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I’ve officially been in New York for a week and it’s been OVERWHELMING, let me tell you!
Before I get started with my tall tale of this week’s craziness, I want to tell you what you can expect from this blog from here on out. I know reading about my random day-to-day life isn’t exactly riveting, but hopefully some of my future posts will be more interesting! As you know by now, if you’ve been reading for a while, I am horrible at keeping a concrete blogging schedule. I will start one, but then nothing interesting will happen so I’ll be embarrassed to write a pointless weekly update. Keeping that in mind, when anything interesting happens I will write about it! So, in the future I will be posting:
- Restaurant reviews
- Responses to my readings from school and additional thoughts I have about European History and contemporary European politics
- Stories about my random jobs in NYC
- Tips and tricks for living on a budget
- Decorating and interior design projects I complete
- Travel stories (I have the opportunity to go on a few trips, so I will write about those, if and when they occur)
So, lets get to it!
Other than the car load of stuff that my mom and I brought up here week before last, I came with nothing.
No furniture, bed, kitchenware…nothing.
I managed to pack two Coleman camping air mattresses and I bought a tray of cooking utensils and a pot at Target, which have been life savers.
The air mattresses are probably about 10 years old, so they hold air as well as you would imagine. New York has also been going through a heatwave and my apartment doesn’t have air or ceiling fans, so that has been torture. I’m used to the 90 degree heat, coming from Texas, but not having air conditioning has been a major adjustment. The tray of cooking utensils also didn’t include a knife, so I’ve been using a pizza cutter to cook for a week.
Now that I got all of my whining out of the way, let’s talk about my classes and other such schtuff!
First things first, Uber is awesome! This is my first time without a vehicle since I turned 16, so being able to get a ride from the airport to my apartment was great. It was quick and relatively cheap!
I got here Tuesday afternoon and immediately dropped my things off and took the train downtown so that I could find out where my classes were for the following day. I was SO freakin’ happy when I got off the train down by NYU. There is an IFC theater that is playing Boyhood and I can’t wait to check it out. I also walked right by a Papaya Dog and it reminded me of that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie has her book party and the chauffeur takes her to Papaya Dog…I fangirled just a lil’ bit, I won’t lie.
I found the building for my first class, but quickly realized I didn’t have a student ID when the security guard wasn’t going to let me into the building without one.
After I found my first class I figured I should go get a student ID. I have attended 3 colleges and that has always been a nightmare, but it took 20 minutes and was free! My pictures was HORRIBLE because it was so hot outside.
FULL GINGER ‘FRO! >__<
After getting my ID, I realized my next class was right next door, so I checked it out and then decided to try to find an IKEA…
The stupid map application on my iPhone said there was an IKEA in Manhattan and Brooklyn and that the Manhattan location was only .5 miles from the school, so I decided to walk…just FYI, there is no IKEA in Manhattan.
I stopped and got a drink and then got back on the train to go home. About halfway home I realized I didn’t have any groceries and wasn’t sure if the bodegas by my place would be open, so I got off at 59th/Columbus Circle since it was such crowded station. I found out they have a Whole Foods right by the station, so I picked up some chicken, vegetables, pasta, sauce, olive oil, crackers, peanut butter, olives, KIND bars, and tuna so that I would have enough food to last a while.
I don’t have a consistent job yet, so I’m trying to save as much money as possible. I obviously won’t be able to shop at Whole Foods regularly, but it was nice to start off with some good food! For $60 bucks I’ve had food for over a week and have enough to last a few more days!
Tip: Chicken thighs are cheap and really good if you are adding meat to a dish…they aren’t that great by themselves, like chicken breasts would be, but delicious no less!
I got home before dark which was good. I’ve been told that walking around at night, alone in the Bronx is a no-no, even though the train station is close to my place…
I cooked some pasta and chicken with sauteed spinach and mushrooms, then decided to try my hand a blowing up the air mattresses…a few hours later I was thoroughly drenched, but full and ready for bed. Of course I needed to shower, but immediately realized I didn’t have a shower curtain…#fail
I solved the issue, but it is a nightmare trying to find basic household goods here. I know of one Target, but it’s a couple of train changes away, so I have to buy one of those rolling baskets so that I can carry more than one handful of stuff.
Tip: IKEA.com does not let you order smaller items on their website (towels, bathmats, shower curtains, power strips, etc.)
My first night was rough. I slept maybe two hours. I cried and was terrified someone was going to break in. It’s so noisy here! Thankfully, over the last week I’ve gotten used to it a little more…so I only bolt out of bed a couple of times a night when I hear people talking outside my window, haha!
Speaking of which, the second night I was here I decided to clean and organize my closet. See, on the first trip my mom and I made here, we emptied the car-load of stuff into the closet and immediately drove back to Texas, but then I brought a second set of bags on the plane back.
Well, all of this stuff took up the entire hallway when emptied, so I had to do something!
I spent 4 hours scrubbing the closet (the apartment wasn’t cleaned after the last tenants left, so I am having to go room by room as I move stuff in) and organizing all of my clothes.
