Okay. It's time for a more positive, upbeat post. I've talked a lot about the hard aspects of city life... but there are some cool parts, too. Here's ten:
1. There is so much good food here. I can go eat any kind of pizza imaginable or authentic Thai, Indian, Mediteranean... just by walking out my door. We live over a great little bagel place that makes huge, fresh, warm bagels every morning in a dozen flavors (for only a dollar!). Fine chocolate, mac and cheese, hummus, more varieties of cupcakes than you could dream of, sushi... it's all right here.
2. You can get nearly anything delivered right to your door. There are over 100 restaurants that deliver to our apartment (and over 300 to where I work). You can get groceries, shampoo, even prescriptions...
3. There are some amazing grocery stores here. We live above Rachel Ray's favorite gourmet grocery in the city, described as "a culinary Mecca for savvy shoppers." You know those items that are a little unusual and Wal-Mart doesn't even carry them? Imagine a store full of that kind of stuff. We also have a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's (our current favorite and the cheapest!), and the famous Zabar's... not to mention some other local gems.
4. I'm finally learning what it means when a building "has character." The architecture here is so beautiful and diverse, from complex skyscrapers to charming brownstones to massive cathedrals.
5. There's so much energy in the city. The buses, the taxis, the birds, the tourists, all the buzzing shops...
6. The fact that our Bed, Bath, & Beyond has a doorman makes me feel like a celebrity every time I shop there. And actually, they do shop there. Or Whoopi Goldberg, at least!
7. Sometimes I forget we live on Broadway. THE Broadway. And that the Metropolitan Opera and Julliard and Times Square are only a few miles away. And on my way to work, I pass the Rockefeller Center and Central Park... and I walk right by the filming of the Today Show. It's crazy how normal that all feels now.
8. There's a Starbucks every 3 blocks (I used to pass 4 just on my way to work). As my friend Kayleigh says, "You can't swing a dead cat without hittin' a Starbucks around here." There are corner delis and coffee stands on the street where you can grab a drink or a snack in 5 seconds. (Sometimes 10 seconds.) Talk about convenient.
9. I still can't get over the idea that I can simply hold up my hand and a cab will take me anywhere I need to go. (When I took one to the airport once, I looked out my window and we were right beside the United Nations!)
10. The coolest thing--and the only one that ultimately matters--is getting to be a part of such an encouraging group of Christians. No one is perfect, and sometimes we probably get on each other's nerves! But every week I get to see so many individuals who have chosen to come worship God, in spite of their culture and family and physical circumstances. They're not just warming a pew because of our expectations; they simply want to learn about God.
Do I still miss the south? Of course. Do I still get frustrated with city life? Yeah. But when I'm tempted to be discontent, it helps me to think about what amazing blessings God has given us. And even if I lived in the middle of nowhere and all ten things disappeared from my cool list... I'd still stand amazed in His presence. If I didn't have good food, it wouldn't matter, because the nearness of God is my good (Ps 73:28). And if I didn't get to see beautiful buildings every day, it wouldn't matter, because someday I will gaze upon the beauty of the Lord (Ps 27:4).
Let's live for Him!