Roughly a month ago, I was lucky enough to call you home – except I didn’t know how lucky I was until I was given two days to pack everything, arrange a storage company, and return to my country.
As grateful as I am to be well and safe at home with my family in the midst of a global pandemic, I can’t help but realize how much I miss everything about living in New York City.
Some say it’s dirty, some say it’s loud, some think it’s overrated, but I think it is THE best. The image of the city without its lights on and the impact of the news we get each morning on the spread of the virus are truly heartbreaking.
In this time of crisis, I had way too much time in my hands to contemplate on a decision I made last year, precisely, the decision of attending NYU. The more I think, the more I realize how lucky and right I was to make that decision. The more I think, the more I realize how much I love New York City and its synonym: NYU.
There are numerous things I miss about the life I had a month ago and they are not fancy, occasional events I got to attend, they are daily habits I had the privilege to form.
I miss my dorm, the dorm that was located so conveniently that I found myself in the mesmerizing streets of Soho in just 30 steps.
I miss Washington Square Park, the one that surrounded my school, and I miss walking to class with the serenade of the guy playing the piano in the park, the sight of a dozen skaters, artists, bands, and, well, the man with 50 pigeons on his shoulders.
I miss the people of New York. I miss the freedom of walking around for hours just because I was entertained solely by the act of observing my surroundings. I miss being inspired by passerby, their clothes, behavior, and interactions…
I miss the precious ability to have brunch in some hype Instagram spot on a late Monday morning in between classes, and the privilege of knowing we will never run out of the endless scroll of options.
I miss the excitement and motivation that emerged from the unknown, of what the next day – or hour – will bring. I also miss jumping on to every other opportunity I found. I miss the luxury of always being somewhere, doing something, meeting someone.
I even miss the lines. The lines that often lasted for hours, you know, just to get seated — for coffee. Or more likely, I miss having the opportunity to wait in line for a place so highly demanded by New Yorkers.
I miss the Subway, the occasional guitar player, napper, conversation- starter, and the one person who is just as confused as me. Oh, and I miss the construction sites as well, preferably without the noise.
I miss my friends, those who I saw on the streets and chatted for half an hour even if we had to be somewhere else, those whose company I could rely on for the next museum opening, and those whose mere presence would immerse me into in an entirely different culture. I really miss being around unique, goal-oriented overachievers and being inspired from each one of them.
Well, I think I simply miss the luxury of learning just as much – if not more – outside the classroom as I did during a lecture, which is hard to get on Zoom. So, I hope remote education stays as a temporary “new normal” and doesn’t extend into a lasting one.