It had been my dream as long as I can remember to take a trip to New York City. The lights, people, Broadway, it all made my mouth water at just the thought of it. My dream came true in summer of 2010, when my family finally decided to visit the “Big Apple.” As I look back on it now, a year later, I still regard that trip as one of the best of my life. The sites were amazing, and I enjoyed spending time with my family. More than anything else, New York City taught me lessons about life that I know I couldn’t have learned any other place.
Lesson One: Always pack rain boots! On our first day in New York, we decided to visit the Guggenheim museum and that we would walk leisurely through central park to get there. As luck would have it, it started to pour minutes into our trip. We sloshed and slid through the puddles for a half mile, in sandals and short-sleeve shirts. Being from Detroit, where the weather is unpredictable, we should have known better but wishful thinking had us very ill-prepared for the stormy weather. It’s a miracle we didn’t all catch colds. Next time, I won’t hold back when it comes to packing.
Lesson Two: Those Less Fortunate than Me. One of the most disturbing yet often unavoidable parts of visiting a big city is the homeless population. It is a strange emotion to feel so lucky to be on vacation and then to be faced with the realizations that some people don’t even have a home. One night, as my family was walking to get ice cream we encountered a homeless man and his dog. We all agreed that we had to do something. Along with our ice creams, we bought a sandwich and dog treats for the man and his pooch. When we delivered our gift, the man looked grateful but surprised. The man wasn’t the only one to receive a gift that night; I did too. For the first time, I felt that I could make a difference in the world.
Lesson Three: How to be completely wowed! The obvious highlight of the trip, for me, was seeing two Broadway musicals. I had picked out the shows before we left: lively and new Memphis, about the birth of Rock & Roll and The Addams Family, a delightful comedy. Memphis had me on the edge of my seat from the opening note; I was so close to dancing in the aisle. The dancing was out of this world and the singing and acting was powerful and moving. Addams Family was full of hilarious jokes that nearly made me bust a gut. Each show left me with a feeling of pure longing and hope. After seeing that, I felt I needed to be up there on that stage one day and I had the confidence to go after that dream.
Lesson Four: Soak it all in! Surrounded by hustle and bustle, I found it necessary to just stop sometimes and look around me; really see what kind of magic I was witnessing. Whether it was the largest Forever 21 store in the U.S or the towering Statue of Liberty, I took pictures of absolutely everything; I never wanted to forget any detail of this trip. Being there made me feel like I was as small as an ant and on top of the world at the same time. I wouldn’t trade that trip and those memories for anything.
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