Back to my first love.

No, this post is not about me finding my way back to my first boyfriend (she writes with a puzzled face as she’s trying to figure out who that technically was). Nope, it’s about a love way bigger than that, a love that left me breathless and in awe for the last 4 years and left me searching for a way to get it back – or rather, to get back to IT. I’m talking of course, about New York. The Big Apple. The City that never sleeps. You might be thinking that I’m exaggerating when it comes to my feelings for this place, but I’m really not. Remember that for someone from the other side of the world and who comes from a country where the exchange rate makes it all the more difficult to travel, places like New York often seem like an impossible destination. And then when you actually get there, it’s like you’re in a movie. The saying “everything is bigger and better” describes New York City the most accurately to me.

I first got the chance to travel to New York in 2012 and fell in love with the city and everything it had to offer right away. I still remember, my friends and I had New York passes (  which means that we filled our days with amazing activities between the hours of 7am and 11pm (when we would go back to our hostel and pass out, exhausted). By the way, I would really recommend getting a pass especially if it’s your first time. We were in NYC for only 4 days and financially the pass was totally worth it – it also makes you more organized with planning out your days, which is necessary in a big city like this. Back then, my favourites included chilling horizontally in Bryant Park, Bike rides in Central park, yacht trips on the Hudson, the NBC studios and spotting Jimmy Fallon at the Rockefeller square (#comediancrush). It’s also important to say that the first time I also LOVED Times Square.

I was so obsessed with New York, that I once forced my mom to leave the JFK airport with me on our way back home from Kansas. We only had a couple of hours and I was sure that I had the subways figured out (my friend Imke made it look so easy) so into the city I went, almost literally dragging my mom with me. I just wanted to skip over the lawn in Bryant Park once in a Sound of Music Maria-esque fashion, because I thought that it might be the last time that I’d ever be in New York. That didn’t happen. Instead we got so lost, and my dream of skipping and laughing was replaced by us buried with our noses in maps, walking through construction sights and finally just getting onto the first bus heading back to the airport. By this time, we were cutting it quite close to make it back in time for our flight to Qatar. I’ll never forget our trip on the Q3, which took us back to the airport, but not after stopping at what felt like every single person on the bus’ actual house in Queens. We started having fits of laughter due to stress, disbelief and exhaustion, so at least I got my laughter.

So back to the actual story. Three of my friends from South Africa and one of their friends were heading to a wedding in New Orleans in April, but not before spending a short week in New York over Easter weekend. It also happened to be my birthday on the 29 of March, so as a gift to myself, I decided that I had to get in on the action…

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