My earliest memory is of the day I arrived in New York City. Well, technically it is of the flight to New York. My extremely pregnant mother, my younger sister and I had left our home in Guayaquil, Ecuador to start a new life in the states and reunite with my father, who had left six months earlier.
I was four years old. It was my first time on an airplane, and for some reason beyond my comprehension, I was sat several rows away from my mother and sister. Needless to say, this was unacceptable. I made several attempts to escape from my seat–I even feigned illness at one point–but my mother knew better, and I was sent right back every time.
After the most miserably long flight I’ve ever taken, we arrived at the airport, and I was finally reunited with my family. It was well past my bedtime, but I was wide awake from all the excitement, which only made what was to follow even more special.
I was lucky enough to nab the window seat of the car on the way to my uncle’s home in downtown Brooklyn, where we would all stay for our first year in the city. During that ride, I experienced New York City for the first time: the lights, the skyscrapers, the bridges, the immensity of it all. My jaw dropped. To my four-year-old self, this place was magical and beautiful, and I felt so lucky to be there. It was a day I would never forget.