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.