Beach Bum in the Big Apple Part 2: Self discovery in New York

Living with a bunch of strangers is the best way to discover who you really are. Luckily, I’m what you would call a “people person.” And thankfully, having an extrovert personality has helped me connect with a good core group of friends at my apartment building and at school. The funny thing is, it’s weird meeting people who know absolutely nothing about who you were at your hometown (well, without checking your Facebook).

I’m starting to wish I went away to school when I was 18. I was a commuter at my undergraduate college. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my college experience, but living in the graduate apartment building here in East Harlem makes me wish I had lived with a bunch of strangers two different times.

It’s always so great meeting people from all over the country and world. It’s fun talking about random memories from our hometowns and playing “Never Have I Ever” to really get to know each other.

Playing “Never Have I Ever” turned into a game of “truth or…truth” this Labor Day weekend when a new friend of mine asked three others and myself, “Do any of you think you’ll meet the person you’ll end up marrying here in New York?”

We all looked at each other, waiting for the biggest sap to scream out, “Of course!” Instead we all laughed a little. We all kind of mumbled in unison, “Well I mean…Maybe? I guess it could happen?…I hope I get a job here.”

After my reaction to that beautifully heart-arousing question, I realized I’m starting to learn a lot about myself as people start learning about me, and as I start learning about them.

First of all I’m more of a prude than I thought. I really can’t kiss a guy unless I know I wouldn’t care whether or not we could be friends. Otherwise, why ruin a potentially great friendship? Why jeopardize everything? I’m more independent than I gave myself credit for also. I have no regrets for being single right now, and it has nothing to do with being able to hook up with randoms. It has everything to do with the fact that I love myself way more than any guy ever could, and that’s the relationship I’m enjoying right now. Unless, Tom Brady…never mind.

I’m way more selfish than I thought. My heart stopped a little when I noticed someone completely finished all the hummus I bought, even though I offered to share it.

I’m smarter than I thought. The smarts thing becomes difficult since one of my new friends is a Philosophy student (I know right?) and he likes to talk about, well, philosophy at times. And while everyone else is contributing my eyes glaze over, and I have no idea what he’s talking about. Part of it is my ignorance to the topic; the other part is my short ass attention span. Other than that, I pick up on things pretty well and I have tried to be more confident about my writing, too, as hard as that may be. And it’s stupid, because how the hell am I going to be a writer if I am not always confident about my writing? I guess it’s because I always think it can be better, and that’s why I’m in graduate school.

I’m way more responsible than I thought. I haven’t been late for any classes yet (surprise!) and I actually have done a homework assignment two days before it was due. Though I’ll admit, I’d much rather do an assignment right before it’s due. I like the rush and the pressure. And sometimes I get bored when I have too much time to spend on one assignment.

I love shopping more than I thought. If I see any resemblance to a designer bag, I’m reaching into my wallet. I know this is wrong, but I can’t really afford you Chanel. I’m sorry.

And one last thing, I’m a lot braver than I thought. Today I strolled through West Harlem, the community district I will be covering for one of my journalism classes, and I didn’t have a problem approaching and talking to strangers (sorry ma). I guess I still had some predatory instincts that didn’t die yet. But I still obviously keep my eyes peeled and I’m aware that any place in any city can be a dangerous one. I could never write or say that I’ve never been scared or felt iffy in some areas of New York.

New York is the one friend I keep trying to make but she’s kind of a bitch sometimes. For the most part we get along really well. But other times she’s a little too busy and already has so many other friends. Little does she know I also realized I’m more persistent and annoying than I thought.


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