Be grateful for how far you have come & have faith in how far you can go! I saw @FashionWeekNYC tweet this and it made me reflect on my journey throughout my career thus far. I recent just got back from New York. I didn’t plan on staying in New York long, just for the day. I was determined to meet my family that lived there.
I contacted my family member via telephone a week prior to my visit to let him know who I was and that I was visiting for a short period. I invited him to lunch, just excited to meet this person that came from my humble beginnings living in the big city, the same place I aspire to work. After my appointment, we walked through the Lower East Side to Chinatown for some Thai food. I enjoyed walking the Big Apple while getting to know about my relative, occasionally getting lost for 5 seconds before my relative realizes where we are at again. (By the way, I love how all New Yorkers talk out loud trying while using hand signals trying to figure out all the stops or the best train to use when asking for directions.)
I found out that he has been through some close encounters. My relative works in construction in downtown New York, working specifically underground building new subway systems. He was underground working or “in the hole” as he calls it while the entire east coast experienced an earthquake two years ago. Luckily, him and his crew walked away unharmed.
But there was one particular story of my relative that I had a hard time fighting back tears to. My relative has been in New York for over 30 years at this time. On the day of September 11, 2011 my relative was on the 99th floor of the South Tower when the planes hit. He ran down all 99 floors before it collapsed and then walked 12 miles to the Bronx. After speaking with my dad, we learned that it took hours for my relative to call his wife to let her know he was fine. It’s crazy how fast the love forms after just meeting your relative. After getting to know more about each other, and after returning to North Carolina, I got a voicemail from him checking to see if I had got back safe. At the end of his call, he said “Love you, talk to you later.” It was so unexpected but it didn’t feel weird at all.
I’m so blessed with the people in my life, old and new. I thank God for that day of getting to know my relative while walking around New York City. It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I’m now more determined to meet other family members as well as research my family history.