I have to get some Ajvar. Ajvar is a multi-functional spread made of peppers, which is essential for the presentation of Macedonia in my exhibition. Original Ajvar has stayed in Germany. I am sent to Armenian stores. On the website www.ajvar.org, I find the homepage of some Romanian computer programmers. I ask for advice at the Croatian Consulate. The diplomat is reserved until I mention the word “Ajvar.” He laughs. It brings us much closer to each other that we both know and like Ajvar.
The rain pours down on a Saturday morning in Queens. I can’t find it in the store on Broadway, but I find an Ajvar-selling butcher. I also buy some cheese and baked goods that are called “Banitza” in Bulgaria, but in Croatia they have a different name. The Croats laugh when I say Banitza and come around from the counter to pat me on the shoulder. Friends and family come to visit the store and shake the rain out of their hair. I find a handful of  jello banana candies in my bag.