You did it! You, freaking amazing woman! You did it!
10 years ago I arrived in New York City for the first time. I was merely 21 years old. Had never been outside of Europe. Never been on a plane. I arrived with SAS in Newark. I had no clue how to get into Manhattan. So I took it upon myself to tag along this danish architect guy called Troels. He helped me with the shuttle bus, and after we arrived at Port Authority he helped me get to the corner of 59th street and Central Park West. He taught me how to hail a cab. I really didn’t believe that it was going to be as easy as raising your arm … like what you see they do in the movies. But it was. And a few moments later I was in my first cab on my way to Broadway and 72nd street. I had booked a room at Hotel Riverside Studios. It was cheap. It was decent.
The first day I didn’t fall in love with the City. I had arrived late so by the time I was checked-in and had went to the local deli and bought some chips and a soda I fell asleep. I woke up a bunch of times because New York is noisy.
The next day I woke up super early, showered and headed out the door. I walked. I walked. I walked all the way to Times Square which really isn’t that far of a walk but when you’re new to the City every block was like a new adventure, a new place.
I had my first breakfast at Starbucks. I didn’t really know what Starbucks was besides what I had seen on TV. I bought a fruit cup, a muffin and a coffee. And I sneak a photo of a couple sitting in front of me.
Moments later a dude called Duwon came in and sat down at the table next to me. He asked me if I would mind looking after his belongings while he went to the bathroom. It was odd. I had never been asked that question before by a stranger. I now know that it’s customary to ask complete strangers in Starbucks to look after your things. When he returned he started a conversation. I felt awkward. I’m Danish, I don’t speak great English and I feel a little uncomfortable speaking to a strange man. Lol – so young and innocent. This is New York City, baby and this is what we do!
I don’t really recall the conversation but he was a real new yorker in his demeanor, and it was pretty awesome once I got out of the initial shock of talking to a stranger! …
Later that day I went to the Staten Island Ferry and when I saw the Statue of Liberty I told myself I wanted to live here. It was really not based on much more than a feeling of accomplishment and excitement. Looking back I totally understand why no one took me serious when I proclaimed I wanted to move to New York. What did I know? I knew nothing about life in America. I knew nothing about the struggle it would be to move here. It was just a dream.
A funny thing about my trip to New York was that I hadn’t planned it really. I just went and took each day as they were. I walked a lot but I also took the cab quite a bit. One trip in the subway at rush hour had me promise myself I was ‘too good’ for this and that I’d never get in the train again. Ha .. what a joke! 🙂
What’s really interesting about my journey is the fact that I had no intentions of leaving Denmark just prior to my trip to New York. I had played with thoughts of living in Paris for six months but that’s pretty much it. I can’t pinpoint what really made me so determined just hours into coming to New York the first time .. But I was.
And over the course of the next five years and my many trips it never changed.
Now that I’ve lived here for more than five years, and have a business and a family I know it was the right decision to make back then. I would maybe have done things differently – such as saving more money while I was in Denmark – but over all I’m happy I did what I did and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will hold for us.
Want to read about my first trip? This is my #throwback from 2010: http://www.iloveny.dk/2010/09/26/its-been-four-years/