I sleep on an air mattress, I’m living out of a suitcase, I’ve been side-swiped by a cabbie and have fallen down the subway steps, I lug my computer everywhere to take advantage of free internet, I’m sprouting grey hairs from the stress and to top it off, I’m pretty much flat broke.
I knew the move to NYC wasn’t going to be easy but I also didn’t expect to be feeling what I’ve been feeling recently. The timing of everything didn’t exactly help my situation, seeing as my life turned upside down in two-ish weeks. It was quick and felt like I was ripping off the big band-aid of life as a confused 20-something.
However, that initial rip was a painless one. I’m not a fan of emotion or goodbyes. When I went away to college, I gleefully re-assured my sobbing friends and family that “it wasn’t goodbye – it was see ya later!” Because frankly, it wasn’t goodbye. This time it’s different and it’s a bit more permanent than living in a dorm in the middle of Amish country.
On the one hand, permanence can be a good thing. It’s a fresh start; a new chapter of my life is slowly unfolding, one subway wipeout at a time. And I am happy, bit by bit, day by day. People have been asking me, “How are you?” / “Are you happy?” etc, but I never really knew what to say until now.
When I first got here, I was a hot mess. I was staying on a friends couch, volunteering three days a week, spending the other four sitting on a bed wondering what in the hell I was actually doing here. I couldn’t (and still can’t) afford to go “catch up & grab drinks” with friends or have date nights with myself like I used to do. The adrenaline rush died pretty quickly.
People kept telling me things would eventually fall into place and after about a week, I believed them. I quickly found a job bartending at a wine bar and moved in with another friend of mine, taking over her roommates spare room. I had my own bed, a kitchen and a job. I was writing on a daily basis and things were great. Then, I lost that restaurant job and was back to square one.
I’d be lying if I say that didn’t crush me, just a little bit. Boom! There went my source of income. I had no motivation, I was sick of job hunting, sick of looking at my resume, sick of interviews, phone calls, and then I was really sick of people asking me how I was doing. My parents even waited three and a half weeks before actually asking me how I was “feeling.” They knew from the beginning.
It’s been over a month now and I wouldn’t say I’m settled, but things are getting better. I found a great apartment, I’m living with one of my favorite people and I found a much better restaurant job to pay the bills. It’s still difficult and I don’t think life will ever be easy, especially living here. Rent is higher, everything is crowded, people are constantly cranky and it’s no midwest.
(Case in point : this elderly man just spilled his cup of tea on a communal table. There are 3 other people sitting at the table, their papers getting soaked and they didn’t even look up from their phones. I jumped up and grabbed napkins to help and the man looked at me, shocked).
Life will hopefully slow down, I’ll stop being so busy and eventually have time for fun. I’m excited to decorate, explore and find my niche. I can’t wait for my bed and that first paycheck. I’ll be one happy girl when that day comes. You’ll know about it too, I’ll probably bake cupcakes with dollar signs plastered on the icing.
That ache for my family and friends will never go away, but it’ll become tolerable. There’s no doubt in my mind that I left a pretty incredible life back home. I miss driving, I miss not being the “new girl,” at work, I miss patio-hopping, sneaking wine into movies and laughing. I really miss my friends. I’m sick of texting people, “Hey, this ____ reminds me of you / Wish you were here! / Miss you / etc. I also miss our cat and I’m totally a dog person.
With that said, I am lucky to know a few great people here. I can’t imagine moving to a new city, not knowing a single soul. My hat goes off to those who have done that. In a few weeks, I’ll be making my first trip home and I’m so pumped.
It’ll be a great trip home, a nice vacation of sorts. Lucky for you, I haven’t been slacking too much in the food department here in NYC.
Since moving here, I’ve really honed my cooking skills and want to share with you a recipe that has quickly become a staple in my life. The beauty is, it’s super quick and consists of 2 (maybe 3) ingredients.
Cut Spaghetti w/ Tomato Soup
1/4 – 1/2 lb Whole grain thin spaghetti / Barilla cut spaghetti / Any sort of spaghetti you have
1 can Amy’s Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque Soup / Any tomato soup (or really, any soup)
1. Open the can of soup. Don’t cut your finger with a can opener like I did (don’t ask)
2. In a medium sized saucepan, bring the soup to a boil. Meanwhile (and this is the really fun part) cut up the spaghetti with your fingers or scissors if you’re feeling conventional
3. I used about 1/4 noodles which is just enough, because the more noodles you use, the less sauce you have and the longer the noodles will take to boil, prolonging your eating time as a whole. If you use two cans of soup, use more noodles
4. With the soup at a medium boil (not too high, you don’t want soup splattering everywhere – which happened the first time I ever made this), throw in the cut noodles and stir gently. With the soup boiling, the noodles will slowly start to cook
5. It’s important to keep an eye on the soup at all times – this isn’t a dish to leave on the stove and go watch Real Housewives. Patience! It doesn’t take long, probably 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spaghetti. Test “doneness” by scooping out a noodle and tasting it. I prefer mine al-dente, so I’ll probably take them out after 5 minutes. But also, I’m super impatient when it comes to food
Garnish with like five handfuls of Parmesan & you’re set. Go! The Housewives are waiting!
Sidenote : If you would like to follow my work for Chef Marcus Samuelsson, click here.
Till next time! In the meantime, I’ll be byte-ing the big apple.