Forgive me! I was on a hiatus in New York for the past two months, living in a studio apartment with my family, walking on eggshells during the times my toddler and infant chose to sleep, and learning how to NOT be a helicopter mom as my two-year-old learned how to climb to new heights in the park and my littlest one learned how to crawl. Blogging just didn’t happen. But, alas, here I am again!
It’s funny how people and places are portrayed in the media. Whether a place is used as a setting for a movie, a book, or even a news story, I believe it’s difficult not to shape your expectations based off these portrayals, especially when you know nothing different. In the days prior to my family’s departure, I found myself dreading our trip to New York because, having never been there, everything I knew about the city came from the media. The crowds of people who care only about themselves, the crazy gridlock traffic, the dirt and grime and smells that send you scurrying to find fresh air, and the fast-paced life I knew I’d suffocate in. Maybe it’s because big cities scare me or because the Big Apple is just so BIG, but I knew before we went that I would hate it. My family arrived, we settled into our studio apartment (settled being a very loose term), and I assessed the neighborhood to figure out if it was safe to even step out the front door toting two young kids.
What did I find? I found a neighborhood swarming with diversity, young families, and some of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met. When we ventured into Manhattan and rode the subway, individuals gave up their seats for me every. Single. Time. Sure, I was carrying a baby and trying to make sure my toddler didn’t get lost in the sea of bodies, but still, totally not the image I had of the most populated city in the United States. The smiles, the willingness to give us directions to various locations, and the feeling of community in New York astounded me and provided new perspective. It made me think about breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions and prejudices and how important first-hand experiences truly are.