So, i’ve been in the US for 7 days now – i’m living in friends house in a town called Stamford, travelling to Greenwich to drop my partner at work everyday and generally spending most of my time pottering around in suburbia, drinking a lot of coffee. For a few days now I’ve been pondering about what my next post should be; the day I visited New York City and the heavens opened, the weekend I spent with family in Rochester, MA or the trip to the local supermarket to pick up the groceries, something I was super excited about as I was convinced it would be a completely different experience to shopping at home.
Now, I’m sure many writers would find oodles to share about their experiences, thoughts, feelings, similarities, differences, to name a few; the truth is, in my experience, living as a semi local over the last week or so, life here just isn’t that different.
The last time I visited the US was 16 years ago. My dad and I went to New York City for 4 days and we packed more into that trip than I actually believe is humanly possible; we saw every major site, the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Harlem, helicoptered around the Statue of Liberty, went to Ellis Island, saw Miss Saigon on Broadway, went to Times Square, saw the Flat Iron Building, went to the Guggenheim, saw a film being shot in Central Park and last but by no means least, we stood on the top of the World Trade Center. A privilege I will never forget. It was the trip of a lifetime.
I guess I thought when I came back here I would get the same thrills that I did back then; the buzz of the Big City, the excitement that comes from travelling with a dad who wanted me to see as much of the world as he could possibly show me and well, just being a kid. Don’t get me wrong, my trip here has been wonderful so far and I’m sure it will continue to be so as I have many more trips into the City planned, as well as a couple more drives into the country to get under my belt, but this time my trip just feels fairly normal. So much so, I think if I lived here my life really wouldn’t change very much at all. I guess being on the East Coast may make a difference; I am completely aware of scale and diversity across the US, but to get on an aeroplane for 8 hours and feel that way, in my view, is quite remarkable.
There are many things I believe have contributed to me feeling this way: there is no doubt I am a different person now. I’m an adult for a start and I’ve now lived in our own Big City for the last 10 years, so I know what it is like to eat, sleep and breathe the city life. Secondly, advances in technology over the last 15 years make staying connected and getting work as a freelancer just the same as it is at home. Granted, there would be a few tax stepping stones to consider, but my point is, the working culture is the same. There are the obvious things like healthcare and driving on the other side of the road, amongst many other things I’m sure, but ultimately, it really isn’t that different.
Maybe because I’ve lived in a city as diverse as London for so long, I feel somewhat immune to cultural differences, but this trip is making me realise, our friends over the pond might seem a world away but they really aren’t so far from us after all.