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A homecoming of sorts

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IT’S THE SMALL THINGS

By ALEX M. EDUQUE

Alex EduqueI write this as I am 30,000 feet in the air, not quite sure exactly which ocean or country we are flying over at this very moment. But if there is one thing I am certain of, it is that it has been almost a year since I was last back in my second home – I am headed to the big apple. This is perhaps the longest I have been away since I graduated in 2013, and that can be attributed to the crazy busy year that has been 2018, and the two other life-changing trips that I have taken this year. I was certain though I would not let the year end without making a trip to what was once my home – for a good, or should I say, most transformative four years of my life.

A trip back is always nostalgic, and can somewhat be likened to a walk down memory lane. As I walk through my old stomping grounds, the same feelings come about and envelope my very being – unexplainable, yet extremely relatable to those who have a certain special affinity with a specific place that is strongly responsible for a sense of identity, or the person that one has become. The same corners – which may seem mundane to most – speak to me. Those same cross streets that once absorbed my every bit of stress and frustrations; those same blocks that saw me hurriedly rushing down on busy mornings, and those very shops I have often used as landmarks that have seen some of my most victorious and joyous moments. Indeed, being back for a break is always enjoyable and welcome, but as ironic as it may seem, in what is inarguably one of the busiest, and most toxic of cities, lies my happy place.

Because that is me – I thrive in the hustle and bustle of things. I am most productive when a million and one things are happening simultaneously because it is when my focus is at its best. I am happiest in the midst of very familiar surroundings, getting lost in the very essence of things – in being present and making the most out of every New York minute. I live to wake up to days where agendas are somewhat flexible, but filled with tasks like walking down avenues aimlessly, or an appointment for coffee with a friend at a favorite neighborhood café. It is always great seeing how so many of us have grown, and how areas of familiar territory have changed, but how so much more has stayed the same. It is, after all, just the very idea of being in New York city that is captivating and soulful. It is a city that although is admittedly not for everyone, has something that caters to all.

And that is in fact the very essence of being in New York. The constant noise, the non-stop sirens and the honking of horns all day and all night long. The bright lights, the hard concrete and dusty streets. The crowded intersections, the eccentricity and the snootiness of the residents. It is the city that never sleeps for a specific reason. The rushed pace – stressful to most, the definition of efficiency for me – the constant monologues of pedestrians with their phones, and the beauty of people minding their own business at the height of it all. It is true. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere else in the world. It is a place that turns out to be what you make of it – with a little bit of luck and serendipity sprinkled here and there along the way.

It is a city that will forever be a part of me. On days that turn out to be tougher than others, I think back to what I would have done in New York, and automatically, I get a rush of a sudden urgency to find a solution. Those precious four years, though some of my hardest, taught me to never waste time, and that while I am blessed with a bunch of people always willing and wanting to lend a hand, that at the end of the day, it is all up to me. And while I am the type to leave a bit to fate and faith, I believe that you still are the captain of your own ship – you stir it in the way that you choose, and inevitably, a lot of your destiny is determined by your decisions, and your own doing.

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