Now let me tell you my story of meeting New York City. It was back in 2013 when I joined the Work and Travel program. If you’re a student and you get a chance to do this, please don’t hesitate. It will be the best decision you will ever make.
You can read the first part of this story in yesterdays post.
I think that every local can spot a newbie in their town. Disoriented. Big eyes. Always looking panicked around. I can only imagine how I must have looked that day, not knowing exactly where I must go and what to do. I must admit that I followed the crowd at first, until I’ve figured out where I was supposed to go. To customs, of course. I got there fast and tried to get somehow at the beginning of the line. While waiting there and seeing all the documents of others checked, all my thoughts about What if they don’t let me in? What if the visa is not right? What if I lost my passport? Came back. I was holding my passport right in front of me, of course. With all my other documents. As I came next in line, I had to take a deep breath to be able take a step forward.
“Where are you headed to?” That accent again.
“Osterville, Massachusetts. I will be working there for the summer.”
The person behind the counter seemed nice, but vigilant, as one must be to work there. He checked my papers, took my fingerprints and a photo.
“Have a great summer!” What?
What? That’s it? He let me through. He let me through! I’m in! Oh my God! I’m in New York City! I could feel all the emotions gathering in the back of my eyes and tears were threatening to appear. But instead, I smiled. The widest smile I would ever have on my face and went to find my bus. Oh my God!
New York City
After doing a few circles through the airport, I finally found the shuttle for the city. The lady there said they would take me to the hotel. What? The bus? Really? Are you sure? She also told me to head out and wait next to the sign and the bus will arrive shortly. I got out, carrying my luggage after me. Of course I did not find the sign and looked again around like a lost puppy. A man with a uniform saw me disoriented and pointed out the place I should go to.
As I was standing there, waiting for the bus to arrive, a woman came nearer. She looked interesting. Dark, long hair. Dressed casual, but stylish. She looked American, but had a European vibe to her. She asked me something about the bus, but by the look on my face she realized that I have no idea what she’s asking about. So she started to ask questions about where I was from and what I was doing there. After a while she told me she was a New Yorker, but half Italian. So I was right about the European vibe.
The bus arrived and we all packed our bags. There were a lot of people now waiting to get a ride. I sat in front, next to the Italian New Yorker I’ve met. Once everybody was on, the driver started talking to us – the passengers. There was the accent again. He was so funny and entertaining, even though he was just telling us about the rules for being on that bus.
I landed somewhere in the late afternoon in New York. I realized how late it was only once I was in the bus, on the highway. How, you might ask? I looked in front of me. Not at the driver, but at the impressive skyline that was stretching right before my eyes. An orange background animated by clouds and the setting sun. The first thing I’ve got to see in New York was the sunset over Manhattans skyline.
The Italian New Yorker lady sitting next to me noticed the excitement in my eyes and also all the emotions running through me. Somehow, at that moment she reminded me of Carrie from Sex and the City. Funny, huh?
“New York is magic! Anything can happen here!”
She was so right.