Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Lights Will Inspire You

I was crossing 2nd Ave. when it hit me this morning. It was beautifully sunny and my iPod was blasting away as I came to the intersection of 75th and 2nd. A crowd of people surrounded me and as I was watching the fruit stand man across the street rearranging a large pile of bananas and the taxis racing past me, I felt a weird sensation come over me.

"I'm living in Manhattan. I can do absolutely anything."

Weird, I know. I mean I know I live in Manhattan, but most of the time I don't realize I live in Manhattan if that makes any sense. I clearly remember moments experiencing this in London. The first came very early - maybe because it was so different or maybe because I was so excited to be living there.

I can't tell you how many times I've been told by friends back home that they've always wanted to live in Manhattan. Truth is, I never did and living in this city is not always glamorous and non-stop fun. But once you live in a city and start to feel comfortable, you definitely feel empowered. You feel like you are strong enough to survive anything else life will throw at you.

I had forgotten that feeling lately. Standing on that street corner I was reminded of how much I love about living in a city and, right now, those feelings are the only thing holding me back from packing up and moving back home already.

"One hand in the air for the big city, street lights, big dreams all looking pretty..."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Revisting Old Dreams

“I had almost given up on the reality that living there was a real possibility.”

This was the statement that hit me in a conversation I had last night with my roommate who recently returned from a trip to Greece.

This morning I’m still thinking about that statement.

My affinity for London and European culture never died, it’s just been buried as time has passed.

The sadness that I felt boarding that American Airlines flight back to the US in July of 2003 is still crystal clear in my mind. I knew I was leaving behind an experience and a city that I had loved more than anything I had previously experienced. I wasn’t done living there and my heart was heavy that day because I knew it would probably be a long time before I was again in the UK.

In the first few months that followed returning stateside, I schemed of all the ways I could return to London. I applied for a job with the American office of my British company; I applied to American Universities with the thought that maybe I could do BUNAC again; and even applied to a few British University programs. But none of these worked out for me.

As time passed, I discovered Emerson’s Global Marketing and Communications program and applied as a compromise. I would be learning more about the field I love while working with people from other cultures - which I really missed having returned to Iowa. I would also be developing skills that could put me closer to getting a job overseas.

But after graduation, I once again got caught up in the details of daily life and I’m sad to realize that six years have passed already since I set foot on European soil. Circumstances always seem to get in the way and I also realize I let go of the dream somewhere in that time span. I had convinced myself to be practical and that moving back wasn’t a real possibility.

No other city has ever made me feel as instantly at home as London did and somewhere along the way I resigned myself to never being able to have that feeling again. But this conversation brought all those feelings flooding back and because nothing else is making me as happy here right now, when it’s time to start seriously considering my next move, it might be time to revisit that dream.