This December 31st will be my fourth anniversary living in New York City. It is almost four years ago that I decided to get out of my comfort zone and change my life with a 180 degrees rotation, away from my “perfect bubble-world” where I had everything I wanted and needed. It wasn’t easy to make this decision and start my life from scratch. I believe not every person will have the courage to do so, but for some strange reason, at age twenty one, I did.
I remember like it was yesterday how everything happened. I came to NY in winter of 2008 and spent three months living with my uncle’s family in East Elmhurst. I was studying an ESL program at Hunter College just because my mother wanted my vacation to be productive and not a waste of time.
After the first month of adjustment, I got used to the routine of waking up early, trying to fight the freezing mornings waiting for the train to arrive with probably a hundred others, the noise (and smell) of the city, the crowded streets and free talent performances in the train stations. All these made me feel a connection and thoughts ran through my mind on how I could get use to calling this city, home.
When I went back to Peru, I was extremely happy to see my family but at the same I felt a little bit out of place, my heart fell in love with New York (and in New York). Before going back I also saw big careers opportunities, I went to different schools to find out how the transfer process would be like and I starting making my moves as soon as I went back to Lima. I compiled all my documents from high school and the current university I was attending to. The most difficult part was to make my mother understand my decision but I felt like she never took me serious until she saw me filling applications to NY schools.
After going through the hassle of this chaotic procedure, I got a call on August 2008. At that moment I was coming back from a vacation in Miami and I was at the airport waiting to board when I checked my email and saw a message from FIT with the subject line “Congratulations, you have been accepted”. I screamed so loud that everyone looked at me and in between all my excitement I looked at my mother and saw her teary eyes, she wasn’t crying of happiness, those were tears of sadness. The last one of her children and the one that she has a best friend relationship with was leaving her side.
When we got back to Peru, she kept asking me over and over if I was a 100% sure of my decision. She tried to convince me saying things like “October 8th it’s not going to be a national holiday in USA, it’s just holiday in Peru and it’s your birthday, are you sure you want to move?”, “Who is going to do your laundry, who will cook for you and clean your house, are you sure you want to move?”, “You have asthma, if you get sick who will take care of you?”, and will pull these questions randomly to see if she can convince me but she finally surrendered when I told her “Mom remember all those times when you used to take me to English academy as a child and I will cry because I hated it and you told me one day you will thank me? Well mother, that day has arrived, thank you”. She looked at me and realized I was very sure of what I wanted to do.
After six months of packing and planning, all my family gathered at the airport to wish me the best in this new chapter of my life. It was a moment of mixed feelings, happy to start a new adventure; sad to leave all my loved ones behind; scared because for the first time I didn’t know what the future will hold for me; anxious of knowing if everything was going to work as planned; and thrilled to live in one of the coolest cities in the world.
Now almost four years have passed, and I think that those feelings haven’t go away; I’m still happy for the decision I made; I’m still sad for not having my family with me; I’m still scared because even though I am a control freak this city has taught me that sometimes you just have to go with the flow; anxious because I still don’t know what the future holds; thrilled to live in this beautiful city, but overall proud because even though I have all those feelings I’m still standing here, stronger, determined and focused.