Tuesday, January 29, 2013

5 years: "So, how do you like New York?"


No one who lives in New York asks me "so, how do you like New York?" Everywhere else it's the number one question. Perhaps because of New York's mystique and character. I love the John Updike quote: “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” 
By this definition I'm definitely not a real New Yorker. Every time I go back to Seattle I am reminded exactly why people would live there (and no, it has little to do with the weather). A couple weeks ago as I was driving my rental van from Ghent to Chatham NY, small mill and farming towns of the Hudson Valley, I thought 'I get it', I'd like to live here, too.  It's peaceful, clean, healthy, a nice place to raise children and appreciate nature. But I can't-- not yet. I have a feeling that New York will give me permission to live somewhere else when it's my time. 

I remember watching Sex in the City with my very dear friend and housemate, Mariko, (both in our first year of teaching junior high school band) and wondering why Carrie felt the need to refer to New York as if it were her boyfriend or family member.  I understand now-- as I walk out my front door negotiating with the city like I'm a small child asking for a piece of candy, a day off from homework or an allowance raise. 

I just passed my five year anniversary of moving from Seattle to New York which inspired me to go back and read some blogs that I was writing at the time. I've done almost no writing in the past three years except for occasional notes to myself, email gushes to friends or family, and though they can't really be catagorized as 'writing', intermittent Facebook statuses. I learned a couple of things while reading back on my old blogs: 1. I didn't have the faintest idea of what was to come 2. I'm glad I didn't know what was to come  and 3. Wherever I go, there I am. I think we like to believe that if we move or a certain amount of time passes, we become some other person or at least a dramatically improved version of our old selves. I've changed, but I'm basically the same person with some new experiences. I find this humbling.
I do notice differences, of course; I'm almost always in a rush, I don't cook as much, I frown more while walking down the street, etc...   But my frown melts quickly with a near-collision-turned-dance-routine with a police officer or a glimpse of loving parenting on a subway. I don't spend as much time with friends as I'd like to, but when I do, I treasure it like gold. 

How we do everyday things is changing dramatically. Take this post for example, I used to sit at my computer to write (and sometimes even use pen and paper!) and now I'm writing on a telephone while on a machine that lets me simulate running up a mountain. And, certainly not new technology, but still mind blowing when I take the time to think about it; I got here on a train that runs under a river to an island full of skyscrapers!! NY is so Sci-fi! 

How do I like New York? I love it madly. and maddeningly. It's exactly where I need to be and want to be, even when my heart is split across 3,000 miles to my dear family.  Thank you to my East Coast adopted families for providing the very next best thing.  This includes my musical colleagues all around me and in my band, Garden Party.  I hope you'll come out and hear us and capture for yourself some of they joy they bring me. 

Cheers to living the dream...  
                     
                             It's not always dreamy but it is always living.

                                                                  -Emily

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