I cannot really describe how it feels to be officially and permanently leaving new york city after ten years (minus a year in kenya), but I guess nothing is ever really permanent. We are off to rome, to start a new life, new job and new adventures. We are leaving almost on the day of our decade here. We arrived May 15th 2000, after signing a lease on cinco de mayo and downed it with a shot of tequila. Most of my time in new york was spent post 9-11 which is strange to think about, and is almost forgotten about, although we promised to remember.
We lived in eight apartments in our ten years in the upper east side, upper west side, hells kitchen, lower lower east side/chinatown, east village, west village, greenwich village, and dumbo brooklyn. The dumbo spot was my favorite, hands down. Upper east side, not my favorite. We never paid more than $2400 in rent, and that is for two of us. We never lived in more than 850 square feet of living space and most of the apartments were studios. I held only three jobs the entire time living here (unless you count that stint at gravity gym in le meridian doing “personal training”…). Derek had more “jobs”…For seven of the years, I was affiliated with columbia university however I still have to look at a map to figure out where anything is (not because it is big, but because I didn’t care to affiliate). I lived through 36 new york seasons of summer, spring, fall and winter. I would say early fall is my favorite time to be in new york or maybe late spring right before the summer dog days set in. I never rode the G line subway and never set foot in jamaica queens. We never had a pet, but always wanted a dog. But we couldn’t commit. So we visited lots of dog runs. The mets will always be better than the yanks although both have new stadiums, and the entire time we lived here, the knicks sucked. We watched brooklyn gentrify and watched manhattan become too clean.
Living in rome is something I have dreamed about forever. I had another shot at living in italy during my undergrad years but like an idiot, I turned it down. My parents offered for me to live abroad for a semester in florence and learn some italian, and I said no. Why? Because of a boy…Things didn’t exactly work out with that boy and as you can imagine, I regret not going. But regret is a wasted emotion and I wouldn’t take back the feeling of being in love, when you are twenty. So this time around is my redemption. And it’s with another boy that I chose to spend my new york and now rome life with.
I am now looking through rose colored roman glasses and I am sure I will be utterly frustrated with the berlusconi politics, my poor Italian skills, the lack of structure and new york-like efficiency, and the do it “domani” approach to life, but I am excited to travel throughout europe (which I haven’t seen much of) and all of italy from top to heel, warm weather, espressos, the language, the food, talking with my hands, and the way of life…
These ten years in new york flew by. When we promised to each other we would stay for three years, it turned to five. When we promised six years, it turned to eight. When we went to kenya and said we wouldn’t look back, we did and came crawling back. But it is now time to truly move on and experience a new life – the world is too big to not see. What Emily said in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town keeps running through my head:I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back — up the hill — to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye, Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?
So for now, goodbye gotham city…goodbye takahachi sushi and grimaldi’s pizza. Goodbye to subways screeching…and cold winters. I did enjoy every, every minute.
Long live SPQR. Andiamo…