(1) My Life: First Half NYC, Latter Half Paris

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Jan 1, 2017 02:26
NYC and Paris, respectively, represent two different facets of my life. NYC is the daytime, Paris is the night. The former represents the first half of my life, the latter shows the other half.

Before the age 35, I firmly believed that New York was the most fascinating city in the world. I attended a graduate school in California, and couldn’t wait to work in NYC fresh out of school. I’d later worked in NYC for five years and extremely enjoyed my life. Having been the world’s financial center since the 20th century, the city provided colorful and convenient lifestyles. The subway and cabs allowed you to travel through time and to experience cultures of hundreds of years. Both the latest and oldest; the best and the worst, all things could be seen in this metropolis. All of these were the reasons I loved NYC, like many other New Yorkers.

Therefore, I grasped every second of every minute to experience the life of this city. By day, I worked 10 hours in a financial institution; by night, after work, I sat through cinematography classes for four hours straight at NYU. When I was twenty-something, it seemed to me that keeping busy was the only meaningful way of life. Being alive meant pushing the envelope and challenging every possibility the city offered.

This thinking, however, didn’t originate during the days I lived in New York. As far back as I could remember, people in Taiwan (where I grew up) had led their lives the same way New Yorkers did. Life in New York was fraught with the Puritan work ethics and emulous capitalist attitudes. The people believed that one was supposed to work hard, overcome difficulties, and crush their rivals. The mere goal of living was to become wealthier and more famous.

Power and fortune were the two Gods for New Yorkers. What led you to Heaven was nothing but career, career, and career. To win the race under the law of the jungle, everyone fought for time and resources. For example, in an elevator, you pushed an extra few times the button of your floor, as if it could be faster, albeit the button light was already on. You’d exited your office building after work, but still had a phone wedged between your face and your hand, speaking nonstop - you were making sure everything of your work was going well by remote control. People went out of their way to succeed, by hook or by crook. In New York, there were no despicable bastards but miserable losers.


This essay (the Chinese version) was written by a Taiwanese person. If there are some parts that you don’t think sound native, or there exist natural and concise expressions (or alternatives), feel free to edit. I came here to learn. Thanks!