4 years and I still choose you, New York
4 years. Past this point marks more time than I've spent in any one city other than my hometown. More time than I've spent in any romantic relationship. More time than I've spent in any job thus far. 4 years ago this month, I landed in New York with one suitcase, a job offer, no more than a few friends, and an intention: to have one year filled with adventure; I did not anticipate staying longer. To say the first few months were overwhelming would be an understatement. My 330 sq foot studio apartment was old and overpriced. Navigating the subway system was confusing. In a city with millions of people, I was starting from scratch with no family and no community of friends. And within a month, I was sharing my small space with an unwelcome rodent who I nicknamed Mickey mouse. I was convinced I made the wrong move - NYC was just not for me. But leaving so soon felt cowardly and premature. I convinced myself that these were growing pains, and struggle only develops character. I had already learnt so much about myself and my limits since my arrival. I brushed off my recent challenges... maybe this is what #adulting was all about?! I decided to choose New York.
In the months following, I began to meet an abundance of intelligent, like-minded individuals that were quickly becoming good friends. The pitfalls of this city were soon being forgiven by long nights dancing on rooftops followed by Halal Guys at 3am, and my discovery of some of the best restaurants and access to the World's finest Museum exhibitions and theatre performances. As my one year affair with New York was coming to a close, so was something else - my visa. If I wanted to stay any longer in the USA, I would need to begin an expensive and long immigration process. I was again forced to make a choice. The fun had just started; I couldn't possibly leave now! Once again, I chose New York.
The past four years have taught me that every stereotype you hear about New York is true. It is expensive. It is dirty. It is the city that never sleeps. It is the city where dreams are made of (given hard work and good intention), and as I know it, it is the greatest city in the World. A New Yorker's relationship with New York can often be synonymous with a passionate and tumultuous love affair. Thus far, it has been my greatest. Every time I've thought of leaving her (because New York is undoubtedly a woman), I miss her hustle, her convenience, her surprises, her ingenuity, her tempo. I don't know if I will forever feel this way...
But in this moment...
I still choose you, New York.
Photography by: Neil Britto (@itsneilb)
Skirt and Blouse: Who What Wear Collection x Target || Shoes: Franco Sarto || Sunglasses: MVMT || Purse: Vintage from Dobbin St Co-op