I recently went back to Wesleyan University for my five year reunion and while in some ways I can’t believe it, in other ways, college really does seem like a long time ago. This August will also mark 5 years of living in NYC, which btw is somewhere I said I’d never want to live. Oh how times change! Nowadays you’d have to forcibly remove from this city. Since I still don’t have much to report in terms of running (I’m s-l-o-w-l-y building back up my mileage, at about ~25 mpw right now), I thought I’d dedicate most of this blog post to a little self-reflection. I still don’t have this grown up thing figured out, but I have learned a few things in the past 57 months.
1) This city will make you tough(er). I grew up in a fairly small town and went to college in suburban Connecticut, so it took awhile for me to get used to rats and homeless/crazy people on the subway, but now I feel like there’s little that phases me. I have a serious morning commute “game face” – so help you if you get in my way. I’ve learned to be strong and self sufficient. Transport a 50 lb IKEA desk across town, by myself? Install my own air conditioner? Dispose of dead (or not quite dead….) mice? Check, check, check. This isn’t an easy place to live, but if you can make it, no one can ever say you’re a wimp. Check out my bootleg a/c “insulation” system aka cardboard and tape.
Who wants to feature my apartment in Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart Living? I’m available!
2) It can be difficult to make friends, but you can do it. I knew 3 people when I moved here and didn’t really know anyone else for my first year or two. But now? I’ve got a strong support network that I wouldn’t give up for the world. It’s a busy place, the city can feel lonely, but knowing you’ve got friends in the ‘hood or a subway ride away makes it feel a little more like home. If I could give my 2007 self some advice it would be this: say yes to the happy hour, join the running club, talk to that cool looking girl in the elevator. If you want a social network, you’ve got to work for it.
3) Living here is expensive. The rent I pay for my slightly decrepit, shoebox-size apartment could rent a 4 bedroom house in my hometown of Pennsylvania. I constantly feel close to the edge of an economic collapse, but to me….living near my friends, walking across the manhattan bridge and seeing the skyline, being able to eat falafel at 2am….it makes it all worth it. And while sometimes I flirt with big city glamour (fancy cocktails! Cool restaurants!) there are also many nights when I just stay home and make scrambled eggs. Actually, my new favorite combo is sautéed shredded Brussels sprouts mixed with scrambled eggs, muenster Cheese, and toast. It sounds a little weird, but I have no one else to cook for but myself, so I can eat anything I like!
4) I’ve become BFF with public transportation. The subway and I get along most of the time, but occasionally the MTA fucks up (cover your ears children!) so badly it makes me want to move immediately to Ohio. Has anyone figured out what “an earlier incident” or “a sick passenger” actually means? Because they always seem to happen when I’m running very late to work. I’ve also learned to love walking a whole lot. I got to know this city through long walks, sometimes for fun, sometimes because the subway sucked. I really think it’s the best way to get to know a place. Thanks feet, you’ve worked hard.
5) Things are never going to be easy, but I’ll survive. In the past 5 years, I’ve lost jobs (plural!), ended relationships, had encounters with rude and crazy people, and have dealt with more rodents than I care to recall. At times it felt like the worst thing EVER, but it’s always been okay in the end.
Here’s to another 5 years New York City.
And because I haven’t blogged in two weeks, I’m going to make today’s post a double. Are you ready??
Occasionally companies still contact me about product reviews. I like to eat and I like to give my opinion, so I usually say yes. My latest product trial is Muesli Fusion. Before I tried this product, I was basically eating a homemade version for breakfast everyday. 5 mornings out of 7 I usually have a mix of raw oats, cinnamon, chopped apple, greek yogurt, milk, and a spoonful of peanut butter. I make it the night before so that the oats can soak up the yogurt and milk. Museli fusion is a gussied up version of plain oats. My favorite blend was the AN OX (Anti Oxidant) variety because it was filled with goji berries, blueberries, organic cocoa nibs, and walnuts. Could you make your own muesli at home? Sure, but these muesli fusion mixes have lots of bonus goodies that I wouldn’t normally go through the trouble of adding. It’s portable, healthy, and if you eat it cold – a good substitute for oatmeal in the summer.
Everyone and their mother has reviewed the Meatball Shop by now, but that’s because it’s GOOD. I first visited back in March 2010 (go check the blog archives – there’s a review!) and went back again on Thursday. Every month or so I meet up with two other community managers to eat, drink, and chat about our crazy jobs. We’re all in the same industry, so we share similar frustrations, but it’s nice to hear other points of view and help each other with tips and tricks. During Thursday’s dinner, I read a Tech Crunch article about new Facebook features aloud to Kristan while Lindsay blogged from her phone. When you work in the 24/7 world of social media, the lines between work and play blur very quickly. Weekends, nights, holidays….you’re never really “off”. It’s just the nature of the industry. Luckily I really like the work that I do!
Anyway, while chatting about Zuckerberg’s newest FB feature, we drank some wine:
Um, yeah, we each drank our own carafe.
And for my meal, I went with the market salad (avocado, grapefruit, and bibb lettuce) and a trio of meatball sliders: buffalo chicken meatball with blue cheese sauce, veggie meatball with pesto, and a spicy pork meatball with tomato sauce.
And you shouldn’t leave The Meatball Shop without trying the ice cream sandwiches. The three of us split the cornmeal cookie sandwich with strawberry balsamic ice cream and the snickerdoodle cookie sandwich with caramel ice cream.
Someone tried to talk to me about low calorie salad dressings and diet apps for smart phones the other day. She was clearly barking up the wrong tree. In my opinion, a life without wine, meatballs, and ice cream (in moderation, obviously) isn’t a life worth living.
And finally, I like lists and I like summer, so I’m going to tell you my summer to-do list, mostly for my own record. I hope I’m able to come back and cross everything off this list by September!
2012 Summer to-do list
- -Paulie G’s pizza in Greenpoint
- -Saraghina pizza in Bed-Stuy
- -Picnic and new beer garden on Governor’s Island
- -Terroir wine bar on the Highline (if you ask me to pronounce “terroir”, I will cry)
- -Beach trip!!
- -Red hook excursion – particularly for Steve’s Key Lime Pie
- -Habana Outpost - Mmm, frozen margaritas
- -Lots of ice cream
- -Be running 40 miles per week by the end of July (Umm, might be running a fall marathon)
- -Outdoor/rooftop movie
- -Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer movie (just read the book, liked it a lot!)
- -Many long walks in the nice weather. I walked the ~6 miles from my office to BK one day last week and it was 2 hours well spent. I listened to music, took in the sights, decompressed from the work day. Love 70 degree evenings.
- -Visit City Island!
Want to join me in any of these adventures?? Now accepting applications.
What’s on your summer to-do list? FUN STUFF ONLY PLS. Responsible things like GRE classes don’t count.