Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NYU and other adventures.

Well, for those of you who don't know, I'm moving to Manhattan in 64 days, and if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that time flies and I'm going to be living in a little teeny dorm on the lower east side of Manhattan in what will feel like, oh, five minutes.

Anyway. With some prodding from @laurenvalmai and @justplainhanna, I've decided to blog it. The adventures. The move. The prep, even, maybe. I guess if you people will read it, I'll write it.

I'm going to NYU, class of 2017, off to study French, journalism, art history, creative writing, and dramatic literature. My first road block has been that my academic advisor won't let me take 20 credits my first semester, so... Anyway. I'm thrilled.

I spent the last two and a half weeks running around the world, hitting Paris, Venice, Telfs (in Austria), Munich, coming home for thirtysomeodd hours, and then jetting off to New York. I'm really lucky. In the last 365 days, I have seen six countries. I've ridden so many planes I can't even remember all of them. I've journaled and read and waited and slept, climbed 670 steps and taken two elevators at the Eiffel Tower, ridden in a water taxi in Venice, eaten authentic Japanese ramen, had authentic German weinerschnitzel in a brewery outside of Munich, been to a public bathhouse in Japan, done a handstand in the middle of fifth avenue, seen 8 Broadway plays, put my hands in Gene Kelly's handprints at the Chinese Theater, gone on morning runs through Palm Springs, morning runs through Central Park, watched fireworks on the river in Portland, OR, thrown up four times on the flight from Paris to Venice, spoken French to some strangers at Shake Shack -- and I couldn't be more grateful. The world is full of so many things and I've spent a year seeing a few of them.

When I was in Austria, my dad found this incredible article on ESPN (read it here -- definitely worth your time) that made me think, well, about a lot of things, but one part in particular made me think about the importance of travel. The reporter asks an Italian player about the root of racism in Italian soccer, and he replies with, "Italians don't travel."

Travel does a thousand things for the traveler. It has made me more grateful, patient, curious, appreciative, understanding. The world is truly so enormous. There are so many languages to speak, foods to eat, people to meet, sights to see, experiences to have; it's simultaneously overwhelming and comforting. The lists of the world travels are sort of like books-to-read lists, for me. There's a sense of despair that I'll never get to read every single book out there, but also a sense of comfort in the idea that I'll never run out of books to read. Glass half empty, glass half full. I guess you decide which you like to see. (I am, however cliche it may be, a glass-half-full type of girl.)

Travel has made me more grateful for the small things which I take for granted at home. Like clean laundry every day. And conditioner. And hairbrushes and ice in water and the ability to make phone calls at will. Travel made me also grateful for my own good fortune, things like sight and working legs, or cars large enough to fit my entire family or a roof over my head at night.

Travel made me more patient -- a virtue of which I still have very little, but I'm getting better. I waited in airports. I waited in lines. I waited for trains and meals and planes and people, and I found small moments in those lines and wait rooms to write in journals, to people watch, to sketch, or photograph, or organize.

Travel had made me more comfortable with my body, thanks to the Japanese onsen and the Austrian sauna village. Travel has made me better at early mornings, bumpy rides, taking pills, carefully planning sleep time, and at being okay to go without.

Travel made me appreciate the little things, like hot showers or fresh strawberries or whip cream. Travel has made me understanding (maybe these people had to wake up at 4 am to get here, too). It has, ironically enough, made me less materialistic, and maybe even less technologically dependent, more appreciative of "here and now" moments, better at seeing what's right in front of me.

On a wider scale, and sort of the all-encompassing reason for the importance of world travel, in our efforts to explore and adventure and sightsee and eat, we become world citizens. Travel makes us appreciate and understand the world as a greater whole rather than in pieces. When we step outside ourselves (or make fools of ourselves as tourists), we become more fully members of the human race. We try new foods, speak new languages, and see new things, and then we fall in love. We become less convinced of our own absolute perfection, more appreciative of things different than ourselves, and, in such, we grow into better people.

So. There were a thousand reasons behind my decision to go to NYU, but this is one of the forefront reasons for the choice: A global city, global adventures, and and the opportunity to become more fully a world citizen.

I'm excited and scared and nervous and overjoyed and and and and... And I think, if you guys want, and let me know if you do, I'll write about it all here. From dorms to semesters abroad (fingers crossed!) to the best food in the city.

Here's to the Japan and here's to CA and OR and France and Austria and Italy and Germany, and here's to NYC. Here's to NYU.

"Travel brings power and love back into your life." -Rumi
-Addy Sue