Growing up in Alaska can be very isolating. Even as a child, you can feel the isolation. My parents however, did a great job in encouraging us to learn and discover places outside of my hometown. We had a small library room, and the garage was lined with national geographic magazines. We are the family who takes the scenic route, and always drives to the 'lower 48'. Anyway, around 1990, National geographic did an article on the subway system of New York City. I remember reading the issue, and being obsessed by the pictures of the skyscrapers, the streets, and the underground subway system. I knew what the average American kid knew about New York, however reading the article took my breath away. Luckily, there was a pull-out map of Manhattan inside that was marked with the most prominent buildings and other points of interest. I hung the map by my bed, and would memorize each building and neighborhood. To this day, I hang the map everywhere I live. I am bringing this up because as of Saturday, I have officially been living in New York for 6 years.
I flew out of Alaska on June 21st, (summer solstice) just as the sun was dipping below the horizon - only to rise a few minutes later. I remember never wanting to forget what I saw out of the plane window that day. The cabin of our plane was filled with an intense orange light of the sunset, and I was wearing a wool pea coat.
A week earlier, I had been mowing the grass by my city's airport. It was my second summer home from college. My friends and I worked together for the city's Parks and Recreation department. After work we would go hiking, mountain biking, or just chill at the beach. The upcoming fall semester I was transferring to the Art Academy in San Francisco. I guess it would be safe to say that my only worry at the time was that I hadn’t yet found a place to live in San Fran. So anyway, back to the lawn mower. I was riding along, when all of a sudden my contact lens falls off my eye, into the grass below. Five minutes later, my supervisor drove by and saw me searching through the grass. He was kind of strict - his name was Terry. Upon seeing him, I begged him to take me to my house so I could get another lens. He agreed to take me to my house, and right as we pulled up to the house, my mom stepped outside with the phone in her hand. I walked up to her, and she told me that it was a man from New York wanting to speak with me.
The character on the phone was Miles. He was a father in dire straights for an emergency nanny to look after his two year old son. His wife was in Paris on business, his nanny had walked out on him. In his panic, he called his sister in law, and she asked her babysitter (my college roommate) if she knew anyone that would want to move to New York. My college roommate suggested myself, knowing fully well how obsessed I was with New York City. So I spoke with him, and told him that I would love to move. He then told me that I will need to move within the next week. I said fine.
After hanging up the phone, I remember turning to my mom and saying: "Mom, I am moving to New York." She said okay (and then called everyone with a pulse). I then told Terry as we were driving off, that I was moving to New York in one week. Terry was a little taken back - but fortunately I had the cool "college kid" job in town, so the position was easily filled. So my friends and I had the appropriate beach gathering, and I was off.
Once in New York City, I felt incredible energy and possibility. I was a nanny for the rest of that summer in a little town outside of the city. I enrolled in a school close to the house, was able to finish University, travel Europe, and eventually move into Manhattan. Every once in a while I get the itch to try out some other city - but never end up leaving. I can't bare the thought that I might be missing out on something. I guess sometimes we just get these strange surprises, and its fun to go with it.