New York, New York
Una Storia di Lorenzo Franceschi Bicchierai
Oggi è un giorno speciale perché oggi abbiamo un invitato molto speciale a Los de la Bici. Come nei varietà di altri tempi dove si invitavano grandi star internazionali a LdlB è arrivato il giorno. Lo special guest che abbiamo l’onore di presentare è il nostro grande amico Lorenzo Franceschi Bicchierai.
Abitante di New York e giornalista di Mashable, Larry è stato ed è fonte di ispirazione per questo nostro blog. Tutto ebbe inizio con il suo indimenticabile L’Infinito e il suo primo romanzo Otto Giorni ed ora, eccoci qui, ad avere l’onore di pubblicare una sua (personalissima) storia, la sua particolare visione della mitica città americana. Signore e Signori, con tutti voi New York!
This story begins almost three years ago. I was visiting New York City with my cousin Matteo and his then-girlfriend-now-wife Chiara. It was an almost impromptu trip. I had a rough summer, a thunderstorm of emotions and changes, and I needed a break. I was already in love with New York City, ever since I visited it with my good friend Sean for a freezing January week in 2007. Matteo asked me to go with them, I thought it’d be a good idea. I figured it would be a good chance to relax and look for answers. At the time I was about to enter my fifth and supposedly final year of Law School in Barcelona.
“No way I’ll ever study here”
I say supposedly because out of 300 credits which were needed to graduate, I had accumulated 170, or something like that. I couldn’t wait to get it over with, and yet, I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, I was already thinking ahead, what happens next? I wanted New York, I wanted to be a journalist. So I went to visit the Journalism School at Columbia University. I was smitten. The campus, the School’s lobby. Jefferson’s statue. “No way I’ll ever study here”, I thought. I went to visit it on a sunny late September morning. After talking to somebody at the admissions office I sat on a bench right outside of the School.
For some reason, I was sad. I thought New York and Columbia would be dreams that’d never become anything more than that, that would never materialize. I even questioned whether they would really make me happy. There’s a line in a very good Italian movie that roughly says: “If you need to escape from your hometown, it only means you want to escape from yourself.” I guess I wanted to escape from myself.
I went down to SoHo, got a sandwich from one of my favorite spots and sat down on a bench, basking under the sun. I cried. I don’t know why, but I cried. Inside of me I knew I wanted to come to New York, but part of me was convinced it would never happen. When I got back to Barcelona I wrote down my thoughts. “I went soul searching to the other side of the ocean, to the other side of the world, to a place I feel like home although I’ve never lived there, to New York. After one week, I’m still looking…” It took me a while but I found myself, finished Law School and got to New York. I was wrong. I got to New York on July 24, 2011.
Ever since, I fell in love with it even more. I fell in love with the school. I fell in love with my classmates. I found friends, I found something I’d never found: love for what I was doing. I enjoyed every minute spent at the J-School. I loved the sleepless nights, I loved wandering the city looking for stories.
I freaking loved every second, every breathe I took under the starless sky of New York. I couldn’t have asked for more. I got here thinking I’d be out by the end of May, after graduation. I’m still here. I don’t know when I’ll leave. I don’t know if I wanna leave. I don’t know where I’ll go if I leave. I don’t care.
Sometimes I’m scared about the future, I’m scared about what will happen next, which seems to depend more on exterior circumstances than my own choices. But isn’t always so in life? You can only spread your wings and hope the wind blows in your direction when you need it. It’s pretty much all we can do. I’ve learned a lot since coming here.
I learned to trust myself more than I ever did, and I learned to doubt myself, and live with it. I learned how to live, I learned how to be a good friend. I learned how to love. I learned to take a deep breathe when I was losing it. I learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought. I learned not to give up, even when your brain tells you you should. Because it’s the guts you should trust sometimes. I’ve been living in New York for thirteen months.
I did my master’s in Journalism. I met people from all over the world. I made friends I’ll be able to count on for the rest of my life. Italians, Americans, from South Africa, India, Colombia…you name it. It wasn’t as I expected it to be. It was was better.
A whirlwind of emotions, a roller coaster of intense feelings. And excuse me the cliches, but these are the occasions cliches were made for. I lived more intensely in 13 months than I ever lived in 26 years. I let myself go. I fought the part of me that didn’t want to let myself go. I learned to say “fuck it, let’s do it.” I learned to live with my own flaws, and don’t give a fuck about them.
I learned. I lived so many amazing experiences it’s impossible to recount them all. I dressed up as a Pharaoh for Halloween, and I dressed up as Joseph Pulitzer for a video that commemorated the centennial of the J-School. I went on road trips. To the Hudson Valley, to Boston, to the Hamptons.
I swam in the Atlantic ocean at night, even though my friends didn’t want me to. I opened my arms, I looked at the starlit sky and I yelled and I screamed. I never felt so alive. I drank in front of a bonfire on the beach… I got lost. I found myself. I met people that taught me what friendship is.
“I learned to trust myself more than I ever did, and I learned to doubt myself, and live with it.”
People that taught me what love is. People that taught me to listen to myself and trust myself more. People that made me laugh, people that made me cry. I was lucky to get close to a lot of them, to share moments I’ll never forget. Some of them, some of the best, left. We said goodbye and it hurt like a dart that pierces your heart. But every second spent with them, in this city, was worth all the pain I felt when they left. I don’t know how long I’ll stay in New York. But I know I’ll never forget what I just lived. It has changed me forever.
The people I met have changed me forever. And I’ll always be thankful for it. I’ve been in New York for 13 months when I thought I’d be out in 10. I tell myself every new day I get to spend in New York is borrowed time. I don’t want to leave though. And part of me knows that I will have to. This time though, a small part of me thinks I might be wrong.