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travel + culture

on the road and what's out there.


dear new york....

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

Dear New York,

tonight is the last night i will spend with you.  it's not you, it's me.  can you believe it's been three years, almost to the day, that i landed on your doorstep, a young, unsure, naive 22 year old girl?  my mom came with me, and oh my lord i was so excited to start my adult life.  but when she left, i cried.  i was also so scared.  scared of being on my own, scared of you, scared of being a little girl in a monster of a city.

but now i sit in my little apartment, thinking back on everything that has happened in the last three years, and i'm a changed, changed woman.  no longer a little girl - but a young woman with an unshakable-ness to me that you gave me.  i've seen it all, heard it all, felt it all....i've loved, lost, had the highest highs and the scariest lows (yet refused to let you bring me down, refused to let you, or anything else, beat me).

while here, i found my voice, found my soul, found myself.  you made me, Manhattan.  you're like a tattoo that no one can see yet everyone can feel.   a New York woman born to run you down.  you taught me the only time you can be brave is when you're scared, that letting go is the only way to move forward, and that life is never what you expect.  that my dreams are not what i thought they'd be.  you taught me that if one door closes, you just have to find the next one that's open (if one subway line isn't running, just find the next one that is.  i knew i'd make it home, the journey just might be a little scenic).

i experienced so much.  my first hurricane (hopefully my last, i'll be honest), a very deep, deep love, going to the emergency room by myself and being tough, being blinded by the lights of fashion week and loving every moment of it, being brought to my knees by the grief that blankets this city on each anniversary of 9/11.  i still get goosebumps when i'm coming home from work and see your skyline, and when i walk up my quiet, lovely street in SoHo, i see your Empire State Building, and it takes my breath away every time.

i know you'll always be here, ever changing, ever growing, but still ever the same.  the same cobblestone streets (which nick the leather heels of my Louboutins, but it's okay...i forgive you), the same subway system which is simultaneously disgusting and amazing, the same river path which i so love to run....Lady Liberty cheering me on.  i hope i never lose what you gave me - i hope i remain this tough, headstrong, can take it all and bounce back type of chick...the type who can walk these mean streets with no fear, yet still see the beauty, the softness, the love.

New York, you inspire me to be great.
moments like these 3 years have been the most incredible.
moments like these...never last.

there's no bound to how much i love you.