By Iris Hao
Some Baltimoreans say: Baltimore city is like the mini-version of NYC. After staying in Baltimore city for a while, I finally made my way to NYC over Easter break. The overall experience is, amazing!
It was a really special trip to me. Six years ago, when I first arrived in the states, NYC is the first place I stayed for three nights before I headed to FL to meet my host family. I have heard people all over the world talking about this international city and what American dreams mean to them. Of course, I had no idea what American dreams mean to me at that point as a 17-year-old who first traveled abroad by myself. Now, after six years’ growth through high school, college and work, I seem to start to understand the passion people have when they talk about their American dreams. It all start from the moment when your feet touched NYC.
Taking Boltbus from Baltimore to NYC is really convenient and affordable. Plus I got to experience the city views when I got close to the destination. It is interesting when I looked back to Baltimore city as the bus was passing by downtown where I have lived for almost a year. The city is beautiful, especially under the sunrise. I just seldom pay attention to when living here daily.
NYC is a whole new story. Within the four days I was there, I toured Columbia University, Central Park, Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Time Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Manhattan School of Music. I think I tried my best being a wonderful tourist and making good use of every second staying in NYC. Catching up with old friends, visiting different sites and trying out tasty food all made my NYC trip exciting and memorable. Yet another part I really like is just sitting in the subway observing different kinds of people on their way to work, school, or like me, busy with being a tourist. It is the diversity rooted in this city’s every corner attracts me.
If now you ask me to come up with words describing American dream, I think I will choose diversity, freedom, and acceptance. In New York, maybe there is no such words describing nationality, race, social class, or other classifications we tend to use in society. Everyone seems to be the same yet so different at the same time. A New Yorker can also be a tourist, a tourist can become a New Yorker. Then, what role did I play this time? Guess I am an old friend coming back to visit. New York seems to stay the same the past six years while I have changed so much. Glad we can still catch up.
I did miss New York on my way back to Baltimore, miss the diversity, the atmosphere, the fast-speed life, yet I think I miss Baltimore too. No matter how long you have stayed in a city, if you ever considered it as your home, then it became your home. Home can be anywhere our hearts and minds point to.
I have been called a world traveler and my experience being part of ESC program so far granted me more courage to see more parts of this country and the world. I hope I can always carry the diverse mind-set and acceptance no matter where I go, who I interact with.
Always on the road, body or mind.
Where are we going next……