Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When in Rome..




New Yorkers are slow walkers.

I know you're expecting a '....NOT!' a la Borat, but just wait. I will clarify - New Yorkers are insanely fast walkers, except apparently when there's a snow storm. I've never seen such caution in the steps of the masses as I did over the weekend, when the snow hit the fan. Even big city dwellers slow down when confronted with a blizzard, and with good reason.

Lesson #13: Always walk quickly, or stay to the right, unless there's a snow storm. When there is such a storm, you have full right to takes steps slowly, gingerly, and maybe appreciate a sight or two. You won't even feel touristy, since everyone will be looking up at the snow, the buildings, the night sky. So take full advantage of this time to let your inner tourist out! Honestly, I've never seen NYers so happy as I did during the snow fall. A few were even smiling, unabashedly!

This picture is from the Times Square snow fight that broke out. No, I was not there because I tend to avoid the area, but I think it looks breath-taking.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's a New Scentsation



I could write an Ode to the smells in this fine city. Unfortunately, not all of the smell are fine, and the ones that aren't seem to assault you when you least expect it.

Lesson #12: Your nose/palate simply cannot prepare itself for the plethora of scents. Just accept this. Clearly, this lesson is just more of a fact, since I can't conceive how one would prepare for these things.

Of course, some of the scents are indeed horrible (sometimes if I'm walking close to the Hudson, the smell is almost enough to make me fall in. Or maybe it's just New Jersey...) And though I'm someone who tries very much to be in charge of my own happiness, but I've found it to be damn near impossible to even feign happiness when surrounded by a terrible smell. It's a similar feeling I get when feeling too warm - flustered, pissed off, and decidedly not myself (if I am any of these things usually, please let me know because that means I have absolutely no sense of self).

But! There are such succulent smells in this city that I'd gladly accept the terrible for a glimpse (waft? aroma?) of perfection. Most days I'm treated to the delicious delight of walking over bakery vents at Chelsea Market on 15th St. The wafting smell of bread, pastries, etc is enough to make a woman go weak in the knees. Some go for tall, dark, and handsome...others are content with the decadent smells of bread baking.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Know your Assets



Lesson #11 when moving: Invest. No, I'm not a budding Suze Orman (though since moving to NYC I might consider myself Young, Fabulous, and Broke..), and I'm not really about to give financial advice on my personal blog.

What I'm referring to is investing by only purchasing things that you can't live without, and buying things that will actually last. Space is a premium here in the city and the last thing you want is a bunch of half-baked purchases lying around. Or, rather, stacked upon each-other in a haphazard way.

It's such a simple concept, but I honestly think part of the reason the American economy is so messed up is because people buy whatever they want on a whim, and it's usually of poor quality (read: made in China or some unpronounceable country). If we really want to stimulate the economy, maybe we should stop shopping at walmart for the absolute cheapest items, and shop locally for things that will last a bit longer?

Unless Sarah Palin's book tour is going to walmart. Then I'm definitely there.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Moving on


I literally brought 2 suitcases with me when I moved, and still haven't brought the majority of my belongings...

So here I sit, surrounded by a moat belongings in my parent's home. I'm sorting what I need to bring back to the city, what I'm giving to goodwill, what I'm bringing to my brother's for storage, and which items of clothing will also double for a noose in case moving really gets to me. (Okay, I probably shouldn't make suicide jokes here - I'm using a little poetic license. Plus, aren't most writers a tad suicidal anyway? Just pretending to fit that mold).

Lesson #10: Moving should resemble removing a band aid if at all possible - do it as quickly, and seamlessly, as possible. In particular, I mean moving one's belongings. I have drawn this process out over literally a few months, and it's been more painful than it should be. My advice would be to just take care of it all at once - just hire movers, storage space if necessary, and so on.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, though, I'm just happy that I have family and friends to help with the enormous amount of work that moving entails! Honestly, I would be utterly lost without my mom's insane knowledge of storage, moving, etc. Plus she made me a blanket with old t-shirts from age 4 to 24 (favorite shirt being the "We Love Recycling - 1989," my parent must have known that I would be a tree hugger). It's great. Plus it got rid of like 30 t-shirts that I would have to otherwise sort through and store, so it's also been the saving grace of my sanity.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a Modern Day Belle


(FYI, I mean the Disney Belle, not a southern belle. Also there aren't palm trees where I live, as the picture might suggest)

I realize that I sometimes walk around carrying a book. Okay, not just carrying...actually reading a book. I also realize that having my nose in a book isn't a smart idea, but sometimes I just.can't.stop.READING a page (or few). I recall doing this a lot in Ann Arbor, but I didn't really need to worry about getting lost or running into rude New Yorkers. For some reason the fact that it's probably the nerdiest thing one could do has never bothered me.

