How To Experience That ‘’Dream City’’— In Your Hometown
Sitting on my new sofa, sipping away at some supermarket wine, I started the first episode of Friends for the third time in my adolescent life. Even though my upcoming graduation year probably wouldn’t agree with this. As I watch New York City shine through in images of coffee, couches and Knicks games, I believed that this indeed is new york. Not the buildings, subways and landmarks. So is the real NYC summarized in drinking a cup of coffee in a vintage coffee corner, ordering pizza and going back to an large apartment at the end of the day? Because even if it isn’t, it will forever be the New York I will envision.
When I was an eighteen year old interior student I had a plan to intern in London. I of course was the only one of the abroad students that did not realize you had to plan everything 6 months in advance for it to be approved. So when I was twenty-two I tried again. Same internship, different school. How they still wanted me will forever be a mystery to me. But my school did not approve the travel, again. Not my fault I just have to add. Or at least that is what I am sticking to. What I’m trying to say is. I really want to go. On adventure! or something.
Being twenty-three now and going to a back-up internship semi close to home, I bought an apartment together with my boyfriend and moved out of my parents’ home. Slightly overdue. I’ve lived in the same town my whole life, and the mortgage on this house means this will probably be a long term thing. And aside from the absolute joy it is to own a place is this economy, this does put a pin in spontaneously fleeing.
While painting my dream life, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to my past dreams. Will they vanish while I’m busy living, will I hold on to them for dear life hoping that someday there will be a loophole I can climb through. Do I actually plan them whilst risking everything I’m building here.
I sat evasively in my apartment watching more episodes while I realized that in the hundred twenty hours of friends ahead of me there where approximately two hours of footage where they actually go out on the streets of the city. They stay in their apartments, and it dawned on me that for the first time in my life I am currently doing that too. And i admit, not the apartment I envisioned in an exciting city, but an apartment at that. Once moved I can see that we have the same basis. Just different surroundings. They are different versions of life with the same place to come home to.
My town is one of those filled with baby boomers that stayed here to start their own family. We are now a couple generations further and mine has decided to massively move away. It’s not odd that most of the buildings and stores have not changed since 1970 or even further before. This however if you pay attention, which I had not done before I moved, makes for beautiful rustic views. Even going to the doctor’s office started to look like bike riding through Paris for me. My boyfriend was working sixty hours a week I was left at home like a sixties housewife, with homework. I called my only friend that still lived here, drank coffee at a small vintage restaurant, played old board games and watched telenovelas. Ignoring the piles of laundry.
I enjoyed the freedom this had giving me. I walked with my vintage shopping bags to the centre and bought new somethings for our apartment, went to bed at 1 and even did yoga in the living room on a Sunday morning. My boyfriend didn’t care what I did. Or I did not care what he thought, same thing. Anyway he gladly joined me for the most things. And yes even the 8 am yoga.
After months, or if I’m honest weeks, I was at the final season of Friends. It took me surprisingly long to realize I was at the last few episodes. It had become part of my routine to watch it. But I had come to episode just before The Last One; the one where Rachel opens the door and sights: ‘’I got off the plane’’. She stayed, for love. She refused a job in the city of her dreams because she realized she already had everything she was looking for. Sometimes you have to almost go to realize you need to stay. And so I realized, I did indeed, had everything I was looking for.