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Footsteps. Conversations.
Spinning wheels. A million eyes.
The sounds and the voices of a city-
always changing, constantly making itself be heard,
taking to itself, feeling the rush of being alive.

A cyclist weaving and racing through lines of cars,
vans, and trucks, gridlocked and stationery-
but glowing and constant red lights
doesn’t stop him for anything,
and for all he knows every light is green;
a commuter in a crowd making their way to work,
desperately holding on to the umbrella in one hand
and the take-out coffee cup
that they are holding onto tightly in the other-
just trying to get to work without bumping into someone else,
or crossing a street and almost being hit
by a fast-peddling cyclist that they nearly didn’t see.

Meeting places.
Get togethers.
The relay and transference of information and knowledge.
A starting point, a route, a destination, a direction, and end
that is merely a jumping-off point to a magical adventure-
like a song that you sing before following a yellow brick road.

There is traffic all around us-
in the sky, above the clouds around Earth,
over land, over sea, under the water, below the ground;
there is movement even in the stillness of a picture-postcard scene
that you don’t see, but which you can hear
by its noticeable feel and sound.

Life is always on the move,
and I find that absolutely phenomenal and terrific.
Life is an endless motorway that is connected and ventured down
and navigated every second by an infinite stream
and network of traffic.

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Every second of every minute,
every hour of every day,
the world turns on its axis,
and having seen the sights of this beautiful city,
having breathed in its air,
having felt every sound invigorate me,
wash over me, and overwhelm me,
it truly feels like this city is not just any city,
its people are not just any people-
it feels like this incredible city, New York City,
is the beating heart of the entire planet,
the centre of the world, the consciousness of reality,
the voice of humanity speaking to the rest of the galaxy.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like
and what you are thinking when you walk the streets and avenues
and you are surrounded by sound, colour, life, love, light,
passion, energy, boundless and breathtaking distance and height-
you find that you are constantly either looking to the distance,
or looking up at the buildings which you cannot see the top of
no matter how hard you try.

Walking through Central Park,
sitting in Central Park, as I am doing now,
on a bench directly facing a statue erected in honour
of William Shakespeare-
hearing, seeing, and feeling the mist of the sprinklers,
inhaling the smell of the grass,
sitting in-awe of the trees that surround me in every direction,
feeling the warmth of the invigorating and glowing golden sunlight,
looking up at the leaves on the trees
unlike any green I have ever seen,
watching people running through the park-
something that people actually love doing,
something that feels so special and unlike being anywhere else-
Central Park, to me, feels like the imagination
of not just the city, or Manhattan,
but also of something greater!
Being here is like a dream, being here is unbelievable,
being here lifts you up, makes you see things,
makes everything clear.

This city has really got under my skin.
This phenomenal, incredible, and beautiful, city
has captured my heart, opened my mind,
gifted me a sense of belonging-
as if I could easily stay here, walk this park every day,
dodge the millions of people on the sidewalks,
wait for the illuminated white figure at the crossings,
ride the subway, meet so many amazing and inspiring people
as I already have and feel like I was meant to be here,
like I was always meant to be here, like I never want to leave-
because that is exactly how I feel when I stop and I think
and I take in every second of peace, serenity, and exhilaration
that being in this city gives me.

This city is a city to be shared.
This city is a city that never stops giving,
and where everything and anything is there for the taking.
This city is a city beyond any expectations
that you could have of a place before you saw it,
and more special than any dream that you could chance to imagine-
to imagine such a place like this before you could see it
with your own eyes, you would not dare.

This city, New York City, means a lot to me.
This city is the place that I cannot wait to return to
again and again, and share every second of its importance,
and revel in its hustle and bustle,
and take-in every inspiring detail as the streets-
the people, its buildings, its life-
makes me feel phenomenal, overwhelmed, and empowered
with the most amazing energy.

This city is somewhere which speaks to me.
This city is somewhere where I feel like I am a part of it,
and it is a part of me.
This city is somewhere I am utterly, tearfully, so sad to leave
because it is somewhere that made dreams come true for me,
gave me experiences, and opened my eyes to another world
of hope, strength, optimism, and prosperity.
This city is always going to be there for me,
and I will always be there for it,
because there is so much for it to show me,
and so much more for me to do, feel, and see.
This city is The City.
There is nowhere else on Earth like New York City.

The gathering together of family and friends, today on Christmas Day,
is an amazing occasion that I look forward to all year long-
and the reason why I do is what I would like to convey.

It begins, as it did when I was a kid,
the instant that I wake-up before the sunrise on Christmas morning-
the excitement in my stomach, the sparkle and the anticipation in my eyes-
the twinkling Christmas tree lights;
the first burst of sunlight, that needs no forewarning.

The opening of cards,
the sending of Merry Christmas messages,
the ripping of wrapping paper,
and the unveiling of amazing and thoughtful packages,
fills me with so much energy and joy,
and the smiles on peoples faces are worth a thousand memories;
and I love the fact that this same amazing custom will be repeated
all over the world, in all languages,
as it has been in one way or another for countless centuries.

Christmas dinner with my family has always been a fun,
sumptuous, mouth-watering, senses-overwhelming,
cracker-cracking, stomach-filling, affair-
with paper crowns and Santa hats that no one ever does not want to wear.

At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, every year on December 25th,
I and my family watch The Queen give her televised Christmas message-
a tradition so entwined with this day and this time of the year
it has become a part of the Great British myth.

The time that my family and I spend together on Christmas Day
is always special, wonderful, and precious-
and I try to remember every detail of the day,
and I never take it lightly, or for granted-
because spending as much time with all of the people in my life,
who make up my life,
is what I have always wanted.

Merry Christmas!

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