Alright, so I’m not actually from Kansas, but southern Illinois is close enough, right? They’re basically one in the same in the minds of many of the New Yorkers I’ve met since moving up here about ten months ago. I have to say, nothing in middle America quite prepares you for the culture shock that is NYC. Coming from a background where everyone speaks English as their primary (and often only) language and 97% of people are white, to a place where practically every country in the world is represented in one neighborhood or another, where many people don’t speak good English–if any at all–and where whites are the minority is quite a…shocking transition. One that, 10 months later, I’m still not quite used to.
You never really know yourself until you’re in a situation outside of your comfort zone. I’ve realized three important things since moving here: 1) I’m not quite as comfortable with racial differences as I thought I was. It’s easy to profess how liberal and color-blind I am in Illinois, where everyone who isn’t white is at least “white-washed,” but being faced with cultures other than my own made me realize that I’m really not as open-minded as I’d like to be. It’s something I need to work on. 2) NYC is amazing, but in the end, it’s just a city. It can never make up for not having my family nearby. Which is why, after dreaming about living in NYC for the past decade and wanting nothing more than to leave “boring old IL,” I’ll be heading back to the good ol’ Prarie State after graduation. 3) NYers are incapable of having fun without the City to entertain them. When I mentioned to my coworkers here that my friends and I would often just hang out and watch a movie/gossip/just chill for fun, they looked at me like I was insane. I mean, how could I possibly have fun without alcohol or going out all night? Oh, and apparently I’m also a prude by NYC standards 😀