Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New York City is Teaching Me

Haven't I been here before? I'm sitting in a coffee shop by a window watching a man throw bricks into the back of a pick up truck. 
I'm here alone and killing time before I head into work at 10:00. It's hot out. Already. The kind of hot that has you considering the state of your own abdominal muscles and seriously wondering if you have the kind of confidence that it takes to walk around the city in a sports bra and short shorts. Not because you want to. Not because you think it looks good. But because the idea of clothing puts you in a kind of sweaty mental hysteria. 
But this heat feels familiar. 
It's a specific heat that I've only experienced few times before and in this very same city. 
And it's not just the heat that I recognize. It's more than the temperature that throws me. In this package of free heat, you are gifted a handful of very unique door prizes. 
Sore feet.
Job disdain.
A low bank account balance. 
A few new pieces of clothing.
Iced coffee in hand.  
A sense of  general life confusion and dream squashing all come free with the heat. 
Thank you, New York? 

Don't get me wrong. 
This city has its charm. 
Take for example the fire escapes. 
They get me every time. 
Or the ivy on the buildings. 
The subways. I really do love the subways. 
The food. The food. The foooood. 
The sense of accomplishment that you get when you've made through another day* in a city who's tough shell is hard to crack. 
The wonderment of city wandering. Especially when you're alone with you, your thoughts, and your iced coffee. Sweating. 

But in this summer's heat, unlike the summer heat of times before, I am happy. My friends are here. I do a lot of city wandering, but its with a buddy by my side. The apartment is small, but it's filled with light. My co-workers are sad and angry people, but I can see it in them and not as a reflection of myself. This summer's heat is hot, but less hazy. I can see August in the distance.
Which makes the realization of this fact that I do not ever never ever want to live in New York a much easier pill to swallow. 

My thought process goes like this: I love it here. I love New York. I love it on the fire escapes and I love it in the subways and I love it with the ivy on the walls and I even love it in the heat. But it doesn't seem to love me back. And I need a city that loves me back.

And so now I am learning to let my thought process go like this: Not living here does not make me weak. Giving up a life long dream (ouch) doesn't mean that I've failed. It means that I need a happiness that after three summers here, I've realized this city cannot give me.

It also means that I've gotta start scraping up some new dreams and plans. Because the fact that I'm not a flailing mess right now thanks to the sudden and major life realizations shocks me and I'm not too sure how much longer this serenity to accept the things I cannot change will last. On top of that, homegirl has about t-minus 11 months before the big, bad graduation wolf comes a-knockin and we find out just how low this bank account can go.

In the meantime, I'm having a blast with my best friends in one of the coolest cities in the world and trying to focus on the moments of awe. Like yesterday, when I actually got to pick up a pair of scissors and touch a bolt of fabric and cut out a skirt with a seamstress who was trained in French couture alongside of the greats. And I helped cut a wedding dress designed by Vera Wang. At Vera Wang.  In New York City. What? A moment of awe indeed.

Ok. I'm officially late for work. 

*This confidence, I would argue, when gone unmonitored, turns into a dangerous New York City breed of arrogance and narcissism.

Man in the hard hat

Man in the hard hat.
Shark tooth around his neck.
Tosses bricks like their crumpled up pieces of paper.
His truck feels more of Georgia than of New York.
This heat doesn't seem to be changing his mood.
In fact, I think he must drive around the country looking for heat like this.
A man like this wouldn't survive in the cold.
Does he have a song running through his head?
Or any sort of thing to think about as he tosses bricks three and four at a time?
Does he read books or watch baseball?
Is his house even made of bricks?
These things and his name I won't ever know.

I can tell
by the way he watches the women walk by
he is an ass man.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Few Lessons I've Learned from my Dad

Always make eye contact when in conversation. 
Wood is wood. 
Jump by Van Halen is the best song. 
Respect the bikers code and stay in the bike lane. 
A firm handshake is a skill to be practiced and perfected.
Honesty is far more important than profitability. 
Idle once you pass the bouys.  
Spit on it and play ball. 
The respect of your peers is a gift that should be earned and protected. 
Never leave a soldier behind. 
Cholula, shredded cheese, Doritos. 
Peanuts, beer, sidewalk gutters. 
Gibs, Abby, DiNozzo. 
If a haircut ain't broke, don't fix it. 
Work hard.
Always do your best. 
And finally, when given the opportunity: Sleep. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week 1

Oh me oh my, my little cheecheroonies. Where to begin? 

