A few months ago I read a 2013 article by Sarah Lyall called ‘Lessons From Living in London.’ At the time, I had just found out that I would be moving to London in the fall and knew very little about what to expect. Travel tips aside, what struck me about this piece was its opening, which asks: “How do you make a new city your own? How do you turn it from a place you know as a tourist into a place you call home? How do you transform yourself from traveler to resident?”
These questions are ones I have grappled with for a long time. As someone who, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t have a permanent address, it is sometimes difficult to feel at home in the places I live. Lyall’s story resonates with me closely given my New York roots, but what excited me more was her understanding of the difference between a visitor’s experience of a place and a resident’s. In her words, visitor’s London is “an intoxicating fairy tale of quirky architecture, treasure-filled museums, theater for every mood, exoctic accents, stately parks, humourous food,” and more. Whereas resident’s London is much more mundane.
However, her comparisons of London to visitor’s v. resident’s New York are promising as New York loses its shine for most visitor after a few days and residents are typically packed in so tight you’d think the city would burst at the seams.
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.
The next morning I woke up for an early flight to Denver, which always serves to settle my mind.
I followed this with a quick stop in Indiana that, in the company of my closest friend, was the first time in months I could truly let my guard down.
Throughout this trip, I didn’t think much of my upcoming move to the UK and was instead at home and comfortable with the people I was with. But now, as I countdown the moments until my flight departs, I can’t help but wonder how long it will take for my new city to feel like home.