This past Tuesday marked my five year anniversary of moving to NYC. And what a crazy, wild, exhausting, exciting, tumultuous, fun, challenging, and amazing five years it's been. When I moved here I was working a full time job and a part time job (all while finishing my master's thesis) just to make ends meet. And in the process became an expert at making a grocery store roasted chicken last approximately seven meals. I've learned to navigate the workplace - from bouncing paychecks to angry colleagues to 80 hour work weeks to difficult negotiations with even more difficult people. I've learned the limits of what I am willing to put up with and what I am not - both at work and in my relationships. Of which I've been in many. Some better than others, but all worth the love, learning and experiences. Throughout these fives years I've lived in multiple apartments, in multiple neighborhoods, with multiple roommates. I still get lost below 14th street, but I can now give subway directions without looking at a map (most of the time). I've been in and out of love, with people, and with this place. I've left, frequently, only to become more infatuated with NYC every time I see the skyline upon returning. I've learned to rely on 24 hours bodegas and delivery services more than I probably should. I'll never forget the first time I cried on the train. And then subsequently realized that no one around me gave a single fuck (although the girl across the way did give me a knowing half smile - which is when I also realized that we've all been there). I've had a lot of firsts, and likely a lot of lasts. I've tried things I never in a million years thought I would, and I'm so glad I did. I've found some of the most amazing humans on the planet here - some that will stay with me forever and some that won't - but all that helped shape the person I am now. I've had my eyes opened to new experiences, cultures, lifestyles, music genres, languages, subcultures, life. I'm stronger now than I ever have been, but I also know now when it's ok to be weak. I've been through hell and back, and lived to tell the tale (although sometimes may have cut it a little too close for comfort). The stories I have could fill a book (and likely will one day). This place has taught me to live with nothing, and therefore to appreciate when you have anything. This city has taught me love, loss, hope, failure, friendship, self awareness and strength more than anywhere, anyone, or any time before. This place is my home, sometimes hated, often loved, and always mine.
All this is just to say, New York, I love you.