I apologize for the sporadic (or less than sporadic really... more like non existent) blogging lately. I've been a tad busy. Ever since moving in last Sunday, things have been go go go in such a delightfully crazy way. Coming into the city and starting my internships has felt like being dropped onto a treadmill that is already going at full speed.

And while yes, this last week and a half has been just a total marathon of one day at one internship to one day at another, trying to learn the culture of each workplace and remembering to not show up in all black or all color on the wrong day, I have been surprised to find that in some ways, it feels like I never really left New York after last summer. Walking down the same streets, eating at the same restaurants, seeing the same sights, smelling the same smells that last summer I experienced in such an independent and isolated way has really been quite eery to now share with my friends who are experiencing New York in a completely new way just as I am now. Completely new, but exactly the same. In a way, all of the personal and academic learning and growth that has taken place over the last year since I ended my internship last summer has almost just felt like a long intermission leading right back up to this time and this place. And when I allow myself to think about the situation that I find myself in right now in a more abstract way, it's becoming clear to me that the preparation of last summer was simply a very long and arduous lead up to the place that I find myself in now. Not that I feel more prepared or anything. It's just that I feel like I'm ready for the next step. I suppose that I will find that to be true for the rest of my life, really-- the idea of building blocks preparing me for things that I couldn't possibly be aware of in the future. 

Ok, but besides all of this mumbo jumbo and comparisons of this summer and last summer and my future and the past and blah blah blah blah... this week has just been really, really fun. 

After I got here, none of my other roommates arrived in the city until later in the week, so I had the place to myself for four whole days. Gotta say... that whole living alone concept... pretty amazing. I can buy cookie dough without anyone knowing. And more importantly, I can eat the whole thing without anyone knowing. On top of that, it's like sure, I'll leave my shoes here. And there. And maybe another pair over there. Because guess what? They're all my shoes! And no one else lives here. A concept that may lead to an especially messy apartment, but a happy one at that. And I think that I might be in love with our little neighborhood. We live on this tiny block (actually, I think it's the same size as the rest of the blocks, but it just feels tiny because tiny things are cuter) lined with trees (actually, I think all of the streets are lined with trees but our trees are better and much shmoopier). But my favorite part is the fact that there are gardens separating our building and the buildings next door which means... say it with me now... natural... light! Ahhh. What a dream. I spent some quality time playing "Rear Window" and spying on the neighbors as I sat on the fire escape and listened to music the other night and the summertime vibes were flowing hard. 

Oh, mommy, color me happy. 

Of all of the buildings in New York City, what are the odds that you and one of your best friends is working in the same one? Pretty good apparently, because as I was coming out of this really cool, local, mexican restaurant (it's called... er... Chipotle... (sorry I'm not sorry)) I ran into this little lady on the street! Turns out that not only are we both in the same building on the days that I work at Whit, but just one floor apart. So fun. 

It's been fun the last couple of weeks to show the girls around to all of the restaurants and coffee shops that I became friendly with last summer. On Wednesday, we all had a hankering for something sweet, so we hiked up the street for ice cream at Van Leeuwen's. 

Susie says, "Yummy earl grey ice cream makes me very, very happy indeed!"

Well, well, well. Look who showed up. Little Olita made her way to the city last Thursday night after making a quick pit stop home to Indiana to watch her brother graduate from high school. Man, this girl is the sauce. The next morning was rainy and gross and I was not feeling the whole work thing, so I made her walk with me to my subway stop in the rain. And hold my umbrella. That's what friends are for, right? 

I bribed her with the promise of a free coffee at the end of the journey. 

Ok, let's jump forward to Saturday. You may be wondering why in the world I look so morose on a beautiful Saturday in one of my favorite cities in the entire world with all of my friends around me on the first weekend of the summer. It's because homegirl was at work. In this picture, I am moping in the model closet while all of my friends explore the wonders of SoHo shopping. And I'm at work. In the model closet. On a Saturday. In one of my favorite cities in the world. Without all of my friends around me. On the first weekend of summer. (And don't be deceived by my jacket-- you still definitely need to wear black at Vera Wang, even on a Saturday). 

I spent the day fitting the models in their looks for the Resort 2014 presentation that  actually happened Yesterday (more on that later). 

But then homegirl got out of work! Drinks anyone? 

Susie's dad was in town and generously took all of us out to dinner at the Wren in the East Village. We sat near a window where we got to watch all of the beautiful people congregate for their Saturday night festivities walking down the street. 

