Hello all! I’m quickly nearing my 2-year mark in New York City, which is so hard to believe! It seems like only yesterday when I was lugging my bags through Astoria, unsure of what to expect in this larger-than-life metropolis. I’m so happy to have finally settled in.
It’s hard to believe that in the 2 years I’ve been here, I have:
- Transferred to a New York Starbuck’s as a supervisor, acquired a new job at a healthcare nonprofit, only to quit said job and go back to Starbuck’s as a barista (this time at the Empire State Building);
- Visited countless new coffee shops, such as Gregory’s Coffee, Ralph’s Coffee, Felix Roasting Co. (literally one of my new favorites), Blank Street Coffee (whose mission I have slight qualms over), Proof Coffee Roasters, Semicolon Cafe, Birch Coffee, Grind (based in Hell’s Kitchen), Le Cafe Coffee (who introduced me to pistachio milk), and many more;
- Met many new friends through my jobs and extracurricular activities;
- Moved not once, not twice, but 5 times since being in the city (it takes a while to establish oneself here, as it’s very rarely a walk in the park with the soaring rent prices and competitive application processes);
- Tried countless new restaurants, such as Sarabeth’s NYC (whose chicken pot pie is to-die-for), Serafina’s (their lobster ravioli is amazing, and I’ve heard Drake likes it, too), Pastis (I’ve only tried their drinks, but their bartender made me a customized Southern-inspired cocktail called a Clay-tini), Westway Diner in Hell’s Kitchen (whose breakfast is massive and reasonably-priced), Julia’s in Ridgewood, Queens (whose maple-glazed bacon is perfectly cooked and tender), among many others;
- Helped innumerable underprivileged New Yorkers acquire healthcare services;
- Attended my first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia as a visiting author;
- Gone to plenty of gay bars in the city, such as Good Judy (one of my favorites in Brooklyn), House of Yes, 3 Dollar Bill, Club Cumming, Stonewall Inn (where I danced onstage with a fellow drag queen), Flaming Saddles, Ginger’s Bar (one of the last remaining lesbian bars), and many more;
- Logged way too many hours on the subway; and
- Kept my sanity through it all (this is probably the most important)
This, of course, is barely even brushing the surface, but it does capture the sheer amount of activities that one can accomplish in just a couple years in this city. Of course, I don’t want to paint it as if it’s been all-fun all the time. I’ve been seriously challenged to my core since arriving here. Every day, this city has tested me in a different way, forcing me to rise to the occasion because if I didn’t, I would have packed my bags and gone home a long time ago.
I’ve had moments where I wondered if I would even be able to make it through another week. I’ve asked myself, “How are you going to financially make this happen?” and “What if this isn’t even the right place for you?” and “What if the city just spits you out like it has so many others?” I’ve often gone to bed wondering how it was all going to fall into place. It seemed as if there were so many things stacked against my favor, and the sheer amount of pressure seemed to mount and mount and mount.
The beautiful part is that it always ended up working out in the end. I simply had to learn how to let go and let be. Does that mean that the trials and tests are over? Absolutely not. NYC always finds a way to test me in a new way every day. But that’s part of its appeal. Yes, it may make one constantly question their ability to even function as a human being on a day-to-day basis. But it also forces you to let go, because if you don’t, the sheer amount of stress will swallow you whole.
I am beyond content with where I am now in my journey as a New Yorker. I’ve done a lot, but it’s nowhere close to what I have in store for the next two years, three years, or even ten years. It will only get better from here, and I am so glad you, Dear Reader, are here to witness it all.
Until next time. ;)