Like many people, I dreamed of New York. For me, New York was glamorous, glitzy and the epitome of cool. So many movies and books are set in New York and this only fueled my love for the city. I liked how New York seemed to have everything -- ethnic restaurants, stores that sold nearly everything, theaters galore. To get to the closest movie theater, I have to drive on a major freeway. It's the same with the closest Wal-Mart.
It doesn't help that I live close to New York, as it only made the dream even more tangible and close. I could almost taste my dreams, that sweet and a little bitter taste of anticipation and excitement, tingling on my tongue. I went to New York occasionally and I relished those tiny sips of New York. I can still recall the grittiness of New York, the sometimes foul-smelling subway stations, the long walks (New York seemed to be a place where you walk) and the constant flow of people, who bustled by in a way that seemed almost impersonal. These things would turn others off, but it endeared New York even closer to my heart. New York was the exact antithesis of a small-town suburban life and I loved it.
There's a cliché that says that you don't know what you've lost until you've lost it. I'm about to graduate high school and I'll leave the town that I've lived in for most of my life behind. For the first time, I feel sadness -- not the sense of relief I thought I'd be feeling.
With a friend, I decided to scour out a sushi place in town. We joked that we were small-town foodies, with our consistent Yelping and comparing places. We tended to look up places but we never went. Since we're both second semester seniors, we decided to take a jump.
It turns out that while my town may not be New York, it holds a lot. On that trip that originally started out as searching for a place to eat, we found a chocolate store and came out with bars of chocolate, which we munched on while walking around. We found a museum, which wasn't the Met but was equally cool. Later, we found a quaint bookstore on the main street. It was the first bookstore I've been to that wasn't a chain bookstore and the differences were apparent. The indie bookstore was less commercial and more about quality.
While I'm still not sure if New York is in my future, I'm not looking to escape this town anymore. After some exploring (I envisioned myself as Christopher Robin carrying a wooden stick followed by an imaginary pack of stuffed animals), I found some interesting places in town. I still have four months to explore and you can bet that I'll be discovering new places in town to go to.