These bananas are growing in my aunt’s backyard, about 15 minutes from my house. Can you believe it?
She also picked the last of the green mangoes from her backyard which we sliced and dipped into “sweet fish sauce“, a classic, spicy Thai condiment for fruit.
Before my dad was in the hospital, I had this fantasy that I would quit my job and travel on some bourgeois, self-indulgent Eat, Pray, Love trip through Southeast Asia. But maybe all I really had to do was come home.
Even better, there are no mosquitoes here. I never knew how much they had held me hostage in New York until I came back. It’s not that there are so many in New York, but I’m really allergic to mosquito bites. Even one bite meant five-inch welts and an unbearable feverishness as my body fought off the infection. I would spend as little time outdoors as I could. My summer wardrobe consisted of long sleeves and pants — never skin-baring dresses or tank tops. I never, ever wanted to sit in restaurant gardens for dinner, as dusk is the worst time for mosquito bites.
Now I can do yoga in the evenings in our backyard or take a walk in the morning. I can bare my shoulders in the sun. Better yet, dry summer in L.A. isn’t like the steamy armpit of New York summer.
And the air quality seems to be so much better than it was when I was growing up. A dingy, dishwater haze used to pour into the valley and smother the mornings. I don’t know if it’s the price of gas or regulations that have encouraged commuters to switch to electric cars, but the sky is actually blue now.
I loathed winter and nasty, dirty New York snow; I’d spend all fall dreading the coming six months of terrible weather; and in the spring, I’d get hay fever that could only be remedied with prescription-strength steroid sprays. I think it took me 14 years to realize that I’m allergic to New York. WTF?