A List of Things that Baffle Me about NYC
- Lack of regard for
- Traffic lights
- Fellow human beings
- The concept of smiling
- Traffic lights
- Other people
- All the awesome museums!!! (And the fact that I got to live out my inner 5-year-old at the Natural History Museum, go to MoMA for free and meet so much awesome art and Sanjana at the MET.)
- Dogs. All the puppers.
- Hella expensive everything (like Hobbit Hole apartment = 890000 like wtf)
- Its similarity to Taipei, especially…
- The transit, though Taipei is newer
- Number of people
- Type of people (who dresses classily)
- General traffic chaos
- Obsession with Starbucks
- Chinatown is full of white people (and good food, because oh my god that lamb cumin burger was awesome).
- The New Yorker stench rising from the sewers (both figuratively and literally)
- Biodiversity (a clusterfuck of seemingly unrelated things. Ex. Natural Museum Oceans exhibit, NYC, and seeing fireflies at Central Park)
I graduated two weeks ago. My sister graduated a few days ago.
I moved across the Pacific too many years ago, I will move too little months in the future. Remember my blue room? My sky, my life, to the former I shall bid goodbye.
This decision wasn’t sprung upon me, I had a say. But it made sense for my mother and sister to live together near the oceans and the sun.
I only miss my sky now, but soon I know I will marvel at a new one behind the Campanile, or the one connecting the waves and infinite distances.
The purple petals cried and I fell, worshipful of the mourning and the morning to come. There is a season for everything, and I suppose this one is for growth; realization that I am but the one in the infinite, sordid bloom.
The wind lifted the branches heavy with bushels of flowers, dropped some, then nodded off to sleep.
This is the first time I had a panic attack.
It started as a simple attempt at relaxation during AP Computer Science class. I accepted an ear bud offered to me from a project partner of mine. As soon as the little thing was snuggled into my ear the nostalgic mumbles of Jay Chou occupied a good half of my mind. Absent-mindedly I was typing out lines of code, trying to remember that I’m not sitting in the back of an old Toyota driving through a typhoon storm, and my mother was not pretending to be annoyed by my sister and my attempts at imitating the loose jaw and nasal voice characteristic of Chou.
Then the strangest thing occurred: some of my classmates conversed or sang off-key as per usual while they work on their own projects. For the longest time I listened to each syllable pronounced. For the longest time I knew not what they meant.
What year is it? Why are Taiwanese people so good at English all the sudden?
Why did I think I’m surrounded by Taiwanese people?
I stopped coding and attempted to convince myself that I’m in America. A shaking hand ran across the laptop before me. Right, a school laptop. That was not a thing in my elementary school eight years ago. But, still. The syllables ran on, a flood of syllables clicked against my ears, and I listened, drowned, only with a fixed eye upon the light at the surface of the water knowing full well all is but an illusion. My heart’s pounding was another chaotic noise that I failed to comprehend.
I pulled out the ear bud, thanked the person giving me the music, wondered and continued coding.
In the words of my friend, ModernMercutio (find him here: http://tankadiaries.tumblr.com/)…
“And lo, She gazed down at the city glistening brighter than the constellations and smiled.
And the city smiled back to her”
We partook on the obligatory hike, late, dark, with lights and laughs and smoke from a concert nearby (or more likely, from a bad decision). I was walking alongside my newly-found roommate — a sweet girl from the area seemingly amazing at understanding my background and humor — as she served dutifully as a tour guide, warning me of potential turkeys and deers. We might have shared our sudden craving for boba.
But when I got to the intended destination I dropped the chitchat and *almost* my phone because of the steepness of the hill amplified in degrees by darkness. Then our group stopped, some took more interest in the swing than the cluster(f***) of man’s stars competing against the grace of God’s fashion. The lazy tree vied for attention, the blocks of concrete rested in designs ever so balanced, dotted with the windows of sleepless researchers. The tower was proud, believing that it could outshine the orange, blinking sea across the campus. Cars, perhaps, with movements deemed negligible by the distance.
Then I was back, possibly infected by the tower’s confidence, the scene slightly marred by the glowing screens hovering about me.
My throat tastes sour and I can’t breathe.
My heart beats at the expense of my sanity.
What can I do but grit my teeth,
And blame myself for vanity?
Yet, even in self-deprecation, it seems
Cruel to neglect truest affections. Never before,
Never will be one more worthy that I beteems.
So I searched for the note, the very end, at my very core.
These puny thoughts plague words and mind,
‘Til the tillers tilled and crushed more than kind,
To set parched earth free from drought,
To grow anew a stubborn sprout.
I will live.