Dear Bronx,

Yo bro what's up?! It's been exactly 3 weeks since we last saw each other. It's whack how fast time flies by. So yeah, it's been fun here. I've been trying to learn Arabic, trying out the food, visiting places. The pyramids will kill you, man. They're huge. Oh yeah, and there's a revolution goin' on. How about you?

I have to tell you something, man. I know you want me to be as tough as you to prepare me for how crappy life may be in the future. Why else would you train me to be alert every time I walk out of the apartment  even if it's only 9 am. It's you who taught me not to walk too close to street corners where I easily be surprised and caught off guard. You taught me to never trust anyone just hanging out in your streets past 7pm.

And if I became  too lax, and forgot all these things you taught me, you never fail to remind me, in a very creative manner, I must admit, to suit up and stop being so chill. Remember that dude who was walking at 10am, on his way to school? He passed by a couple of guys who punched him in the face and left him without explanation. Ain't that like life in general. Sometimes life just punches you randomly in the face without explanation. And how about all those kids who got their Iphones stolen? Well, sure, most of them were blind-drunk and vomiting all over your streets, so maybe you were just teaching them a lesson?

Whatever, I get your point. One has to be ready for anything all the time. Thanks for the constant reminder (but maybe we can think of another way to remind folks like me without having someone punched in the face? Maybe? Okay, think about it.)

What I wanted to tell you was, as tough as you've made me in the last 10 months that we've been together, I'm going to be a bit of a softie for a couple of minutes. Now, don't punch me in the face yet and hear me out. I miss you, man. I miss you Bronx.

For the past 3 weeks I've been waking up to - and this is hard to believe - silence. Absolute silence. I wake up at 7 am and realize that there are no screaming mothers, fathers, sons, daughters or grandparents out my window. Where are all the kid cursing on their way to school? Where are all the husbands and wives fighting over the most ridiculous things at 5 in the morning only to go back to making out by 10? Then I remember, oh yeah, I'm no longer in the Bronx.

I miss walking down your streets, feeling good about myself, singing a song in my head and then without warning, stepping on dog shit that no one cares to pick up. I miss getting shouted at by impatient folks in the D train. I miss you Bronx.

What? Don't look at me like that? I know you're not as tough as you want people to believe. I know you love animals and flowers. Don't deny it! I've been to your zoo and botanical garden. I think that's very sweet of you. And I know, deep, deep, deep inside, you miss me too.

So I'll see in a couple more of months. Keep yourself busy. Keep those drunkards in check. And don't you let anyone tell you you're ugly. If they do, then just punch them in the face.



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