Now that we've been in New York City for almost six months (hard to believe!), I've learned so much about this great place. It's not as big and bad as it sounds. Some people view NYC as scary, like I did. Some view it as the land of opportunity. To some, a vacation and others it's home and always will be. There are a lot of stereotypes about NYC and while most of them are probably true, a few of them aren't. So here's my list of "The Things I've Learned" while living in this wonderful place.
1. Even though Manhattan is crammed with buildings, people and craziness, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and from a distance, the long stretch of Central Park in the middle of everything, the gorgeous cathedrals, all of the history within just a few miles, the decorations at Christmas...all of it just breath-taking.
2. New Yorkers are not "mean" people. Sure so people talk at you or down to you, but it's mostly a show. People like to portray a sense of confidence and security here. People are always nice to give directions or answer questions. And some people are just anxious to get home and will run you over in doing so. But I've been there and know that feeling. After walking, riding the subway, dealing with the masses and working all day....I am beat by the end of it! And they aren't blowing you off in passing, they're watching out for dog poop on the sidewalk ;)
3. There are too many languages here to count. Just walking down the street by my house I'll hear Italian, Greek, Chinese and Spanish. And that's just walking 10 blocks to the subway.
4. You really see all sorts of fashion on the street. People dress in all sorts of things. Lots of weirdos, but there's also lots of high fashion, normal clothes, work out clothes, lounge clothes, work clothes, walking the dog clothes, "going out tonight" clothes, site-seeing clothes. So now since I've seen it all, I'm a lot less worried about how I look. Seems kind of backwards.
5. There are so many transplants in NYC. Most of the people I've met aren't from here. They are transplants. They grew up somewhere else and moved here on a whim! The church we've been going to has a lot of native Texans, more specifically A&M graduates. Kind of weird, but it's a little like home! There are a people who have lived here all of there life though, and they're the ones with the heavy NY accents.
6. There are cowboys in NY. We have a dear friend named Ray who is known to us as the "Long Island Cowboy." Every time I see him, he's wearing boots and a hat and driving his truck. He owns a couple of horses and enjoys hunting. He is anxious to get to our family ranch in Texas. Ok really, He really might be one of the only cowboys here...everyone else I've talked to about hunting looks at me like I'm the one who killed Bambi.
7. People have asked me, "Have you lost weight from walking everywhere?" My answer is "No" because on the way to the subway I pass 2 pizzerias and 4 bagel shops. The food is amazing here. Fresh and real. We eat all fresh veggies now....none of that canned crap.
8. Yes, I was a tourist when I first moved here, but now I just get annoyed with them. You can always point them out...they are usually wearing comfy clothes and fanny packs. And walking slow and looking up. And yes, if they look lost I try to help ;) but for the most part people are always trying to get around them. We don't go to Times Square anymore because it's just tourist...all tourists! And we didn't leave our house in December because that's the worst month of the year....leading up to #9.
9. Christmas time really is magical here. And the whole world must know it, because you can't even walk down the street it's so crowded. The festivities start Dec. 1. Every street is lined with lights and decorations. People flock to the Big Tree at Rockefeller Center. Every store and office building puts up a giant tree in their entry way. The window displays are just incredible by themselves. Grand Central has a light/music display on it's ceiling. There are a few companies that put light/music displays on the side of their buildings. Every part of the city loves to celebrate the Christmas season...even little dogs have their Christmas sweaters on.
10. God lives in NYC, too. While living here we've had experiences and encounters that have God's name written all over them. He loves this city. He loves the people in it. Last Sunday we left church singing a great song. The chorus goes like this: As we walk the city we will love...we'll speak love. Sometimes life here can be hectic and stressful, but I just think of this song and focus my thoughts on God and the people He loves. We are here by His hand, so I will love this city and love the people in it.