Beach Bum in the Big Apple…
I was pretty sure when my parents were going to be kissing me goodbye before catching a cab to JFK I would ultimately, immediately, cry myself to sleep.
Of course I cried! I was completely freaked out. They left me alone in NYC with no knowledge really of living on my own.
I have been a caged tiger in a well-kept zoo for the past 23 years. Hand fed and nestled safely behind the trusting bars of my home, my cage. I was most likely incapable of surviving in the wild…I haven’t really had to use my animal instincts.
Luckily my BFF since third grade Elizabeth lives in NY and I was able to see her that night after my parents headed home to Virginia Beach. I needed to see a familiar face more than ever.
So far living in NY is pretty nice. I love my apartment; it’s new and is housed with other graduate students. The student housing reminds me a lot of elementary school. We are all doe-eyed and eager to make new friends. There are students from all over the country and world. Everyone is putting on a friendly face and introducing themselves to every person who crosses their path. I’ve been approaching people in my building to make friends like the annoying kiosk attendants at the malls back home would approach every passerby to get him/her to try a new lotion or hair straightener. Annoying and persistent as hell.
The ultimate test of developing my abilities to survive in the wild…the concrete jungle…was figuring out the subway systems. I’ve been to NY a few times before moving here, but I was always lucky enough to be with people who knew what the hell they were doing when riding the subways. With that, I would just follow blindly without making any efforts to actually learn how to do it. Bam! I’m using the number 6 train to attend a grad get-together in midtown, riding with a fellow grad student and new friend Meg. Bam BAM! Heading to meet familiar friends in Union Square with Meg. And on Aug. 9, Meg and I venture toward midtown again with our beloved 6 train to familiarize ourselves with the route we will be taking to our respective grad schools. I think we got it. I guess the ultimate-ultimate test will be when I brave the subway sans Meg…which I will do later this week when I head for the bus station on Canal Street. I’m heading to VB, not because I’m putting my tail between my legs and calling it quits! Or because I really really really miss my ma (and I do)! But because I forgot my retainer and didn’t have enough space in my suitcases (can you ever really pack enough clothes/shoes? No.) for a few other important things like my rain boots. [Fun fact, walking around NYC with sandals on when it’s pissing rain SUCKS.]
Another test…and by writing this I am aware that I’m making myself look like a spoiled brat/moron/lazy-ass, maybe other things…I have never done my own laundry before. Yeah, I KNOW! BACK OFF! One of my roommates, sweetheart Sonja from Germany, asked me to help her figure out how to do laundry in our building’s laundry room. This was it…this was going to separate the men from the mama’s boys. Even though I haven’t used it yet, I said sure and figured it would be the best time to figure out how to use those damn machines. Before I knew it we were trying to put detergent into the machine after it has been filling with water for about two full minutes. We’ll figure it out.
I think the hardest thing about living in NY right now is feeling completely out of my realm…or as the Kardashian’s would say, ”out of my comfort zone” <3. I don’t know where to start, where to go…I mean I know this is the city that doesn’t sleep but I feel exhausted just thinking about my options. This concrete jungle is making me feel like a stray kitten in a cardboard box…and yes to make this picture that much more dramatic, let’s add that it is raining, too. I miss being able to meet my friends anywhere familiar to me in VB. I have had an amazing summer with the people who mean the world to me. I love them all so much and appreciated their confidence in me more than they know when I told them I’d be moving to NY. I guess the best part is thinking about how much fun it will be when they visit me and how good it’s going to feel when I come home.
In the mean time I’m looking forward to becoming more equipped to living in NY by becoming a tiger that hasn’t completely lost it’s instinct because of years of captivity. I’m looking forward to starting grad school and having my life switch from being that beach bum to a stressed out student (i’m sure I’ll regret writing this.) I’m hoping that NY will feel like home.