Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away (also known as England), I was sitting with some friends in a class meeting. I'm pretty sure most of us weren't really listening but a quick announcement caught my attention - it was about a one year internship program in NYC (only of course it was spelt "programme").
I had already planned to take a gap year but had been thinking of spending time in Paris. But hey, NYC, why not? I figured I would apply, especially as this program would make all the arrangements - job, visa, accommodation.
And so it is that today is my 25th NYC-aversary.
25 years ago I arrived in NYC. I spent the weekend with some friends of my parents. They had a five year old daughter who kept asking me "can we go to the minimart?" And I went with them on Labor Day to buy a car!
And then they dropped me off at my apartment in Westchester where I met my new roommates, including my oldest living-in-the-same-city (or for that matter country) friend. 20 years later we were both pregnant at the same time! Her daughter is just a few months older than my younger son Jack.
I remember our first trip into the city. We took Metro North and exited at Grand Central onto Park Avenue.
I remember that moment, stepping onto the street and feeling it - that NYC rush of incredible energy and excitement and diversity. Love it or hate it, there is no denying it.
I fell in love that day, have been in love ever since. I never ended up going back to England.
And now it has been 25 years.
In those 25 years, NYC has become my city - my heart, my home. For over half my life and a quarter of a century, this city has been here for me, through joy and love, heartbreak and tragedy, tears and laughter, and incredible friendships, relationships and collaborations. I've met wonderful people, worked on incredible projects, and given birth to my two amazing boys.
Twenty five years ago seems like yesterday and also several lifetimes ago. But my love for this city has only grown deeper. Life is not easy here, but for me, it is oh so worth it.
With that seemingly random event all those years ago, a brief announcement in a class meeting, the trajectory of my entire life changed. It is mind-blowing to me, but I am so grateful.
Because of that moment, my marriage exists, Liam and Jack exist - my family exists today. Because of that moment, my life is what it is today. Because of that moment, my life is not what I imagined or expected at all - it is far better.
Happy anniversary NYC. I will love you always.