Watching a documentary series called The Nineties, the specific episode is “The Information Age” on @. 21 years ago today I moved to NYC to attend The American Musical & Dramatic Academy (). The first pic is me right now while the documentary is on pause... If you swipe, you’ll see me circa 1997 when I was Julie Castro and lived on the Upper West Side on 70th & Broadway in a building that had a switchboard operator and housed recovering addicts that were taken in off the streets. AMDA has since bought and turned that building into a fancy dormitory for its students which was not at all my experience. I used pay phones to make all my calls and mostly wrote letters to friends and family back home in Indiana (during the “information age”). That first year was the most incredible time of my life in that it was challenging beyond comprehension, I was young and naive with my Midwestern-ness that showed in my Pollyanna ways, met some of the most incredible people that would change my life, I was dirt poor and lived off of bagels, pop, and candy bars (this place is EXPENSIVE!), and I realized an appreciation and love for my family back home I didn’t know was possible. I would not change one thing about 1997-1998. That first year was the ultimate bootcamp with all the culture shock of being so young and leaving home for the first time, it was a major test of my strength and character. NYC and I have had our ups and downs over the years, we haven’t always seen eye to eye, we’ve fought and I even threatened to leave. But, when you’ve found true love it’s hard to throw it all away over a few disagreements. People (ahem, my family especially) ask me, “so you really like New York? You’re just going to stay there forever?” I love NYC and I hope to always have a home here forever and perhaps a second home in a more spacious area where I can stargaze at night... this has been my longest chosen relationship, it’s definitely complicated, and the love is real.