Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: NYC

Reflections post New York

It’s been a crazy time since arriving home on Wednesday, mainly because I leave again this coming Wednesday for Australia for a month, and I have a ton of work to complete before I go. I sit in front of my lappie, trying to write write write up New York. And I am surprised by how much I am missing the city that I got to know, and fell in love with in just 9 days. Facebook and twitter are my distractions, and I am so saddened by local news of the Limpopo education crisis, the brutal rape and murder of children here at home, and other stories that remind me so shockingly of how we live. Granted, while I was in New York I didn’t have half a moment to scan the internet for news, and there might have been a ton of stuff there that I missed, but it felt like Maria Carey and Sarah Jessica Parker entertaining Obama on one night that we were there was the big news (and Justin Bieber on the Today show).

My sadness is the realisation of how much I carry here, on my shoulders and in my heart, when I am home. I am so drearily sad of being white. Yes, yes, I know what it means, and where it comes from, and how privileged I am and how 90% of South Africans are worse off than me and they are black. It’s not incorrect, just heavy. When the Spear issue exploded in South Africa I found myself in the truly awkward position of having such strong opinions about it (I identify with the artist, and demand the right to freedom of expression) and the overwhelming reality that my opinions were somehow unimportant in the context of where I am. I realised that my struggle history is not visible and will never be counted. I am identified in a certain way regardless.

Back home I am white. Back home I am Jewish in an anti-Zionist way. Back home I have been called “a struggling artist”.  Back home I am “of a certain age”. Back home I feel like I am stuck to the pin board of classification and definition.

Something liberating happened to me in New York, the melting pot of diversity, money and poverty, immigrants, art, commerce, power, old, new, fast food and health food, dogs more spoilt than children, and hot subways where intimate conversations about everything under the sun can be heard. I was, for the most part, just me; made up of all sorts of bits and pieces, background, quirks, ethnicity, nationality, gender, class. And all of it was true and ok and unquestioned. I was me. And, overwhelmingly, I felt huge pangs of jealousy that I was not born there, or had moved there to live years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that NYC can be depressingly lonely, and hard, and cold in winter, and scary if you have no job and money. It’s not that. It’s that you aren’t being pre-judged, pre-decided on. It’s ok to admit that you are obsessed by money, or are passionate about theatre or want to study for the rest of your life. It’s ok to be a waiter, or a tour guide, or an actor-in-waiting who is a waiter or tour guide.

In NYC everybody except the biggest celeb is anonymous. Everybody is getting on with it. Everybody is doing stuff. I’m not suggesting for one moment that there isn’t injustice, or crime, or ugliness, or corruption, or racial profiling, it’s just that I’m not walking around overwhelmed by it all. And the truth is, at home I am.

Travels and NYC

I am not a great tourist. I think I get caught in the idea that is ridiculous to spend so much money looking at where other people live. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling far and wide, but I love having a mission while I’m there. This is why my trip to NYC (my first time there ever) is so amazing. I am going for work, and it is work that will keep me right on the streets, soaking up the place, in quite a touristy way. It is without a doubt the best of both worlds.

My new, shiny suitcase is filled with all my summer clothes; vests, cotton Tai-chi pants, sleeveless dresses. I have sunscreen in my toiletry bag. I am armed with an enormous list of must dos. I am going with one of my long time besties. My Kindle is charged and I have two new books loaded. I have good music on my iPod. Midtown Manhattan will have a brand new visitor.

I will also get to visit my Tante B in Stamford. Watch out Tante B. We’ll see you on the other side of this!

Making way for the big, beautiful stuff

When I realised what was going down with my application for Grahamstown this year I was really angry, hurt and frustrated. To be honest, I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was in a bad dream and I kept hoping (inwardly) that I had got it wrong and that it would turn out right in the end. And that is exactly what has happened for me.

It turns out I am going to NYC in June for work; I have been working on a very amazing business for the last six or so years called Great Guide and I am going to NYC to do research for the City Sightseeing Bus there. It gets better. One of my besties and most favourite travel partner Jaci de Villiers is coming with because we will be designing, planning and writing the content together. I wake up in the middle of the night with a ball of excitement in my gut.

As if that wasn’t enough, Tandi Buchan, Candice D’Arcy and I are representing SA improv and will be travelling to Canberra Oz to participate in a massive improv festival for the first week of July, at the exact time of the Grahamstown festival. I will be spending the rest of the month in Oz, checking out the improv and theatre scene, hanging with friends and family, and hooking up with another bestie Robyn at her house in the hills of Oz. Can you believe it? I am beyond myself with excitement.

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