Elsie Heung believes moving changes you, for better or worse

It’s past midnight, and I’m packing up the last of my belongings before I ditch the Upper East Side for Murray Hill in the afternnoon. While I survey the colossal mess, the piles of boxes, and mounds of dust gathering in the corners of my apartment, I reflect on how different this move is from the last one.

August 30, 2005. I’ll never forget that day – the day I moved from Vancouver, Canada, to New York with nothing more than a suitcase and two boxes full of clothes, books, and a few personal belongings. That day, my apartment seemed so bleak, with its bare white walls and a single mattress on the floor (the few pieces of furniture I had purchased had yet to arrive). Homesickness, loneliness, and regret hit me immediately. I didn’t know anyone in Manhattan, I missed my family, and I couldn’t stand the noise of the city. The idea that I was going to have to live here for next two years terrified me. What the hell had I gotten myself into? Who in their right mind would even want to leave Vancouver? I wanted to turn around and take the earliest flight back to Canada.

Four and a half years later, I am still in Manhattan, and it seems inconceivable that I once hated the city. Shortly before I left Vancouver, my brother-in-law predicted that the NYC would harden me. Perhaps it has, but I think more importantly, it has made me the person I am today – better, stronger, and more confident. Some moves are simply a change in one’s dwelling place (like my upcoming one), but others can change a person for better or for worse.

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