Picture this. You’re lying on a couch, waiting for the phone call that will directly change your future. Hopes and dreams lie in the balance. Life is on pause, feeling like suspended animation. Whether you move forward or remain stagnant all lies on this moment. Then with a blink of an eye *POOF* you’re taking a train into the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities. A massive array of skyscrapers and bridges like none other. For some this is daily life, but for a kid from Salt Lake, this changes everything.
Fast forward to today, nearing my 8th month in New York City and it has been a whirlwind. It’s no wonder this place was recently slotted at #2 on Forbes’ America’s Most Stressful Cities. I would describe my time here as challenging, advancing, emotional, certainly stressful, and definitely helpful. Moving 2,000 miles across the country has been eye-opening to say the least!
The opportunity to live in this city at a young age would have been foolish to pass up. To accept the opportunity to challenge myself in every aspect of my life is truly something I am grateful for. With challenges comes triumph, one great lesson learned from living in this city.
The question I get asked the most from friends and family is “what is New York like?” Well…I have a few answers. Here are some observations that quickly grabbed my attention.
- New York is fast, fast, fast: Whether it’s cars, people, events, or the work week. Time flies here and if you can’t keep up you’ll get lost before you know it. So much is going on and so much is happening, the days feel like a blur. Out west, things move at a much slower pace.
- People don’t smile. Throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks is the saying best used in this situation. You can throw many smiles around while walking down the street but your chances of getting a reaction are slim to none. Cheesy grins on the subway? Fuhgettaboutit! Most people here are all about business, just getting from point A to point B with no BS in between.
- Public transportation? Yes please! In Salt Lake, I don’t know too many people that take public transportation. Here, it’s a way of life. Driving a car in this city is comparable to taking on Xerxes’ army in the Battle of Thermopylae in the movie 300. The outcome is not good! I’m too scared to even try. I would rather eat a bowl of chocolate mints combined with coconut, two enemy foods I despise the most. Instead, there are a zillion subway stops that take you all over the city. Need to get home after a late night on the town? Stumble to the subway. Terrified that a snow leopard happened to escape the Central Park Zoo? Sprint to the subway. Need a ride after filling your stomach to max capacity at Dinosaur Barbecue? Roll your way over to the subway.
- Culture check: This city is truly one of the most diverse in the world. In comparison to Salt Lake which happens to be well recognized as….not. A complete 180 of where I grew up and went to college. There have been countless times where i’ve been on a subway and not heard a single word of english spoken. Thinking of saying the phrase “you’re in America, speak the language”? Yeah…that won’t fly here. Other times I’ll walk in a restaurant and have absolutely no clue what’s on the menu. Trust me, Bún bò Huế, is one of the tastiest dishes i’ve ever eaten. Restaurants, music, and events of all cultures can be seen and heard. The “melting pot” of American culture is stirred here.
Now don’t get me wrong, this place is no utopia by any means. There is plenty of cigarette smoke in the air to give you a buzz. The term formerly known as “personal space” goes out the window. EVERYTHING IS SO EXPENSIVE! I still get lost from time to time and it’s very easy to do so. The dreaded POLAR VORTEX you saw all over your TV’s this winter was easily the worst winter storm I’ve ever experienced. No snowstorm in Park City, UT or Denver could rival this villainous combination of snow and wind. Every day you see something new that catches your eye, it could be both good or bad.
With all that combined, it’s given me an incredible 8 months thus far. Though my heart will always be loyal to the West, this loud, chaotic, busy city has certainly grown on me.