Friday, October 15, 2010
A few days ago (the first week I started my new job) as I was walking down on Broadway to the office in the morning from the subway station in Soho, I realized that have joined the “New Yorker” crowd and routine: taking the subway in the morning and going to the office, 30-60min break for the work day, leaving earlier in the afternoon and taking the subway to classes, getting home late after class... etc.
While I was walking fast and observing the people that I passed by, I thought “wait, am I a ‘New Yorker’ now?” It might sound funny when you hear it, but the point is: have I finally developed a ‘sense of place’ after 27 years of relocating and moving around?
Where do you consider your “home”? Why?
Is it because you were born/grew up there, have many memories, or lived there too long...? What are the elements in the environment you live in, that played/plays an important role in developing your sense of attachment to that ‘place’? Where is a ‘place’?
Living in Denver for the first 9 years of my life, in Iran for the following 15 years, and Denver (again) for 3.5 years after that, has definitely granted me a very complex sense of attachment (aside of all the memories and experiences). I was always confused on how to answer the question “where do you consider home”? Is my home where I was born –Germany, or where I grew up –Denver, or went to school –Iran/Denver, have many friends and family....?
But there are various aspects of NYC that have had a positive impact on the comfort and sense of place I have developed in NYC over the past 6 months; The pace of life yet calm and relaxed environment, the ease of networking and making connections, the educational and professional opportunities, the diversity and mix of cultures.... etc. In general, all the qualities I have been expecting from my desired city to live in. As well as the many details that are in sync with my personality and who I am.
I think a “place” is where it gives me the comfort and motivation to socialize with others in that environment, is where I am eager to walk around for hours and just observe my surrounding, somewhere that enhances my experiences and shapes my memories... The most interesting part is that, all the elements and characteristics of a city/environment are not shaped by themselves over time anymore. They are all programmed and planned, in the smallest details, by a group of people who care and understand the importance of our attachment to a place.
...and that has made all the difference.