One Year In New York City, A Reflection
At the end of 2014, I was heartbroken. I had just said goodbye to my boyfriend as I put him on a bus to Paris to fly back to America and be free of me since he didn't want to attempt a long-distance relationship. Now, as sad lady as that sounds, don't worry, we ended up having a very happy ending. But in-between that time and April 2015, I was plagued with this realization that getting a work visa to stay in London would be quite hard and almost not worth the effort if it were to fail. Meanwhile, since I was heartbroken, I spent three months wallowing and trying to make the most of my time left in London, but not exactly succeeding as much as I could.
Instead of focusing on how to fully embrace London life, I just looked forward to my new future in New York. I job-searched, looked for sublets and tried to make sure I could get into an improv class. And then when I left London on April 6th, 2015, I flew home to spend some time with family and friends before setting off to New York on April 26th. I had never stepped foot in this city and was nervous and excited to start a new life. I already had set up an interview for the next day, found my sublet (after almost getting into an unauthorized car posing as an Uber driver) and figured out how to navigate the subway system.
But for as much as I was ready to leave London and get to New York, the littlest things would trigger a sadness in me about the city I left behind. From seeing Pret a Manger's everywhere (which was so confusing because I had thought it was just a English company) to hearing a British accent in passing, or looking through my photos I had taken, these all hit me hard. While I was entranced by this new city, I still felt like I had left a part of myself behind. I did jump right into things though. I was not going to sit around and be idle in my first couple months in the city. I needed to find ways to distract me from longing for my ex and for London. I took walks around the city, answered casting calls on comedy Facebook groups to be in funny web videos, made sure I was applying to at least 10-20 jobs a day, meeting people at improv jams, searching for a new place to live and just overall trying to figure how to make this city my new home. I felt like I had an entirely new, fresh start and could conquer everything.
However, after two months of interviews and no job offers, I was starting to get upset. I was literally getting to the point where I figured I should suck it up and apply for Starbucks when I got the call for my first full-time job in the city. I went in for multiple interviews and in less than a week, I got a job offer. And to make things even better, my ex was coming into the city for the Del Close Marathon, so I'd get to spend time with him (despite our "broken-up status"). I had the best weekend of my New York experience thus far at the Del Close Marathon. I saw amazing improv, met some very wonderful people who became my friends, and got back together with my boyfriend who decided we could do long-distance until he could move to NYC in January 2016. I started my new job and felt on top of the world.
Unfortunately, a few weeks into this position, I started to see how it wasn't really as advertised and I felt very uncreative and stressed out. I didn't know what to do though. I worked at a global PR firm, but I wasn't convinced that this was what I was meant to do, despite having gone to school for it. I struggled with the idea of just sucking it up and pushing through because making money is the most important thing, or so I thought. Thankfully, after two miserable months there, an opportunity fell into my lap all by chance and I got hired at my absolute dream job. This renewed my faith in this city and I felt happy that I not only could work in social media, but have a boyfriend who loved me, a best friend who lived with me, and the possibility that life could work out in my favor.
Since September, I've had ups and downs. A long-distance relationship is not easy to do at all, so we made sure to visit each other as often as possible, and made it through that and survived to tell the tale. I started to realize that with working life comes the extra encouragement to become lazy, so going to improv jams and film shoots started to peter out. Everything in New York city is majorly expensive, so while I wanted to learn all I could about it and attend brunches and go see sights, I realized that money wasn't available for all of that. And for all the anticipation for moving to New York so I could start a new life, all I've really been thinking about since moving here is how much I want to leave; not move away from the city, but leave to go travel, to go spend time in Europe, to be with family more often.
I have this weird pull in me to be in so many different locations and it's a constant war inside myself everyday. There is truly so much to like about this city, and I do like it, but I guess I also just feel like I always think I know what's best for me, but then it doesn't feel like that once I make it happen. Realistically, if I stayed in London, I probably would've felt the same way so really at the end of the day, I just need to chill and realize that everything doesn't need to be such a battle and that NYC is a good place to be and that obviously London wasn't meant to be at the moment, so I need to relax and enjoy what I have.
So now it's exactly a year after having hopped on a plane to come to New York for the first time ever, and having been here for a full 365 days, I can finally say I feel like I know this city fairly well. I don't have to pull out my phone for directions as much anymore, since I now know which subway lines go to where. I have my various haunts for grocery shopping, a tasty breakfast bagel, late-night comedy and whatever else I regularly need. I've made some wonderful friends who share my interests in the arts and have helped to guide me in finding out new activities to be involved in. I've gotten to be a part of the phenomenons of the city that only happen if you live here (a.k.a. Seeing Hamilton, being nervous after the Paris attacks, etc.). And as I experience things and learn more about this city, I'm sure I'll come to love it more, but for the meantime, here's to making it through one year and I can't wait to see what another year will bring.