Four years and two months ago I drove into Long Island City, my black Chevrolet Impala filled to the brim with my Philadelphia apartment belongings, as Bo and I moved in together for the first time.
New York City was our first home together. Atlanta, Athens and Philadelphia were only temporary stops before as we knew our days in each were numbered due to graduations.
At that point in my life I was 25 years old, only 3 years out of college, and unsure of everything in my life other than my career and Bo. I was still insecure in my own skin for many reasons. I was shy and not sure how I would make friends in a city where I knew very few people. Most of my UGA acquaintances who moved to NYC after graduation had either decided their time up here was finished or already had established friend groups.
New York City makes you work for your friends. Everyone is busy and no one has time to stop so if you want to make life long friends you have to be willing to put yourself out there.
I found the courage and confidence to go to a blogger and reader brunch with strangers in May 2009, hosted by the lovely Melissa . It was during this brunch that the ladies convinced me to start a blog. After that one successful moment I continued putting myself out in the world in order to meet new friends. Suddenly I was the person who was willing to get out of my shell and go on “blind workout dates” or ask a co-worker to get a drink after work in hopes of developing the relationship.
The streets of New York City have helped me train for three marathons, proving that with hard work and great friends 26.2 miles is possible. Bo and I discovered this city via the sidewalks, park paths, alleys, and streets. I feel like every nook of the city, especially south of Central Park holds a memory from a long run or jaunt with friends.
A city that moves at a pace like this one requires a certain level of assertion. Even the sweetest of people will find themselves in a back of a cab trying to hustle the driver because it’s Saturday night and you have somewhere to be. You’ll push through the tourists because while you welcome them to the city and appreciate the money they spend, you are on a different time schedule. Time is money here, proof in the fast paced lunch spots where more chopped salads are served in ten minutes than in two hours anywhere else in America.
I’ve had the absolute joy to work and encounter people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs. I’ve danced along side the Pride Parade as it winds through the Chelsea and Gramercy streets, celebrating the strides that have been made. I’ve had long conversations with cab drivers during treks to JFK or LaGuardia, wanting to know more about what brought them to this country and their experiences.
This city has truly become a home. It has toughened us, it’s taught us to take advantage of every opportunity, it’s exhausted us at times, it’s allowed us to meet and reconnect with some amazing friends, and most of all it’s made us stronger.
But now it’s time for us to take the next step. Hopefully a few years from now we’ll look back on our time in Europe as one that brought us together as a couple and allowed us to explore more than we ever thought possible. But for now, we’re taking one day at a time and can only pray that all 8 checked bags arrive with us in Geneva tomorrow morning.
New York, and all our amazing friends, thank you for everything and see you soon!