We had a roller coaster of a year. I mean, another one. We don't do things by halves. Most people get a new car or buy a new house or a boat when they need a 'change'. Others dump their boyfriends or have an affair. Some go on holiday. I find moving countries is rather more effective. I've done it 6 times now and each time it brings renewed vigor and vitality to my life. For a while. My maximum stint in any new country has been 5 years.
In 2012 we moved to New York City. I mean, we really did. Really. It wasn't some fantastic dream - it happened. How often does that kind of opportunity come along - to have your husband go 'Uh honey, how do you feel about New York'? How do I FEEL about New York? I freaking LOVE New York. Are you kidding me? It's the capitol of the world. New York is everything - it has everything. Everyone fantastically awesome is either FROM New York or lives here. Really - so HOW do I feel about Nww York? In what context? Food? OVER the top amazing. THEATRE? The best in the world. SHOPPING? Come. On. Museums and Galleries? Sensational. PLUS you get 4 actual seasons which means 4 wardrobe changes. I see NO down side. Plus it's a 6 1/2 hour flight to my other favorite city in the world - London (lived there) - instead of that monstrous 27 hour 2 day extravaganza. So, yeah. I kind of like it. 'That's a yes then?' says my husband. 'Yes to what?' I asked, suddenly confused. 'You wanna move there?'. I really love my husband.
There was a brief lapse of gleefulness when I remembered that we have a 4 year old. A four year old human boy child who has a life in Sydney too. He's had half of his life there. The first half was in Dublin (we were there 3 years in total). He has gorgeous friends and a wonderful school, fields to run in and beaches to play on, sand castles to build and a rugby captaincy to aspire to. He has barbecues to scrape down and snakes/spiders and a host of other life-threatening beasties to avoid. My son is an Australian by choice - he will tell you even now after 7 months in New York with his American twang that he is indeed an Australian. But I'm South African, my husband is Scottish, our families are in those 2 countries respectively and we somehow landed up in Australia - which geographically makes no sense, but what actually ever really makes sense?
The truth is we don't make as much sense anywhere else as we do in New York because New York is a global melting pot of divergent, eclectic cultures, religions and ethnicities. Everyone from everywhere is welcome in New York. They LOVE our accents, love that we're different, they welcome our quirky colloquialisms with generous good humor. New York is about YES. The people are hospitable and welcoming. They have totally disarmed me with their no bullshit, life-affirming generosity. I mean, New York had the most ferociously violent attack in modern history perpetrated against it. New York knows devastation and loss so she knows that there is a bigger picture. Don't get me wrong, the small stuff is shouted about across streets from taxi driver to taxi driver. Highly caffeinated cabbies quibble over impulsive lane changes and the absence of indicator signals. But the general, pervasive feeling in the city is one of community. The real stuff, the big stuff is the focus. We had only been here a few months when the monstrous storm collided with our chosen island and we experienced the incredible indomitable spirit of that great city and we were energized and heartened that shit goes wrong, but people make it right again together.
So, come rain (sleet, snow, hail) or come shine - we're New Yorkers for now. Sometimes I hide inside just to press pause for a moment. Sometimes I feel like I just want to stand in Times Square and absorb that electric current of energy. The air is caffeinated here.... and y'all know that coffee is my drug of choice!