Five years ago at about this time, I was feeling sort of down about New York. I was 25 and living in a converted studio-to-one bedroom-to two-bedroom apartment (read: I was living in a 5×7 living room with a curtain for a door); I had a job that didn’t pay the bills; and moreover that job—which was at a fashion magazine, not, like, the DOJ—was a constant source of dissatisfaction and anxiety. I had studied in Buenos Aires in college, and I’d loved it, and after I graduated I told myself that if things didn’t work out in New York I’d move back to South America. It had been almost three years since graduation at this point, and my credit card had recently been declined in the process of buying a $2 granola bar. I took it as a sign. I bought a one-way plane ticket to Portland and made plans to live there with some family for a few months before decamping to Argentina.
Once I decided to leave New York, my perspective on the city shifted completely. I’ve always been embarrassingly sentimental, and the knowledge that I’d be moving away deeply impacted my approach to even the most mundane everyday activities. I suddenly cherished those life-affirming moments such as waiting for a turkey burger at the bodega at 2 a.m. Every glass of wine with friends was, in my mind, a romantic, sepia-tinged memory-in-the-making. (Keep in mind, this was before Instagram.) I remember walking over the Williamsburg Bridge one day and seeing a sign that said, “Goodbye, Brooklyn!” I almost cried.