Ever since first grade when I moved to Texas from Vietnam, I’ve fantasized about an unreachable dream; walking under the lights and concrete jungle of New York City. I always dreamt it, but I always woke up.
The dream feels so real as it unfurls…
Manhattan finally unfolds in front of my eyes. I have a mini heart attack from being in a city for the first time in my existence. Crushing my face against the window of the bus, I literally want to smash that piece of glass between me and my love. My heart is going insane and I am hyperventilating. I am amazed at the enormous buildings, not noticing my jaw fell so low it could deform itself. My fingers go “tourist mode” on my camera.
I tackle and injure several tour mates while sprinting off the bus as it stops. The city scent, unpleasant to some, welcomes me warmly. I know this is the place I want live for the rest my life (so kind of like marrying New York City). My eyes water at the thought of waking up now. I am hysterically laughing out loud as I walk on the streets of The Big Apple. Next I experience the street vendors, beautiful and fashionable people, as well as the traffic that create New York’s unique fingerprint.
Dinner is at a deli I don’t remember. The food is good. Then I remember, I am having New York food for the first time.
After dinner I meet Times Square. The colorful boards blind my eye, screens are flashing, and the entire population of mankind gather here. Maybe. Some buildings reach underground and provide offices below the surface. I never saw those before in Texas. I even saw Parsons and FITnyc, my dream schools!
The view we get from the Empire State Building almost leaves me on the floor with amazement. How can a city be so gorgeous?
We ride a ferry boat to Liberty Island. First of all, the epic views of Manhattan are inconceivable. Secondly, Lady Liberty is stunning. She was built to be very symbolic of many things, as I observe her history wrap with the city itself.
I also have the opportunity to explore Central Park. Ok, I am a huge Marvel fanatic, so when I see where they filmed The Avengers and Spider-Man, I go insane. My life is complete! Later on, I eat a classic “New York hot dog” for lunch. Those vendors can be mean, but I will let it slide, this hot dog is heaven!
At the 911 Memorial, I run my hands across the names, carved like wounds, of those who died. The memorial’s waterfall effect is graceful, but they are like tears. I take a picture and I find it hard to smile. We leave to experience a Broadway show, The Newsies. I am in awe, speechless at the live music and acting.
My last dinner is at another deli, I don’t eat. This is my last moment here in New York and then it is all over. Although this was my first time in New York, it feels so comforting. The fast-walking, business-suit strangers around me seem so cool. The skyscrapers above me look like it protects me. I belong here.
…only this time I didn’t have to wake up. I had lived this dream.
In the summer of 2012 my school partnered with Explorica. As an eighth grader I had the opportunity to walk into that exact, 13 year old dream. This trip inspired my life.
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