Another kind of bad habit I've fallen prey to is never having a fully charged cell phone. Because what I've noticed is that it tends to die at the most important times. Like when I'm trying to meet a friend (which was the case tonight) or when walking home at 3am, at which point it'd be good to have the "phone a friend" lifeline (wow, a 'who wants to be a millionaire' reference? o rly?).

Lesson #9 in moving to a big city: Always have a fully charged cell phone on you. Or walkie talkie. Or laptop, if you must. Just make sure if you need to be in contact with someone, or need to pull up a map, need to know the closest vegan pizza place, etc, you can figure it out. You won't have to ask randoms on the street or rely on your gut instinct (which is wrong a noticeable amount of the time). While I love feeling disconnected from technology at times (funny, I know, that I'm writing that in a blog.), it's probably best to at least have access to it when necessary.

But then again, people survived for generations without cell phones. Though also didn't have libraries, CNN, diet Coke, and other necessities.

Friday, November 20, 2009

If you like Piña Coladas....

I do enjoy getting caught in the rain from time to time, but prefer to not be caught sans umbrella.

Lesson #8: Prepare for anything. Just buy a big bag and before leaving each day, make sure to prepare for any type of weather/event/whim. Sure, you'll probably look homeless, but at least you'll be dry and homeless looking.

I'm not advocating bringing heels with you in case you find yourself needing to look fancy (well, unless it's the weekend. Then I might advise this), but more of your daily necessities. For instance, I often bring a snack with me because I don't know if I'll be hungry at some point, and a hungry me = an unhappy me. Plus it is sometimes hard to find vegan food around, though arguably easier here than anywhere in the country.

Other things that would come in handy to carry on a daily basis:

Book (obviously good for commutes. Or if you're eating alone and don't want to look really alone or something.)
Floss (I don't actually carry this, but I should. Days have been ruined by the agonizing feeling of something caught between teeth.)
Bandaids, in case you get blisters while walking. Or in case you get bloody nipples (wait, maybe that's just for marathon runners? hmmmm. Happy that I've never experienced this.)
Snack, umbrella, sweater (the necessities)

The list could go on and on, but just bring more than you think you'd want. Then in case you can't make rent and indeed are homeless, you'll have lots of cool things to do to pass the time.


Friday, November 13, 2009

20something in a Candy Store

Though I recently wrote a post about not needing less sleep than one thinks (which I still consider to be true, as does this guy), I also am realizing that it's okay, and good, to take a break from the city madness. Maybe this is my small town roots pulling me down to earth, but I seriously wonder at times how people stay sane here without actively pursuing sanity.

I honestly feel like I'm in a gigantic candy store at times, full of delicious vegan goodies.

(side note: I know some claim that Vegas is an adult playground, but I disagree - New York is much more so. Playgrounds are full of more than tourists, strippers, and drunk college students (at least where I'm from.). Playgrounds have kids from diverse backgrounds, and they aren't always such a fun place. Instead of drinking, lots of kids are on ADHD meds, and I think many New Yorkers should be (though they probably drink a lot too. Oh well). Kids can be cruel, and so can adults. But playgrounds are also a place where you're on the fast track to learning who you are. That, and let's be honest - men still flirt in many of the same ways they did at 7 years old.)

Most nights, I don't get home until fairly late... almost as if I'd guilty to just have a simple, relaxing evening. Well, it's safe to say that the city will go on without any individual and will provide ample opportunities to indulge one's passions another day. Besides, it's pretty tough to really enjoy life/the city/yourself if you're too busy to recognize appreciate it.

Lesson #7: You don't need to figure out everything at once, or even soon after moving. Allow yourself some precious "me" ("you," to me) time every now and then. Of course, this goes for just about everyone, everywhere, but it's easy to get caught up in the constant activities - my hedonistic self just wants to take advantage of what the city has to offer. Therefore, it becomes easy to forget life's simple pleasures - one of those being the blissful times of doing nothing. Or reading for pleasure. Or actually catching up on sleep now and then (I never claimed to be consistent.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

One, Two, Three Strikes You're Out..


Face it - no one really cares where your team allegiance lies when the Yankees with the World Series. You're in New York, and the Yankees/Mets/Rangers (and so on) run supreme.

Lesson #6 in moving to a big city: You can't just turn on or off your sports allegiances based on location. Just realize that you will be bitter if your hometown team doesn't do as well as your new town team. It takes time to develop feelings for these teams - and I've noticed many 'transplants' never do let go of their hometown team love. For me, I'll be happy if I'm able to retain my devotion and add a few NY sports teams to the mix as well. I will say, though - as much as I am bothered by bandwagon fans, it's hard to not get caught up at least a little in the excitement of an entire city celebrating a championship.

Plus, the poor Yankees have had such a rough century! They deserve a win more than any team. (please, please sense the sarcasm there. Normally I'd assume one would, but with a statement as bold as that, I've got to cover my bases....no pun intended.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get Ready to Live to the EXTREME


There's not much moderation in this city. It honestly thrives on extremes.

