Six years ago today, on a sunny, beautiful day, I stepped off a plane in JFK after a whirlwind of adventures, ready to start a new life in a new world. I was moving to New York. That evening, after getting to what would become my home, I took the subway and got to see Central Park for the first time. I sat on a bench looking at the skyline, feeling tired, happy, excited, and grateful.
A lot has happened since then: love and heartbreak, successes and failures, travels and adventures, and so many amazing people along the way.
I got to walk on the Christmas lit streets of NY and see the tree light up at Rockefeller, I got to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving and coming together with a family that wasn’t mine, but somehow became mine, I got to smell the food trucks in NY, walk across Brooklyn Bridge, stand in awe at World Trade Center, walk through the summer markets on Madison Ave, see snowdrops in Central Park, experience the fairytale that NY turns into whenever it snows and feel the snow squeak under my feet, while walking all bundled up in this fairytale city, discover the little Indian place in East Village that I used to love so much.
I got to visit most of this country, then set off for Los Angeles to create another home, to dip my toes in another ocean, walk on another beach, be surrounded by purple trees once a year, have palm trees in my back yard and sunshine every day, yet somehow miss winter (that came as a surprise considering how much I don’t like being cold), discover a new favorite Indian restaurant, drive on Route 66 and other amazing roads along the ocean and inside canyons, get a tan, get a new understanding of LA traffic (yikes!), hike around the Hollywood sign, go to film parties and premieres, see concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.
I flew in a helicopter and took a glider ride, I raced carts, I shot a gun, learned to ski a double diamond, hiked the Grand Canyon, and saw the Great Western Divide, I took a boat under the Niagara Falls and wondered at the beauty of Watkins Glen, I walked through the Antelope Canyon in Arizona and ran through the Coral Sand Dunes of Utah. I won $436 (beginner’s luck) at the slot machines in Vegas, saw whales breach, swam with turtles and dolphins, got lost at sea on a paddle board. There were sunrises and sunsets, storms and blue skies, rainbows and clouds.
For those who know me personally, you know I never miss an opportunity to celebrate something. Birthdays, anniversaries, any reason to celebrate is a good reason for me. What’s my point in celebrating all of this? It’s about being grateful, about recognizing myself and the people around me for everything we’ve been through together, as well as setting intentions for the future.
Not everything that has happened in the past six years has been a walk in the park, there have been times of sadness, times of sorrow, times of despair, but looking back, I can’t help but feel gratitude for everything. Are there things I would do differently now? Without a doubt! But I’m not focusing on that. At the end of the day, I had the courage to make the best decisions for myself in every moment.
I got to love and be loved, meet people who have changed my life, change other people’s life, I became an aunt to two amazing nephews, became a member of a number of families that weren’t mine, I got sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, grandparents.
For all of you who have been part of my journey so far, either in passing or for the long run, I thank you for the lessons, the love, the care, the laughters, the tears of joy, and tears of sadness. Whether you’re near or far, whether you’re still part of my life or not, I’m grateful for you.