To say my first couple days in NYC were atrocious would be an understatement. In defense of this magnificent city, the city itself was most certainly not the problem.
I’ll start with the second I walked out of LaGuardia airport, hauling two massive suitcases. Before I tell you what I did, keep in mind that most of the time I am a fairly cautious person. The instructions I’ve had and followed every other time I’ve visited the city is to walk out of the airport, head to the taxi line, tell them upper west side and wait. So, back to the moment I walked out of the airport doors, a foreign older man walks up to me and asks if I need a taxi. Looking back, I think my decision was formed by combination of being caught off guard, not wanting to haul those damn suitcases any further, and my never being able to say “no” nature. He asks me where I’m going and gives me a flat rate, since it was relatively close to what the normal taxi ride costs I say yes. He grabs one of my suitcases and begins walking towards what I believed to be one of the taxis. Nope, he keeps walking passed the taxis, crossing the pick-up/drop-off line, heading towards the parking garage. My stomach immediately falls out of my butt and onto the pavement, but at this point he’s carrying my luggage, what was I do to? So, I follow into the parking garage and we stop at a silver sedan that I believe has one of those NYC drivers sticker’s (so, I think ok I’m fine), he pops the trunk and oh-so-not-carefully begins tossing in my luggage. At this point the thoughts flying through my mind are filled with stories of girls being kidnapped by sex trafficking creeps, where the girls are drugged and passed along to the highest bidder. Still, I don’t know how to say “never mind, I’m going to go get in the taxi line to prevent being drugged and/or raped and/or murdered.” Reluctantly, I get in the back seat and text my brother, “a man came up to me and asked if I needed a taxi, I know I’m dumb, but I went with him, I’m now in the backseat and we’re headed to what I hope to be your apartment, he has one of those “NYC passengers rights’” stickers on the back of the passenger seat, so I’m safe right?” My brother’s response, “oh god, you probably shouldn’t have done that, keep me updated with where he’s driving”. I want to burst into tears but somehow hold it in. After the longest 30 minutes of my life, I arrive safe and sound but trembling, at my brother’s apartment. Needless to say, some lessons (and usually most of mine) are learned the hard way.
The next morning after my brother had gone off to work, I awake and call my mom and immediately burst into tears, this went on for almost every phone call to her for the first three days. The first day, I think it was mostly because I was still shaken up from the ride from the airport and because it had set in I wouldn’t be seeing my mom or my dog, two of my best friends, for over four months. The longest time I’ve spent away from home in my entire life.
I’ve since been able to keep my composure almost 100% of the time. The most incredible part of being here is that I’m reminded again and again my immense love for this city. The anonymity you feel is indescribable. Even on those first few grueling days, I found that when I went out to explore the city, all of the melancholic and crappy feelings I was experiencing disappeared.