Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Journey of the Rice Cooker

I must be such a sight, in my black Parisian winter coat, lugging a rice cooker and running across Penn Station to catch the New Jersey Transit one early November 18th morning. I panicked when the screen showed - Trenton: Delayed. Merde! The next available train was hours away at 12.14 pm (if they could fix the faulty wiring). Oh no, Fadzilah, Azan and Nida would be waiting! It would take another 1.5 hours to reach Princeton Junction and then there was also the Dinky ride. What should I do? Give up? Arghhh…

The gentleman beside me looked at the screen in equal exasperation. He was going to Princeton Junction too. What should we do? We decided to be adventurous and take the Path (what the heck was the Path?) and see if there was any alternative transportation. No one knew anything. No one gave us any information about what was going on. How could we all squeeze in the Path train and where would we be heading? The other passengers were just as clueless. But we joked and laughed and that somewhat lifted everyone’s spirit and gave some sort of assurance that things were going to be alright.

Daniel Harray, that gentleman at Penn station (an actor) became my incidental travelling partner who offered me my first Krispy Kreme and with whom I discussed politics and trashy reality shows like 'Shot at love with Tila Tequila' and 'I love New York'.

After what seemed like never-ending train hopping and detours to other places we never knew existed, we finally reached Princeton Junction. A nice old woman at the train station offered to drive me to the Wawa shop (of course the Dinky 'chose' not to run that Sunday of all days!) where Fadzilah would be waiting. Daniel smiled as he looked at my big bag. “Your friend better appreciates that rice cooker!” I laughed, bid farewell and thanked him again for the Krispy Kreme (the donuts my friend Gwen raved about and which I had been longing for).

Fadzilah and I huddled in the rain and walked around Princeton University. We then had a late lunch with a family friend’s son, Azan and his wife Nida. What good food - satay, rendang, sayur pucuk ubi, kuih hari Raya... It felt like we were back home in Singapore! Laughter and conversations in Malay flowed with the evening.
The moral of the story: You have to go through arduous journey (be brave to take alternative routes, be patient, maintain that sense of humour, don't give up, encourage fellow passengers along the way) before you can reach the ivy-covered tower. Just ask the rice cooker who endured the hardship and is now in Fadzilah's Princeton...

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