A Letter Home: Elizabeth Davidson

By Elizabeth Davidson

Dear Mom and Dad

People_ElizabethDavidsonI took an elbow to the face on the subway this morning.  I’m fine, but the Downtown 1 train was so crowded I could barely breathe. When the train pulled in to my stop, I felt like a football player dodging bodies as I maneuvered to the safety of the platform.

I was in a rush when I left my apartment this morning, so I grabbed coffee at a corner store on my way to a meeting. In about two minutes, I spilled it down the front of my white shirt when I jumped out of the path of a stroller.  I wouldn’t have been able to finish it anyway because, near the taxi line at Madison Square Garden, the smell of urine made me nauseated. Living in New York City is a love/hate relationship; and this morning, I didn’t love it.

Now, don’t worry about me (I know you secretly always do).  Most days, I love this city, and I can’t imagine spending my 20s anywhere else.  Did you know that for $1 per pound, I can have my laundry washed/folded and delivered to my apartment? You know I live on the fifth floor of a walk-up (no elevator), so you can imagine how amazing it is to have clean, folded laundry delivered to my door. The time I’m not spending doing laundry is time that can be spent taking cooking classes at a culinary school, riding my bike in Central Park or watching one-woman theater in a 19th century converted church. It’s time I can spend volunteering for the Red Cross or teaching SAT prep classes at a low-performing school downtown. Every minute I spend pressed against strangers in crowded subways is worth it because I live in a city whose energy makes me believe that anything is possible — that anything I imagine can happen.

In my three years in the city, I’ve met the most intriguing people. My friends are teachers, school psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, pro-bono coordinators, education researchers, and travel editors. Together, we’ve laughed at missteps and triumphs, cried through heartbreak and loss, celebrated engagements and holidays, and most importantly, worked to shape our world the way we imagine.

Now don’t get me wrong, I miss home. I miss curling up on the couch in my pajamas watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Christmas and strolling along the Riverwalk. I miss blowing out birthday candles surrounded by our entire family and driving down country roads flanked with thick woods lit only by moonlight. Mom, remember when you’d drag me to antique stores for hours? I even miss that.

As much as I miss home, I know I’m where I belong. Every time this city chews me up and spits me out, I return tougher and more committed to my goals. You know that song that says, “If you can make it here [NYC], you can make it anywhere”? Well, it’s true. After my time here, I believe that I can overcome any obstacle this world throws my way.  The values you instilled in me prepared me to be successful here, but the energy in this city inspires me to effect change.

Anxiously awaiting your next visit. Love, Elizabeth