Ten years ago, I had parted with all of my worldly belongings, save for two suitcases, and hopped on a plane with a one-way ticket to New York City. It was a red-eye flight but I was so excited that I could not sleep. I knew that my life awaited me. I knew that finally, after 18 years, I was going home. It was a home I did not know yet, but it was my home, I could feel it. I took a cab from JFK, telling the driver to take me to the Lower East Side. He talked all the way, asking me if I was an actress. "No," I replied, "I am an artist." Then he told me that his son was an artist too and maybe we should meet each other sometime. But I did not come to the city for a boyfriend. I came to the city to live, to experience, to meet all of the crazy and wonderful people from around the world, to be surrounded in urban beauty, and to explore.. to explore all the world had to offer.
As the skyline grew closer and closer a quiet peace overcame me. It was the wave of awe and respect that would wash over anybody in the shadow of a thing of such beauty. Then we were flying over a bridge, and it was as if I was in an old movie.. riding in the back of a cab, unable and unwilling to go back, heading towards my destiny. Suddenly buildings and taxis and people were all around, going to work and heading to school and coming home from the bars, all types of people from all walks of life moving and buzzing in the early morning hour. And then we were there, at Houston & Orchard.
I got out of the car and took my two suitcases. I had bought them at the salvation army before I left. The light one held my clothes and two pairs of shoes. The heavy one was filled with my most important treasures: my books and photos of my parents and sisters, letters and keepsakes and jewelry, and my life savings, all $500 dollars of it. I picked up one in each hand, and walked down the street. And thats when I first smelled that lovely old fragrance of the city, the wind gust of trash and old beer and sweat and fumes, rolling down Orchard street like a morning fog. And I was the happiest girl in the world.
So now its been a decade. We took a few photos on that ten year anniversary night, and when I look at them I just can't help but think of all that I, and we, have been through in this decade. So much life has been lived, and so much has been created, and yet I know that the future holds even more spectacular beauty.
I love New York more than ever.
**the winner of the Barrel and a Heap giveaway is Emily, who said "The watermelon nappy (diaper) cover is my favourite by far!" Congratulations Emily!**