Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's A Wonderful Life

It’s quite strange being back in North Carolina after living in New York for several months. I almost feel as though I’ve been in a coma, and my life in New York is some elaborate dream. Every day this week, I’ve opened my eyes and seen the same bedroom that I lived in for 18 years. I’ve been working my old job at Starbucks over the holiday season, and aside from my room being cleaner (thanks, mom!) and my brother being taller, (grr) things feel quite the same.

There’s a whole host of mixed emotions in my mind right now. I love New York, and I’m home there. I’m going back in less than two weeks, and I see myself quite possibly staying there for the rest of my life. But this room, this house, is a place of emotional security and warmth. Even when my town has been too small or my woods too spider-filled, my house has never failed to be a source of comfort, due in part to my family who is here, and in part to the unchanging stains on my carpet, the pictures on my walls and life I’ve lived here.

I love here, and I love there, and while the two polar opposite places seem to conflict with one another, I’m able to love both places with open arms. I’m grateful for the stability of my childhood, complete with a nurturing mom, peacemaking and caring dad, adorably quirky brother, two cats, three dogs, and a network of friends. And because of that stability, I can be truly grateful for a tiny apartment in New York, 24/7 access to ice cream and a huge school family with dorky biblical puns and people who read Plato for play.

I’m thankful that I get to spend the holidays with my family here, I’m grateful for free laundry and not having to cook every meal for myself, and I’m grateful for the life that I have, spiders, sirens, southern drivers, snowstorms, splinters and all.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A semester in review.

I've lived in New York for five months now. Things have changed... I'm a different person, at least that's what I think. I can (proudly, gleefully) spot a tourist a mile off, simply by his or her clothing, I walk really fast, refer to the subway as the train, (Subway is a restaurant, silly) regularly eat off  of food carts, and I know where to get the best pizza. I know that it's silly to take the train if you are going any less than 20 blocks, and I can give a tourist directions without much hassle. I think subway rats are rather cute.

This semester I've survived a "hurricane," an earthquake, and a visit by Justin Bieber to the Empire State Building. I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade from my balcony, I went to a jazz club (on my birthday, no less) and I have a favorite "Seinfeld" diner. I took a boat tour around the boroughs (with school) and met one of my best friends because of it. I tried to write a novel in a month, but instead started (but not finished) a novel during a month where most of my guy friends had scruffy, wannabe beards.

 I took a yoga class this afternoon, and find myself somewhat adjusted to the stupidly high price of things (like food) around here. I don't notice sirens anymore, unless I listen for them. I've spent countless hours in Times Square, and I've experienced the magic of ice skating in Bryant Park. I avoided venturing into Central Park at 2 am, because, mugged much? I've walked in New York in the rain. I've ridden (all 8 of) the escalators in Macy's to the top floor more than once.

The most peaceful place in the world is my rooftop at night, which has a mind-blowing view of midtown and the ESB. The Brooklyn bridge is beautiful. I've fallen in love with the cozy of the village, the busyness of midtown, and the class of the upper west side.

I know that 53rd street halal guys will still be around in January. I know that the Olympic diner will still be open 24/7, and that 2 Bros Pizza won't start tasting like cardboard when I return. But I also know that in 10 hours, I'm leaving my apartment and taking a train and then a bus to LaGuardia (who was a mayor of New York, and a key player in the fall of Robert Moses, thank you Dr. Hendershott) where I will be packed into a metal tube and launched 730 miles towards a small town with 6,000 people who all know my name.

I will climb into a minivan in 17 hours, and hand my weepy mother the box of Kleenex that I needed moments before. I will see my family and hug my friends and co-workers. I will spend exactly three weeks readjusting to the strange tasting tap water you people have, before I pack into a metal cylinder again, and break away from the people I love to jump back into this great life that I love, expensive laundry, garbage on the sidewalks and all.