Playing Tourist at Home: NYC
When I first moved to New York City for school three years ago, one of my biggest goals was to avoid looking like a tourist. I had finally made it to the city I'd wanted to live in for as long as I could remember and I was anxious to look like I belonged. I already had all-black outfits down and quickly adapted to walking at an aggressive pace (I started to suffer from "sidewalk rage" early on in my time as a New Yorker), but other traits have been harder to accept - I still can't bring myself to fully hate Times Square, for example. All that being said, the small victories of looking like I knew what I was doing enough to get asked for directions (and actually being able to give those directions!) early in my college career still stand out in my mind. Now though, I am in full-swing of my senior year and am starting to accept that as much as I want to stay in NYC, I have no idea where life's next steps might take me!
It turned out that a friend of mine from California coming into town was exactly what I needed to check some NYC bucket-list items off my list as a tourist while still feeling like a local! I got to do all the touristy things while still feeling like i knew what I was doing when I was the one navigating the subway or recommending food spots that usually might go overlooked. Experiencing her joy at tasting pizza from my favorite dollar slice place was just as fun as taking her to the Met! I got to appreciate the things I do every day that I normally take for granted in a new way, and I got to take some pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building when I would normally pass by them in an attempt to blend in.
It really made me remember what I got a glimpse of this summer when a New York friend came to visit me in San Francisco. I have travelled so much of the world but never let myself play in my own backyard! When the Golden Gate Bridge or the famed Met Steps are something you see every week, a little part of you forgets that the rest of the world has those things on their bucket lists. Even those of us who don't live in big cities have local specialties we take for granted - my hometown outside of SF has a statue of Indiana Jones and Yoda in a park donated to the town by George Lucas himself, and the ice cream shop that occupies what used to be just an alleyway must really be something special if people are willing to line up around the block even in the winter. Getting out of our routines lets us go back and appreciate what makes "home" so special, and having people you meet on your journeys come to visit can let you experience those specialties in a whole new way!