The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

A Summer In New York

Tanya Calvin

I’m sure we all miss summer now that our first essays and tests are coming up and Mother Nature has harshly decided that it’s time for winter. Many of us got to travel and hang out with our families, while others worked at cool jobs, made money and had fun at the same time. Thinking about my summer still makes me nervous. It was incredible and completely unnerving at the same time. I watched myself grow into an (dare I say!) adult. I never thought my mom would buy me a one-way plane ticket to New York City so I could live with my older sister in Harlem for two and a half months. I had never been away from my parents for more than two weeks, let alone without any of my friends (seriously, people have told me I must have rigged my last Project Week to have most of my friends on it. Disclaimer: I didn’t do it, but if anyone knows how, please let me know).

        Getting on that plane was surreal. The nice Delta flight attendants smiled and asked if I needed help since I was traveling alone, and I wondered if I really did still look that young, and then I started to think about the fact that I’m only seventeen and what am I thinking going to New York without my mom and-

        My mom called.

        “Mija, are you okay?”

        “Yeah, I just can’t believe this is happening.”

        I could hear her smile through the phone.

        “You’ll do great. Even if you’re not ready, something amazing is going to happen.”

        And that was it. That was all I needed to hear before I boarded that flight and underwent the greatest change of my life (so far).

        I’m not saying everything went exactly as planned. It actually kind of went horribly wrong. I spent all my time working and not writing, I was always tired and homesick and couldn’t see my sister because she worked too. I made a lot of money, which was nice, but everything’s way too expensive in New York for $350 a week. The Domino’s delivery guy was my only friend on the weekdays, and on weekends I would hang out with my sister’s roommate who felt bad seeing me alone. Armed with these two, and my incredible coworkers, I worked those forty-hour weeks and sacrificed nice toilet paper for milk so I wouldn’t have to eat dry cereal for breakfast.

        Shockingly, I was okay. There were a few moments when I felt overwhelmingly grateful for what was happening to me. My dad says our lives are made of moments, not days, and if I would just take a few breaths in the midst of the chaos to acknowledge my presence and all of the amazing things I was experiencing, I could cry at their beauty (sometimes, I actually would).

        Besides my insane moods and intense work hours, I met incredible people and learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I’m not magically ready for all the real world has to offer me, but I am strong, thoughtful, and passionate, and with these newly discovered qualities, and an imagination that’s always a hundred steps ahead of me, I’m ready to take it on, one step at a time.


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    gmillerSep 16, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Nobody should ever have to decided between quality toilet paper and milk. Nobody.

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A Summer In New York