Today is my last day of "official" summer vacation as a student. Ever.
Today was my last day of freedom, the last day of this wonderful summer that has helped me learn how to love the amazing city I've lived in for the last 3 years. I started the day with brunch at a fantastic Moroccan restaurant in St Mark's Place with friends, followed by shopping, a flash-mob in Union Square, more shopping, Sarah's Key at the Paris movie theater, and Mexican food in Turtle Bay. It was the perfect New York day; beautiful weather, great friends, good eats, lots of laughter and culture. I'm already wishing I could go back and relive this day, and it's not even completely over yet.
As I departed from my friends after dinner, I took some time to walk around the city alone before heading home. I thought about how the many ways this summer has changed me; for the first time ever, I can actually see myself spending a little more time here after I'm done with school. I have finally found a circle of friends that give me the love, support, and social life I've been craving the last 3 years. I've been dating and meeting new people and seeing all kinds of amazing sites. I've learned how to appreciate the beauty all around me in this city--the architecture, the lights, the diversity, the culture, the energy. Now that I'm preparing myself to leave, I've fallen in love with the life I've built for myself in the city I was always excited to move away from.
I know I still have 10 months to enjoy and experience NYC, which I plan to do to the fullest. However, I can't help but feel a little sad that this amazing 3 months has not only passed by so quickly, but has come to an end. Tomorrow, as I hop on the bus for my 4th and final HUC Kallah, my carefree days of exploring will be over and real life will begin once again.
More than anything, however, I'm feeling so thankful for the last 3 months and the friends I've shared them with. It feels really, really good to have found my peace with New York City and come to realize how and why so many people love it here. Could I ever stay here permanently? I doubt it. I'm happy to know, though, that I'll always look back on my time here and smile--mostly because of this amazing summer. This summer has been an incredible blessing, and I pray the good energy carries over into this (big) school year.