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From cornfields to city streets: Broadening my perspectives in NYC

For some, breaks between semesters can be great opportunities for broadening perspectives.
For some, breaks between semesters can be great opportunities for broadening perspectives.

My parents were raised in urban Chile. Upon moving to the U.S. in the ’90s, they wanted nothing more to do with urban life and settled down in “real America” — the suburbs of Cincinnati.

The place I call home.

Growing up, all I’ve ever known was Ohio’s quiet life — something that I slowly began to resent as I grew older and traveled outside of my home state. The monotony of Ohio's tranquility sparked a craving for the dynamic and the unknown.

A cliché that has always stuck with me is that “people always want what they don’t have." This sentiment has echoed in my own journey. While my parents sought solace in the serene suburbs, yearning for a break from the hustle of city life, I found myself drawn to the chaos they left behind. This allure became an irresistible force, urging me to explore beyond the confines of Ohio's tranquility.

So, that’s what I did.

This winter, I embarked on a transformative journey that led me to the iconic streets of New York City. The towering skyscrapers, overpopulated holiday streets and the cultural fusion of the city were a striking shift from Ohio’s corn fields and strip malls. Each corner of the city told a story, and I eagerly embraced the unpredictable narrative that unfolded with every step. 

The vibrant streets of New York became a canvas for new experiences, pushing me out of my comfort zone and into a world of endless possibilities — and I reveled in it.

The juxtaposition of these two worlds fueled a sense of awe and wonder, which propelled me to explore and absorb every facet of the bustling metropolis. One borough, in particular, captured my heart — Brooklyn.

Brooklyn welcomed me with open arms, offering a unique blend of artistic expression, cultural richness and a sense of community that resonated with me on a profound level. From my tattoo artist to the local bookstore owner — each spoke of their love for their home with such tenderness. 

Each neighborhood felt like chapters in a story that I was destined to be a part of. 

I found a sense of belonging that went beyond physicality.

Brooklyn became more than a place; it became a feeling, an emotion that whispered, “You belong here.”

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I discovered that the concept of home wasn't confined to a single place. In many ways, it more closely replicated a quilt — woven with the threads of my quiet childhood in Ohio and the urban life I now hope to be part of. 

My journey to the concrete jungle not only broadened my perspective but deepened my appreciation for the contrasting elements that shape my identity. Although my heart dropped when landing back in Ohio, I returned with traces of New York's vibrancy, aiming to meld it with the quiet life I know so well.

People do indeed want what they don't have, but sometimes, they discover unexpected beauty amidst the contrasts of their desires. My venture to the city that never sleeps became a pivotal chapter, shaping my aspirations and enriching the narrative of my life’s journey.

Camila Lopez-Diaz is a third-year majoring in media and communication with an ETBD minor from Mason, Ohio. They contribute to The Student's opinion section and are actively involved in their studies.