LOS ANGELES - ROUTE 66 - NEW YORK CITY

I think, I am finally ready. Ready to share my feelings, first impression, new life’s page in new home, first time using English language without any help. Considering, that English is my 4th language, give me some credits, no editors involved. 

 The hardest part of packing was taking care of my shoes. 

The hardest part of packing was taking care of my shoes. 

After 3 years in city of Angels, I finally dared to move to New York City, that has always been my secret love. Couple of month spend on packing, selling, shipping, loading, my car, two friends and I were ready for a cross country road trip on famous Route 66. There were 3 dreams  about to come true: Route 66, move to NYC and Christmas in New York. 

Was that a good idea to move to East Coast starting in December 19th? Most of you will think it was not, but I am absolutely happy by that spontaneous decision, made in September. 

First stop on our way to Big Apple was in little town named Tempe in Arizona, right by Phoenix. 

We had the most cozy and tasty breakfast at my friends Maya and Imran’s home.  This is where I found out, that I caught cold and will be drinking a ginger tea all the way to New York. 

Sorry for the finger in the corner, we've noticed only when it was too late. Tempe, Arizona.

After a little but not tearless farewell and we hit the road towards Albuquerque, New Mexico. Excited to see the city of Braking Bad and hoping to recognize at least one spot from movie we drove for 7 hours non-stop. Honestly, can’t say that I got anything of what was expected. Unless… there were a moment, when my friends stoped to by some coffee on the plaza, and I stepped out of the car to stretch my legs. One weird looking guy, he definitely could be in Breaking Bad’s episode, headed toward me saying something in Spanish. The only thing I could hear from his muffled speech was “Mamasita? Here is the thing, I grew up in Russia, can’t call myself a shy or fearful type, but little voice inside me told me to jump back in the car and lock the doors. Maybe that was my pink hoodie with bunny on the chest and white polka dots, not the most dangerous look I gotta admit. Anyways, after buying the borsh (Russian cabbage and beat soup) in takeout restaurant we sit in MCDonalds to eat and continued our path towards winter. On the way we were hoping to by some magnets for my collection, but after 5-7 stores we gave up and choose some lousy one in CVS and moved on. Albuquerque? Meh.

Don't mind our crazy faces, we are tired and hungry. That famous Russian soup in McDonalds. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Driving all night we found  ourselves somewhere in Oklahoma. Farms, farms, and there were also hmm farms? Gotta be very beautiful in summer, in winter not too exciting. We did make a little stop in Tulsa though.  Can’t help but quote Friends. Chandler: Y'know how people say that Tulsa is the Paris of Oklahoma? Monica: What? Who says that? Chandler: People who've never been to Paris.

Paris of Oklahoma.

Few country style towns later we found ourselves in Missouri. It is pretty big state, it took us a while to cross it, we had planned to stop in Saint Louis. Why? I heard that city’s name in Sex and the City. Very beautiful St. Louis. felt like Europe. Brick buildings, coffewhops with marquise awing and working fireplaces all city looked so friendly and welcoming. Christmas decorations and illumination gave it such a cozy and magical atmosphere. 

Kiener Plaza. Downtown St.Louis, Missouri. 

Winter wonderland at Tilles Park. St.Louis, Missouri. 

Chicago, Illinois. This is where we first figured, that Los Angeles is not that bad with parking. Loved the gangster vibe of it. For unknown reason, Chicago felt like the city of some Irish or Italian mafia, with cigars and whiskey. We went to Willis tower sky deck to capture an amazing city view. I gotta tell you this. I have no idea how people standing on glass floor of very tall building can feel so comfortable to do postures for fun photos? I stepped there, and looked down, that was it, I froze and I guess with very idiotic face decided not to move. The photographer asked me to step back, should I say, that I almost yelled at her saying: I am good here! Please take that pic quick! The whole line was laughing. Then I decided, ok, its not that scary, I can sit. That I did, after few shots on my phone kindly taken by friend, I crawled the heck out there. And, yes, I did skydive, this is different, I didn’t have parachute in my backpack here.

Go crazy, or go home!

Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois. 

Let’s move on. After Chicago we had a chance to have a dinner in Indianapolis, Indiana. Everyone was warning me to have winter tires, because of snow, I am glad I didn’t spend $500. There was no snow. At all. Anywhere. 

Quick stop in Columbus, Ohio. We drove all the way through downtown in the night. It was empty, quite, peaceful and beautiful. Although couldn’t find any magnets anywhere. And we’ve noticed, the farer from Los Angeles we got, the less people understood our speech. Like you get in Starbucks and say: “ Tall, black coffee please”. And there, we had to repeat 5 times until they got it. What was that I don’t know, I am pretty sure my accent is not THAT bad. 

Downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Another city that stayed in my heart is Pittsburg. As well had European vibe to it. We did have a little accident on the way to overview point with tires, but after quick fix in tire shop, where guys even refused to take any money, we came back to the spot from which the most mesmerizing view of Pittsburg opens to its visitors. Cozy city of lovely old bridges and stunning coffee. Definitely will be back! 

It did happen to us. Pittsburg, Pensilvania.

Pittsburg, Pensilvania.

Pittsburg, Pensilvania.

Almost there. After meeting the sun in Pittsburg, we continued on to Philadelphia, PA. Who doesn’t know Philly? Lots of museums, parks, squares and of course, Rocky’s statue. We did all the tourist stuff. took pictures, ran on the steps like Rocky, ok, not like Rocky, much, much slower, but who cares? It was first time I saw a Christmas Fair. For some reasons it has “awwww” effect on me. I was touched and excited, even bought some Christmas gifts for friends. 

Philadelphia, Pensilvania. 

Christmas Fair Philadelphia, Pensilvania. 

That was the last stop before the Big Apple. The closer to New York we got, the less real the whole thing felt. I tried not to freak out. But, hey, I don’t have home yet, I don’t know if I am gonna still love it or regret my decision after few months. Scared, yet inspired we entered the New York City. There it was, powerful, enchanted and cold. The best place to be on Christmas Eve ever. We found ourselves charmed by its energy, movements, decorations, lights… It looks like the Christmas Capital, like this is the place where the holiday was born. On December 25th we witnessed a romantic proposal at a Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Thousands of tourists came to NYC to be part of it at the main holidays of the year. 

Christmas was over, and my friends took a plane back to LA. I stayed, and realized, now its not a vacation anymore. It is my new home. I am blessed, that I found my peace within, so I don’t feel lonely all by myself. It was first time, I had this feeling in my guts, telling me this is going to be 180 degree spin in my entire life. 

Central Park, New York City

Central Park, New York City

Central Park, New York City

Here I am, a month and a half later, sitting in my apartment, finally all unpacked and settled, came from morning run in Central Park. Do I regret, that I left hot and sunny Los Angeles? Not for a single second. I followed my heart, and it brought me here. This is one of the most exciting decisions, I’ve ever made. 

 

 

Arzu Huseynova