My oldest sister once told me that young women in Japan idealize France to such an extent that when they eventually visit, they are most disappointed since it could in no way live up to their expectations. This was what I thought of when I got to New York with my mother, my father and my grandmother last February. So exciting and varied was the “city that never sleeps” in my mind that nothing could do it justice. However, considering the circumstances, I think it did a pretty good job.
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About five months prior to this trip, my boyfriend had broken up with me. Everyone I talked to about this break up acted like I was so precious, little Echo and her first real broken heart. Well I’ll tell you something, no one can understand the feeling of being broken up with by a boy you had been with for three years (and since you were thirteen) unless they had gone through it. This was not your typical break up, it was like being cheated by my childhood, and it still stings. I think I could honestly say that I wouldn’t have gotten through it if it weren’t for my trip to New York.
We stayed at the impressive Manhattan Hyatt, it was quite literally right above Grand Central Station. It was by far the best I’d been to, and with my mother bringing me along on several of her government-funded trips a year, that’s saying something. My mother unfortunately had to be in a work room all week days because she technically went down to train for her job (this is why the trip was government funded) but my father, grandmother and I spent day after day visiting the usual celebrated sights. We took the long elevator ride up the Empire State Building, rode a ferry out to Staten Island (we saw Lady Liberty on the way out) and we even took trips to offbeat places like Ellen’s Stardust Diner where I had the whole place singing to me for my birthday, aspiring Broadway stars and all.
The whole time I was there I still had the continuous throb of pain from my recent detachment. How could he do this to me? Why was I not good enough? Well New York had the answer. Between trips to the closest Starbucks (there were countless on each street) and walks down Bleecker Street for slices of cake that were worthy of making Fodor’s New York Traveling Guide’s pages, I learned a few things about myself. You see, travelling somewhere new tends to make me feel more at ease anyway. However this beautiful city, with its colorful history and world renowned pizza, brought to my attention the affirmation that life goes on and that I, just like this place, can get through hard times.
It really showed me that the world is so much bigger than a break-up taking place at sixteen years of age. I think my new found friends of New York helped, the ones I had learned about while visiting museums and checking out boutiques. Arthur Fellig (also known as Weegie) a photographer in New York in the 1950s, taught me that sometimes you just have to get up in the morning and face death; he did it every day. Gustave Eiffel taught me that we can always show empathy towards another through his creation of the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France. Finally, the family I brought with me taught me that when the going gets tough, the tough take a bite of the Big Apple.
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