Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to New York

Photo credit: Garrett Ziegler
Not to my surprise, Florida ended up scratching an itch that so terribly needed scratching: time with my family. It's no big secret that I achingly miss my family. But unlike most trips back home, all the laughing, lounging, fighting and hugging (you know, the typical family stuff) wasn't crammed into a quick weekend. Instead, I had the luxury of spending a full two weeks in Tampa, which was just lovely. Lina and I didn't do anything epic during our time there, no big adventures or noteworthy escapades. On the contrary, we just relaxed. I sat in the garage with my dad and talked about politics. I went to Thomas and Malia's gymnastics lesson. I went swimming with Aly. Essentially, I did nothing. And it was wonderful, because I was doing nothing with my family. And in between driving to the mall and cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, it was almost as if we lived there too, even if just for a brief time.

But now we are back and I am feeling the same tugging, opposing feelings that I always feel after coming back to Manhattan. The dichotomy between both loving Florida and hating Florida. Loving New York and hating New York. All simultaneously. In a perfect world, I could take a train from Penn Station and be at my parents' house in 40 minutes. I wouldn't be backed into a corner where I had to choose one or the other. But the truth is that a "grass is always greener" lens is indeed fogging the whole picture here. I am an idealist who is romanticizing the whole idea of living back in Florida. In reality, the thought of packing up and moving off this island just seems so sad, albeit bittersweet, but really, more sad. New York is my home, and I love (deep in my bones) so much about this place. I know it sounds generic, but Manhattan has such an unmatchable, inspiring energy. And I know this is the thing everybody says when describing New York, but maybe everybody says it because it is simply true. There is an energy in this city that is just so very....New York. My street is always filled with people, walking somewhere, sitting on their stoops drinking coffee, reading a book at the cafe downstairs. One of the biggest criticisms of New York is that New Yorkers are all crammed onto this tiny place, all living on top of each other. But that's something I love, that we're all living together. In Florida, people live a bit more isolated, in spread out houses that are only accessible by driving. Here, I feel like I live in a real neighborhood.

While it is at times excruciating to be away from my family so much, it is equally excruciating to imagine living anywhere else in the world, especially now that fall is approaching. Leaves changing, Central Park, chilly air, pumpkins outside...I just don't think anyplace else but New York could make me feel the way it feels to really experience all the seasons (I'm not just talking about the weather, but the way the city truly embraces each time of year). So here we are, summer ending, all happy and sad at the same time. Even so, this summer has allowed me to experience both laughing with my family on the beach, and sitting in Central Park with Lina. The best of both worlds, even if just for a little while.

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