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Leaving New York

New York is a place of extremes, which makes it both wonderful and terrible all at the same time. The beauty of the city is that you can’t have one without the other; it is all or nothing. I have really loved the six years of my life devoted to this place, have made it my home, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. But in order to love it so much, you gotta be strong enough to stand the things that drive you crazy.

Being that I’m out that door tomorrow, there are certainly a couple of things I am happy to leave behind.

* Like having my trash, which I diligently place out on the curb for pick up, routinely pawed through by strangers and then strewn all over the sidewalk. Now I don’t live on the classiest block in Park Slope, but if I wanted to spread my personal garbage throughout the neighborhood, I would do it my own damn self.

* Or maybe even more than that, my landlords, two Italian mafioso brothers. You think I’m kidding. We pay our rent in cash at the pizza shop next door where they put the thousands into paper bags. All for an apartment that is crumbling as we speak because the only person that “repairs” anything is their cousin, Eddie.

But there are many more reasons why I will miss this place like crazy.

* Having the entire world — its cultures, traditions, languages, and (most importantly) foods — at my fingertips. How wonderful is it to hear Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian (and more) spoken all around me on a daily basis?

* I love that people are so obsessed with good food and restaurants, and that social occasions always center around some wonderful restaurant. I realized this when I found myself planning itineraries for my out-of-town visitors and my “must-see” places were almost always restaurants.

* Having a zillion cafes and restaurants, a huge art museum, botanical gardens, a gorgeous park, avant-garde performance spaces, an urban arts center, and plenty of indie movie houses all within walking distance from my apartment.

* And last, but SO not least, the amazing, inspiring, fantastic group of friends I have known here. Who could have predicted when we all started grad school together in 2002 that we would form a bond tight enough to transcend the distance of where our lives, careers, and loves lead us? For this, I could not be more thankful. To quote Cari, I do feel like this is the end of an era. An end to having a tight community right down the street, or just a few subway stops away. But at the same time, it ushers in a new era as I (and others) leave to fulfill our dreams in other cities and countries. Our definition of community will have to become global, and I see such amazing things happening in that.

And finally, check out Leaving New York by REM. Although they have not performed this song in over three years, they appropriately played it (just for me, of course) on Thursday night.

See you when I get to Germany.

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