A Letter Home: Armando Garma-Fernandez

Sandy Says “Hi”

By Armando Garma-Fernandez

Hey home, how’s it going? I know I’ve been kind of quiet these last few months, but what can I say? With the holidays and all, I’ve been busy.

Life here in New York is a little different than back at home, and after seven years I still find myself surprised by the differences.

Did I already say that I miss you? I haven’t? Well, I do, I miss you. There, I said it. It may not be the hippest thing to admit but it’s not like you’re an ex-girlfriend I’m talking to — that would definitely be harder to explain to my wife.

Yep, got married this past September. I brought her south for a visit, but it figures you wouldn’t remember her … you were busy last year welcoming back so many for Thanksgiving. She definitely remembers you and she liked you a lot. She’s from Maine, another state where the people are known for their laid-back nature, their warmth, hospitality and for having the odd character or two.

Every time I go back to visit you, I’m surprised by how green everything is. Green everywhere! How could I forget all those forests and the sweet smell in the air? It must be the fumes from the cars here.

Yes, you win the access-to-nature award hands down. It isn’t even close. Here I have to go looking for nature, and even then it takes a 20-minute ride on the subway and walking a few blocks to get to anything that has the nerve to call itself a park without laughing. If I want true nature, I have to rent a car and fight it out on the highway with all the other nature hunters.

As far as parks go, Central Park is a park in keeping with Times Square; it is pure theater. Much like a Park Avenue wife, the entirety of Central Park was carefully manufactured and needs constant manicuring, detailing and maintenance of the most expensive kind.

Not everything here is bad, I wouldn’t live here if it were. There may not be much nature, but what there is here can be accessed by foot whenever I want and at any hour. I may not be able to get in to spend a night at the museum, but I can at least get there 24/7 without a car. I love you, you know that; but when I’m there with you, I can’t get anywhere without a car. Here, I walk everywhere and I love it.

What this city lacks in access to nature it more than makes up for in everyday interactions and people watching. I can run the entire range of human emotions from sheer joy to absolute bone-rattling irritation at all of mankind in just one subway ride. It may not sound appealing, but it beats reality television.

Not to mention that with all this walking I’ve lost about 30 pounds. No, it wasn’t the same pound 30 times. They were entirely separate pounds, each and every one.

All right, darling, I have to go. The wife is starting to wonder why I’m really writing all these loving words to you. Be good, stay safe and watch out for those tropical depressions; I know how your mood gets come August.

Oh, and Sandy says “hi.”