13 Months Later...

I realize that I did not write a year-anniversary post last month.. Mostly because my mom was in town and the real important things come first, right? :)

Now that I am back into the grove of what is my life, I’m ready to look back on what has been an exciting and memorable year. 

From surviving record-breaking snowstorms, summer temperatures, an earthquake, oh yeah and a hurricane I’d say I’m a true survivor after the last year. Have any other curveballs to throw at me Mother Nature? Nature disasters and crazy weather were just one part of my experience, then comes the whole staying healthy, supporting myself financially and surviving any hint of home-sickness part! I did it though, somehow, and now I’m onto year two.  

It’s definitely been a year of personal and professional growth and I thank all of you who have supported me along the journey! You guys are the best :)

So as a wrap-up, I decided to break down my experience in New York by the following:

The Good:

  • Professional experience. New York is the capital of media and public relations and is held to a high standard of maintaining that title. This involves more networking opportunities, community groups, and forums to stay on the cutting-edge of the next-big-thing. Regardless of how long I stay in New York, having New York experience in my field of work will benefit my career in the long-term.
  • Community involvement. A larger city allows for more opportunities to become involved in the community. There are thousands of non-profits and community groups that are constantly having events and sign-ups for people to help out. 
  • Cultural melting-pot. There isn’t a day that goes by without me hearing at least 3 different languages throughout the day. New York really is a melting pot of cultural and economic groups. While, some areas are more highly populated by some groups than others, you could live next to Madonna on one side of your apartment and on the other side have a struggling family just trying to get by. There are no gated communities or mansions to gawk at from the outside. Every block is different with people from all over the world and with different backgrounds, which leaves a lot of opportunity to open your eyes to other people’s lives.
  • News overload. Since moving to New York I am more in-tuned with the media and news than I ever have been before. World, or local news I have it under wraps. With the number of free papers and newspaper stands throughout the city I’m wrapped up in the news everywhere I go and I love it! I’ve definitely watched more press conferences from Mayor Bloomberg than any other place I’ve ever lived. 
  • Travel Opportunities. Because the states are much smaller over here and the affordable option of trains and buses I’ve gotten to explore some of the neighboring states easily. So far, I’ve checked out New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and a trip down to Florida. Tack on an upcoming trip to Chicago for work in November too :)
  • Food, food, food! One of my absolute favorite things about New York is the food (although I’m sure you already know this if you regularly read my blog). The really great thing about New York is everything is so accessible. Whatever you are in the mood for, at any time, is pretty readily available. Not only is it easy to get, but I have hands down had many of my best meals of my life in this city so far. I really can’t think of one bad meal I’ve had here, which is saying a lot since I usually eat out at least once or twice a week.
  • Rooftop views. The views from rooftops here are to die for! I’m a huge sucker for the city lights and this summer was absolutely perfect to appreciate them.
  • History. New York City is much older than the west coast and houses a lot more history. From Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and all of the museums this city runs on history. As much as it is on its edge of the newest and greatest new thing, it is also very much run by its history.
  • Concerts, conferences, and lectures. Were you looking forward to seeing your favorite artist go on tour this year only to look up their dates and not see your city listed? Not in New York. Anyone who is anyone (and those that may just not be “anyone” yet) are coming to New York no doubt. Same goes for conferences of any kind. If there is something you want to go to, chances are it will be coming to the city.
  • Options! I’m a girl that likes options, and that is exactly what New York gives you. Want to eat at a different restaurant every day for a year? No problem.. looking for a different night club? Sick of Central Park? Don’t worry there are a million of clubs and many other parks to check out. There is always something going on somewhere and that is nice for the spur-of-the moment planning I like to do.
  • Who doesn’t like a good parade? New York sure does. There is one for ever semi-holiday possible extending throughout the city and getting thousands of people involved for each one. The most famous being the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade, I’m sure you’ve heard of it before ;-)
  • Beaches. Warm, sandy beaches? That was definitely something to get used to. There are a number of beaches just a short train ride away to cater to whatever mood you may be in.
  • Pizza and Bagels. New York is famous for their bagels and pizza, and for good reasons. They simply are the best. They’re everywhere too. Pizza is the fastfood of New York and at $2-3 a slice it’s a delicious and cheap meal.
  • Sports Teams. The city has more professional sports teams than any other in the country. This can be good for the sports junkie because there are plenty of teams to chose from and a good chance that one is doing good at one time or the next. This is also good for the garlic-cheesy fries addict that gets to tag along to baseball games with the sports-o-holic boys!
  • Shopping. Love to shop? New York is the place for you. There are stores at every price range on every corner just calling your name with their red sales tags (beware!)
  • The people. I have met some incredible people (as I have everywhere I have lived). What makes New Yorkers a little different is their general sense of maturity. New Yorkers do tend to be a little big ahead of the game in their profession careers, education and experiences. Unless you have a really good connection of friends that will allow you to couch-surf, you kind of have to have your stuff together to live and work in this city. 
  • You can be alone, but never feel lonely. There are so many people in the city at every hour of the day that even if you decide to go out by yourself, you won’t be alone for long. People here are very independent and it is not uncommon (in fact it’s quite the opposite) for people to regularly go out and eat alone at restaurants. I like this, because sometimes I like to just go do things on my own, and here I feel perfectly comfortable doing so.
  • Pace of life. New Yorkers walk a little faster, and sometimes even talk a little faster. I’ve always been more on the fast-track lane of the highway, and so are a lot of people who live in New York. It’s the city of opportunity and it is a great environment to live in when you’re a girl with a lot of ambition.