I may not have been able to bring a shower curtain or kitchenware, but you better believe I brought all of my shoes, clothes, bags, jewelry, and then purchased hangers! PRIORITIES!
Anyway, during this 4 hour marathon I opened the window in my kitchen and in my bathroom to get some air circulating. From my bathroom you could see into the apartment where I was working and women and kids kept bending down to shin level and looking in and talking to me in Spanish.
The first time it scared the shit out of me and I accidentally answered in Italian, but the second and third times I was prepared and was able to reply…
I’ve learned Spanish from Mexican, Costa Rican, Brazilian, and Puerto Rican teachers and can understand most Spanish in Northern Mexican and Puerto Rican accents, but Dominican accents have proven crazy hard for me to pick up.
I remember when learning Spanish I would always hear Reggaeton artists conjugating verbs with -ao at the end. Like “cansao” and my silly self thought it was an entire other tense of verbs I hadn’t learned yet! Thankfully, after 8 years of confusion, my best friend’s mom finally explained that it’s just an accent or colloquial.
But Dominican Spanish seems to use that ending a LOT, so it’s hard for me to respond in a timely manner since I have to listen, then change the spelling from the way I heard them say it, then try to pick which verb they used, then conjugate it in my response…so I just smile and nod 99% of the time! 😛
There is a Dominican restaurant near my house that delivers, so I am going to order plenty of Dominican food over the phone…practice makes perfect right? 😉
The hardest thing for me so far in NYC has been the staring. People here stare nonstop. I get so nervous when I have to walk from my place to the train and back. I think it’s a cultural thing up here, because I was always taught not to stare. I try to always look down when I’m walking so that I don’t make eye contact and engage the people staring, but it still freaks me out!
As far as school goes, I LOVE IT. They are constantly emailing about lectures to go to and other activities, as well as job updates in the area and what not. Everyone has been very nice, although I haven’t made any friends, but I also have a guy in one of my classes from the college I just left in Texas! RANDOM! The campus is also so gorgeous and there are cheap eats everywhere!
My classes are pretty awesome! One of my classes is really theoretical so it’s hard for me to understand a lot of the stuff we talk about. There are several PhD students in the class and they are so articulate and speak 82759838753 languages, so it’s quite intimidating, but I just try to listen as much as possible and absorb the readings so I don’t make a fool of myself, if I am put on the spot.
Another class I’m taking is geared around contemporary Europe and the readings are easy to digest, so it’s actually quite fun. The only thing bad about classes that I’m confident in is that I tend to talk more, so when I leave class I feel like I’ve dominated the conversation and that’s embarrassing too, so I spend hours afterward reassessing what I said and fretting over whether I sounded stupid or not.
I wish I could find a balance: listen like I’m intimidated, but speak when I’m sure and confident about something…I’ll learn, one of these days!
Another class I’m taking is about how different people approach the study of history, so it’s also more theoretical, but it’s a big class with lots of students from all over the world so that’s fun too.
I have also been very fortunate and found a part-time job immediately!
I HIGHLY recommend care.com if you live in a major city or are new to an area and looking for work. Unfortunately, with around 600 to 800 pages a week to read and multiple papers to write, I don’t believe it’s practical for me to work at a full time job (not to mention needing 15ish hours a week off to go to class has made it practically impossible to find a full-time position). ANYWAY, I’ve been able to find a part-time position on care.com passing out promotional materials for theater productions, as well as a few other odd jobs.
Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with my first crazy New York City story!
One afternoon last week I was on my way home from downtown and I got on the train, only to sit down and realize there was a drunk man standing across the aisle from me. He was talking so loud and slurring. We reached the first stop after I got on and he began talking to a young couple standing next to him. He started saying, “Y’all watch! Just watch! All these crackas are gettin’ off at 59th street! You watch, ain’t none of them goin’ uptown!” At this point he’s yelling, but what he’s saying is hilarious so everyone is trying not to laugh. The couple moves away from him, but start laughing really loud. He knows everyone is laughing at him and just keeps on! “Please believe it! None of these crakas gon’ be on here once we get past Harlem! I’m just bein’ real, just WATCH!” Well, he finally sits down and a lady and her little boy sit next to him. He starts making random comments about kids, but then gets distracted when we get past Harlem, “What’d I tell y’all?! All them crackas is gone [laughs uncontrollably].” After everyone calmed down from laughing so hard, it got quiet and he started talking about kids again, but then switches to talking about being drunk and how he wants to pee and go to sleep. About that time, something sets him off and he directly looks at the kid sitting next to him and says, “You don’t know if that is your real mom! You wasn’t there when you came out, so you will never know if that’s your real mom!” Everyone on the train was shocked and then he passed out! 10 minutes later he wakes back up, after drooling all over himself, and apologizes to the lady. Thankfully I had to get off mid-apology, so I don’t know what happened, but that was definitely a friendly welcome to the NYC transit system!
I was gifted a ticket to a play by my new boss and have my first visitor this weekend, so hopefully my next post is a little more focused and action packed!
Thank y’all, ummm, yous guys for reading!