#NYC via akissgoodnight.co

Three years ago, I flew to New York alone, and four months pregnant. Meeting Alec at the airport I was apprehensive, scared, extremely nauseous, and not sure that we’d made the right decision. The years that followed were the hardest, most challenging, most frustrating years of my life thus far – compounded a million by having a baby in a country far from our family.

But in the middle of these difficult years, something extraordinary happened. We created a tiny New Yorker and made a home in this big crazy city. We explored. We dreamed big. We discovered what we were truly capable of when faced with adversity. New York is a hard place to live. It’s fast, it’s dirty, it’s expensive. It’s also aggressive, strong and fierce. Each day can be like a battlefield – just taking a subway ride solo with a small child requires serious commitment and resolve.

I learned a lot about myself thanks to this tough city. That I, too, can be tough, resilient and resourceful. That I’m capable of starting over in a new country, of making so many wonderful friends.

Living in this city plus motherhood broke me down, and built me back up again into a person who is more confident, more certain of her own worth, and who is happier with who she is than ever before. Thank you New York for toughening up this soft girl from Sydney suburbia.

Saying goodbye is something I don’t want to be doing. It feels too soon, too unfinished. But things don’t always go to plan, and our priorities have changed. Alec, Cheese and I will be returning for a time to Sydney to be closer to our families. We feel that it’s the right thing for us to do at this time in all of our lives, and we are embracing this decision while walking away from a life we also love passionately. Something I’m finding really hard to do. We are beyond lucky that we have such a wonderful life to return to back in Australia. Family and friends whom we love, and a country where it’s truly great to live.

So goodbye (for now) to the piles of garbage on the sidewalk. To the smell of dog pee and sticky pavements in summer. To rats, lunatics and rappers in the subway, polar vortexes and hurricanes. So long to loving friends who embraced us into their lives. To Cheese’s playmates since birth. To tulips and daffodils in the spring, and fields of orange and red leaves in the fall. To carousels and whoopie pies, Broadway and world-class ballet. Goodbye to a life we loved, and hello to a brand new chapter for us all.

New York, we love you, and we will see you again soon.