A Letter to the Big City: I am finally ready to change your name to “home.”

To the Big City:

I always imagined that the first time I gave my heart up without an expectation to get it back it would be to a boy. I pictured love letters, firsts of every kind and ultimately no need for a promise that I might get it back in one piece. Never to you though, I never thought that you would be the one to start my heart beating to a different rhythm. A Different Song.

I remember when we first met, how it happened nearly a thousand times. Every time I stepped off the train onto the platform of Grand Central Station there was tinge of hope that you would allow me to stay, that my off peak ride home would be nonexistent. I prayed you might let me dance along your sidewalks, let my heart drift away with the aromas of the city. I Prayed You Would Sweep Me Up With The Crowds And Somehow Make Yourself Home To Me.

The funny thing is how I fought with you for a while. It was a matrimony that I longed for, between you, the Great Manhattan, and me, the Little Dreamer. Like a big brother, too cool for a younger sibling, you never let me hang around for long, you always forced me back to a town and a place too small for the dreams in my head.

“I can fit them in your city,” I would beg and plead. You shook your head and gave me no resolution or reason. You left me to pluck my own stars out the sky, to give up on the light that I always swore would be the end of my tunnel.

And I was dreamless for a while. Dreamless to a point where I said beneath my breath, “Perhaps, perhaps, I should have never dreamt this dream at all.” I was very silly to plant you in my mind before I passed into a slumber every single night. Forget the skyline, forget the concrete mixed with the crafts of a million other passerbys. Forget the beautiful people. Forget that you ever thought you had a place in this Big City.

I cannot say what happened when I walked away, when I left you with my heart and you never whispered back that you would take good care of it.

But you did.

I am still learning Big City… I am still learning about reasons and truth, about times and places. I am learning to pick back up the pieces, to put back on the cloak of a dreamer.

Like a love lost, a love that knows my name, my heart, how I fill my spaces and what spaces still need to be filled, you found me again. You dared to ask me to pick up where we left off; you said you still kept my heart, you were letting it run wherever it pleased but that I might want to run with it.

Thank you for the invitation, here is my RSVP. I needed to learn on my own that if I don’t follow my heart than I will never reach a point of contentment, a point where my full capacity is met, a point where I allow my dreams to breath and live. Maybe I needed to do my growing up in another city, in another place with different people, before you beckoned me to come shimmer in the skyline.

But you called my name, and I will be there… You Called. I’m Coming.

Quite possibly your biggest dreamer,

Hannah Katy

At the end of August I will be relocating to The Bronx, New York and will be serving for a year as the liaison to the Augustinians at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan. This is the beginning to a new chapter…

31 thoughts on “A Letter to the Big City: I am finally ready to change your name to “home.”

  1. This is beyond incredible Hannah! I am SO excited for you, and I feel right now, I have a lot to learn from your words. I have been in this small city for a decade this month and not once has it yet felt like home – yet it is the place I have done all my learning and growth. There has been something keeping me away from the big cities of my dreams, and I haven’t been able to place my finger on it – but I think you may have just hit the nail on the head. As with life experiences, life throws them our way according to a timeline that is best for us… and it is so often not our “ideal” schedule. We have grand dreams and wonder why we can’t achieve them yet – but it’s because we still have learning and growing to do. I hope one day I will be in a place where I can move to a bigger and better life. And I am SO excited for your move, you must write me every day so I can soak up New York life vicariously 🙂

    1. Thank you Emily! I totally agree with you, funny how we can want something right at this very instant but life has a way of making us wait. And of course I will be writing away from NY, I feel I will get a lot of inspiration for these blogs in the big city. Hope you have a great weekend.


      Hannah Katy

  2. Hannah I am so excited for you to start the new chapter in your life! Loved the post as always, and I am beaming with excitement for you to take on the world by storm. This has always been your dream, and it’s finally coming true! I know in my heart that you are going to have incredible experiences out there and are going to surprise and impact this great city with your small-town humility and modesty. I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures, and I will most definitely be visiting you there!

    1. Jill. You are the best. Thank you for always being so amazing to me, it means the world to me, really and truly. I cannot wait to be home in a few short weeks to spend the last summer together either!


