I just reread my last post, and realized how badly I needed a break when I wrote it. Luckily, I got one! Our family took a trip to New Jersey and New York to visit family and to tour the Big Apple. And boy, did I enjoy!
You all must know by now that I am a San Franciscan. Sure, I haven't lived in the City for fifteen years, but I refuse to shed this identity. I left bits of my heart on Haight Street, some on Clement, a little in Stonestown Galleria, and a good deal on the tennis courts in Golden Gate Park.
And no other place has touched me the same way. Not Paris, or Rome, or Munich or Washington DC. My love for The City (and yes, the ONLY capital-C-ity) is built on a solid foundation of nostalgia and loyalty to the diverse people, food, and neighborhoods. It's a place where you are anonymous and incredibly special at the same time; it's a place where you can REALLY be different, but can also find an immediate community.
But New York City came close for me. I was only in Manhattan for a day and in Brooklyn for another, but I get it now. I believe the hype.
I was naturally resistant to love or even like that crazy-busy place, and with four kids to slug around, I convinced myself before we left home that there was NO WAY AT ALL I was going to enjoy it.
Well, dear Internets, I was wrong.
New York City was so mixed and tangled and chaotic. It was a city with hobos and divas and bankers and tourists and hippies and...everything I could think of and I. just. freaked. Why did it take me so long to visit? Why didn't I think I would appreciate it?
Mostly, I thought of my Four. Suburbia is WONDERFUL, don't get me wrong. It's safe and confined and clean. It's what I want for my kids. But the city-sense, the understanding of busy streets, of taking public trans, of knowing bad people from just the misfortuned--it's lost on them. Some of it has been my own helicopter parenting, but the natural opportunity isn't there to take advantage of.
So, I was glad to take my children and share a few stories. We people-watched and I was really able to show how really different people are. How we are not just a world of mini-vans and soccer parents. And that we are really just but a speck on the landscape of a giant, beautiful picture.
It was one of our best vacations. Thank you, New York City.