After 2 hours of sleep, the alarm clock is ringing. It's still night, 3 a.m. to be precise. My heart is happy, my body is tired, but I'm starting to wake up and slowly I realize: oh my God, we're flying to New York! I almost didn't fit on the airport shuttle bus, I had the feeling, as if I had been on my way home from a university party. With Norbert at 5 am at the airport we even had that kind of McDonald’s food that gave me this flashback. It was a different feeling, though.
The professional photographer team on their way
The adventure I had been craving for so long was about to begin. We checked in, queued, waited and were anxious not to get our bags mixed up on the way to London, which unfortunately had happened shortly before our trip at British Airways. The transfer was a bit complicated, our flight was delayed and both of us were feeling that fatigue is slowly taking over. We got stuck in a Harry Potter merch shop for almost half an hour, making a video of how many magical gadgets they were selling. Told you that we were tired, right? After a few hours of waiting, we finally boarded our flight to New York, although we forgot to ask for a boarding pass to get seated next to each other, so we spent our flight separately. In the end, it turned out well.
6 hours of flying = 6 hours of networking
The cabin could have been quite comfortable, but the air conditioning made it feel more like a freezer, so even though I wanted to get some rest, I couldn't fall asleep wearing a jacket and being wrapped in a blanket. Apparently, a young guy sitting next to me didn't appreciate the cold either, which made us smile and then we started chatting. He turned out to work in the fashion industry and was about to visit a friend in New York, who is really into the crypto business, thus managed to buy a house in his mid-twenties from the revenue generated from NFTs. I got totally overwhelmed by this fact and quickly started to calculate how this would be possible in Hungary at such a young age. I rather stopped wondering about that, thinking it was a sign that I’d better let go of the Hungarian and even European mentality.
Getting a photo model on the plane spontaneously
As we were talking with my new friend, Niel, we suddenly started brainstorming about a common fashion photography project. We agreed to arrange a session at Times Square in the coming days with his friend. As we were approaching New York it seemed like things were already starting to turn upside down. A couple of weeks ago I was anxious trying to organize the photo shoots from Hungary, which as I mentioned in a previous blog, was more like a failure than a success. And now we haven't even arrived in America yet and opportunities just keep opening up. Okay, before you’d think I’m from the lucky type, it was just the first peak of the roller coaster, so wait for it.
Don't mess with the border guard
It would be exaggerating to say that the nearly 1-day trip felt like the blink of an eye, but we finally arrived at New York airport. We had to pass through border control, which turned out to be a special challenge, as it lasted over 20-25 minutes until I managed to get my fingerprints scanned. I admit it was a somewhat frustrating situation, because in the meantime the inspector kept asking me more and more questions about why I was coming to the US. Many people arrive with an ESTA visa and then stay in the country illegally after the 3 months have passed, so it’s logical that they try to filter out such cases as much as possible. Luckily I didn't end up in trouble, although I did have a couple of mini heart attacks during the process. But the real excitement was yet to come.
First stop: Times Square
Eventually we were traveling back in time as in New York it was still afternoon, so we had literally no rest till the end of the day. Norbert insisted that we make our first trip to Times Square, because that's when I'd really get the American vibes. We set off to explore the city with suitcases in the pouring rain. The weather and lack of sleep was demotivating, but when we got there it was a completely different world. People were doing yoga and listening to music in the middle of Times Square, not caring about soaking to the skin, and they looked so joyful and free. They didn't even need a “happiness” labeled hat to feel this way.
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