…Except I kind of was. I spent the last couple of years poring over articles and pictures of New York City. I read all kinds of guides for making your finances stretch and the best neighborhoods to live in and the hot spots to visit. I read listicles and blogs and books about the city- I mean, I even have a NYC coloring book! I think you could safely say I had done my research. So while these things didn’t surprise me per say, it’s still different living them out versus reading about them from my little redneck North Carolina town. You know?
The subway car is empty for a reason.
Hah. Anybody who’s read any kind of guide for NYC tourists has probably heard this, but I got to experience it in person this past week. A wall of stench greeted me as I unwarily stepped inside, and by the time I realized how horrible it was, the train was ready to go. I moved to the back of the car, as far away from The Spot as possible, and gingerly held my scarf to my nose like the other occupants. As soon as the next stop came, I approached to the blessed relief and relative sanitation of the next car. A few brave people soldiered on; I could see them through the window. Maybe they’re the ones who can’t smell? Or maybe they just figured the extra leg room was worth feeling like you’re in the bottom of an outhouse.
Everything is more convenient here.
While the boondocks of Queens where I’m currently staying isn’t as bustling and city-that-never-sleeps as, say, Manhattan, the convenience is still amazing. I can just pop around the corner late at night and load up on groceries, or I can go do laundry just down the street at any hour I please (Yes, that is convenient. I’m used to accommodating the neighbors for my laundry doing). Whenever I want to go somewhere, I just swipe my unlimited metrocard and sit (or stand) in relative comfort as the seasoned conductors take me where I want to go. I’ve got a hundred options for churches and favorite coffee shops and parks and bookstores. New York City is just…so much!
Everything is harder here.
New York City is just…so much! How am I supposed to pick a favorite coffee shop when I have a hundred options? I’m accustomed to the one and only coffee shop Mocksville boasts. How can I decide which church to attend when there are seriously so many wonderful ones? I mean, this one’s closer but that one has amazing music but I really like the other one’s sermons…gaaahhhh. And as for the convenient subway, it’s .6 miles away, which means that not only does riding a few miles take an hour, but I also have to trot my (not) little legs off to even get there. And the groceries and laundry I can take care of at the convenient little shops down the street? Well, I also have to lug all those things on my shoulders up and down stairs and through traffic.
People are so friendly.
I already knew this. In fact, although New Yorkers are rumored to be rude and cold, I have long differed in opinion. They’re not southerners with their “Babydoll” this and “Honey” that, but they’re kind in a different and perhaps more genuine way. But even though I knew this, it is still a pleasant almost-surprise when the girl runs after me to give me the groceries I forget, or when someone lets me go ahead in line, or when someone insists on helping me with something I could do myself. Even when I locked my soon-to-be-roommate out of her own house, she didn’t go all “New York” on me, but nicely assured me it was okay (it wasn’t, and I’m still embarrassed!) and got herself out of the pickle.
It’s cold! But also it’s not.
Haha, of course I knew this. I brought all kinds of sweaters and leggings and boots and layers along, and I should be properly fitted out. But my goodness, it is HARD to properly gauge the temperature when you’re spending so much of the day outside. First you’re hidden from the sun and hard gusts of icy wind pummel you, then next thing you know you’re in a stifling shop and just about melting in your layers. One day you wear too many warm things and can’t get cool, the next you are so cold by the end of your walk that you can hardly type. Some day I will figure this out, but today is not that day.
If you’ve been to the city, what surprised you most? Another surprising thing to me is that while I am starting my new job tomorrow, I have hardly even been nervous about it this week. Normally such an enterprise would have tied my stomach into knots, but I guess a human can only handle so much stress before they’re like, nah, it’s probably fine. I’ve spent the last few months devoting so much mental space to housing (“Makes me want to weep and then die”) and goodbyes and finding places and things that this first day of work has just crept up on me without giving me time to be properly nervous. You can ask me tomorrow evening if this holds true. 🙂