May 13, 2014

Six Months in NYC

We have officially been living in New York City for six months. In some ways, it definitely feels like we just got here, and in others {ahem, the winter weather} it feels like we've been here for years. I thought I'd do a little recap of our time here and list some things I've learned so far.

We packed up our car and drove up to New York at the end of October. We were nervous, sad, a little excited and admittedly scared about this new adventure we were beginning.

Our first night in the apartment consisted of sushi on the floor with a cardboard box table and champagne in plastic cups. It was actually kind of perfect.

Our first day was spent walking around our new neighborhood.  Thankfully, we still were able to witness some beautiful fall weather before it turned too cold.

The chaos began when all of our "stuff" was delivered the following day. Filling an already small apartment with too many boxes made me into a crazy lady. I spent the next few weeks trying desperately to unpack these giant boxes and get them out. TJ began his new job right away and I was not working yet, so I made "getting settled" my job. There isn't a spare room to put all of the boxes in and shut the door until you're ready to unpack them, like we had done at our house in Charlotte. We were literally living in a box jungle for what seemed like weeks.  In the interest of full disclosure, I think I cried everyday for the first month that we were here. Sometimes it was because I was homesick, other times it was because someone looked at me the wrong way {yep, my skin has thickened since then!} But mostly, it was because nothing felt comfortable. I didn't know where and how to go grocery shopping. Nothing was familiar. I didn't know how to get from point A to point B. We didn't have our favorite Mexican restaurant that was right up the street from us like we did in Charlotte. We hardly knew anyone at all. We didn't know our neighbors because things are different in apartment buildings. Walking the dogs, well that deserves a post in itself!
There were multiple times in that first little bit that TJ and I would look at each other and wonder if we had made a really big mistake.  From what I understand, this is all very normal. It was my first move to another state and our first move together as a couple, so lots of changes all around. Not to mention, we were throwing in a complete lifestyle change in the mix.
After all of the boxes had been unpacked and we had our pictures back on the shelves, we started to breathe a little. Pretty surprisingly, we seem to be fitting okay  in our apartment.
We began to run into familiar faces on the street and on the way to the park. We figured out how to get groceries and do laundry, and tried lots of good restaurants. I pretty much avoided the subway at all costs for the first month or so, and truthfully, if I can walk it and the weather isn't miserable, I'll still avoid the subway at all costs.
We have made it a point to really take in where we live. I still think it's crazy that "a walk in the park" means Central Park and that walking home sometimes means going through Times Square. I definitely am still in awe that we live here. If you would have told me a year ago this is where we would be, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.
I have had moments where I really, really wish we had a backyard for summer nights and dinners on the deck. Or a larger kitchen to have dinner parties or, who am I kidding, just space to prep dinner! But the goal is not to focus on what we wish we had or where we wish we were. The important lesson is to appreciate exactly where we are. And we are here, in New York City, where we live. We don't know how long we'll be here and just as I miss "home", I will surely miss parts of NYC when we leave here, too.
So, because we've been here for six months, I thought it would be fun to list six things I've learned through living in New York City so far:
{one} Know where you're going, what you're ordering and do not hesitate. If you do, someone will undoubtedly sigh in exasperation or perhaps ask you kindly to get out of the way. I learned this the hard way when asking questions like "what's in that turkey sandwich?", "can I get that on a different type of bread?", "is that organic?" People are always in a hurry. Always.
{two} Do not come running towards anyone in the street. I do not care if you are in a hurry, if you are walking down the street and you feel someone running towards you, you might assume they are trying to mug you or hurt you in some way and completely spazz out like a crazy person. I know this from experience and the fact that I am super paranoid all the time. :)
{three} "Telling is like it is" or "keeping it real" are code words for saying something that isn't very nice. And smiling at people and asking how they are doing may catch people off guard. I have actually been told that I was "too friendly" and enthusiastic and once they found out I was from the south, was told that it all made sense because people from the south are nice. {Thank you?}
{four}Weather, Weather, Weather.  Rain boots are your friend. This city does not handle rain well. TJ and I couldn't quite put our finger on why it is so yucky here, but I think it's because when it rains, you still have to go out in it and do all the things you would normally do. You don't hop in your car and run from the car to the store. The streets practically flood and when everyone has an umbrella up, it's a serious hazard!  I am saying this all really lightheartedly, but please, bring your hunter rain boots if you are moving to NYC. You will use them all the time. Also, someone told us when we moved here that people hibernate during the winter and don't go further than a block away from home when it's cold out. We didn't believe this at the time, but now we do. When it is nice out, like it is now, you have a whole new appreciation for it.
{five} There are sweet people in New York. I've seen them when asking for directions, lending a helping hand, being friendly and striking up conversations, giving recommendations for places to eat or visit. I feel safe in our neighborhood and really feel like anyone around me would help me if I needed it. There are a lot of stereotypes for all places {south included} and I'm sure many of them are true, BUT there are lots of friendly people here, you just have to be open enough to see them.
{six} Relax! Because of the fast-paced lifestyle, it's easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed. Especially at first. We've come a long way in learning to go-with-the-flow, laugh it off, and not sweat the small things. Because we couldn't physically move our house from Charlotte here {oh, how nice that would be!}, we don't need to try and make this place like that place. For some reason, knowing that helps. New York is supposed to be different, and we're supposed to live in a tiny apartment {with little-to-no-room to support my shoe addiction}. We figured the sooner we could relax and embrace this wild adventure, the sooner we'd likely start enjoying it.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I'm so proud of you and all of the progress you've made in just 6 months! Reading this took me back to our first few months in New Zealand. It is always such a huge change when you uproot yourselves and move somewhere completely new, but you're doing such a great job of making the most of this experience! I really hope it works out for us to come visit you guys in the not-too-distant future!

Post a Comment

Content © Margot G. All Rights Reserved | Design © 2011 Laura Jane Designs
Unauthorized use of this site's design or code is strictly prohibited.