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The Daily Rice: The Things I Will Not Grieve

At the onset of our mass confusion and shock in the early weeks of being quarantined in NYC, I came across an article naming what we’re collectively feeling as grief. We grieve for the things we have already lost (jobs, family members, opportunities to travel) and we dread we have yet to lose (a sense of normalcy, the comfort of crowds, restaurants). In the past few weeks, the word has been helpful in naming what I was experiencing and in giving myself permission not to go running off into the next project like I’m usually wont to do.

I didn’t have the energy to grieve yesterday and I remember thinking over the weekend of the things involving people I had the privilege to enjoy before this new normal. Things whose memory will last forever without a shred of regret and a double dosing of grief:

  • Going to the Made in America music festival with friends years ago despite not being a “music guy”. Being trapped in a sea of strangers during 2Chainz’ unintentionally hilarious performance was a highlight.
  • Sharing a bottle of Canard-Duchêne Champagne with my then not-yet-girlfriend in a tiny bar that served homemade Hot Pockets and blasted 90s hip hop and pop music that we all sang along to.
  • Finally taking my mom to Momofuku Ko with my only worry being whether she’d like the meal or not.
  • Being able to welcome last minute guests and friend-of-a-friends to our pop-up dinners where they ate family-style and sometimes by hand on banana leaves.
  • Riding a crowded New York train to join others visiting iconic destinations from the Met, Coney Island Boardwalk, or Chelsea Market. Even better was taking the train to visit the cramped but famous bars and restaurants that defined this city.
  • Spontaneous trips to the Fat Buddha Bar in East Village with who would become some of my closest friends before we all went our separate ways in life.

There were many potential reasons I could have skipped out on these memories not the least of which is my preference for solitude, routine, and making the least amount of movement possible. I wonder how much more I would grieve today had my isolationist self won out all those other times. There are many things I miss today that may never return. But for some of those things, I’m glad I took the chance to live them.

Filed under: All Posts, Snack

About the Author

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Paolo Española is a wandering diner in search of a good meal and an ever-elusive identity. He started this blog during a soul-crushing stint as an Accountant and later co-founded Hidden Apron, his side project that’s dabbled in everything from private catering, hosting pop-up dinners, podcasting, and everywhere in between. He is a contributing author to the best-selling cookbook, “The New Filipino Kitchen” and believes that food is a universal language that can solve the world's most challenging problems, help people believe in their own potential, create communities to shared stories, and realize that in Breaking Bread, we Break Boundaries.

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