Well, here I am, tucked into my cozy little Airbnb room late at night, my first night alone in NYC. My lands, it has been a crazy past few weeks. I have found gray hairs all over my head (Well, I found one on each side and one in the middle, that counts as all over right? I mean, I’d only ever had one before that, so three new ones is a lot for me!) and I have basically spent my days in a state of perpetual exhaustion. Moving is a lot of work, and when you add to that making the million huge and small decisions that accompany it all by yourself, and leaving everyone you know to go to a place where you have approximately 1.5 friends and they not very near by… well, it’s a lot. And did I mention my final week there was our church’s youth conference? While that was excellent for seeing a lot of my favorite people in the last week of my stay, it also meant a lot of running back and forth to church in between my packing, and the awfulness of saying a million goodbyes at once in front of so many strangers.
But I hope my complaining doesn’t make you think I’m sitting here regretting this decision. I should probably just warn you, I’m going to complain about my commute and the difficulty of getting laundry done and my high rent; I mean, I wouldn’t be a real New Yorker if I didn’t complain about those things. And since rants are in the nature of this blog it is only fair that some of them should be about living in NYC. But don’t let that fool you because I still intend to relish living here with all my might.
So Friday evening my excellent friend Abby packed me into our rental car and we started the soggy drive north, stopping for a brief chat and a bit of sleep at another friend’s house in Virginia. Saturday we got up way too early and made our way into the city, blasting quintessential New York songs in honor of my arrival at last. We met my Airbnb hostess who is the most darling little lady that I would like to adopt me please and unloaded my bags, before setting out for a bit of exploration. Pizza slices, cobblestone streets, Brooklyn Bridge at dusk, traipsing about Dumbo- it was lovely. The sun shone and the tourists gaped and I slipped bits about “being a local” into my speech as often as I could without driving Abby nuts. We ended the night with steaming burgers and pasta at our very favorite Irish pub in all of Manhattan, Connolly’s. Only, we first went to the wrong location, so we walked endless blocks in search of the one with the hilarious proprietor we remembered from a year and a half ago. When we found him still working there and still cracking awesome jokes in his charming Irish accent, every step on sore feet was forgiven. You know how some establishments feel like you’ve come home and like you’re among friends and could probably just kick your shoes off and stay for a while? That’s Connolly’s for you; it’s the best.
This morning the sun forgot to come out so Abby and I braved the gusty winds and rain on the half mile walk to the subway station. We traveled for nearly an hour and arrived at the place where church was supposed to be, only to find a giant Verizon store instead and no sign of anything churchy. What? After a little research in a semi-sheltered doorway, we discovered that our lovely technology had taken us to the location of the church offices, not the church. Well, we were going to be late by the time we made it to the correct location, so we gave up and did what any sane and hungry people would do- went for bagels at our favorite little Bagel Bob’s. There’s always a hustle and bustle there but usually a tiny corner is available to sit, and so we did, enjoying the perfect bagels and cream cheese as we watched the crowd come and go. “See you next time,” said the manager when we left, “I’m always here.”
After leisurely coffees and a long trek back to my current home, it was time for Abby to leave. I waved her goodbye and collapsed into a lengthy and amazing nap (it was either that or a good ole cry sesh, so the choice was obvious) and the stress I’ve been collecting for months slowly started to drain. I’m here now, I really am, and everything is working out. I don’t have a place to live permanently yet, but I have irons in the fire and I have a God who is really good at taking care of me. (And if you want to pray that the abode I’m hoping for works out, I wouldn’t be mad. 🙂 ) Also, I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Abby for giving up her time and energy and resources to drive me up here and lend moral support and a shoulder for my tears. You’re the best, Abby, and I think you may just have sprouted little wing nubbins or something.
I’ve wondered when I would realize that I actually live here- when it would hit home, you know? I am still not sure when I will entirely believe it, but tonight when I went around the corner to the grocery store and bought some food for the next few days, food to actually cook here in “my” little kitchen, it started to sink in just a little. For better or worse, this is my city now. This is where my feet are. I’m home.