Oh, New York City!
Okay, so I romanticize Manhattan. I love the city. I can’t get enough of it. I love it all. The massive buildings, honking horns, the roar of the subway, the construction every two blocks, and the myriad of people all living their lives. I love that I can walk everywhere, that I can find coffee, bagels, dumplings, pizza, or chocolate cake within just a few blocks of wherever I am.
When I was 18, just a few months after moving from Iowa to Los Angeles, I found myself in a department store restroom. One of those restrooms that has a small waiting room with a sofa and carpet. I stepped into the stall to do my thing. And as I sat there, I could hear these conversations. There were three separate conversations happening – a couple of older women with grey hair, nicely dressed for a day of shopping, chattering away, a mom with her toddler helping them wash their hands and a little gaggle of teenage girls adjusting their hair in the mirror. But I couldn’t understand any of it, they were all speaking different languages and none of them was speaking the same language. And in that moment, I felt like I was surrounded by the whole world. I didn’t need to speak their language to know what was happening, they were just living their lives. I felt honored to be in this space where people were being human, just like me.
This is how I feel when I walk the streets of New York City. I feel connected to the whole world when I walk those streets. It is how I feel when I travel to a new place. I am honored to be present, to witness life different from mine, but still the same.
This week, my daughter and I walked these the streets of New York with no agenda. We just walked and talked. We sat at tables in little city squares and at benches in the park, we stopped for a drink at a diner and grabbed bite to eat from a street vendor. We didn’t really do anything. It was lovely. She too, loves the city. Her first visit to the city was when she was five, I wanted to share my favorite city with her. I don’t know how many times we have been, but now at 23, we share a love for this city.
I got on a train today heading west. I’m headed to Indianapolis, then off to Chicago for a bit. I am on my way back to the west coast. I love living in Los Angeles, but New York will always be MY city.
So, this isn’t goodbye, just “see ya later New York!” – ‘cause I’ll be back!