Tag Archives: NYC

Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad… [Part 2]

And another preface… I had really intended to express how teaching made me feel… but it’s difficult to put into words. Being a teacher was a surreal and incredible experience. I know the more I reflect, the more I could say. 2007-2011 were 4 profoundly important years for me, professionally… and the students who were a part of those 4 years are forever in my heart… I guess that’s all I can say about THAT for now.

My life has changed so much in the past couple of years that sometimes I find myself thinking, “Oh yeah, I used to be a TEACHER.”

I don’t know if I can explain the exact path that brought me to the classroom. I do know that when I found myself on the campus of my alma mater in 2005, I felt safe and at home. So I worked towards the goal of teaching high school English…

More than once during my first year of teaching, I found myself totally caught off guard and in over my head. But as with all things, it got easier and easier. And my saving grace was always, and perhaps surprisingly, my students. They challenged me and kept me on my toes… and more importantly, I knew I was actually doing something good. I was, in my very tiny way, affecting change.

However, as with most jobs, when your personal life suffers, it can be difficult to hide. And I didn’t believe in keeping anything from my students. Not that I was telling them all the details of my life, but I got increasingly irritable and apathetic in the classroom. I looked forward to my time with them, because they were keeping me entertained… but my life had stagnated and I needed to shake things up.

Moving to New York was about starting over. I was unhappy in California and working a very stressful job didn’t help. I didn’t want to become a bitter spinster-type teacher… and I really felt myself starting down that path. I had developed such a special relationship with my school and my students that I couldn’t see myself teaching in a different environment. So when I got to NY, I didn’t look for teaching jobs.

But now that I’m once again in that familiar world of the Job Hunt, I find myself gravitating back to education. Yes, the time off is a huge factor… but also, it’s a world I know well and a world where I knew what I was doing. I do have a passion for teaching… if I didn’t, would I still be in touch with countless students via Facebook? Would I still be willing to edit college admission essays? Would I still be willing to answer last minute grammar questions? Would I still accept phone calls and texts with questions on how to talk to college professors? Would I still be willing to offer words of support to those struggling with the remaining days of school?

So that’s where the Job Hunt is now centered. Am I ready for all the work? Probably not. Am I ready to handle NYC teenagers? Definitely not. But it’s an adventure I’m willing to take on…

Blog song title: “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen


I really want to go out…

I’ve spent the majority of my life doing what I think I’m supposed to do. Go to college, get a job, get a career, pay the bills (anyone else hearing Renton’s speech from Trainspotting here?)… But did I actually WANT to do any of that?

While my relocation to NYC was largely about me grabbing life by the balls, I still find myself unsatisfied in a way I am just now figuring out. Here I am, for example, sitting at “work” and desperately combing the internet for something interesting to read. And every second that passes is wasted…

I wouldn’t say I am afraid of dying (yes, it just went there)… it’s not something that haunts my thoughts every day. But, obviously, I don’t want to shuffle off this mortal coil without having accomplished a few things. I keep seeing stories on Facebook of old classmates who have passed away suddenly, or of people whose parents have died in their sleep, or calls for prayers for friends with cancer or other terrible afflictions. All constant reminders that LIFE IS CRAZY FUCKING SHORT.

I have a friend who is currently out travelling and before he left we had a conversation where I expressed this idea (on a very surface level)… and he very simply said something to the effect of, “all the more reason to go do these things you want to do.” It was simple and to the point… and for some reason, that conversation hasn’t left my brain. For a smart person, I can be really stupid about a lot of things (see any of my previous posts about boys)… and while I say I want to live my life to the fullest, I’m not sure I’ve really understood what that means until recently. And I really have this friend to thank for somehow getting it to sink in.

I know what I don’t want… I don’t want marriage/kids/house/soul-sucking career. These are not the things I strive for or that will make me feel fulfilled in life. So what do I want? I want to go everywhere. Seriously. I want to meet people. I want to speak languages. I want to eat food. I want to laugh and learn and walk and see and DO. And I always have… but now I’m actually feeling the pressure to GO.

I used to think my wanderlust stemmed from the fact that I moved around a lot as a kid and I never felt fully grounded anywhere. But maybe it’s a result of never feeling satisfied in general… New York is great for this because there is so much to see and do here… but it’s not enough. I could get hit by a cab on my way home to work and I will have never been to Europe… or Asia… or Africa… or South America… or Australia…

The wheels are spinning… my brain is on overdrive… ideas are forming… I’m not going to say what I have in mind because I really don’t want anyone pissing on my cornflakes. But I’m getting out sooner than later… I’m not going to put this off.

Blog title song: “Go Outside” by Cults


My life got flipped, turned upside down…

A year ago today, I packed all of my belongings into my sister’s car and she drove me to my new home in New York City.

View of the GW Bridge as we get closer to my new home...

