NYC Recap (Finally)
We visited New York for the first time in October, and I've put off writing about it for too long. It was just... so much. It delighted and overwhelmed me in every way. It fulfilled lifelong dreams and pushed against lifelong fears. I'll be there again in five weeks, and i've been thinking about it a ton. So I suppose it's time to write.
If you've been following along with the blog, you know: We travelled to New York for Brooklyn Beta (read Brad's recap post here), visited Bowne & Co. (recap post here), and that I have a major Newsies obsession (read about that silliness here). I've put off writing this recap for many reasons, but here are a few. I'm 27 years old, from a small town in Florida, and I've spent my whole life imagining New York. But when it comes to travel, I'm more like Karl Pilkington than I'd like to admit. (If you haven't seen An Idiot Abroad, go watch it right now.) I'm easily overwhelmed by large groups of people, passionately guarded about my personal space, and I have a terrible sense of direction. (I can't manage using the Seattle bus system. I get lost every time.) I'm neither a particularly good writer, nor do I think my experience was particularly unique. It feels so silly to share what was (to me) a life altering experience, but what is (to many) just daily life. But it was life altering, and as such it should be documented. I've had six months to think about it, so here are the highlights.
We stayed in Brooklyn, and travelled there with our friends Hannah and Perry. Our apartment was in a neighborhood that was an amazing picture of life in New York. The taxi ride from the airport blew my mind. There were children everywhere, riding bikes and playing in the street. Every block felt like a different country. I felt like I was seeing more people during that taxi ride than I'd seen in my whole life. I've lived in downtown Seattle, but it didn't feel like this. This was like seeing people's lives, lived out in plain view. They looked at home. And amongst it, I felt impossibly small and out of place. When we got to the Airbnb apartment we'd rented, I wasn't sure how I'd build up the courage to leave it. It was all so big, so different. And I was so terrified. But in the light of day, I was able to embrace the adventure. There was so much to see and experience. To be 100% honest, I'd never realized how very homogenous my life has looked until I walked around Brooklyn. I know about just a tiny slice of the world, and it's left me hungry to know more.
We visited Grand Central Station and gawked at the beauty and grandness of it. (And I thought for a moment I'd lost Brad and our friends within Grand Central Station and nearly lost my mind.) We walked through the American Museum of Natural History, twice. (It's free for the last hour of the day!) We strolled through Central Park. (And realized just how massive it is while trying to find a bathroom.) We shopped at Brooklyn Flea (and realized that the hipster parts of New York feel most like home). We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and were in awe of the view. (And my fear of heights had me about to jump out of my skin. So much internal conflict.)
On my last full day of the trip, I was caught up in a wind of insanity or inspiration (yet to be decided) and set off on my own to attempt getting a seat to see Newsies in the ticket lottery. I've loved Newsies for as long as I can remember. (The fact that my first trip to New York coincided with the shockingly unexpected broadway incarnation of my obscure favorite film? The irony isn't lost on me.) However, the task required taking the subway alone to Times Square, finding the theater, getting there at a specific time, finding an ATM, and actually lucking into a ticket. I got on the subway, thought I was going the wrong way, got off the subway, realized I was right the first time, and got back on. I found the theater and marched right up (wearing my "newsie" hat) and put my name into the lottery. The city of New York itself must have known I needed this, that I would fall in a crying heap on the sidewalk if it didn't happen... and I got a ticket.
I triumphantly took that ticket and set off to kill the two hours before the show started. I did some shopping at Muji, got coffee at Dean & Deluca and watched people out the window while I wrote letters to people at home. It was exactly what I needed. I'd been fearful, worried, and overwhelmed. (Not just about New York, but about everything in my life.) But suddenly, the city felt like a friend. My seat for Newsies was in the first row. I bought Newsies merch (of course), and took my seat next to a lovely elderly couple that wanted to know all about my life. As the first song started, my eyes filled with tears. It was a perfect day, a perfect moment. It was all my fears about life melting away in a hopeful new era. As they broke into Carrying the Banner, I couldn't help but laugh. It was just so perfect. All of it. Seeing a broadway play, by myself, in the middle of the day. My grandma Jean loved the theater, and had always told me about the times she'd seen plays in New York. She's been gone a long time, but I felt like I was getting to see this with her. I felt like life was just beginning, an adventure I couldn't possibly imagine, sweeter and better than I'd hoped.
I didn't think that this was about that, but I find myself here now and must follow through. This first trip to New York marked over a year of infertility for us. A year of waiting and hoping and putting off planning and doing. There's so much more to all of this, but the things I realized in New York were the culmination of a year of heartache. Infertility had turned me into a fretful, worried person. Someone who was paralyzed by fear. There was lots of growth in that year, but equal parts fear. And as I write this, we're closer to two years.
I left New York on a train. Brad said goodbye to me at Penn Station, and I cried. It was just a few days apart, but time alone with my thoughts was still scary. But I got on a train and crossed many states between New York and Washington D.C., to arrive at Paper Camp and be ushered into a brand new era of my life. Since October, so many things have changed. I've made plans. Lots of plans! I've made decisions and stopped waiting for my life to start. I've embraced that life - this life right now - is an adventure.
Next month, we'll arrive in New York again for the National Stationery Show. Since that first trip, Hannah and Perry have relocated to New York. I'm so excited to see them, to experience their new life there! I'm so excited to reconnect with friends from Paper Camp and meet new friends. The stationery industry has completely blown my mind. It's real community, supportive and caring. I'm excited to plant my feet solidly in this new era of life, to say "We're here!" to the world, and see what happens next. Just before leaving New York on the train, Brad and I walked the High Line. We came to the end, and saw the Javits Center (the location of the Stationery Show) off in the distance. I've come back to that moment in my thoughts often these past six months. It's a huge next step towards the dreams i've had for life and business. It's a crossroads. Let's tackle it together, friends. Let's raise a glass to whatever comes next... to the grand adventure of life.