My favourite book series as a teenager is the collection of teen novels by Melanie Stewart for Generation Girl, which was one of the brands for Barbie. It’s set at an international school in New York featuring Barbie and her classmates and friends.
I have been to New York many times before. I used to visit almost once a year and every time I went I schedule all kinds of events packed full from morning until evening. One of the more memorable times I went is in 2008. I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Brooklyn, walking distance to the examination hall for the New York Bar. I was jetlagged so I woke up really early and got breakfast at a diner. Back then, even getting a coffee at Starbucks was glamorous. I really wanted to live in New York. It represented a dream, a lifestyle, success, excitement, all kinds of positive feelings. I used to keep a US one dollar bill in my wallet to remind myself to live in New York one day.
I spent a few days in Brooklyn for the NY bar exam. I remember walking out early for both the morning and afternoon sessions. I learned my lesson before. When you have too much time on your hands, you start changing correct answers for wrong ones, so always go with your first gut feeling and once you’re finished, leave, don’t look at your answers again. After Brooklyn, I stayed at a hostel in New York. It was so run down but it was all I could afford on my meager assistant salary. I can’t believe people spend over US$100 a night on hotels, let alone US$200. I didn’t want to do all the touristy things so I ended up just walking around the city, as if I could absorb success and luck just by circling the buildings. I thought being a New York attorney would be amazing. I couldn’t even believe that I was eligible to sit for the bar.
Those days I really didn’t understand the world and I guess I still don’t. So many things seem so magical and so out of touch. I added so much meaning to things. I guess I am a romantic. Sometimes I feel like I make certain life decisions as if I’m building a third person character in a novel rather than thinking of me myself as me.