Having grown up in Indonesia and moved to Germany, having lived in France and vagabonded through South America, I’ve always had a hard time saying where Home is to me.
One way I think about Home is that it is where you feel at ease and understood, may that be culturally, in mentality or in language.
In this sense, I feel very much at home here in New York. I have never before been surrounded by so many people who are like me in many ways, and there’s nothing exceptional with being that way.
- Everybody just eats out. Why eat at home when there’s so many interesting things to experience and try outside. Why go home when you can save an hour just going from work straight to that rooftop party.
- Everybody is working on some side project or startup that they are passionate about, generally in some way trying to change things or push things forward. Nobody just does their day job and is content. Actually the whole idea of contentment seems out of place in this city.
- The world goes on at night. Everybody has different rhythms, and the city caters to that. Some restaurants fill up at midnight, and sometimes you have to stand in the subway at 2 AM.
- Everybody moved here from somewhere, be it Wisconsin or Taiwan. Everybody has experienced moving to a new city, often multiple times. Many have lived abroad.
- Everybody has shitloads of friends, but everybody is so busy that even best friends might only meet up a couple of times a year. This doesn’t lead to hard feelings because everyone is having the same problem.
- Being mixed, or having mixed heritage, isn’t noteworthy but the norm. You are around people from everywhere in the world every day. You can speak whatever language proves useful.
So yeah. All this is just absolutely normal here.
Even though “everybody” is surely exaggerated, since I am taking most of this from my experiences with people in the tech startup and freelancing scene as well as ultimate players and couch surfers. But here’s the thing: New York is so big that there are enough people to form a community around almost anything, and with a community comes the feeling of being understood, accepted, and at ease. A feeling of Home.