View of the GW Bridge as we get closer to my new home on December 3, 2011

I think of those first few weeks when I got here and I can’t believe how different my life is now… even from just 6 months ago. Hell, I think of what my life was in Orange County and it’s almost unrecognizable. Things here are constantly evolving and there’s always something new around the corner… nothing is predictable and I love it.

To say it’s been a crazy year is a crazy understatement. From being jobless and lonely and sometimes regretting the decision to come here to joining a softball team and making new friends and finally taking advantage of living in the greatest city in the world… (oh, and did I mention I’ve lost about 30 pounds?! Thank you 4th floor walk-up)…I’m the best version of me right now… definitely the version I’ve wanted to be for a long time.

So here’s to another fantastic year in the big city… stay tuned for more adventures…

Blog song title: Theme from “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
Photo credit: Me


Hey man, now you’re really living…

I had the opportunity to cross not one but TWO items off my 34 before 34 list this past week… on the same night. Now, part of what made crossing these off the list so awesome was the company I was with. I’m not going to talk much about it because it’s all really fresh… but my new special friend definitely added a whole other dimension to the experience. On to the items!

20) Eat raw oysters.

Oyster-ific

Oyster-ific

So when my special friend (we’ll just say SF from here on out) suggested going to Fish and getting oysters, I was a bit nervous. Not only was I really worried that I was going to hate them, but now I had to worry about embarrassing myself in front of a cute boy. So I let him order and then asked for a little guidance. I didn’t even know how to eat these suckers (do I slurp? do I chew? what do I use that adorable tiny fork for?). He ate one to show me how it was done and then it was my turn. I put a little cocktail sauce on and I was ready… sort of. I tried to explain to SF that this was a big deal as I grew up a very picky eater… he didn’t quite get it. I guess I needed a bit more ceremony for the occasion, so I had him snap the picture above. And then I went for it.

I had two fears going into this challenge… one, that the texture would gross me out and make me gag (seriously) and the other was that they would taste SO fishy that I would gag (yeah, seriously). I was pleasantly surprised to find that neither of those were true and ended up having a couple more. I even tried a raw clam… (did not like).

We went on to enjoy a delicious lobster bisque, a crab cake, some scallops… and even some more oysters. We had plans to go to a midnight comedy show at the Comedy Cellar, but we were done eating pretty early. Since we were in the West Village, he suggested going to Fat Cat.

So on to the next one…

4) Go listen to live jazz

Jam session at Fat Cat

Jam session at Fat Cat

Now, I’ve been to this place a few times before… they have pool tables, ping pong, board games… and live jazz. I have heard the jazz here before (like in the background), but I never actually sat and listened. So we managed to get one of the couches that surrounds the band and got to sit and listen. I really like jazz… and sitting in a dark bar in New York City listening to a great jazz jam session was pretty damn awesome… and surreal.

Throughout the night I definitely had a few”is this actually my life?” moments. A great dinner, followed by live jazz and midnight stand up comedy… with a cute boy. Yup, this is my life. And it’s awesome.

 

Blog song title: “Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living) by the Eels
Photo credit: me & my iPhone and ineskuusik.wordpress.com (I wish I had taken my own pic at Fat Cat, but I didn’t think of it… yeah, I will be better about taking pics of this 34 before 34 thing)


Ch-ch-ch-changes…

So I need to make a little tweak to my 34 before 34 list…

“20) Go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – simple enough… of course it would mean not being with family – unless they want to come HERE… Thanksgiving in NYC sounds pretty awesome to me… And really, for this, I would settle for going and seeing the balloons being inflated…”

I typically spend Thanksgiving with family (as stated above) and had planned to go to Connecticut to be with my sister and her family. However, due to a not so great (really, just terrible) circumstance, I ended up staying here in the city. Not so bad as I ended up having a really nice day. Also, I decided I would really make the best of it and cross #20 off my list.

That is, until I rode on the subway on Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, the public (read: EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER) has access to see the famous balloons being inflated for Thursday’s parade in Central Park. And I determined after experiencing the crazy tourist traffic on the uptown C train that I would rather skip the event and prevent myself from a potential violent outburst. (And from what I hear, the parade isn’t quite worth it either… best to view on TV where it belongs).

So I retract #20 as it currently stands and propose a new goal. Of course, it must be said that it was actually difficult to compile the original list (make your own list and you’ll see what I mean)… but once I got going, it was hard to leave things off. So I’m bringing an alternate in from off the bench… the new #20:

Eat raw oysters.

Since moving to NYC and hearing people gush about these, er, gushy mollusks I have been wanting to give them a go. Now if you know anything about me, you know I grew up an extremely picky eater. And much of that consternation came from icky textures. Well, it doesn’t get ickier than something that looks like gray phlegm. BUT, it won’t kill me to try one… hell, I may even like them. (Doubtful).

