Wednesday, July 19

It's Not About the City Stupid

With barely a blink of the eye, my summer in D.C. is more than halfway over. It would be a lie to say that when I arrived here more than six weeks ago, I wasn’t a little anxious. I worried about whether the amazing professional opportunity that sent me here would put a dent into my above average personal life. Maybe it was a little dramatic (but when am I not?), but I couldn’t imagine my life, much less my summer, not being in New York City—a place I’ve called home for the past seven years.

But then, is my love affair with NYC idealized? Or is much of my enjoyment of The City linked to the extensive network of friends I’ve built there over the years? Well, the answers are no and yes. Having witnessed a national tragedy, endured an on-subway assault, and experienced the New York through Blackouts, snow storms, and torrential downpour…I can honestly say that my adoration is not soaked with even a drop of naiveté. That was lost years ago when I was stuck within the caverns of downtown Manhattan, debris raining over me. That day, September 11, taught me the true meaning of the word precious. It is, after all, not the city that saves you or hurts you or makes you laugh—it’s the people that surround you who reinforce that connection. So upon greater reflection, my love for NYC has less to do with the city and more to do with the people that make both the good and bad days worth enduring.

And for that, D.C. has been great to me. I arrived and immediately had a network of friends to plug into. If I was sent somewhere else—say Denver or San Francisco—I am sure that I would be very lonely, no matter how incredible the job may be, or what amazing things those cities may offer. I feel so fortunate to have the chance to re-connect with old friends, strengthen relationships with somewhat newer ones, and explore a city that is both familiar and new to me. It’s been a wonderful, yet rare opportunity. And it makes for a more complicated situation because I often feel stuck between two worlds—the one waiting for me in New York and the one that is here, happening now in D.C. I can’t say which one I prefer or which one is better. That choice is no longer just about the city, but is more about the friends. And with that, I plead the fifth.


betina chan said...

Okay while I am not a huge network of friends, I'm sure if you had come to San Francisco, we would've hung out.

I so often find myself singing the Kim Jong-Il anthem from Team America , "So Lonely" when I think of all the friends I have on the east coast having fun without me. But I guess it has been like that for the past 7 years. Sigh.

Holly Golightly said...

that would be "i'm so rone-ry," hahaha. i love it!!

but seriously, wherever you go, i'm sure you would've made a new network of friends - i did that here in dc and that's why it's home to me now and i don't hate it like when i first moved here; and you would've been part of my network of friends had i moved to ny (or hey, if i were ever to in the future and you were still there). the only problem is as we get older, we realize how much TIME and effort it takes to build up that support network - but isn't it great that you have it in two places already?

so i guess you're not quite like Carrie in SATC in thinking that your best relationship has been with New York?

btw, after being there this weekend, i am struck by how gross NY can be in the summertime. and how many NY streets are dirtier than those in Shanghai or Beijing. ewwwww.