My apologies for the absence; a rather close family member of mine passed suddenly, and I’ve been helping to pick up the pieces.
I’ve had quite a lot of time to ponder life, death, and meaning, and have felt a recent surge of gratitude for having chosen to return to live in New York City after spending a good chunk of my twenties as an expat in Europe.
Not only has New York been an incredibly efficient and convenient base with which to explore the world (particularly South America, though travel to Southeast Asia have also been extremely easy to book), but it’s also truly the most cosmopolitan metropolis on this planet.
NYC gives me a bit of Marrakech in Harlem, Peruvian chicken and Naruto ramen on the Upper East Side, Korean comfort food in Midtown, Hanoi bun cha gio Downtown, Jamaican Jerk Chicken in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Shanghainese xiao long bao (soupy dumplings) in Flushing, Queens – all on any given day.
NYC gives me the opportunity to embrace my cultural ties to Shanghai, not just through food and family, but an overall sense of Chinese community that pervades New York in a way that is truly unique. San Francisco may have this too, but I imagine it’s slightly different (I still rather enjoy the idea of New York’s Shanghainese cuisine scene outranking that of SF).
And most of all, New York has given me so much of my identity. I’ve always been Chinese-American by heritage and birth, but thriving in this melting pot metropolis has made me a global citizen at my core.