Hard to believe that next week, it’ll be 10 months since we have been in New York! It has been a while since I checked in about what’s been going on here and how we’re doing, so I figured it was time for an update.
Overall? We’re doing okay. Some of the homesickness of the first half of the year here has abated, though it comes and goes. I think once you start getting used to a place, and the more it feels “normal”, the easier it is to forget or ignore what you might be longing for. And honestly, I think our trip back to the Bay Area in February really helped. It still felt like home, and in some weird way, it was like reassurance that maybe it would always feel that way. So it wasn’t as scary to embrace New York anymore for fear that I would lose that feeling of “home”, if that makes sense. Moving is emotionally confusing, y’all. Conclusion: just like everyone said, you really do have to give yourself at least a year to adjust.
One thing that has really, really helped make life continue to feel more “normal” here: keeping a full calendar. We try and schedule get togethers with other couples, I have continued going to French every single Wednesday, and I always have lunches and dinners happening with girlfriends. Not only has that community of people in my life been instrumental, but just going out is a huge factor too — you end up finding restaurants you really love and want to go back to, and that’s a big part of a place feeling familiar. We have friends visiting us from SF later in May, and when they told us they were coming, I realized I actually had places I wanted to take them and show them and was excited about! A sure sign that we’re settling.
Here’s something that may shock you: the winter has been brutal. Obviously, weather has a huge impact on quality of life, but since the temps have finally started rising, I’m able to reflect on just how MUCH of an impact. Walks are shorter. People want to go out less. You basically wear the same pair of snow boots and the same parka for weeks on end. And of course, everyone is in a brighter, sunnier mood these days. Snow was beautiful the first few times, but I am VERY much looking forward to spring.
That’s our basic check in. Doing better; still think that eventually, one day, we might move back (but we’re cool with hanging out here for a few years). As always (I mean, it IS New York), I have some NY stories and observations. You just never know what you’ll see on the streets here:
THE DOG WALKER: When I am walking Lucy in the mornings, assuming I am in something simple like jeans and a coat and no makeup, I am always asked two questions by the people who stop to pet her. 1) “Is it a boy or a girl?” and 2) “Is she yours?” As in, most people assume that because I am Asian and not dressed up, I’m a nanny or dog walker. When I tell them, yes, she’s mine, 50% of the time they will say, “Oh, that’s great you walk your own dog.” This amuses me to no end. Only on the Upper East Side!
THE (UN) BOY SCOUT MOTTO: I would say the vast majority of the time that a person shows up to our door with take out, they do not have a pen for us to sign the receipt. It boggles the mind, and yeah, okay, is really annoying. Mostly because in our apartment, our front door is located at the base of a set of stairs, so we always have to run back up and hunt for a pen, when really, I just want pad thai in my belly ASAP.
PERFECT!: It is definitely true that people have no qualms about telling you exactly what they think here. One memorable example: I was walking into the subway one night and this older woman was standing at the top of the stairs, talking on her phone, blocking the entrance for everyone descending into the station. Everyone queued up to go around her, grumbling. Then, this one guy, who could best be described as a more grungy Brad Goreski, got directly in front of her, waited for her to look up from her call, and sarcastically screamed in her face, “PERFECT!” before going down the stairs and yelling to his friend about how he was going to “beat her ass”. Needless to say, she was caught off guard. FYI: Joe and I have now been saying, “PERFECT!” to each other at regular intervals.
IT WILL NEVER BE OKAY: to eat the following things when you’re sitting next to someone on the subway: large slices of pizza, Doritos, Cheetos, Thai food, and (added because of Kimberly’s comment below) peel-n-eat crab legs and shrimp (in case it wasn’t obvious). You’ve been warned.
MAYBE TRY A DIFFERENT APPROACH: I had a guy get onto my subway train, throw his backpack down in dramatic fashion, and scream/beg the entire car for subway fare (which I didn’t understand, since he was already in the metro…). “ANYONE? ANYONE?” he yelled. When no one made a move to give him anything, he screamed, “I HOPE YOU ALL CHOKE ON YOUR NEXT F**KING MEAL!” and then exited the car. I think this strategy will prove effective for getting what he wants in life!
BOYS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS: I have, on more than three occasions, overheard dudes walking down the sidewalk and talking very loudly about girls they hooked up with and their best physical attributes. Last week, two guys extolled the virtues of some woman’s “tits” for at least 3 blocks. I think because in New York you’re constantly around people, they’re like, welp, ain’t no other place we’re going to talk about this privately, so why not while walking down 14th St and surrounded by hundreds of people?
THE MEESES: We had our first mouse. Actually, more than one. It started the week we were leaving to go to California in February. One day I noticed a bag of Lucy’s dog food that I had left out had a hole in the bottom. I didn’t think anything of it — maybe I’d snagged it somwhere? — until the next day, when bits of the kibble were strewn all over the counter and clearly gnawed on. Yes, I proceeded to freak out. Yes, I went on a disinfecting spree so thorough every inch of our kitchen sparkled. Since then it’s been like we’re camping in the wilderness: all food, regardless of what it is, gets put away at all times into the fridge or cabinets (aka, the Manhattan equivalent of bear boxes). We don’t even leave little things like garlic or lemons out, which is sad because I have a nice dish for them. We set two traps up and didn’t catch anything for days. When we got back from California, both were full. I’ll spare you the gory details, but basically, I made Joe deal with it. UGH. I’m hoping now that it’s warming up, we won’t have this problem again.
WORK IT OUT: I finally found a gym! I’ve been going to Flex Studios. I don’t know why it took me so long to sign up there, since I knew I would love it. You see, it’s exactly the same as Pilates ProWorks, which I used to go to in SF. Same machines, same exact classes, just a different name. It’s all the way down in Union Square, but just like in SF, I love the workout so much, I am totally cool with trekking down there to do it.
You know how you have great anecdotes about things, but when the time comes to retell you always forget? I know that’s me right now. I need to start keeping a notebook of the hilarious and weird things that I see and hear in NY. I’m also going to start working on a list of restaurants and places I like to visit, similar to the one I have for SF.
I think that’s my update for now (I know the minute I publish this, I’ll think of something else…). New Yorkers, current and former, do you have any good New York stories to share?
Image by Kevin Dooley and licensed under Creative Commons; additional photo edits made by me