It was really hard for me not to buy wine glasses at the BX as soon as we arrived in Okinawa. There’s just something about wrapping your hands around the globe of a big red wine glass that makes a place feel like home to me. (Or maybe there’s just something about wine that makes everything better, whether it’s in a wine glass, juice glass, or… jelly jar) One way or another… I have been looking forward to our wine glasses arriving since the day we did.
While we were living in the TLF (temporary living facility) I was drinking wine out of a juice glass. When our “Unaccompanied Baggage” came (the lot of bare necessities that we got a few weeks after arriving) I switched over to an acrylic wine glass. But as for a proper glass wine glass… I resisted the temptation to buy more, and made myself wait until ours arrived. We didn’t bring a full set of crystal to Japan, reasoning that there was a very strong possibility it would shatter on the ship and we both wanted to avoid my frustration if it did. Instead we brought the Crate and Barrel “Hip Red Wine Glasses” that my junior bridesmaid and her family had given us as a shower gift. Besides the bed, and pillows, and comforter… they might have been the thing I was looking the most forward to unpacking. They were two of the first boxes we opened- and sure enough, as soon as I filled one up- this place started feeling more like home.
One might gather from this post that I have a drinking problem. I like to look at it as more of a “tradition”. I have a moving = wine tradition. My first night in New York was no different. After I finished wrestling those suitcases inside and quickly unpacked the bare essentials I had brought, the next thing on my list was to sit down, (with a glass of wine) and let it sink in that I had really just made this move. The only problem was- my bare essentials had not included a bottle of wine. Rookie mistake.
No problem! I thought as I remembered that our apartment was situated conveniently on top of a bodega. I will go make my first “New York” purchase at my first “New York” grocery! I nearly skipped downstairs, smiling much too brightly for this city. I grabbed a cheap bottle of cab (maybe two), and tried to chat with the guy at the counter as I checked out. This was going to be my bodega, and surely he and I would become friends! He didn’t seem to share my excitement, but I figured he just didn’t realize how significant our new friendship would be. “How very ‘New York’,” I thought with absolute glee. I could get used to this. Out of milk? Right downstairs. Need more salsa? Right downstairs. Fancy a pressed cuban sandwich in the middle of the night? You know where to go.
I got back to the apartment, opened the screw top bottle, and looked around for their wine glasses. One of the most convenient things about subletting a furnished apartment from a friend was that she had left everything for me. She left me hangers, empty drawers, and all of her dishes, which I had assumed would include wine glasses. It didn’t, but nothing could get me down. I just grabbed a mason jar that was drying in the dish rack, poured myself a jar of wine and sat down on the futon smiling. I was in New York. Drinking wine. In my apartment.
A few minutes later, I met my (also borrowed) roommate. “Hi, I’m Kim,” she said, looking at me a little strange. We small talked for about five minutes before she finally asked the question that had been bothering her since she walked in: “Why are you drinking out of my jelly jar?”
And this was our first introduction to the differences between New Yorkers (Roommate Kim was born and raised in NYC) and Southerners. There were many differences, we came to discover in the two months that we lived together, but the jelly jar incident was our favorite and the one we always retold. I had assumed that the mason jar was one of their glasses. She had just rinsed it out after she finished her preserves so that she could recycle the jelly jar. My mistake. Or maybe her’s for not realizing that the proper way to recycle a mason jar is to use it as a glass! People pay good money for those at Cracker Barrel!
The next day I went out and bought wine glasses. It made the apartment feel more like home anyway.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.