Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wrap it up already

Traveling is cool.  Seeing new sites.  Being out of your element. Trying new foods.  Recognizing places from books, movies and such.

But the coolest thing about traveling to me is realizing that people are the same no matter where you go. They really are just like me whether they live in a world class city or a small back woods town like mine.

Having never been to New York City before I had some preconceived notions as to just how New York, and more specifically New Yorkers, would be.  I figured New York would be dirty, stand-offish and would eat me up and spit me out in two seconds flat.  

I figured New Yorkers would be abrupt, brash and rude.

I couldn't have been more wrong.  Instead I found New York City to be clean.  Try as I might I cannot conjure up a single memory of litter on the roads or sidewalks.  Real estate is at a premium on that small island and every inch is planned and maintained far more scrupulously than I could have imagined.  Furthermore, the city is navigable on foot or subway and though my mom and I still felt the need to whip out a map to figure out which direction to head, my daughter managed to get us everywhere we needed to go simply by reading the street signs and understanding the "grid."  Rather than the city swallowing us up as I had feared, the three of us bonded together, found our way and tackled all that we hoped to see and do while there.

And I owe an apology to New Yorkers for my wrongful preconceived notions of them.  They may have been in a hurry but I've got to remember that I was doing my slow southern stroll down their "walking freeway" to work.  Many times while my eyes were skyward or covered by my camera, it was a rush for them to get to or from work.  Sure they were in a hurry . . . but I was often in their way.  And when I was focused on walking and keeping sights on my daughter and mother and nearly being swept up in a sea of people, I often made eye contact with New Yorkers.  Not once did I get a rude response.  Unexpectedly, I usually got a smile.

We left New York City just two days before Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan.  Nearly ten years after 9/11.  I talked to subway riders and restaurant maitre d' about that day.  About the city.  About the Twin Towers.  About their homes, families and livlihoods.  I wish to have been in Lower Manhattan a few days more and talked to them again.



~Michelle~ said...

Ooh, I "love" the first photo! And I, too, wonder what sort of discussion you would have received as an "outsider" if you had managed to stay a few days later. :)

Kim said...

I love to travel and have gotten to see a lot of the world.....I have found that people treat you the way you present yourself. If you are interested and friendly, that is usually returned to you, if you are loud and brash....folks ignore you and try to forget they are having the unfortunate experience of witnessing your behavior. So it goes right down to the simple equation of kindness which is usually returned with kindness. I believe there is more goodness in people than evil and everyone has their own life they are trying their hardest to live.

A smile, kindness, and a sense of adventure are all you need to pack.

So glad you enjoyed your travels in NYC....y'all come back now ya hear?

Happy Sewing

Krista said...

New York City is a wonderful place! I haven't been there since I was in college, but I look forward to going with my family sometime in the future.

I really think that what you get out of an experience is directly related to what you put into it. It's obvious that you have a really fun, friendly family. You ooze happiness! I'm sure the locals couldn't help but smile back at you!

grendelskin said...

I think NYC is a lot more open and friendly post-9/11; the first time we went into the city after, we were surprised at how polite people were. I recall it being very different years ago; I believe folks actively appreciate their city, and each other, a lot more now. You probably do get a better response when you wander the streets with a big dopey grin on your face tho!

Nicole @ Patchwork Duck Designs said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed your first trip to NYC!

As a New Yorker, I can tell you that we're really not rude people. We're just really, *really* busy! The only time New Yorkers tend to get huffy is when tourists walk too slowly and/or take up the entire sidewalk to take photos. We're too rushed to handle it properly!

Aside from that, NYers are always willing to help or give local advice. Come back anytime!

DebbyMc said...

Beautiful photos, beautiful mom and daughter (she looks just like you
!), beautiful, big heart. Yes, people are people, and, generally, you get what you give. I think that has been one of the more valuable things I've learned from traveling over the course of my life. I've loved your NYC posts =-)

Jessica Christensen said...

What a fun trip! I went to New York for the first time a couple years ago with my husband, and I loved it! I, too, wish I could have spent more time there. Not enought time to have all the adventures that are there to be had. Nice to be home, though, too. Glad you had fun.