New York by Luna Alcorcha

On December 24th of 2017, I awoke to the whistling of Peter Bjorn’s “Young Folks” at four o’clock in the morning with the jitters. I picked up my best friend and her mom (well, more so my father drove the car that picked them up while I was in the backseat) who seemed to be sleepwalking and within five minutes we were at the airport. A “bon voyage” from my mother and a “stay safe” from my father and suddenly I was in the security line twirling. I was finally there for myself. Not to drop anyone off, but to get inside of an airplane and leave California, the only state I knew and loved, for the first in my life. SFO to JFK.

Once I had been settled in the window seat, I was conversing with my friend and her mother about “how could it even be possible that you have never flown in an airplane?” Once the airplane started down the runway I grabbed the hands of my compadres for comfort and then we were in the air. San Francisco became miniscule so quickly and I understood the fear of giants clearly. At most, my everyday life is confined to forty nine square miles and to be traveling two-thousand-nine-hundred miles from that borough was confirmation that it was much easier, than some would suggest, to leave. While I was on that plane, sipping my ginger ale and leveling my breathing with filtered air, I was stunned with realizing people from all over the place want to visit San Francisco because of its glamorized attractions. I, along with many others, don’t always take time to recognize the specialness in living here, but maybe San Francisco’s community is bonded tightly because we are grateful to be here.

One thing never shown in the movies is how far the JFK airport actually is from Manhattan. The subway ride there was fully inclusive of fraud homeless men with pristine white jeans, tourist, and of course, the sweet rats. My friend, her mom, and I arrived at the Brooklyn apartment we were staying at and at midnight we realized that it was still Christmas Eve and that it would not hurt to check out Time Square; Time Square in the movies is not at all close to the buzz and thud of the real life scene. Over the course of the week that we stayed, my BFF and I walked in the evening around Redhook. Now when I remember walking back to the apartment in the twelve degree weather (feels like zero) I realize that people travel for the more simplistic moments. The moments of walking to what can so easily be imagined as “home,” or talking to the subway worker that gives a warm familiar hug, and the most reassuring, being asked for directions in a foreign place.

Luna Alcorcha, class of 2021

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