Approximately one year ago I packed nearly everything I owned into 2 bags and 3 boxes and traveled solo on a overnight bus from Detroit to New York City to start on an adventure of lifetime. Absolutely nothing was certain - I had no job security, didn't know a single human being in New York City, had nearly no income over the summer, drained my savings, but held onto a dream. A dream of determination and unwavering faith that everything would be ok. I came to New York City with the promise of becoming a teacher and here one year later, with countless endless nights behind me, I find myself finishing out the school year strong.
Would I do it all over again?
Absolutely. In a heart beat.
I often find myself thinking (usually on the subway) how New York has changed me. I have become a daily New York Times reader, weekly Soho/Chinatown explorer, shoe enthusiast, red head, who is particularly fond of Thai and Korean food.
I don't talk to strangers on the subway, and rarely do I smile before 8am. I walk at least 3 miles every day and track my steps with a pedometer.
I get uncomfortable and awkward when average people on the street want to talk to me about life or are friendly. (why are they being friendly it's so strange!) I no longer apologize to people on the street when I accidentally bump into them, unless of course it's majorly obvious.
My closet is beginning to bounce with color as I now own 3 different brightly colored pants among multiple dresses (oh and a red flannel shirt special for "flannel Fridays"). I judge people's shoes on the subway and take notice of trending fashions.
I can j-walk like a pro and am perhaps a little over confident in my j-walking abilities as friends have pulled me back to the sidewalk multiple times before experiencing near death experiences via taxi cab.
I have become more direct with my communication and have an "Ain't nobody got time for that" kind of attitude toward bull shit. If people are real with me I am real to them in return, but please be direct about it cause again aint nobody got time for sugarcoating.
I listen to a ridiculous amount of gangster rap, uncensored. I balance out the gangster rap by listening to country music on the subway and laugh at the irony. I create playlists for specific areas of New York City so that each area has a "theme" when I'm walking about it.
I have become an increasingly better cook and feel confident in the kitchen, but absolutely adore eating out. But sometimes I'm lazy... and make Kimchi Taco deliver even though its less than a block away.
I could go on with how else New York has influenced me, but I want to take some time to comment about the one priceless thing New York has given me: amazing friendships with other science women.
After college your friend circle inevitably shrinks. One of the unfortunate truths of adult life is you will have very few close friends among many many acquaintances. Sure you still have your college friends you promised to stay in touch with, but like a sunset those friendships slowly fade. Lives go different directions and suddenly what you find yourself doing is no longer directly related or relevant to others across the country. Part of my journey here in New York has been releasing those friendships into the archives of our history with smile.
In return I have met some of the most amazing people including some of my best girl friends in the city. There is something magical about sharing an experience of moving to New York to be a science teacher. Being a teacher is an intimate part of our lives that we all share together for the first time, which is solely unique to us. Sure we each have our own different issues and insecurities, but I find we accept each other where we are at in grace and humor. It's a breath of fresh air that keeps us (or at least me) swimming.
So I dedicate this landmark of a post to friendship: to the people we were and to the people we are becoming and all the laughs in between.