Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It's inevitable but not welcomed: the end

The past few days have been spent just thinking. Thinking about all the days that stand out tall in my mind. 11 months ago it was all surreal, scary and exciting. Now those feelings are meshed together, and I feel at home.

    A tad mainstream, but below is a place I spontaneously picked to sit and think at dusk

The day was lowering and I was on a mix of high and low. Just off the corner of a busy 5 avenue, the buildings stretch above the leaves and make for an unconventional park. This specific spot has the best of both worlds: the quietly beautiful park and the blinking city in your periphery. It put the whole year into a perfect vision for me, with of course some crazies striding along behind me projecting sweet nothings to themselves and the world- it's amazing. From beginning to end, each day came with surprises both good and bad alongside warm and cold people. First thoughts:  mmmmm wow. I came to the city as green as green gets. I knew NOTHING about how to go about the life. All that I had acquired from movies and novels was banished from my mind and replaced with the reality in front of me. Although different from my expectations, it was better. I kid you not, this is a tough city. Being in my student years, it takes the edge off a considerable amount all the while getting a taste of the real world. I'm taken by it. If life takes you to New York, embrace this roller coaster.

It wasn't just about studying abroad you know, it was also about tying together some family branches that had been somewhat estranged due to geographical constraints. Way back when, in the 50s, my Great Aunt Hionoula and my Great Uncle Aleko left their beloved Greek soil and set up a new life in America. Since then, they have elongated the family tree and made their mark on this side of the world, while the rest of us remained on the flip side. Not knowing when I would eventually meet my cousins/aunts and uncles I relied on the photos and cards sent to us 2-3 times a year. We sealed them into our family albums as if we had already met and were close. The actual meeting everyone was above all, overwhelming. Thankfully, I was sorted with all the names, my memory bank hadn't failed me.

After filling in on those absent years, I felt very close and welcomed into the family- it's such a great feeling to have- knowing that family exists even when my immediate family are 7000 miles was such a comfort- no need to punch in an international dial code, just call domestically: lovely.

Without my family, I would not have been able to cover so much ground in America. With that, I thank with all my heart, Aunt Mary, Uncle George, Aunt Katherine, Uncle Jeff, Aunt Karen, Uncle Frank, Cousins, Jamie, Christina, Katherine, Alex, Erik, Marc, Brad, and Phillip for taking me under their wing across the entirety of the year. I love you and thank you!

New York is not America. I had to see other parts to say I have lived in America. My goal was to experience 10 states, and fill up (bloat) with some true Americana. The traveling around this year, was a real blessing. Travel for me is a question of time, attitude and taste. I honed in on all of these matters and made the most out of what I did. What made each state amazing, were the people. Thank you, Deanna, Kaitlyn, Christina, Katherine, Erik, Faisal, Nate- thank you. It was with their generosity of spirit, that I managed to accomplish all. Traveling around was such a telling experience for me, where throughout the year, I've blended my fictional America with the real life America before me shared with family and friends who brought the year to life in the most personal way.

Back to my New York. New York is my playground. I became very much a part of it and it always kept boredom at bay. A good friend of mine said, 'Georgie, stop walking so fast, you're such a New Yorker' which was music to my noise conditioned ears. I know I've only resided here for technically 11 months, but for all intents and purposes, I'm just going to say, 'about a year', but I've lived it like it were 11 years- probably because my stay had an expiration date!

On a random note, people here are individualists. You can have such a fantastic existence here if you want to- applicable anywhere in the world, but there's something about New York, New York (so good they named it twice). Everyone is alive here, people talk the talk and walk the walk. Of course, there are many exceptions but this aspect will hit you hard in the face at one point. Massive love to the Hunter kids and the wonderful folk I met around the city.

Coming back shouldn't be an option, I want it to be a certainty. Although I am harboring feelings of nervousness, because when I come back, it will most likely be as a working woman- not a student. The difference is stark and far removed from the pleasantries from the drawn out luxuries of being a student- excessive sleep, money from the Bank of Dad and a mere 3 essays to complete in 4 weeks time. No problem, the challenge will be accept. I hasten to constantly remind myself that life has its turns, you never know where life leads you. I may not end up here. But I sure as hell will try. If I am as happy here, elsewhere in the world, that's all that matters.

I will take away from this experience, an infinite amount of joy and memories. I came to the city absolutely terrified, and through the course of the year,  became a comfortable and familiar local New Yorker. Up until now I dared not to categorize myself as a New Yorker, because it is a heavy duty title. But I learned the ways of the city and its people. I cannot say every part of living here is perfect, but its one notch down. Sometimes I think, why am I so in love with this city? A friend of mine said 'America is a great place for people who aren't American' and without asking for explication, I reasoned it with the saying 'The grass is always greener on the other side' and my personal favorite, 'you love what is not yours'.  Make no mistake, London has its magic....I feel like I will fall back in love with it again. Had it not been for London, New York would never have happened. London was the bedrock of my life here. I was trained well, and transferred the life skills learned there and put them to use here. 

24 hour Lifestyle
The anticipation of getting on that plane, is slowly but surely chewing at me, upping my heart beat and forcing me to fight back tears. But why should there be tears? I am incredibly happy with the happenings of this year, I thanked God everyday for what I had,  I did all that was feasible, and all that I wanted to do. I'm leaving in full happiness, having loved every second. 

As scary as it was initially, I now know that most things that are worthwhile in life are scary. New York is my center point for many personal reasons but also for over-arching global reasons that are blatant to most people. I've said this a million times, but I deem it necessary to preach: if the world had a capital city, it would be New York.

On that flight, as we climb up to the tropopause, and glide through the belts of peaceful air,  I will appreciate once again, all that I was able to do. It's a great state to be in when you are so high, above the world, it's a grounding feeling.

I love you Mannahatta (look it up).

View From Rockerfeller Center
Biggest and Bestest Wishes,

p.s. Thank you for reading along x

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