate terms with New York.

Ironwoods (Casuarina equisitifolia),
Sunset Beach, North Shore

Now then, what to do with this blog? For the next month or two, I'll continue to blog at this site. Then I'll pick up right where I will leave off: DC, Plants & Other Stuff. It's a ridiculous title, but when I started this blog, I named it New York, Plants & Other Stuff because I really wasn't sure what the blog would be about. Over the years, it's crystallized into a site that celebrates the diminutive features of the plants all around us. I hope to continue a blog with the same tone in DC. I'll keep this site active and will most likely link to former posts regularly. I hope you join me as I move a few states south.

Okay, ONE pic of the site work. Shh, don't tell.


Matthew said...

Hey Jenn - I have really enjoyed reading through your blog. It is nice to have another plant nut around who is also a landscape architect (we're a dying breed you know).

Keep up the good work! I want to see more about the project in Oahu. If you ever get too busy, we can help you out by doing some construction observation on that project :)

Michael said...

New York's loss is DC's gain. Cannot wait for the first iteration of "DC, Plants and Stuff."