A surprising fact about life is that you can find a place that feels like home in the least expected places. This is the feeling that I discovered when I embarked upon my journey to New York City. I set out not knowing what to expect from a place that is a staple of what America stands for but I knew from the moment I stepped out of the cab that I had found a place exuberant with life and the possibilities I had longed for.
The moment my mother asked what I wanted for my sixteenth birthday I knew what to ask for. My heart had always longed to see far-away places and the excitement of the city. I had always admired architecture and the amazing feats that people had been able to achieve merely from their imaginations. I however, had been surrounded by blank canvases of empty fields where the only life visible was that of wildlife. Living in the small town of Canton, Georgia, I had never been exposed to the luster of skyscrapers or taxis whizzing around every corner. My mother, though just as inexperienced with travel as myself, made the arrangements to make my dream come true and we were bound for the city that November.
I can remember on the in- flight television on the way, the cast of Good Morning America were standing in front of The Great Tree and talking about how large it was not knowing that later I would get to see it in person and how much smaller it would seem among all the buildings. In that instant it became real how small we are as human beings. Even the hotel where we lodged seemed minute compared to its surrounding. The Double Tree Hotel in Times Square was a lovely hotel with a restaurant next door which served warm cookies when you checked in. They made me feel as if I were a part of their family that they were entertaining.
This feeling stayed with me throughout the trip when we went out the first night to see The Lion King on Broadway, which was spectacular being that it was my favorite childhood movie. I was enamored with the dedication of the actors to their roles. The next morning, we walked over to H&M and I was amazed at the amount of levels that contained so many clothes I could not have imagined could be contained in one area. The only terrifying experiences I had were many times when people would cross negligently in front of taxis. I had never heard that many horns in my life. Yet, the taxis seemed to be part of the allure of the city. We visited Time Square and I have never felt so at peace around that many people. Among all of the lights and the hustle and bustle I felt as if being a small part of something so grandeur would fulfill my aspirations and offer a world that was unlike the one in which I lived.
I felt as if it would take a lifetime to explore a city so widespread and so full of exciting opportunities yet before I knew it I was on the flight home. I took home with me many photos and wonderful memories but I believe the most important souvenir was a new found view on what the world had to offer. The world can look so different depending on where you are, but the feeling of belonging can follow you wherever you go.
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