adjusting to city life

Remember the Romance

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IMG_1808People often ask why I moved to New York, and I can’t really give a solid answer.

I had zero interest in New York City. Like, none…until I did.

When I read my rejection letter for a creative writing program at Boise State University in a Starbucks parking lot, the tears came fast and hard. I tried to blink them away to read and re-read the email. The moment embodied hopelessness. This hopelesness was not about getting rejected by Boise State, and I know that now. But grad school was my way out, my hope, it was my chance to move on. I had just suffered a breakup that still can wreck me if I let it. A breakup that still makes my voice crack, and a breakup that has made me push every guy away for the last three years. Not getting into grad school felt like I lost an opportunity to move forward. Because I didn’t feel like I had any other options. I felt physical pain in my chest and I didn’t know what to do.

I sat there in my car crying tears for so many reasons. And then I had a feeling or a whisper that floated through my thoughts for the first time in my life. Move to New York. Writers move to New York.

The very thought, scared me. My heart raced. And I pushed it to the back of my mind. I had never even visited New York. Had never wanted to. And now, this overwhelming feeling washed over me that I had to move there.IMG_4204

So I did. I listened to the whisper. And I’m here.

And I’m so lonely.

And it’s so hard.

It’s big, sweaty, smelly, vicious, loud, uncomfortable, exhausting, and it makes me afraid.

I have been here going on two years now, and I still don’t feel like I fit here. My clothes aren’t expensive, my school wasn’t fancy, my heart is too sensitive. I feel that most days are me against everyone else. I have never cried more in my whole life combined before I moved here. I cried openly and hard on the street corner recently because the line was so long at Trader Joe’s and I just needed a few things. That day, the City won. Lately, the City wins a lot.

But there is never a time that I don’t pause in complete awe when I’m on the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge. I look Downtown at the sky scrapers and the Statue of Liberty, and in those moments I can’t believe I live here. And I feel alive. And I remember the romance that is New York. The grocery store lines fade, and the sweat dripping down my back stills, and the smell of bagels baking, and cobble stone streets give me the nutrients to get through another day.

It’s hard to remember the dream in the tough moments, It’s hard to remember my excitement when I boarded the plane with a one way ticket. It’s so hard to go home alone every night. This place has shown me hard work, thick skin, and has broken me down pretty hard. I’m thankful for all of the things it continues to teach me. One day I won’t live here anymore, and I’m sure my heart will ache for it. I can imagine an emptiness after leaving a place like this. Because I will remember the romance and the tumultuous relationship that I had with this City.

Until the day comes, I’m hoping for a few days that the City lets me win.

Ladies First

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I keep saying how hard this place is to adjust to. But I haven’t mentioned two really cool behaviors that I have noticed since I have been here.  Manners and chivalry are alive in New York!

  1. There is a coat closet at every office.  Not only is there a coat closet…they USE it! They always ask to take and hang up coats! (every time I have visited an office for any reason this has happened) Now that I have been working reception, it is my job to take coats and hang them. I LOVE this! It is so impressive to me, and feels old-fashioned and sweet. 
  2. Secondly, the elevator etiquette is so surprising. Men let women on the elevator first, and wait until all of the women are off before they exit.  Can you believe this? I have noticed it every single place that had an elevator.  All over the city.  It is so charming to me!

I think these behaviors still exist because this city is so old and these classic manners are rooted as a cultural norm.  These behaviors feel old-fashioned…because they are.  I feel taken care of when someone takes my coat, and I feel respected when I get off of the elevator first.  New York is making me smile today.

New York Moments

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View of the Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown Manhattan.

When the train zips over the Manhattan bridge and you can see the skyline of Downtown and a glint of the green from the Statue of Liberty, that is when I remember that I’m here.  I’m here!  It is easy to forget the simple fact that I live here now.  I need to focus more upon living in the moment, and letting these flashes of New York sear into me. 

I have been temping again this week, but it is an entirely different experience than my first assignment. I was able to come in for an hour last Friday for training (which was a very welcome task for me) and I did not expect the delightful experience that I had. A smiling face greeted me and offered me coffee, and one of the first thing she said was,

  “Now where are you from? I know you aren’t from here, you don’t look jaded.”

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The ceiling at Grand Central Station.

I told here where I was from, and she asked questions, and I felt like she actually cared.  It felt so good to talk to someone with such a cheerful personality.  I felt like she actually saw me.  She gave me shampoo samples (it is a high-end shampoo company) and sent me on my way feeling refreshed and nourished.

The company is in the meatpacking district, my favorite part of the city so far.  As I walked away and had a silly grin on my face because I was so happy to have a job that was actually going to be pleasant.  I looked up and noticed that a huge crew of people were setting up to shoot a movie right outside of the building!  Tents were being set up, and the street was lined with trailers where I’m assuming an A-lister was sitting right inside.  I didn’t stick around to see who was being filmed, but in that moment I was so deliriously happy to be in this city of opportunity.  It was the perfect timing for me to receive the spark of a “New York moment.”

I saw my first musical improv show at The Pit, and it was amazing.  There are so many amazing people here that are following their dreams! I was also able to see Beauty and the Beast on Broadway this weekend, and it was incredible.  I sat in my chair in wonder at the talent of the actors, and the beauty of the theater.  Yesterday I ate lunch at Chelsea Market, and it reminded me a lot of Pikes Place Market in Seattle.

I am going to focus more upon looking around and really seeing New York…because, I’m here!

Country Girl in the Big City

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2013-10-12 10.39.24It’s official. I moved to Brooklyn, New York nine days ago to follow my dream of becoming a writer for a magazine.
In April of 2013, while reading my rejection letter to get into the MFA Writing program at Boise State, my heart started to race. And the thought, “you have to move to New York City,” popped into my head. I had never been to New York, but I listened to my intuition and made it happen. So here I am. I don’t have a job yet, but just being surrounded by the creative and talented people that walk these streets is inspiring and makes me want to try harder. What a place. I am sure this next year is going to be full of adventure, fear, anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, and so many thousands of emotions. But whatever happens. I’m going to grow. I’m going to be better, and I’m going to be constantly inspired by this magical place. Follow me on my journey as I try to figure this city out, one step at a time.