In two weeks I will be in the city of concrete jungles and shining lights. I don’t think words can really capture how excited I feel about revisiting NYC (although the last time I went was with family and I vowed to never set foot there again, but I was also a young and naive little creature). It’s about the same excitement I felt when leaving for Copenhagen, except I don’t have to worry about things like being in a foreign land for months and stressing over trying to find friends or community. My dad gave me a map of Manhattan when he went there on a business trip years ago, and I’ve been dreaming of the day I can walk down those very streets I saw on paper.
This is a place where I would love to live. I would
kill give anything to inhabit such a dense and bustling city. To be surrounded by people in a fast-paced life and yet there are still pockets of serenity for escape. To be surrounded by place, the sociological idea of a neighborhood with a unique characteristic and community in which citizens interact with each other and their environment. To be surrounded by stores, grocery markets, restaurants, libraries, museums that are all within a doorstep and walk away. And lastly, to have decent, working public transportation so that I don’t need to depend on a car. Because the last thing Earth needs is more vehicles to pollute her. (There are also millions of other reasons on how cars destroy public life and human interactions, but that’s another topic worthy of its own blog and even courses that I have taken.)
I may be an introvert who needs quiet time every now and then where all living beings magically disappear from my life for a short period of time, but the crowds of people in a dense area is one thing I can’t live without. It’s invigorating to see so much life and movement, to have life happen right in front of me and be a dot in a crowd that participates in this life that is happening.
I grew up in the epitome of suburbia, even though my hometown is the fourth largest city in the Bay Area with a population of 200,000+ people. There are expensive houses left and right, all located in great school districts, but that is all there is. It is a bedroom community with no life; we literally only recently got our first movie theater spring of 2012. I moved from here to another, very similar suburbia for college, and let me tell you I am suffocating every day in sleepy La Jolla.
Much like my need or want to finish school and start working ASAP, I want and need a change of pace in life and maybe a change for the better. I know I will never want to live in suburbia. Even if I have a family or when I retire. I guess it’s because I didn’t like the physical environment in which I grew up and have lived in for the last 21 years, and there is sense of freedom/autonomy/independence that I feel when visiting or living in a city.
New York will be more than just visiting for fun with friends for me. It’s my own retreat to be invigorated and breathe life again. This whole quarter has really draining on me, physically and emotionally, and there is nothing more that I want than to literally feel life (or lives) rush past me down the streets of a defined place.