In the morning I got to visit and tour around the Yankee Stadium – Something which I had to keep restraining myself from squealing over. I never thought I’d become a huge sports fan. I was raised with football in the house (living with die-hard Liverpool F.C. supporters) and in a country where rugby is everything. And while I have total respect for both games, I never really followed and enjoyed it enough to call myself a big fan.
But baseball? Oh boy.
The Kia Tigers are my local team in Korea and the Yankees are my main team in America. I was in baseball heaven.
Afterwards, I was treated to lunch at the famous Serendipity 3 restaurant on the Upper East Side. Around the holidays, the wait to get in to that place can be anything from 2-4 hours. Luckily, this time, we only had to hang around for 40 minutes and it was definitely worth it.
Witnessing the difference in attitudes between residents of The Bronx (home of the stadium) and the UES, however, was a hell of a cultural lesson.
Watching the way the customers at Serendipity interacted with the staff and each other was like watching a film and I couldn’t quite believe that people like this actually exist. I always assumed that films were full of caricatures but the fact that they’re closer to reality than we think is a little startling.
The Bronx had a grounded, almost at-home feeling about it in that the people reminded me of Port Talbot – full of good humour, a little fire, and, most of all, a sense of normality. The Upper East Side was full of WASPS carrying around their Little, Medium or Big Brown Bags, swaddled in furs and diamonds, having the most mundane conversations imaginable.
It’s an interesting look at two very different worlds that’re so close to each other. But I guess the same could be said for a lot of cities.
Turning 28 has been a big thing for me and I’m glad I got to do it here. Even the sound of the number “twenty eight” sounds funny. It sounds like coming close to the end of something. It sounds older and more mature. It sounds like careers, mortgages, marriages and children. It sounds like a pension plan.
It doesn’t sound like free drinks, lines of shots, a fumble in the toilets with a stranger, and a crippling hangover.
But guess which one my life’s closer to?
Saying that, I don’t really have any worries about the direction I’m heading. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made so far and have complete faith in myself to keep making the most out of everything.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I’m working to give myself. I’m grateful for the fact that I get to live abroad. I’m grateful for the fact that I get to do a job I love. I’m grateful for the fact that I can travel during my vacation time. I’m grateful for the fact that I have two of the most supporting people in the world as my parents and that they raised me to be incredibly independent and headstrong. I’m grateful for the fact that I have friends and family who care about me and let me love them.
I want 28 to be a turning point. 27 was sad. Really sad. So I’d like to think that 28 could be the fast climb upwards.
I thought I lost a sense of myself when I moved to Korea but coming to America has shown me that I’m still here. Insecurities disappeared and my confidence rose as soon as the jet lag wore off. I felt like me again. Rejuvenated.
I don’t want to blame Korea for making me feel crappy but I can acknowledge now that it’s not a long-term place for me. And that’s okay. You can’t love everything.
So here’s to a positive start to a new year. If things get bumpy along the way in the next 12 months, I want this post to be a reminder to myself of how much I have to be grateful for and that I’m still alive. Things are getting better all the time.