      Hannah Katy

  3. I have said it before, and I will say it again: I adore your writing. Seriously, I absolutely positively love reading what you have to say. So don’t stop. 😉

  4. Oh my goodness!! Congratulations, this is amazing! One of my friends actually worked with the UN for the past six months or so as legal counsel. She said the experience of working there was amazing- I hope you have the same experience.

    I’ve never lived in a truly big city, but I think I would love and loathe it. Where I live I’m right in the centre of my city- but it’s quiet. I’m a 10 min. walk to everything I need, but I have huge green spaces right here and live in a house. One of my best friends just moved to Toronto though, and I want to go visit her to peek into her big city life and see that she’s as in love with it as you are =)

    Beautiful writing, as always.

    1. Thank you Kyla, glad you liked it. And I do hope I have a similar UN experience, so excited just thinking about it.

      I live in a similar kind of city right now, and I like the small town feel that comes along with it… Time will only tell how the big city feels in comparison.


      Hannah Katy

  5. I love this. And congrats! I know that sense of finally feeling like it’s ok to call a new place “home.” When I left NYC for Chicago, I felt like a visitor in the midwest for so long until one day I returned to NYC only to realize that I was no longer a regular there either. It takes a bit of time to feel like this “other place” is really where you belong, but when you do, it’s such a sigh of relief. Like you can finally exhale. NYC is the best. Good luck! You’ll love it…

  6. hi there, came here via 20sb! 🙂 congratulations on the beginning of a new chapter. new york is such a crazy place – wonderful too – look forward to reading more of your adventures!

    1. Thank you, I will def be sure to check out your blog. And 20sb is awesome, best network around. I will definitely keep the blog posted with the NYC adventures.


      Hannah Katy

  7. Amazing!!!! I am so excited for you. Did you live in New York City previously, or just visit often? Either way, best of luck. I have the same tug of war relationship between two coasts. My heart yearns for the lifestyle California offers (I moved there and back twice) but I’ve lived my whole life on the east coast and the love of my life is hesitant to move there with me. I know my heart wants me to be there though, and I’m going to somehow make it back there, even if it’s not a permanent thing. Thank you for this post, I could completely relate, and it put into words thoughts I couldn’t figure out how to describe!

    1. Kinsey:

      I definitely could see your heart being in California, just by reading your posts and the way you express yourself, I can totally understand why you say that love it. And I have never lived in NYC before, just grew up going there all the time.. always hoping it would be for good. I am uber excited, thanks for the congrats love!


      Hannah Katy

  8. I love this and I’m so excited for you! What an awesome opportunity!

    Big cities scare me. I live near Tampa, which is really just a small city pretending to be a big city. And I hate Tampa. So I’m not sure how well I’d like living in a big city but I’d sure love the opportunity to try it out and see how it feels!

  9. How amazing! I have an immense fascination with NYC . I haven’t been there in eight years but I feel the need for a trip soon. Something about the city… I feel calm when I’m there even amid the hustle & bustle and so-called craziness of the city. So incredibly excited for you! 🙂 xoxox

  10. Oh New York, I am officially jealous of this amazing adventure. I was in New York for mere days, and its rhythm wriggled into my heart, its beat changed the way my blood pumped through my body and I was SO SAD to leave. Oh hurrah for you, hey. It’s going to be brilliant 🙂

  11. I just found your blog via Nora and have spent a bit of time clicking around.

    I, too, have a great love for NYC. I’m in Minnesota for the time being (graduate school beckoned and Columbia is too expensive) but look forward to returning some day.

    Many congratulations on the UN job! It would be my dream to work for them some day – time will tell. I’m also interested in your humanitarian interests. I lived in Cambodia for nearly a year and had a few run ins with Nicholas Kristof.

    Anyways, I will be following from here on out! Looking forward to reading much more.

    1. So glad you found the blog! So awesome. What were you doing in Cambodia? I am big fan of Kristof, I love all his work with the NYTimes. Looks like we have very much in common, hopefully you come through NYC one day soon!


      Hannah Katy

  12. You write so beautifully! I’m planning a trip to NYC next summer to celebrate my 50th birthday. I can’t think of a more exciting place to turn half a century! Live your dreams, Hannah…sounds like you already are … 🙂 Best of luck with your new job!

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