Monday, July 11, 2011

I Heart New York

People always misunderstand when I say I am from my home state. It is as though if you told someone you were from Mexico they would just assume you were from Mexico City without considering the entire country with that name. When I tell people I am moving back to New York, of course they imagine New York City, a place I have much affection for, but have never lived. They would have a hard time imagining the rolling hills and farms of Onondaga County, the mountains of Lake Placid, the still lakes near Old Forge, the picturesque valley of Binghamton, the ferry ride across Lake Champlain, the gorges of Ithaca. For much of my life this has bothered me. I recall especially a time as a teenager attending a summer program in the midwest the difficulty I had explaining to some classmates that my hometown was not a dangerous place. I tried to explain that New York City is to New York State as Chicago is to Illinois, but they just couldn't make the leap. Now, having spent most of the last four years in California, I can understand better how easy it is to misunderstand a place you've never been that is far from home. When people think of California, they think of the stereotypical Barbies and Kens running along the beach and the hippies playing guitar in their tie dyed shirts. They are less likely to think of the myriad farmers in the vast Central Valley, the slow, quiet lives of regular working folk in California's numerous small towns. So, now when I think of home and the things about it I love: the trees, the parks, the wildlife, its quiet beauty, I appreciate also that it is mine to enjoy without millions of tourists vying to take a picture of it.

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