From New York with Love

New York City | Photographed by Ashka Shen | Xssat Street Fashion

New York City | Photographed by Ashka Shen | Xssat Street Fashion

New York City | Photographed by Ashka Shen | Xssat Street Fashion

New York City | Photographed by Ashka Shen | Xssat Street Fashion

New York City | Photographed by Ashka Shen | Xssat Street Fashion

They say home is where the heart is, my heart, I left that in New York years ago when I first visited, you’ll have noticed I’ve been in and out of New York (and Sydney and everywhere else) in the last 6 months, but I can now officially call New York home, at last. It’s been a long and not entirely easy road, but my dream of being able to live and work in New York has finally come true.

To be perfectly honest, when I visited New York for the very first time, I hated it. I came with my parents and we did ALL the tourist sites in 5 days, squeezed in a Broadway show, took photos at Top of the Rock, all the usual. We had just come from the Bavarian Alps, full of crisp pines and mountain lakes, then bam, New York hit me in the face like a stinking hot subway train in the middle of the summer. I hated the sidewalks lined with garbage bags, I hated the grimy subway, I hated how intimidating everyone looked on the street, I hated everything. Then I went to Mexico and Cuba and came back to spend 3 weeks in New York on my own. I stayed at my friend’s apartment in Fort Greene, I met up with friends for lunch and dinner and drinks and I walked, I walked and I walked some more. Those 3 weeks were over Christmas, I woke up one morning, looked out the window to see the street, its houses, its garbage bags and its cars all under a blanket of white. I squealed. So just like that, without me even knowing it, I left my heart in New York.

I had visited New York in between then and now and as much as I loved the city, moving here seemed like a pipe dream. But life worked its unexpected twists and turns and mysterious ways and last year it turned my life upside down through a string of personal events. When I hit rock bottom, I thought f*ck it, I’m just going to move to New York. Turns out, it’s not as easy as saying those 8 little words, funny that! From having the thought to getting my O1 work (aka artist) visa, took me a whole year and I was lucky to have been published so much and done some great work for international clients over the years to qualify for the visa in the first place.

Now I have a Brooklyn apartment I share with 2 gorgeous girls, I’ve a handful of old friends in the city, another handful of new friends I’ve made and it feels absolutely amazing to be able to call this city home. To borrow Drake’s words “Started from the bottom, now we’re here”. YUP!

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