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Taking a bite out of the big Apple

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of cities. The bigger the city, the less inclined I am to want to go there. No, rather take me to Nature. Mountains. Walking Trails and fresh air and preferably not the need to dodge people on the sidewalk to get to where I am going. I am what I am, and nature is my jam.

So what the hell am I doing loving New York City every year?

I mean, let’s be real. People and trucks and noise and smells and cold and hot and bright signs and dark alleys and…the place is pretty insane. It’s fast and furious, loud and busy, and when I get here, I feel like Clark Kent must have felt the first time his super hearing kicked in. Or Mel Gibson in What Women Want, when he is suddenly tuned into all the thoughts around him. It’s overpowering stuff, and for an introvert masquerading as an extrovert, adjusting is not effortless.

Staying with the Mel Gibson metaphor, though, he does adjust. In fact, he learns to love it. But he changes his view on reading women’s thoughts. When the committed chauvinist stops resisting and makes the effort to truly understand the opposite sex, the curse becomes a gift. No, it becomes a superpower.

What did I say before? I am what I am…but, you know what. I am what I am IN MY MIND. I change my mind on the small things all the time, so why can’t I change my mind on the big things once in a while? New York, like Vegas or Tokyo or London or Madrid or Nairobi, are not huts in the mountains, where the milky way is the light show and the only sound you hear is the snoring of the other hikers or the gurgle of the stream nearby. No, they are something quite different. But that difference can be awesome. If I choose to shift my mind, shift my perspective, and embrace what they are.

In New York, it’s embracing the distance. Strap on the Nikes, and walk that sucker. Walk from north to south, east to west. Manhatten is a monster, and using your legs for propulsion is always part of the fun for me. People-watching can be an epic game, and big cities offer you OPTIONS. Take the subway or Uber or the bus or walk or cycle…go watch the Yankees, Billy Crystal off-Broadway, and the Blue Man Group. Eat Greek or Italian or Mexican or Asian or American or that melted choc chip cookie with ice cream on top we had one night.

Buy yourself or the kids shoes or electronics or comic books or shirts or hats or even luggage. Have cappuccinos and smoothies and beers and kombuchas and green teas and wine and whiskey. Know that you’re going to spend a fortune, make peace with it and find a way to afford it, or be there, be awesome, and then be gone.

Meet friends and colleagues and clients and have brunch and lunch and dinner and drinks and walks and weird and wonderful conversations.

In MY MIND, I’m always excited to be here. I’m always conscious of the pain of what things are going to cost, always mentally prepared for the extra few kilos of weight that I’ll need to sweat off when I get home, and I am steeled for the emotional fatigue of just SO MANY PEOPLE for a few days. But I’m more excited than nervous. I know that it’s going to be a blast because I choose it to be so.

And let’s be clear: New York DOES sleep. Try getting an open Starbucks outside of Grand Central Station at 9.30 pm on a weekday? Good luck. But then we put the grumpiness aside and had an Irish coffee at a hopping bar instead. We’ll remember the bar for the hopping energy, not the unfriendly maître d'. We’ll anchor the awesome salty peanut flavoured cocktail and the brilliant cheesecake, and not the slow service.

It's all about perspective. What you focus on is what you’ll see, and when I go to New York, I see a city that knows what it is and does what it does really well.

I’ll be back.


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