Dreaming of the Big Apple

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When I left New York, I had powerful, vivid dreams that made me sleep so deep and still feel tired when I woke up from 12 hour ‘naps’. At first, I put it down to jet lag, but this lasted for six months. I later realised it was homesickness. It is silly really, to even think that you could be homesick from being somewhere for such a short amount of time. But it was the truth. I don’t believe in looking back at the past, but this was something that proved far more difficult than any other transition in my life. I put it down to the power of the city.

I’m not sure if I believe in the cliche of magic, but there is certainly some kind of spell that is cast over New York. One day, I hope to go back and stay. Stay for longer than the three months I was allowed, but the immigration laws will need to change before that happens.

I had always wanted to move to New York, and a younger, more naive me believed it would be as simple as buying a plane ticket with some savings, and going off ski. At the time of deciding to go, I was in a difficult place in my life. I had graduated and previously worked abroad for a year, and was in two minds whether to go back and travel some more, or get a stable job and build a life with a savings fund for a house in the city, similar to the rest of my friends. After trying the latter, and most probably applying far too optimistically for roles such as ‘Editor’ and ‘Director’, I  decided that even when realising what level I was really at, I was just not experienced enough to compete with the celebrity offspring, who still are – in my opinion, getting all of the good roles.

Knowing that it wasn’t possible to get a working visa in the States in my own situation, I looked at other ways in which I could go there for a long period of time on a budget, with the aim of finding writing work out there and building a more solid portfolio – something you will be pleased to know, I did! This resulted in me making plans to move to a boat. That’s right, a boat.

Living on a boat sounded anything but ideal, but it would cost nothing to live on. I had found it on one of those sites, where you can get free accommodation if you work for free, and for New York, it was the only and far better option of the two – the other helping out a magician in Times Square dressed as a clown everyday – not at all sketchy…

It was only when a few other facts came to light about the reality of living on the boat for three months that I stopped in my excited tracks and resorted in going back to the drawing board. As well as smaller things, like the location being very far out, I found out, two days before going, that I would be sharing my room with eight others. Eight. I am all for adventure, but this put another dimension to the expression ‘cabin fever’.

In between answering the phone at a temp job which was funding some of my trip, I frantically searched the world wide web for an affordable room, something far more difficult that I had ever imagined. When I did find a room, in my price range and available during the time of my stay, I felt like singing hallelujah sister liberty. Instead, I panicked – because it was in Harlem. So I told my parents I was moving to the Upper West Side, and prayed it was better than the papers made it out to be.

 

(Taken from my travel blog – The Grass is Greener).

New York: So Much Love And So Many Feels

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I’ve been waking up early a lot these last few days. The heat is so humid that I often wonder if I have been kidnapped, waking up in the wilderness of the jungle. Sometimes I think I really have. It’s just more concrete and less wilderness. There are similarities though. Looking around, there are beasts everywhere, both figuratively and literally. Rats, mice, humans – the most animalistic of them all. There is a fight for survival, the weak don’t stand a chance. Pushing your way around the subway crowds without smiling is a good method.

Unlike the real jungle, it is fairly easy to get out of here. There is nothing forcing you to stay, in fact most will say please go – there’s one less person to compete with in finding a place to stay, a subway seat, a table at a $20 bottomless brunch.

Yet there is something so beautifully gritty about this city. So repulsive but compelling, so crowded yet so peaceful. People come here from all over the world to settle. Seek refuge.

Why? Because it accepts everyone and everything. It might swallow you up some days, but it will spit you back out and allow you to see it’s unconventional beauty with a fresh eye. On these days, the days I hate New York and then suddenly see it again in new eyes, I realise how sad I will be when I have to leave.