The Bad:

  • 2,500 miles away from home. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss the part of my life that was comfortable for the first 21 years of my life.
  • Extreme seasons. Brrr, winters over here are COLD and when I say cold I mean FREEZING COLD! Between the record-breaking snow storms and the frigid air I was not prepared the first time around.. Humid Summer. Once you make it through the cold winter and the pleasant spring then comes the summer.. hot, sticky, and humid. This is the first year I’ve ever had to by and air-conditioner and there is no way I would have survived without one.. especially on the day it was 102! Yikes.. 
  • The price of rent. Have you heard New York is expensive? It’s often the first thing that comes up in conversation and there is no hiding the ridiculous that is the renting process here. Not to mention the amenities you give up. Once expected aspects of an apartment that suddenly become a luxury.. what is a hallway closet or a dishwasher anyways?! 
  • Management companies who don’t care. You may be paying a leg and an arm every month, but your management company could care less about your leaky faucet or broken light.. You learn persistance very quickly if you want something fixed.
  • Cockroaches. If I never had to deal with a cockroach in my apartment in my life I would have been content.. thank you New York for giving me that experience.
  • Smell. Garbage, urine by dogs (and sometimes people), the subway, and transportation. Sometimes this city well, just stinks! Because the city is so highly populated and Manhattan is highly dense with businesses and apartment buildings we lack alleyways and back-of-business space that usually houses garbage, leaving it on the sidewalks for garbage days instead. Times that by the extra amount of people living here and on a humid summer day you might need to plug your nose on some streets.
  • No country music. I still can’t get past this.. It’s been a year and a country station still hasn’t popped up. My only saving grace is my online music and a country station in Long Island that I can stream online.
  • High-Alert for terror. New York City is a bullseye for terror. Every time something happens with our international relations New York and D.C. are usually the first to beef up their security. I’ve never lived somewhere where I have been genuinely scared at some points of a terror attack. 
  • Lack of my favorite chain restaurants. With so many authentic and original restaurants, the chains don’t fair so well here. Say goodbye to The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, Red Robin, The Spaghetti Factory, and Jack-in-the-box.
  • And, finally, another food problem. No Dave’s Killer Bread. I can’t have bread mailed to me forever!!!

The Different:

  • Not having a car. New York has one of the best metro systems in the world, which makes it convenient to hop on the bus or train and get around the city, sometimes.. Other times you wish you could just hop in your car and be on your merry way (although I would never actually want to drive in the city). 
  • Getting into the elements. When you don’t have a car you really get into the elements. I.e. when it’s raining… you are in the rain, snow… you are a popsicle, and in the humid hot air, there are no personal air-conditioners. People always tell me I should be used to the rain because it rains all the time in the pacific northwest. Well, yes, but when it rains we don’t just go and hang out in the rain! We drive in our cars, run into stores, or work with our umbrellas.
  • Greetings. I grew up greeting people with a hug. In New York, they do that side kiss thing.. It’s been a year and I’m still not used to it. In fact it just kind of weirds me out since I wasn’t raised doing it.. nonetheless it is different. 
  • 4 a.m. last call. This can be a good or a bad thing, so I’m putting it under as different. this can be a good thing when you get a late start or are really in the mood to celebrate something exciting. Then again, on the flip-side even if you go home “early” early is 2 a.m. here so it’s still going to be a late night.
  • Running into celebrities. Living somewhere where a high number of celebrities live is a different experience. They are after all regular people too.. It is kind of weird running into a celebrity on the street though or seeing the number of production trucks set-up for the t.v. shows and movies that are filmed here every year.
  • Words. Some of the differences Pop=soda Pie=pizza
  • The lack of education of New Yorkers and the rest of the country. New Yorkers are very New York-centric and may have a difficult time understanding why there are places in the country that don’t have cell phone reception, or why you can’t order delivery at 3 in the morning when you are craving Chinese food. You mean that isn’t a world norm? Sorry New Yorker.. that’s not how we do it back home.
  • Ovens? For what? Chris is the perfect example of a classic New Yorker. He has lived in the same apartment for 7 years and has never turned on the oven (except for that one time I tried turning it on, bad idea).. and he isn’t the only New Yorker like that. Having a tiny kitchen is something that can be easily overlooked by New Yorkers in an apartment because most of them don’t cook. Instead they are restaurant goers and professional take-out customers.
  • Cash only. This is just plain weird to me. I’ve never been big on carrying cash, partly for the reason I don’t want to get mugged, but in New York you have to because of all of the “cash only” places.

So there you have it.. the good, the bad, and the different. Let’s see what year 2 will add to the mix!