(Also, it should be noted that this is cheating just a bit… I actually have plans to go eat oysters in the very distant future… like, tomorrow… stay tuned for a full report). 

Blog song title: “Changes” by David Bowie


And that’s the way we get by…

I recently read an article on BrokeAssStuart.com (for which I am also a contributor) about the unrealistic portrayals of young people living in New York City. From 2 Broke Girls “struggling” in their gigantic apartment in Brooklyn (with room enough for a HORSE to live off the kitchen) to the ridiculous apartment shared by Rachel (a waitress) and Monica (a sometimes chef) in the West Village on Friends (look at that humongous living room, will you??).

                                                                         

These shows are spreading a very dangerous (and infuriating) message to those who are actually attempting to thrive in NYC (or any city for that matter). As an avid Friends watcher in the 90s, I have to say that I thought living in NYC looked pretty easy. And when Sex and the City came along, Carrie Bradshaw made journalism look glamorous (and lines of credit look never ending).

The “hustling” lifestyle is a quaint and common motif used in TV and movies (awww, look at that poor hapless supermodel look-alike who has a shitty job and can’t find a boyfriend even though James Marsden keeps trying to charm her pants off… but lives in a 3000 square foot loft – spare me). But with new shows like 2 Broke Girls and even Happy Endings and New Girl (seriously LOVE these 2 shows) there’s a great opportunity to show the financial woes of the 99% while still making us laugh. While there doesn’t seem to be any sign of student loan debt or low credit scores for the Chicagoans on Happy Endings, the 4 roommies (yes, 4) on New Girl seem like a better sampling of late 20/early 30 somethings (a teacher, a bartender, a marketing assistant, a personal trainer… and no clear indication if there are loftier goals ahead).

Now, I realize for the purposes of entertainment (and studio size) that television shows can’t show the harsh reality of real life real estate and the pathetic job market. Come on, that would be depressing… we watch TV for an escape. It’s just pretty annoying that television (really just sitcoms) can’t make an attempt to show more financial accuracy… instead TV perpetuates the myth that city living isn’t so bad as long as you have a few good pals to meet you at the bar downstairs (ooh, forgot about How I Met Your Mother– I don’t care how Ted met the mother of his kids… I want to know HOW in the hell Robin pays rent and can still afford to have the cutest flipping raincoat ever). And I suppose this is true to some extent… but you get my point… friends don’t pay the bills – they just make you feel better when you can’t!

As for me, I no longer believe the lies my TV told me. I’m still looking out for that dream job (or any job at this point) and I’m thrilled to have a teeny tiny piece of NYC to myself… for $800 a month…

(Yes, that is my new bedroom. To some of you it may look tiny – you have been brainwashed by the aforementioned television shows – but compared to other rooms I’ve seen in the city it is massive… and it has a closet.) 

A job will come along soon… and so will a guy – though I won’t delude myself into thinking he will look like James Marsden… oh, but wouldn’t that be nice…

 

Photo credits: lovelyundergrad.com, adamecker.com, and me… with my iPhone
Blog title song: “The Way We Get By” by Spoon


The youth is starting to change…

Fabulous news… I finally got an apartment in NYC! I move in the first weekend of December and I’m ridiculously excited… obviously. Phase one – complete.

While in town to finalize the details on the apartment, I met up with a young friend of mine who shall remain nameless. This young man has been living in the city for a while and truly lives that “hustle” lifestyle- waiting tables, auditioning… trying to “make it.” However, lately he’s had a more difficult go and is contemplating heading back home.

I was shocked when he said this. At the tender age of 21, he’s already defeated? Total bullshit. And as our conversation continued, we were coming up with more stories of people in their super early 20s who tried making it here for a very short time and gave up. Bullshit again.

Youth is truly wasted on the young. What I wouldn’t give to have 10 years back and do what I’m doing with the innocence and freshness of a 22 year old. But that’s when I realized something. That’s the huge difference… the innocence. Not that I led a crazy life in my 20s, but I went through a bunch of shit… I learned a lot… I struggled (I still do)… I persisted. These young’ns don’t have the benefit of experience. They are faced with challenges and do not have the experience to guide them through. (And by saying this, I am aware that the generation ahead of me is giving me a big old DUH… but care not I… this is MY observation).

I really don’t blame the kiddies though… When I was in my early 20s, I didn’t have the balls to do something completely different like move across the country from everything familiar to me and pursue a dream/career/life. I imagine that if had managed to leave Southern California when I was 21-22, I wouldn’t have lasted long. So I guess I get it.

And don’t get me wrong… my intent is not to offend those in their 20s, nor am I claiming that I know everything. But I did realize that perhaps for once, my life experiences are paying off. I am feeling more comfortable at my age. I’ve found the balls I need to do this (shut it) and every minute I spend in that city, I’m renewed and encouraged and I can’t wait to see what’s going to come at me next.

 

Blog title song: “The Youth” by MGMT


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