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A Walk Down Princeton Lane

September 18, 2011
The Institute for Advanced Studies at Night

Photo by Abigail Wright

With some hazy memory of writing a post about fighting for the things and the people we love, followed by another seemingly foreign night generally plagued with the blues and a complete lack of desire to do anything, I feel as if I had awoken from a very strange dream. I think I did this morning, actually, but I didn’t have too much time to dwell in the odd unhappiness floating overhead because I had to prepare for my third photo shoot this month. Nothing quite brings me back to my happy reality like the talent and generosity of strangers made friends.

Like my session last Wednesday in Connecticut with Blake Robinson at his studio and Thursday with Sam Henriques by the Manhattan Bridge, Jon Josephs spent priceless time with me today, helping me to look good and reach a higher level in my acting career. I truly can’t express my gratitude or recommend these artists highly enough for all the hard and creative effort they shared with me this week. Knowing their talents and having previewed some of the images, I cannot wait to see the final products of our hard work!

That said, how fun to spend my day playing in front of a camera with a fellow artist? If that didn’t break me out of my funk, I think the smile hardly left my face all day, from the moment I entered Princeton proper today to work with Jon Josephs. “I saw a lecture in one of those buildings, actually… My ex used to live down that street… Oh, that was the bank that got held up by robbers with machine guns… Can you still carve things on the tables at PJ’s Pancake House, like you could before the fire? Alchemist and Barrister’s, I loved that place!”

Perhaps I should thank Jon for listening to my Princeton stories all day as much as for his artistry, but I think he enjoyed the ride on my particular trip down memory lane. For those of you who have never spent time in Princeton, I have to honestly say I have countless reasons to recommend a visit. Princeton University and all its offerings, sculptures, events, and architecture, Westminster Choir College concerts, shopping in town, regatas by the boathouse, autumn walks on the toepath, days by the lake or listening to lectures at the Institute for Advanced Studies (think Einstein, whose home you can visit too), Hoagie Haven, Halo Pub, restaurants to die for, and Triumph‘s microbrewery.

Yes, the smile has returned to my face. More than enough qualifies for a worthwhile trip to Princeton, despite the ever increasing fare on NJTransit. Often, the trip itself provides enough reason to go, such as the funny older gentleman in his smart suit who regaled the passengers today with stories about the kindness of people from New Jersey and their similarities with those from his birthplace, Minnesota.

Surprising me most of all, for our final location, Jon and I stumbled into a new (opened in August) world tea shop featuring fair trade teas from India, Turkish Delight, and live Eastern music. At infini-T, I sat on lush pillows reading the “Where’s Waldo” of Buddha books while Jon setup reflectors and his optimal camera angle and took some masterful shots. We had the opportunity to speak with the owner, who told us a bit about their journey and their excitement about becoming a part of the Princeton community as an establishment (the two owners are both already residents of the area).

With scarves, teas, and tea settings for sale amidst the colorful and comfortable seating arrangements, guests at infini-T (they really do make you feel more like a guest than a customer) can read the many varied and available books, play board games, or mock their friends for putting milk in chamomile tea. When I asked what kind of fruit they had available today, one of the owners told me they had apples and oranges but that a little girl had take the last banana.

With new establishments popping up like these, somewhat reminiscent of the Cheers of Turkish Coffee, folks living and visiting Princeton have much for which to give thanks. As I look back on the day and on my life in general, I too have to admit my rare fortune in the job I have and the quality of friends and colleagues who not only know my name but perform in ways to contribute to the art and beauty of the universe. Just like every place I’ve visited or in which I’ve lived, so many strangers have become my friends and family and left their marks on me and with me, on the world. Tonight, I have the rare blessing of knowing I can go to bed grateful that no matter the dreams I have at night, the ones we share together in daylight and with the world eclipse them in their beauty and truth.

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