I'll take you through my first 48 hours in the USA in just a sec - first you need to press play on the video below to provide the accurate background music as this was the I was listening to on repeat during my (awfully bumpy) flights here.
Le Kid - America
There - that's better. Now you have about 4 minutes to read this entire entry. And you've just wasted about 5 seconds on this, so I suppose I should get to it.
I thought I'd fit in automatically. I was here for 10 days in April - very recently! By the end of that trip I felt like an NYC native. I was scoffing at tourists, ignoring the 'do not walk' signs, and shopping at Barneys.
My transition has not been as seamless as I imagined it would be. I had a 4 hour layover in the Montreal airport where I drained my iPhone battery completely, so when I arrived in Newark I had to plug it into a wall while I sat on the floor and decided I'd take a taxi to Brooklyn, where I'll be staying with my friend Justin for a few days. Upon being told the taxi ride would be upwards of $90, I reconsidered my options. Google maps told me I had 9 minutes to reach the train station on the opposite end of the airport - could I make it? I won't make you guess - I didn't make it. I was wondering around like a lost puppy - people actually asking me if I needed help. I wanted to say "oh no thank you, I'm here all the time" but what I actually said was "where the fuck am I?"
By the time I board the train to Penn Station I am the sweatiest I have been in my entire life. I listen to my boisterous train car companions discuss what they would do with their lottery money when they won it this week - buy each other at least small house, apparently. This struck me as a bit gay, but I didn't mention it.
The first thing I see in Penn Station is 3 men in army uniforms carrying guns. Actual guns! The states is a fucked up place. Fine for you to have a small one strapped to your thigh, but a 2 foot long one that you're waving around? I tried to act natural but it turns out lugging a 50 pound suitcase through a NYC subway turnstyle is nearly impossible. My body was stuck between two of the rungs with my carry on bags in one hand the my suitcase stuck on the other side. One of the army men sensed my distress and gingerly picked up my suitcase and handed it to me. I looked up at him like he was Buddha and said thank you through near tears. "Ugh," I said "I must just be SCREAMING tourist." I proceeded to shout the word TOURIST quite loudly, like the final competitor in the penis game* and the army man looked at me as if I was crazier than the man standing behind him screaming about how Jesus would be coming back next week.
Remember how I said I'd never been sweatier? That was before I lugged my suitcase down two levels into the Subway and stood on the platform so humid it was like being lowered into boiling water (which reminds me, I have to blog about lobster night too.)
I finally made it to Justin's place in one piece at about 8:30. I was exhausted, I'd been up since 3AM. I opened my mouth to say "OMG I just want to go to bed" and Justin said "It's your first night in NYC! Get dressed, we're going to the DIVA show at Industry."
Then I remembered why I wanted to come here in the first place. Every ounce of my heat exhaustion could be fixed with an ounce of vodka. I felt rejuvenated and alive and vibrant and I met stylish funny people who all came to NYC to make something bigger of themselves and then it felt like home. It took longer than I thought it would, but it didn't take long.
I spent all day yesterday looking at apartments in Harlem - all too small for the money, all in sketchy parts of town...and I realized I'd never had to find a place for myself before. My mom found my first apartment in Vancouver, and my (now ex) bf CW (Car Wash) found our joint place in Vancouver. Oh, I'm going to miss that place. I sent them both a teary eyed thank you message at about 3 AM last night before I replied to any Craiglist ad that sounded even remotely promising. My sandals gave me blisters and my thighs are chafed from rubbing together all day in my shorts that didn't used to be too tight but are now definitely too tight. I was in a foul mood - then Justin's roommate asked if I wanted to see Mary Poppins on Broadway with her for the low low student price of $30. Um, yes. Yes I did.
Is this what life in NYC is like for everyone? An awful stressful day followed by a night of pleasure and entertainment?
Seems like a fair trade.
*You know what the penis game is! It's where you see who will say/shout the word penis the loudest in a public area. See 500 Day Of Summer immediately and you'll get it.