Cafe Lalo, crossing the pond, first world problems, hostels in NYC, moving to NYC from London, NYU Summer Publishing Institute, seeing the Flatiron building, subway woes, the tube versus the subway, You've Got Mail
Okay so what is about to follow may be whiny, #firstworldproblems, silly or just plain repetitive, but it’s the true version of “Supriya’s move to NYC,” my version anyhow. All those near and dear may have another one.
So the big dream was finally–and I mean finally–coming true. America, the land of my dreams. New York, the city where those dreams can come true, was going to be my city. What I didn’t realize till very recently was, I had left my heart in London; if it’s humanly possible then literally I did. There is a line from a song in a Bollywood movie that explains what I was feeling perfectly: Dil hai kaheen aur dhadkan hai kaheen. Loosely translated, it means: my heart is here but my heartbeat is elsewhere. Maybe it’s corny, but it’s very true. If I had moved to the States from India, this post would have been a 100% different, but because I moved from London, after it had been my home for 5 years, this move was quite bittersweet, more bitter to begin with, definitely getting sweeter after a year.
So, without more nostalgia, the story of my move is similar to the many who move to the Big Apple. There is this theory–the book The Secret explains it simply, that the power of the law of attraction really works. So I had everything with NY on it around me before I got admission to NYU. I wore an I <3 NY t-shirt, had posters in my room, my desktop background was this very cool NYU illustration showing the various hip areas of the city, and was waking up to ‘Empire state of mind’ every morning! I did attract something, I suppose, for soon enough, I got admission to the NYU Summer Publishing Institute (SPI) and was waiting to hear about the Masters program. On May 26th, with 3 suitcases 51 pounds each (the lady at Heathrow was very sympathetic about moving continents) and some other bits, I had arrived, to start this journey into the life that was waiting.
SPI was crazy, intense, maddening, and some of the worst and best weeks of my recent years. I missed London every minute and the heat was constantly making me sick. To top if off, I felt I hadn’t thought this move through at all! And then it was July and I got admission into the Masters program, too, (the attraction must be strong eh) and I had to start thinking about accommodation etc., put London behind, find a home in this mad place. The thing is, I thought this is going to be like London, good student accommodation, private hostels or something, but of course it’s a completely different situation. With Google’s help, I found a great hostel and with lots of help from my amazing American family, Aunty Shikha and Co., I moved to the Upper West Side, and into the world of You’ve Got Mail.
I had a lot of emotional baggage attached to my London. I missed my friends, my lovely apartment, Busaba (best Thai food you’ll find anywhere), my amazing job, first hand news about Kate and of course the TUBE!! Oh, I can write odes to the Tube, I miss it so! (I need to write a rant about my passionate hate affair with the Subway.) You get the point. I had never felt so homesick! Never missed India like that. Strange right? I guess when you find ‘your’ place, you never stop missing it. Even after a year, and the really amazing times in NY, I miss it, I guess I always will. Somehow though, I think New York has started to grow on me, the reason I wanted to be here all my life, is slowly making sense. And accepting the city as it is and the surprises it brings, some pretty some really nasty, has made a big difference in my perspective. Forget everything you’ve ever seen or heard about NYC, except the safety tips and good counsel of course, and just try and figure out where you find your happiness. Central Park, NYPL, Cafe Lalo or just getting out at 23rd st and 5th avenue at the Flatiron building everyday and feeling like a million bucks because you got to see your favourite landmark, again and yet again, but you never tire marveling at it. I guess I have finally crossed the pond.