After so many new things this past year, it's time for me to settle in to where I am right now. So, goodbye 2017, goodbye (for now) TSW, and thank you. For everything. 2018, let's make this a good one.
A few weeks ago I finished working in the job of a lifetime and not long after that I moved out of a city that made me feel at home from the moment I arrived. Though endings may be sad, I am endlessly grateful for all I was able to do while living in London. As I write this now, from my apartment back home in the states, there's a big, dopey smile on my face.
As I watched the light change, I became melancholy. I’m going home soon. I don’t know when I’ll next be in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK, for that matter. But I do know that when I make it back to this side of the pond, Scotland and the sea will both be here waiting for me.
I'm a New Yorker, born and bred, a Boston transplant, a temporary Serb and, for now, a Londoner. As I look to the ever nearing 2018, I am curious to see where I will be. Right now, the plan consists of Boston and then a series of question marks over the spring and summer on my calendar. 2017 has been all kinds of busy, but I can't help but be on the look out for the next city that I may call home, at least for a little while. And Brugge certainly made an impression.
Somehow this list is even more ridiculous than the last. Cheers!
Edinburgh is a patchwork quilt of old and new: the buildings, the stores and the people are all a mixture of different times throughout the past few decades (or in some cases, centuries).Around each corner you'll find castles and bastions surrounded by contemporary retail outlets and 19th century homes. It creates a fantastical atmosphere that I haven't yet found anywhere else. Through both sun and rain, Edinburgh shines.
I was pleased to find that instead of the industry based city I pictured it to be, it had all of the charms of other small cities, with history, good food and local vendors around ever corner.
London greeted me with a torrential downpour. I’m not certain why I expected anything else, but as I stood under an overhang at Waterloo Station trying to remember where I packed my umbrella, I wasn’t the slightest bit upset. I have always dreamed of living in London, rain included, for as long as I can remember and my first few days here have far surpassed my expectations.
Saying goodbye to New York has never gotten easier, but I like to think I outdid myself this time- using my last day in the city to play tour guide to a friend that had never been and ending with dinner at Kafana, a whimsical Serbian restaurant in Alphabet City.
For the past few years, I’ve thought of my summers as a period of meditation-- of uninterrupted reflection, as I usually spend them working in New York, away from my friends who are scattered all over the globe. This summer was no exception and has been one of my most productive yet.
When asking around for recommendations in Helsinki, the overwhelming consensus on the city seems to be that it’s “small.”
It is difficult to describe Vilnius, since the city is somewhat, for lack of a better word, shy. Think f it as that one friend who is almost unnervingly quiet, but becomes the life of the party once you get them out of their shell.
As I planned my post-Belgrade travels I tried to maintain the mindset that sometimes you really do need to do the dumb thing even if it doesn’t really make sense, which is exactly how I found myself riding in a hot air balloon over Vilnius, Lithuania with four spaniards
While Dubrovnik’s main distinguishing feature may simply be its appearance, its other aspects are not to be discounted. There are hints of that particular Balkan charm all over the city and it’s a lovely alternative to more expensive and crowded locations along the water such as the Cinque Terre or the French Riviera. It’s easy to get to, easy to get around, and just plain simple which is somewhat rare nowadays. And since simplicity allows relaxation Dubrovnik might just be the best place for your next vacation.
Six months ago I had an almost negligible sense of direction, but over the course of my time in Serbia I was able to cultivate a set of (honestly, quite vague) goals that drove me to make decisions that have solidified the future of my 2017 in the best way possible: for the first time in years, I have a concrete answer to the "what's next" and "where will you be" questions that every college student is constantly bombarded with.
At the moment, the answers are "travel" and "around" respectively, as I type this from a hotel bar in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina- I couldn't leave the Balkans without coming back one last time.
As we sat in the living room surrounded by six young Serbian men and our friend's mother, grandmother, and younger siblings, I expected to feel like an intruder, but the feeling never surfaced. Instead, I watched a family in their natural habitat: siblings goading one another, with a mother hovering in the background; a grandmother immersed in a game of tic tac toe with the youngest brother.
While I may leave many laughs, late nights, and memories in Belgrade, I’ve gained the same and more from this enigma of a city
I nearly cried when we arrived in the city. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I owe the past half year of my life to what I gained in Sarajevo: drive. My approach to my academics and future career plans has been influenced significantly by my study abroad experience in the Balkans and I returned to the US with a newfound sense of purpose and confidence.
“No city makes you feel more like a New Yorker than Belgrade.”