Lesson #5 in moving to NYC (and this one is specific to NYC, not any city): Don't worry about fitting in and being "normal" (whatever that even means, I sometimes feel so detached that I don't even know). There's basically no such thing as 'normal' or 'ordinary' people here, and pretty sure people don't move to this city to "fit in."

This city draws people from every extreme walk of life, and it seems like people's lives get even more amazingly bizarre while living here. So I'm learning to just own it, be exactly who I am, and just grow in a city that could really care less (which is both a positive and negative, but that's another story...)


Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'll Sleep when I'm Dead....or live in a less exciting place



This guy is either homeless or just understands that you should take a nap if you can, but getting less sleep is not that big a deal.

Lesson #4 in moving to NYC: You need less sleep than you think. Stop being such a baby! I felt so out of it the first few days here without my plushy 8-9 hours, but quickly learned that, like the pyramid food guide, the general rule of thumb for sleep is not exactly accurate.

Sure, I'm more on my game when I get lots of sleep, but who has time for it? There are simply too many other great things to do here in Gotham city. Maybe I'll regret this thinking later on, but for now, I've found that amping up the caffeine and just not complaining about lack of sleep makes life, well, more livable.

Though I will note that things in this city happen so much later than anywhere I've been. Rolling into work at 9:30am is not only common, it's pretty much expected. Generally, the hours are also much longer here, therefore working late is also fairly requisite.

Full disclosure: I love nothing more than a delicious, lazy nap, especially if it includes lucid dreaming...in fact, sometimes I fantasize about getting more sleep. So basically this post is to help me just deal with the dilemma of needing more sleep than I can allow myself. Yawn (this is making me sleepy).

Also, on a totally unrelated note (though I suppose both yoga and drinking are common here), this site is kind of great.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date



I noticed a theme recently, which is that as of late, I've been late to just about everything. Which leads to...

Lesson #3: Take the amount of time you think it'll take you to go somewhere, and add 10-15 minutes. You'll still probably be late, just less late, more in an adorable 'she's a bit irresponsible, God love her,' and less of a 'rude New Yorker, doesn't care about other people's time' way. On second thought, maybe it's better to fall into the latter category?

Either way, just assume that it'll take you longer than you think to get just about anywhere. I do realize that there have been various service interruptions to the subway, but even just walking I usually go the wrong direction a couple blocks here & there, which adds up. Before NYC, I kind of prided myself on being on time (this is quite tame of me, I realize) - but I've found that being late adds so much stress to life! The frantic stride, the flushed cheeks, the anger that starts brewing...these are not my favorite things.

Basically, there needs to be more than 24 hours in a day to accomplish all the things I'd like to do, and not be consistently late for each. Such is life!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Living with Cats...from a decidedly non-cat person


Milk is a bad choice. So is living with cats.


As of a week ago, the only pets I had was a bird and a few rabbits (which I realize is slightly odd, but just wait). When I found a great sublet, though, I reasoned with myself that living with 2 cats couldn't be so bad.

I slept with one eye open my first night, after getting treated to multiple hisses from my feline friends (I use that term far too loosely). Honestly, there were times I wanted to do terrible things to these cats, and I've found myself questioning how anyone could live with these things. I've also questioned whether or not I could be friends with anyone that lives with cats (the answer is a begrudging yes). Which brings me to my second lesson:

Lesson #2 to remember when moving to a city (or anywhere, really): If you aren't a cat (or dog, or fish, or rat) person, don't live in a place with said animal(s).

I met a girl today that retold a college horror story: one of her roommates had a rat as a pet. Not only did she have a rat, but this rat had baby rats as well that lived under her bed. Now, I'm an open minded individual but there are just certain things you should NOT, under any circumstances, subject your roommates to. Let's just say there are many things I'd prefer finding under a bed than a pile of swarming baby rats.

And that, my friends, is why the idea of finding an apartment/roommates via Craigslist is terrifying. If I can find a place without cats/rats, I'll be set.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 1: of Mice and Mental Stability

My new home (for October, at least) - Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A note: I've heard the new Jay Z song "empire state of mind" at least 2x per day while in Brooklyn - I mean, I get it - he's from BK, it's a love song to NYC, etc..but really? Do we need to hear it that often?

I am happy to report that I have only seen mice on the streets so far, not in my lovely 1bedroom. On the other hand, my two roommates (Henry and Sascha, cats) would be more than happy to find mice, I'm sure. When they aren't hissing at me or demanding attention, I actually get along with them okay.

However, on the mental stability front, I've gone through countless emotions this week. No complete freak-outs, but some wtf moments. I miss friends & family like crazy, but I'm slowly adjusting to life here. And finally:

Lesson #1 in moving to a big city: open the cab on the side of the street that traffic is not on. Seems simple enough, but I learned it the hard way upon getting dropped of from La Guardia and promptly slamming the cab door into an oncoming car. Luckily, the other car was only slightly damaged and left after only cursing me a few times. Welcome to NYC!!