Same-Same, and Not So Different – New York

January 11, 2008 5 Comments »

Empire State Building

Shit…is it all a dream – it feels like it was a dream. I feel like I just fell down some weird rabbit hole and Alice is offering me tea. Arriving back in New York is beyond describable for me. As I walk around New York it feels as if the last 16 months were some type of amazing dream that I never wanted to wake up from. One where I learned what happiness actually felt like. Yet I sit here in the same place – writing once again to calm my emotions inside as I used to do when I was a ‘true’ New Yorker and I wonder if my past 16 months was all a figment of my imagination. Then I remind myself – no – I have the pictures to prove it. They are real, they are my therapy, they are my proof.

The moment I turned and walked down 74th Street I felt sick to my stomach – it was all the same. I entered my ‘oh so familiar’ building and the same doorman that I left 16 months ago was there – behind the desk. To my surprise he stood up and greeted me with a handshake and said “Welcome back Sherry”. My sickness then turned to a wave of emotions as I tried to hold it together. It was a very unexpected greeting home – and I love the unexpected. The lobby looked brighter thanks to a new coat of paint – but everything else was the same.

We entered the elevator and took it up to 2nd floor. My friends were kindly carrying my suitcases and boxes 10 blocks – I’m used to carrying all of my suitcases on my own yet I couldn’t have made this trip without them. It as about 80 lbs worth of stuff and I needed someone there to stop me when I started to flee down the street in a panic. When the elevator doors opened – I walked out and my heart dropped as a cloud settled in over me. As I walked down the hallway all of a sudden I felt like I was coming home from work – not from being away for a year and a half. I thought about how I had cried when I left and now I’m here wanting to cry again. I arrived at my apartment door and knocked – something I’ve never done before. My current tenant, whom I had never met before in person, opened up the door and greeted me warmly.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Sure – it’s strange being back in the US after long term travel outside of the country. But it’s ten times more strange walking into your apartment seeing your stuff in the exact same place that you left it (I suppose I should be happy about this – I had good tenants) as if time stood sill and you just left yesterday. Everything in the same place – I walked around in a daze seeing things that I owned and had totally forgotten about. I think most people that come back to their country after long term travel end up getting a new apartment or maybe even moving to a new place, or more likely they move in with friends or family; but when you walk into your same old home, it’s really a confusing feeling.

After my tenant and friends left. I just stood there in the middle of my apartment – looking around in disbelief, lower lip quivering. I had no idea what to do next, so I sat down on my couch and just checked out for a while mentally. I had no drive to do anything. A feeling of sadness overcame me. This emotion kind of pissed me off because I wanted to have that feeling of ‘it’s so nice to be home’ – but it wasn’t there. Instead I struggled to remember what I did for the last 16 months – did it really happen, or did I just imagine it?

After walking around stunned for a while, I finally just sat down and cried….I couldn’t hold it back any longer…it had to come out.

The next day when my boxes were taken out of storage and all of my extensive clothes, shoes, bags, and coats were delivered to me – I pushed the 5 big wardrobe boxes in the corner and didn’t even open them as I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m officially in denial.

Tonight I did what I know I shouldn’t do – but I couldn’t stop myself – I watched Globetrekker on television. This is my favorite travel show on the planet – because it’s real – it’s the type of travel I like to do. I cooked up some Asian noodles, had a glass of wine, and sat and watched the show, riveted to the screen. I learned about Bolivia and all of the exciting and crazy things you can do there. Bolivia is now on my travel list. The other thing I learned is that for once in my life I have found something that I love…travel – it’s in my soul and I’m more determined than ever to do more. However – I have to tackle these boxes first…ugh.


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