Coming home has by far been the most difficult part of my trip. I arrived back in NYC at 2am Saturday morning–my first time back in the city since April. My mom had decided to come to New York from Alabama to meet me on my return, and she treated me to 2 nights at the Waldorf Astoria. This was a great entrance back into the USA, to say the least! I am so happy that my mom came to New York to welcome me back–I was an emotional mess by 2am once I finally arrived at the Waldorf, and a mother’s hug was just what I needed. As much as I truly love New York City, I wasn’t near ready to come back.
Over the last few days, the heat in the city has been sweltering and hotter than I recall any of my previous summers here being. It’s almost like nature is serving as a metaphor of the literal pressure cooker I feel my life is in now. Even though I am back in my city, I am still without a set plan for an apartment, and the plans I had before I left to travel have fallen through (as the best-laid plans often do). As my friend Sarah framed it, I am now wanderlusting in my own city. I appreciate this romanticized and optimistic view of my situation! Law school orientation starts August 24, so the countdown is on to find the right place and move in before the grind of “1L” starts.
Even apart from my apartment/starting law school situation, coming home is just plain hard. A friend who has traveled long-term before warned me how difficult it would be. I really am not a very emotional person, but I cried the entire plane ride back. I now find myself randomly tearing up when I think about memories from traveling as I wander through the city, running errands and worrying about finding an apartment before school starts in less than 2 weeks. It’s so good, but so hard, to be home–so familiar but also strangely isolating.
The only thing good about being back at this point is being with my friends. I truly have the best friends in NYC anyone can ask for. So many of them have offered to let me crash with them for as long as is needed until I find an apartment, and they are all so excited to hear about my travels and the people I met over the summer. After my mom left to go home Sunday, I moved over to “the penthouse,” where 4 of my closest girlfriends in the city live. It honestly felt like coming home, as this is the same apartment/group of friends I stayed with the nights before leaving for my travels in April, and it was so good to catch up! They (along with my other amazing friends in the city) are the reasons I love New York, and they are truly my family in this city. As much as I want to go back and relive certain moments from the summer, and want to be with a particular person across the Atlantic, I am so thankful to be with those friends who are here with me now in NYC–those who have supported me on this journey, and who continue to have my back.
It’s also great to be able to talk to family whenever I want to now, without regard to time zone differences or lack of WiFi access. I’ve enjoyed some amazing catch-up conversations in the last few days with my cousin Valerie and my dad, who both remarked how great it was to be able to communicate more frequently again (which I definitely agreed with in both cases!). Even though I still live far away from family in NYC, I am still closer now than I have been the last few months, and it’s good to be back in touch.
So, life goes on. In the next few weeks I need to 1) find an apartment, 2) buy my books for law school, and 3) start law school. While I feel a sense of sadness, I remain so grateful I had this opportunity to travel for so long and to so many places. I am not sure when this sadness/period of readjustment will end, but I do know I have plenty to distract me and keep me busy over the coming weeks–living in NYC is all about staying busy, after all. 🙂