Friday was an international one. I rode the train with my friend and her Italian boyfriend, met the French boys at Grand Central, and then lunched at a quintessential New York gem (with delicious American fare), Gotham Bar and Grill. By Saturday, I was in Connecticut with my parents picking up my sister from her dance sleep away camp and watching her and her new talented friends in their final performance. All of the dancers were spectacular. And, of course, we cannot forget Sunday, an afternoon spent in Philadelphia to experience "Rock the Era: Dream Big, Change the World," a Youth Culture Festival organized by the SGI - USA East Territory, otherwise known as my cousin's Buddhist organization.
I am now going to try to thread together the beginning of my weekend (in pictures) with the end (in words). Wish me luck ;). First off, let me just say that although I am currently figuring out my beliefs, I have only minimally chanted in certain yoga classes and was raised Roman Catholic. My cousins, on the other hand, have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for as long as I can remember.
According to the SGI website, their teachings and philosophy are rooted in "the concept of 'human revolution' a process of inner transformation through Buddhist process. It is a process that leads us to develop our character and to act not only for our personal fulfillment but also for the betterment of society."
I don't know about you but I didn't find those words to be nearly as intimidating as the socialite sophistication within Gotham Bar and Grill. Watching a group of like-minded individuals of all different backgrounds come together to celebrate and support youth culture was really quite inspiring actually.
[Heirloom and Watermelon Salad: cherry tomato, thai basil, ricotta salata]
They played instruments, they sang, they recited, they danced, all in response to the question "What will the future of our nation be?" - a loaded question made fun.
[Roasted Scottish Salmon: sugar snap peas, fregula sarda, baby zucchini, fines herbes vinaigrette]
I couldn't agree more with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, when he said, "A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind."
World peace and a slice of rich mouse-like chocolate cake, preferably flourless, and served alongside a scoop of seasonal mixed berry ice cream... I dig it.