How adorshable is this little smooch?

It's becoming clear to me that as for this summer, dinner is almost definitely 100% to be followed up my dessert. Not that I'm complaining. Have you ever heard of the Milk bar? It's one of the many Chef David Chang powerhouse restaurants in NYC (another favorite is the Momofuku Noodle Bar), but this one is just desserts. The food there is a little cooky like cereal milk flavored ice cream and crack pie. After a healthy sampling of their offerings, I learned that I am quite the fan of their birthday cake truffles. 

But not as big of a fan as their green pea (not a typo. definitely pea.) flavored ice cream. 

On Sunday, we went to the Brooklyn Flea Market but only after we were enchanted by this community garden a few blocks away from our apartment. Community gardens really are the greatest idea. Especially this one. I'm learning that moments of green and spaces of rest are just the tops and so important in my little heart, ya know? 

These guys are the tops too.

Alright, that's it for now, but here are a few teasers to get you excited for the future of this blog:
- Vera, the lady
- My future and all that comes with it
- New York, do I love you? 
- Stuck on the subway forever 
- What I really think about my internships (I'm waiting to evaluate until I complete two whole weeks)

Technology Sucks.

Sorry. I'm alive. I've been writing on and off for about a week one giant blog post about everything that is going on and not two minutes before I was going to hit "publish" this morning, the entire thing just deleted itself.

I have to go to work (meh) but I'm going to work later this afternoon on getting something put up.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Hi hi hi hi. I'm writing this post with so much excitement. Yesterday marked the very first day of this second (technically third, I guess...) adventure in New York City that I am lovingly referring to as "New York City: the Sequel." And let me just say right up front that this sequel rocks. 

As I mentioned on Thursday, Frances and I were setting off for Texas after my last final and I was starting to feel increasingly anxious. The idea of junior year ending and senior year beginning had me reeling and only adding to the stress was all of the unknowns of this summer. It was hitting me hard which was scary and uncomfortable. Then, after a specifically thrilling anxiety attack in the car somewhere in the middle of good ole Mississippi, I was sort of able to pray and recalibrate my thinking for the rest of the drive, and for the rest of the weekend, really. Slowly but surely, my excitement for this adventure began to grow and the nerves fell away.

After spending a great 48 hours in Dallas with the ever hospitable Russell family and Frances' booooyfriend, Zach, Frances and I headed into the city yesterday afternoon to meet up with Claire, Grace, and Susie in the East Village who Frances will be staying with. 

Ok, so this is when I started to clue in to the fact that this summer is going to be about a million times better than last summer. Let me just say that even before we met up with the other girls, having even one of your best friends sitting with you in the cab as you approach the New York City skyline is way less scary. And it's even less scary when you look up at the skyline and recognize things and can put directions together in your head like you were here yesterday. Ahh. What a feeling. I couldn't help but smile when the cab driver dropped us off on the corner of Frances' block and I remembered being in the exact situation last year wondering how in the world I was going to get my suitcases up four flights of stairs without getting mugged. Memories. Precious, precious memories. After getting Frances all settled and drinking a large glass of ice water (the first of many), Susie and I made the five minute walk over to my apartment to check in. Guys. Ok. This apartment. It's, in a word, lovely. On a quiet block, overlooking gardens and nearby parks, I sit in a sun soaked room with yellow walls and feelings of home. And air conditioning. I tried to play it cool when Liz, our landlord explained all of the details of the house, and it was all I could do not to just hug her, and over share about how weird last summer. And maybe cry a little. This apartment is just that good. And may I mention, no Lord Friend

We headed to one of my faves, the Shake Shack, for dinner and ate some of the saltiest, best burgers under the trees in Madison Sq. Park. The whole time waiting to suddenly feel a pang of stress about starting working the next morning... but it never came! Ahhh yes. What a joy. We leisurely walked back to my apartment where the girls dropped me off and we called it a night. And I realized that even walking up the four flights of stairs is easier this year. 

I wish I had something more groundbreaking or interesting to say about this whole situation. But I don't. I just know that I'm having a good time. And I feel happy. And I'm not going to think too much about that and ruin anything. Because literally my only complaint right now is the large blister that has formed on the bottom of my foot. But that's it! Pshhh. I can totally handle a blister!  

(Thanks everyone for all of your amazingly supportive texts, comments, and emails lately. Boy do I feel supported.)