Living in New York is Changing Me
Any place you live long-term will take its grip on you and begin shaping you in ways you may never have expected. Am I surprised that living in New York is changing me? No, but I am surprised in some of the ways it’s changed me thus far after my first year here.
I speak up
My first month or two in the city, there were several times where I didn’t say ‘Excuse me’ loud enough, or I ran up to the bus and the doors were closing at that perfect, terrible moment and I had to wait for the next one. Well, I’ve learned to adapt. Now, I’m the girl banging on the bus window yelling “Please!” or worse, “Let me in!” When a bus driver gives me sass, I don’t curl up and blush, I tell him what I’m thinking. This is the way to survive in New York, and it’s working for me.
It takes a lot for a restaurant to impress me now
New York, Brooklyn, and Queens are packed with some absolutely incredible restaurants and I’ve totally gotten spoiled. Not only is the quality of the food high because the cut throat competitiveness you need to ‘make it’ as a restaurant in this city. I won’t say the service is always great, but it is always quick, and that’s so important in this city. When I went to Europe most recently, I was seriously shocked by how long everything took to arrive… and I’m a s l o w traveler! Oh, the irony! But also, living in this city, you could be anywhere and get a craving for soup dumplings and only have to walk 15 minutes to get amazing soup dumplings! I love it, but it makes me a little bit more of a monster.
I walk faster, Usually for no reason
We’ve got places to be! No, but really. Do you know how much time I’ve probably spent waiting for the freakin’ C train to come? …or shown up to have the doors close at the worst moment? Enough whining. Time is precious, as it is everywhere. I think I feel the time passing more here because it really takes time to get around. Not only do we want to rush home from work to maximize our chill time, but we need to combat our late trains and no-show buses…plus I’m always running late. So, I’ve become a pretty fast walker.
My poker face is nearly perfect (and sometimes I even make comments under my breath)
This might not be a change for the better, but it is a change! There’s something about being in an environment where people are free to express their frustration openly that just makes you want to join in the fun! I’m guilty of making comments under my breath when I miss my train or when the bus driver doesn’t open the back doors to let me off the bus. Also, because of the frequent requests from homeless people and the general ‘no eye contact’ rule, my poker face is on point. I guess I’m toughening up a bit.
I drink almost half the nights of the week and sometimes have weeks where I do something every night after work
Between meeting up with friends, going to events to meet people, hot yoga/zumba classes, dates, and blogging in between, I’m a busy girl! It feels like it averages out to me drinking about half the nights of the week, usually just one or two, but still. Whether it’s dinner, meeting up at a bar, going to an event, or even hanging out at someone’s apartment, drinks are usually had! Plus, I like to go out Saturday night, and sometimes on Friday too if the work week hasn’t sucked out all my energy!
I used dating apps (until I won the game! exciting, right!?)
I had been experimenting with dating apps until I actually met the winner, which was an incredible surprise! It seems a big part of the dating culture here, and almost everyone is using something (and by something I mean anywhere from 1-5 apps or websites. Obviously the world we live in is changing, but I also think it can be attributed to how difficult it is to meet new people in this massive city where people work insane hours and barely have time for themselves, let alone ‘the dating game.’
While I’m not a stranger to doing my own dishes or using public transportation, it is super annoying to have to cart my dirty clothes down the street and sit in my Laundromat, with it’s Chinese soap opera blaring in the background to get a clean batch of clothes. It’s not the worst, but I’ve always been spoiled and had laundry in my building, if not in my apartment! (I really shouldn’t complain after being drier-less in Europe and Asia and hating it)
While I’m glad I don’t have a car here, it’s also so painful when the transportation makes you late or adds time on to a commute that wouldn’t be as painful to drive. One of my friends in the city has a car and I can’t explain how fancy I felt when I got picked up from Grand Central and hand delivered to my apartment after a meal once.
I can dress more stylishly without people thinking I’m overdoing it
In Connecticut or Massachusetts when I would dress stylishly or wear heels to work I’d usually get at least one person asking me, “Do you have a date after work?” or “Where are you going?!” While these are innocent questions, they show how dressing stylishly isn’t really a norm outside of big cities in the States. We like to dress casually and be comfortable, and who could blame us! Trust me, I’m not always in the mood to look stylish! But when I am, I appreciate that people here don’t think I’m overdressed. You really don’t need a reason to look good in New York. I just love that.
I feel more comfortable taking fashion risks
Because I feel less judgment in this city, and it’s normal to see people dressed any kind of way, I just feel cozier when I want to try something new. Hopefully, that means I’m more stylish for it!
I brunch as often as possible
Brunch is part of the culture here . I love brunch, don’t get me wrong, but going out for brunch with friends, and especially boozy brunch is super popular! It’s not uncommon for places to have a Saturday or Sunday morning wait of 1-2 hours long, especially if they don’t take reservations. I’ve gotta say, I love everything about brunch (except for the wait, which I avoid by going to places that take reservations)!
I know I’m the luckiest duck
I feel so lucky to be here. I have a great job. I have an apartment that’s convenient to get around from where my roommate is cool and I have much more space than most Manhattan-dwellers. (Brooklyn rules!!!) One weekend recently I went to a new bar opening, went to a Jazz Fest event, met up for hazelnut French toast with a friend from Hong Kong who was working in the city, snagged some great deals on 5th Ave, connected with a friend at a cozy café in my neighborhood, and even got my laundry done! These are the kinds of weekends that not only make me appreciate this city but also see its potential to sustain my long-term happiness in ways that Prague and Taipei just never did.
So yeah, New York is changing me, but I sure don’t mind.