Yesterday we boarded a train in Penn Station and left an energetic, crazy, and magical city behind. It wasn’t easy. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to put into words why I love and why I am going to miss New York City so much, but the words never came. At least not the poetic, meaningful words that I was searching for. The words that would make anyone who read them pack their bags and move to NYC to experience it for themselves. The words that did pop into my head over and over again were “I just do”. Those words describe a feeling that has stayed with me since a late night subway ride I took home from a friend’s house last October when the thought “I love it here” first popped into my head. That feeling peeks out at random times when I am walking down the street, catching a glimpse of the Freedom Tower or witnessing a simple act of kindness between two strangers. A smile spreads across my face and the words “I love you New York” pass through my mind. There is so much that I am going to miss about New York City. The music on subway platforms, the sound of trains pulling into and out of stations, watching people on another train as we barrel through the dark tunnels of the NYC underground, strolling through Central Park, spotting the Empire State Building when I wasn’t expecting to see it, the coffee at Lula Bean in East Williamsburg, the snappy lemonade from Cake Shop in the Lower East Side, warm chocolate chip and M&M cookies from Insomnia in Meatpacking after a late night out, lazy summer afternoons in Fort Tryon Park, the changing seasons, hanging out on rooftops with gardens during the summer, the view of the Manhattan Bridge as I walk to art class, the way the sunset light hits the fire escapes on the brick buildings of Brooklyn, the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty, the puppies playing in the window of a pet store in Chelsea, walking down 11th St. in the West Village when the trees are full, bagels from the Brooklyn Bagel Company in Chelsea, the awesome brunch deal and delicious huevos rancheros at Harefield Road in East Williamsburg, looking at the city streets from the Highline in Chelsea and so much more that I can’t possibly even know I will miss yet.
Missing all of that doesn’t even compare to how much I am going to miss all of the amazing people we met or were re-acquainted with since moving to NY. We wanted to establish a social circle in NY so we didn’t spend an entire year hanging out by ourselves and we certainly succeeded. What we didn’t expect was that we would gain so many lifelong friendships while we were here. They have no idea how lucky we feel to call them all friends.
Missing our friends and the sights of NYC are perhaps easy holes to fix by simply coming for a visit. Like Rob has been saying, this isn’t goodbye forever. However, there is one thing I am going to miss that I won’t be able to visit or experience in the same way again. And that is the Sonja that I was and the couple we were while living in NYC for 13 months. The quote above put a name to a sadness I had been feeling for a while that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The bottom line is that who I was while I was there is what I am going to miss the most about New York City. So during our last few days, I savored that Sonja and reminded myself constantly to be present. To look up while I walked and make sure every sound, sight, feeling and even smell were etched into my memory.
Now, on a train somewhere between Chicago and San Francisco, I can finally say that I am looking forward to our next chapter and excited to meet the Los Angeles Sonja and Rob that we will become.