If you are like me and approaching the big 30, you may remember those days at uni where you and your housemates were “working on dissertation research” aka, drinking endless cups of PG tips with co-op own brand digestives and E4 blazing Friends on repeat. My flatmate and I would be cocooned in our duvets, hungover and unwashed, and talk about the ‘one day’ when we would be living in our cool Manhattan apartment where we would live our own personal season of Friends. I was Rachel (although she thought I was Phoebe) and she was also Rachel and EVERY DAY would filled with comedic scenarios and canned laugher.
Until, very recently I still held that bubble of a dream in my head. I would move to New York, live in a really trendy warehouse in Brooklyn (Gossip Girl was to blame for the location change), with a cat, have a high-earning, cool job where I basically just meet people Downtown for coffees and had endless leisure time for walking around central park and eating in expensive restaurants. The only thing in ten years that changed in my head-bubble, was that I replaced the cat with the boyfriend.
Last month, when the opportunity came about for me to actually go there, finally visit the city my whole idealised future was based upon, I was over-joyed. I guess I could have been sooner, but I didn’t think I needed to. I was going to eventually live in New York, and that was that. It’s the best city in the world – David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston told me so, and they don’t lie.
A free business-class ticket from my recently resigned job (long story), and my Mum in tow, off we headed with a mixture of Frank Sinatra and Beyonce singing in our heads to see my future residence in all it’s glory. I returned six days later with a slightly different view. The New York dream-bubble had been burst.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved it – great city – I just don’t want to live there anymore. Let me explain:
- It wasn’t like Friends. I think I actually expected the air to have that slightly saturated, grainy look that 90s TV had. People did not wear crop tops. I didn’t have a coffee in a huge mug. The hotel room was tiny – apparently New York is short on space – no big apartment for me. No-one even looked that friendly (apart from the ancient, peroxide-haired air-hostess, who talked to me in great lengths about honeybun, her cat, and I am not sure I’d want her as a friend).
- It was bloody cold. I know it was the middle of winter, I know we arrived in the midst of a huge blizzard, but still… I do not get on well with cold temperatures. I only like snow for approximately five minutes; to try catch a snowflake in my mouth, then to throw a snowball at my unassuming dad/friend/sister. After that, snow no longer entertains me and I find it a sludgy, disgusting inconvenience and it can bore off.
- It’s just another city. What I mean by this, is that I didn’t feel that magic I have in other cities. In Paris there is a certain je ne sais quoi (sorry), in Phom Pehn I felt so akin to my surroundings, I could have happily stayed there for an inmeasurable amount of time. New York just didn’t hit it for me.
So, all in all, I am actually glad that I have erased that *slightly* unrealistic dream from my head. It would never have worked. My boyfriend looks nothing like Joey.