On January 2nd, 2016, I woke at the crack of dawn for a flight to Florida to see my family. In my usual style, I had finished packing a mere 4 hours before my alarm went off. Exhausted but happy, I was in the back of an Uber to LaGuardia airport, gentle R&B tunes in the background, watching the sun rise over the shimmering Manhattan skyline.
I realized I had been living in New York 3 months exactly. My first week in Upper East Side temp accommodation, knowing no one or nowhere, felt like lifetimes ago. I was no longer floating around the city, wired on adrenaline, as I was in month 1. I was acclimatizing rapidly to New York living, feeling more comfortable and at home every day.
Here are 10 reasons why it felt like New York was becoming home:
1) Employees at my local Dagostino grocery store knew me
2) I was saying things like grocery store
3) Second dinners were going in the diary with new friends
4) I knew which subway carriages to ride to get me closest to the exit I needed
5) I’d started to recognize where in the city I was when in taxis
6) Taking laundry to the launderette each week almost felt normal
7) The ‘restaurants I recommend’ list on my phone was getting worryingly long
8) I killed a giant, disgusting cockroach, all on my own
9) I was revisiting my favorite studios on class pass
10) I’d had a few grumpy days where I didn’t want to get out of bed: real life alert
Despite this, the novelty of living in my favorite city in the world had not waned. I caught myself grinning, daily, astonished by the fact that I actually LIVED here. The city could do no wrong in my eyes: we were having a passionate love affair and it was most definitely the honeymoon period.
I loved the rats, the deafening sirens, the 20-minute line for salad at lunch, the endless construction work, the garbage bags stacked on the streets, the frequent smell of urine, and the mobs of tourists in Times Square. I loved it all.
There was one thing I missed about London (no surprises here), and that was my friends and family. I felt so lucky not to have struggled for people to hang out with in New York, and hadn’t had time to be lonely. But nothing replaces those who know you inside out, who require minimal effort, and take you as you are.
I’d been on my phone more than ever, addicted to the connection and sense of grounding from back home. Each morning I eagerly reached for it and devoured the whatsapp messages that had accumulated while I’d been sleeping.
Being in Florida with my family couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed some space, calmness, easy company and TLC to soak up to take back to NYC with me. But as much as I was desperate for the break, I was already secretly yearning to be back in the beating heart of Manhattan, reunited with my leading lover of the moment that was New York City.