BUFFALO: So Near Yet So Far

By Emily Majewski.  Emily and her husband Brandon Majewski live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with their daughter Rhus and dogs Bidwell and Porter.

No matter how far you are from home, you are only as far as your nose. For example, the other day I stepped outside of my apartment (4,000 miles from Buffalo) and caught a whiff of a gardenia bush. Suddenly Mexico faded away and the gardenia  became hyacinths and lilies. At Easter. In OLV. The next flashback was a butter lamb. Now how a gardenia can transmorgrify into a butter lamb, only an ex-pat Buffalonian can understand.

Occasionally an especially quiet Sunday comes along. In that moment of hazy stillness suddenly it is a Sunday, the Bills are playing, maybe in September. My housebound neighbors stop grilling asada and are glued to the TV with an anticipatory hush.

Yes, leaving Buffalo is an oxymoron. It’s like a homemade tattoo on your heart. It’s a habit you can’t quite kick. And it’s the subtle things that take you back: nachos are served and suddenly you are at Founding Fathers. You hear a distant ice cream truck and there it goes, barreling down West Ave. You smell a backyard fire and its October again resplendent with maples – never mind the fact that it is 98 degrees and your best friend is a sweat rag. 

Of course, there are sensations that I can’t recreate here. For example, I always enjoyed walking down Main towards the lake. There’s this subtle unconscious shift that happens, when the pigeons give way to sea gulls and the buildings salute the vast void of water ahead. The sacred energy of the Indian burial ground that is Johnson Park. I miss things like lilacs (not to be grown in my tropical location) and especially pilfering lilac bouquets for Mothers Day (guilty). There are also no substitutes for family.

My husband and I left Buffalo to move to a climate where we could grow food for a minimum amount of energy. In our odyssey to become “self sufficient” we pay a price for the endless summer. We left our snow shovels behind only to realize that come monsoon season, everyone shovels ditches out of the puddles in front of their house. The silty roads get plowed (Buffalo style) as otherwise the street becomes a lagoon, complete with swarming dragonflies. Sand is piled along the curbs much like drifts of snow. And everyone is complaining about the weather: ‘Much too hot’ (in Spanish). So some things stay the same, only, different.

A lot has been written about how Buffalo meets all the requirements of Camelot, i.e. An All American City. Whether it’s the people, festivals, sports, architecture, food, seasons, urban renewal or urban agriculture, it’s all been said elsewhere. But as a Buffalonian far away from home I can vouch for that sensory connection to a city, a connection that transcends the words about how great it is. Buffalo is weird and wonderful and sneaks up on you in ways you can’t anticipate until you are shoveling the sand off your doorstep. Then it all comes rushing back. 
In the process of creating a Superfood Sanctuary, you can follow the adventure at their blog, http://adoptasuperfoodtree.wordpress.com/ .

About the author  ⁄ buffalorising


A truly touching and well-written piece. Thank you for sharing your experience!


Sounds like a great adventure. Good luck.

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