For the price of a tiny hovel in NYC, I’m living the dream in Philadelphia. Even doing the laundry is an adventure here!

After more than a decade spent considering myself a New Yorker I have finally left Manhattan for cheaper pastures (Philadelphia). I am, of course, obliged to tell you all about it. One does not get out of Metropolis quietly. No, ever since Joan Didion wrote Goodbye to All That in 1967, anyone who moves out of New York (or London) must file a Why I Left essay on their way out. It’s the law. And I’m very law-abiding, writes the Guardian’s columnist Arwa Mahdawi.

I’m also, luckily for you, on a strict word limit. Therefore I’m going to have to boil down my completely unique, never-before-experienced reflections on how the combination of having a new baby and living in a one-bedroom flat throughout the pandemic made me realise I wasn’t young enough or rich enough to have the sort of life I wanted in New York. And what sort of life did I want? The pandemic, middle age and motherhood made me figure out what was really important: having a washing machine in my house. They are surprisingly hard to come by in Manhattan.

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