Flashback 10 months and it’s April 2012 and I’m boarding a plane across the pond to New York City, the big apple. It’s my first time out of Europe and I’m doing it alone.
It’s a trip that I’ve been meaning to write about for a very long time, but one that I’ve never quite managed to bring myself to do. It was a trip that left me wondering what on Earth I had done to deserve so much bad luck. Some say we make our own luck, and some say we don’t, but I like to believe in “what comes around goes around” so with that logic, I must have done something wrong. At the time I didn’t seem to have the words to describe it all so put it in the “I’m not writing about it drawer” and locked it away.
But now in a turn of events and after reading a comment from Wine and Cheese (Doodles) and also a post on Chasing Lala I’m finally inspired to put that trip into words. At the moment I’m making some slight changes to this space, I’ve added a facebook page which you can check out here, am jumping on the twitter bandwagon with more tweets and snippets of the thoughts of a language student abroad and am considering hosting some guest posts. Similarly, I’m planning some more regular posting and will be using Flashback Friday as the theme of introducing past travels, and perhaps the odd Flash Forward Friday or something along those lines. I hope you’ll stick around to see how life continues to be a roller-coaster now I’ve entered second semester.
With that all said and done it’s time to return to the theme of today, or yesterday actually, I’m a day late starting this but I didn’t want to leave it a week so here is:
A day late Flashback Friday: The story of New York City
8 hours later I’ve finally landed in New York, I’ve already thrown up multiple times, chucked a glass of water all over my face at the jerky landing, and been asked, with an enormous smile, what felt like a thousand times “Hi, how are you Ma’am, would you like anything off the cart?” STRIKE 1!
Firstly, it’s a trolley, and secondly, I look green and food really feels like a bad idea. But anyway, not to be too negative I politely refuse and make my way through customs, had my finger prints taken, an iris scan and am asked where I’m going, well New York obviously, I’m already here. As I leave the airport and enter the centre of the city I turn from a nasty shade of green to a pale ghostly white, but beside all of this I’ve still managed to be overwhelmed by the height of the skyscrapers and the bright city lights. I continue my way towards my hostel for the first night feeling a little better and pleased to have finally made it out of Europe and be discovering a new place. On arrival I ring the bell and no answer, I ring again and am let in by a neighbour on her way out. I make my way up to the third floor and the hostel, I knock and silence, I push the door open thinking there must be a reception just inside, but what I’m left with is nothing but an empty flat, no sight of life, no where to stay and the dark of night in a new city unknown to me. STRIKE 2
Three hours later, multiple rejections from full up hostels, a NYC taxi ride and I’ve found a place to stay, I crash out for the night in the hope that I’ll feel refreshed in the morning ready to explore New York and see if it’s really as amazing as everyone makes it out to be. Waking up and I’m still battling with illness but my spirits are lifted by the view from my window.
At the end of the day I feel like I’ve got to grips with New York, I’m getting the hang of the grid system, something very different to the UK, I’ve been to the Museum of Modern Art and had my mind blown away by art, a rare event for me, I’ve walked and walked and enjoyed the Spring sun and the hustle and bustle of large city life. I’ve also bumped into a lot of people, not been understood because of my British accent, and realised that the difference between UK English and US English is a lot greater than I actually thought. But as a whole it was an eye opening, amazing day.
Next stop Philadelphia, (I know I know, one day is not long, but I returned later on in the trip.) Continuing on to Philly and it was time to do some more exploring and learn some American history. I saw the liberty bell and spent a few days exploring the city. Walking through the university, the food market and many different things, it’s a city so different to ones that I been to before, but one that I was able to appreciate all the same, even though I reached STRIKE 3 and the sickness returned. I struggled through and fought on, it was worth it even though I needed many breaks to make it through the day.
After trying the obligatory Philly Cheese Steak when in Philadelphia my original plan was to move on to Washington DC but forgive me if I’m wrong but being sick is not the best way to see a new city, so it was back to New York City to continue the adventures in the big apple and meet up with a friend from my gap year who was living there for a while.
It was an amazing few days, we went up the Rockefeller Centre, saw Central Park, Time Square, Little Italy and devoured huge portions of pizza and pasta. Satiated our Sushi cravings and went to see a Spanish film as there was a film festival going on at the time.
STRIKE 4 never made it onto the table, perhaps laughter really is the best medicine. Returning to New York turned out to be the best remedy for the previous events and something that I’m truly grateful for.
Time spent catching up with friends from all over the world is one of my favourite things to do, to fall back into the laughter and share memories from times gone by. It’s a precious gift to have friends who live all over and to know that anytime you’re near you can say…
“Hey, let’s meet up, I’m in your neck of the woods”
I may have been ill and I may not have ever finished a plate of food, but my time in New York and Philadelphia leaves me with plenty of lasting memories.
Happy Weekend everyone!