What It's Really Like To Move Away- Part 1 (New York)

When I was 18 I moved to New York alone to go to NYU. I distinctly remember the feeling of sitting at a deli with my dad after a day of moving in and furnishing my dorm room, getting up to say goodbye before his flight back to Montreal, and getting this incredible sinking feeling in my stomach: what did I just do? I barely knew anyone in New York. Most of my friends were still in Montreal or not far away and most of my family was still home. Somehow I decided to leave everything I knew to live in a place alone, entirely on my own accord. Did I just make a big mistake?

Let's back up a bit. When I was 14 my brother moved to London to attend LSE. We would go visit him a few times a year and he would come home for summers. Every time he left to go back, I'd get this feeling like "wow, he's experiencing something so different and so magical- living abroad, meeting new friends, experiencing a new culture." I felt jealous and I knew I had to do the same. When the time came to apply to university, I applied to 50 (no joke) all around the world. Eventually, it came down to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, USC, and NYU. I visited Scotland and immediately decided it wasn't for me: it rained the entire time, I couldn't understand a word the teacher was speaking as his accent was so thick it no longer resembled English and the food was...not for me. I loved the idea of USC but it seemed too far for me. While New York is an hour flight from Montreal, Los Angeles is a 5-6 hour flight. So NYU it was.

The night my dad left New York after helping me settle into my dorm, I felt an incredible mix of emotions. On the one hand, I was living a life I saw my brother live: moving somewhere new alone. On the other hand, I hadn't really thought through what it would be like to live somewhere new alone at 18. I kind of just did it. Fast forward a few months, I really got into it. While I spent the majority of my weeks studying like crazy, my friends, boyfriend at the time, and parents would visit frequently. Plus, to go home was just a short one hour flight away. I was okay. I was happy.  There were still times I felt a bit lonely, and so in my third year I decided to get a dog, and in came Luca. By the end of my time in New York, I truly felt like a younger Carrie Bradshaw, living my best early 20s life in NYC. I loved the city and my time there but I did feel a sense of relief knowing that it was limited and I'd be returning home soon.

When I moved back, I got an upper duplex apartment that was amazing in my favorite part of Montreal. I was back with my friends, family, and my normal Montreal routine. And a few months later I met Ray. One day we were standing in Starbucks waiting for our drinks when he said he couldn't wait to move away one day. Uh oh...When I moved back from New York, I really thought it was for good (or at least a while). Should we just end our fling right there? After all, it had only been a few weeks. He definitely wasn't thinking long-term and moving away with me. But I was definitely thinking do I want to get serious with someone who wants to move away. He had never moved away but I just had.

We continued to date and didn't talk about it again. By the end of my first year in law school, and the end of my first year back in Montreal, I was kind of over it again. While I cherished the things I had missed (like regular girls nights and family dinners), I couldn't really ignore the things I didn't like about living in the city. I had recently experienced three years of incredible growth: the excitement of living in a new city, independence of learning to live alone, new routines, new restaurants, a new way of living. Montreal just didn't provide that. Moreover, it didn't help that I hated law school and desperately wanted to escape that environment. That May, Ray and I took a trip to LA. We stayed at the Four Seasons on Doheny and would spend our afternoons wandering the streets of Beverly Hills (the residential parts, not even the shops). We would talk about what we wanted our life to look like and how much we loved this city. I remember saying we should come back for longer next time.

Somehow over the years, the idea of coming back for a week turned into finding a way to move here full-time. People always ask who wanted to move here and the truth is we both did, at the exact same time. And so, we made it happen. After four years of dating, on March 31, 2014, we moved to LA.

To be continued in Part 2. 

Jacket: Forever 21, Jeans: Rag & Bone, Boots: Marc Fisher, Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

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