Seven years as a New Yorker by heart

They say it takes living 10 years in the City before you officially can call yourself a New Yorker. I say; “I’ve been a New Yorker since the day I sat foot on 42nd street!”.

Sure – What I fell in love with back then, is not what I love about the city today. Much like when you first fall in love with a person — 20 years later it’s not his six-pack or the way she walks down the street in her 6-inch heels. It’s something deeper, way less superficial.

When I came to New York I entered a fairy tale much like what I had seen on TV. I needed a break from my reality in Denmark and the new scenery welcomed me into a unrealistic bubble of joy. Today my life is very real and 90% of the time is super stressful, demanding and tough. It’s a roller-coaster emotionally, a ride I most likely shouldn’t have gotten on.
Am I regretting making the ‘big move’ to New York? Am I regretting following my dreams? Not at all.

I have an apartment that I recently re-signed for a third year. I picture myself staying in this apartment and be like my “old-lady-neighbor” 20 years from now. Most likely I will also have a cat (or three like her) even though the building doesn’t allow it.
I love that I have everything I need around me: The Subway (trains), a subway (sandwiches), Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Chinese Food, Healthy asian food, Peruvian food, Mexican food (like in the “the chinese-people-are-making-the-mexican-food” places) Italian food, pizza, Jewish restaurants (I don’t think I’m allowed to go in. They have no windows, or the windows they have are covered in heavy curtains) Pharmacies, CVS, Knish Knosh (look it up), several banks (not like any of them want to give me a loan or a no-fee account), Super markets and farmers green market. Oh, and my gym. I keep forgetting. Yes. All of that within 3 minutes walk. We also just got a 99cent store called Youtube.

My commute to school is on average an hour. I don’t mind. I have an iPad and I’m really good at being cool like the rest of the New Yorkers who commute hours daily. Like, I will form the words of the songs with my lips and try not to make a sound. Yes. And I will push you to the side when I need to get out if you don’t understand you have to. I don’t care. I still get up for the pregnant and the elderly though.

I can’t believe I’m at my 4th semester at CUNY. I’m still studying hospitality management but my heart is in tourism. I hope that when I graduate next year, I will get a job that can sponsor me so I don’t have to go back to Denmark. Yes, there I said it: I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back. I can’t possibly leave my home …

Read my 5th year anniversary blog: http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/09/26/five-year-anniversary/

7 years has passed by. I still [heart] New York 2006-2013!

 

MY first picture from 42nd street
MY first picture from 42nd street

It’s been 4 years

September 26, 2006.

It was an early morning, didn’t sleep all night. My bags were almost packed and all I had to do was get as much coffee down without puking – I was a nervous wreck.

I didn’t blame anybody but myself. I thought I could handle this but when the day finally arrived I had no idea why I’d decided to put myself through this.

An hour later I was in a bus with my suitcase in front of me wondering if I would even make it on time. The bus wasn’t moving because we had to wait for the bridge to go down. — Later, I was late for my train. The train I got on didn’t go all the way. Had to transfer at Copenhagen Central Station. Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes later than expected I arrived in Copenhagen Airport.

My best friend awaited me. As always he knew exactly how to treat me and made sure I got to relax a bit. I got checked-in! Got my first $$ and was just about to hit the escalator when it hit me again – “What in the world am I doing?”

I was almost tearing up as was my friend.  I thought to myself: “Too selfish a decision, why am I so immature?” – Five seconds later I couldn’t see him anymore and I had no choice but to move on.

Through my first security. Found my way to the gate. Got on board, found my seat, sat down, heavily breathing. Not only was this my first time in an airplane. This was also my first time to go away on holiday without my family. And the first time to leave Europe.

I called my mother – back then I didn’t realize that you’re not suppose to use your phone while on the plane. But it was somewhat comforting to hear her voice as we were taking off the runway. It was very emotional – and then – she was gone!

8 hours and some later I arrived in Newark Airport. A danish architect, Troels, doing an internship in New York helped me get to Manhattan. To this day I haven’t forgot his help.

A few hours later I sat foot on 42nd street, Port Authority, Times Square around the corner. I remember the smell of that day. And for the very first second I was disappointed. Finally I was in New York and then what? I realized it wasn’t just about traveling to a new place – it was a psychological escape from a world I didn’t appreciate and a way of proving myself.

The danish architect followed me to Columbus Circle where he wished me a good holiday and then he left me through the park. There I was – a pale, chubby Dane – alone on the streets of Manhattan without a clue of what I was doing. I tried to mimic what I’ve seen in the movies; hailing a cab. Apparently it worked and I arrived at my hotel on 71st street.

The room was fine, the TV was showing commercials. My body was aching and I blame the jet-lag for the moving walls.

I heard the ambulances, the police sirens, the traffic. I heard people yelling on the streets.

That night I fell a sleep not knowing that the very next morning I would fall in love!

4 years later: The immature, selfish decision turned out to change my life. Here I am, sitting in my studio in New York for the 194. day with 32 days to go before being back in Denmark. It’s been 10 travels, it’s been January, February – June, Juli, August, September, October, November and December. It has been UWS, Midtown, East Village, Jamaica, Park Slope, Forest Hills. It’s been thousands of dollars. Thousands of miles. Thousands of tears of joy. It was a dream, it was a goal. Then it became a reality, a future, a life.

Who knows what it will look like in 4 years from now but I hope that I’m doing the right thing in life with the right partner, the right decisions made. A brownstone perhaps or a nice 3-bedroom in beautiful surroundings. Maybe it’s not the city but maybe it’s close enough. Maybe a child playing in the backyard. Maybe my family wont be so far from me. I wouldn’t mind having ‘grandma’ over every week or being able to see my sisters. If not, I hope my life is simple so that traveling will be a part of life. As H.C Andersen said: To travel is to live.

Who knows – maybe it will be even better. Paradise on earth.

All I know for now is that I’m happy! Happy that I’m alive. Happy that I didn’t let all of those people’s disbelief tear me down. If you want something – you have to make it happen no matter how impossible it might seem. If you’re not making it happen it’s because you’re all about the talk …

[heart] NYC 2006-2010