From World (NYC) Citizen to US Citizen

For Christmas, J and I drove to Atlanta (his hometown) and stayed there for a week. This was the first time we traveled anywhere from our adopted, temporary home of Austin. The whole trip was entirely New York-less, but the city was on my mind the whole time...

1. As any New Yorker will tell you, one of the best things about living in NYC, is leaving NYC from time to time. It can make Ohio or Oregon feel like Disneyland - huge grocery stores! dishwashers! uninterrupted sleep! But on our way to Atlanta we realized that we weren't going to have such an exotic experience this time. While it was still nice to be on a vacation from work, and fantastic to be fed amazing meals several times day, it didn't have the same sense of decompressing or recuperating that it used to. It's like when I used to work at a stressful office job, that beer after work was a delicious, refreshing god-send. But once I started freelancing and had more manageable days, happy hour was no longer as revelatory - my work life was healthier, but the pleasure I could attain from kicking back was diminished by as much.


2. As we drove away from Atlanta after Christmas, J and I both had a sense that we had forgotten to take advantage of the suburban amenities - why didn't we stock up on cheap olive oil, or buy a ton of socks from Costco? We should have done one more load of laundry before we left! It was clear we were still in a New York state of mind, momentarily forgetting we were returning to equally-cushy Austin.


3. The drive to and from Atlanta took 2 days in each direction. So maybe it was the trappings of the American road trip (gas stations, fast food, little motels) that made me realize it: living in New York, I felt like a citizen of the world - and having left it, I now feel like a citizen of the U.S. As a citizen of the world I felt cultured, significant, connected, challenged, sharp; as a citizen of the U.S. I feel coddled, invisible, detached. As you might imagine (and can possibly relate to?) this is a pretty sobering thought. Sometimes I take stock in it, and other times I chalk it up to New York snobbishness, and wonder how long I'll be a snob.

Views: 30

Comment by anita raddatz on January 13, 2010 at 12:56am
As a visitor to NY for conferences and to see Anna when she lived there - the feeling is exhilirating in NY - I live in a county of 24,000 where it's quiet, dark at night, but with little, maybe no entertainment. I like certain things about each of those worlds - I do stock up on shopping when in NY - A medium sized walmart is the only big store here. Last trip to NY I had 2 boxes of Old Navy sale items sent back home.
Travel is good for people - there is that nomadic need.
Comment by T on January 13, 2010 at 10:45pm
Anna, this is such an interesting perspective and you made a great analogy with the stressful job and having that decompressing beer after work, and how that after-work beer experience changed once you starting freelancing. I'm fascinated by your journey as I relate to so much of how you describe your NYC experience (both good and bad). I always look forward to reading your blogs!
Comment by Anna on January 17, 2010 at 12:33pm
T, thank you so much for your sweet, supportive comment!
Comment by Mari Brown on January 17, 2010 at 2:13pm
#3 is brilliant - the idea of feeling like a citizen of the world vs. a citizen of the US - love it!
Comment by Laura D on March 17, 2010 at 10:21pm
#3--so true. Maybe because New York has been the entry point for, and home to, so many immigrants to the US for so many years, it feels much more connected and international than many parts of the US. After reading your post, all I could think was that I would so much rather be a citizen of the world!

Comment

You need to be a member of Life After New York to add comments!

Join Life After New York

© 2018   Created by LifeAfterNYC Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service