New York is everything and nothing like I had imagined.
It is big, brash, LOUD, smelly, heaving with people and the most manic, impatient and frantic place I’ve ever experienced. I thought I knew big cities, but London is a small provincial town compared to New York. Everywhere you go, there are car horns blaring, people yelling, cars whooshing by, people shoving you, leaflets being pushed in your face, crazy people declaring The End Has Come, steam emitting from grates unexpectedly, food carts belching out enticing smells and flashing neon lights from store fronts blinding you, and all this can just as easily be seen at 6am as at 6pm. There is always something to see and do, something to marvel at, laugh at, cry at, point at, gasp at. It is a city that overwhelms every sense and makes you realise how high and wide and deep life can be. I love it.
I feel like I have regressed to childhood, and that’s not just because the skyscrapers and storey after storey of apartment buildings unfolding above my head to dizzying levels make me feel physically tiny. It’s because, for the first time since I was about 5, I am filled with wonder at everything I see. I no longer take my surroundings for granted, or walk along in a world of my own. The world around me has come alive; from sepia to technicolour. I can’t stop marvelling at the feat of the men who risked their lives to build the majestic skyscrapers of the 1920s; at the teeny tiny birds that populate Central Park; at the surging masses of people emerging from Grand Central at rush hour; at the graceful bridges that span the East River. I feel part of the throbbing heart of life in a way I never did in London; filled with possibility, with excitement, with anticipation, with hope. Looking at the sky studded with the pinnacles of towers built to express the dreams and hopes of men who truly believed America was the land of infinite opportunity, I too feel like here, I could achieve anything, be anything, do anything. I feel reborn, almost. And it’s only been six days. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’ll feel in a year.
Despite being further from my family and friends than I have ever been, and missing them terribly, I am so wonderfully happy. New York is going to be the making of me, I just know it. This is the beginning of the rest of my life, and I am sure as goodness going to make the most of it. In these past six days I have been pushed beyond the limits of everything I thought I was capable of, and while it has been scary, it has also been exhilarating, as now I know that I can do infinitely more than I ever dared to imagine, and as such, the world truly is my oyster. I still need more courage, and I know there will be plenty of valleys among the peaks, but I am so glad I took this leap, and I can’t wait to see what more joys lie along the road ahead of me. Thank you all for your wonderfully kind comments and emails; you have lifted my heart at times of real need, and I appreciate your support immensely. I have already done and taken photos of countless things, and will post properly about my adventures as soon as I can; life is a bit of a whirl at the moment and this is the only time I’ve had all week to sit down and write. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to tell you all about my trip to the beautiful Met, and show you some of the favourite places I’ve found so far!