The past 5 years: What I’ve learned

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

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.

  • My summer todo: move to Chicago (two weeks) and start a new stage of my life!!! So excited! 

  • Joy

    Spend many hours walking the poodle in the woods
    And kayak more than ever

  • Alexandra F

    Great list! Terroir wine bar and Habana Outpost are on mine as well. 
    I also really want to go to Fire Island this year. And kayak on the Hudson. 
    Do you have plans to stand in line for Shakespeare in the Park? 

  • According to this link http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2009/08/wine_guy_explains_wine_things_3.php, you say it as “teh-wahr.” But pardon me, I can’t get that pronunciation out of my mouth without sounding like I have a speech impediment/brain injury/mouth full of bagel.

  • Anna

    Paulie Gee’s was one the best pizza experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. Go! I also try to avoid saying terroir.

  • nihan

    On top of the list is training for my first marathon (i.e hitting 20 miles without melting).  Definitely checking Governor’s Island beer garden and making Fire Island visit happen this summer.. Oh, I do also enjoy walking from work-Flatiron to home-Park Slope through Brooklyn Bridge. ~6-7 miles, so relaxing…

  • Pauli Gee’s is one of my fave pizza places…you must order the “hellboy.” And I love Habana Outposts frozen mojitos! This is making me miss NYC!!!

    When you go to redhook, make sure to check out baked and the red hook football field vendors. And I suggest the swizzle from steve’s key lime pie!

    Also add to your list: New Amsterdam Market, Dekalb Market, and Pok Pok for amazing Thai Food!

  • I make a similar egg scramble but with chopped broccoli instead of shredded brussels – but also drizzled with ketchup! So your dinner doesn’t sound weird at all to me 🙂 This summer I am going to Spain for the first time!

  • melanie

    city island is completely worth the hassle of getting up there – fried lobster tails and ice cold beer! hello healthy choices!

  • i want in on the paulie gees outing! and will happily return to terroir on the highline, too. and of course ice cream. oh! i won’t bail on the beach this time, leslie and i were talkin’ beach dates already. summer loving, woo woo.

  • also, i dig your nyc tips. new york is a crrrrazy place, but of course it attracts lovely people too such as yourself, miss megan. i am glad you are resilient and know how to roll with the punches (and live in way more non-whitey neighborhoods than i have, haha).

  • Stacey Sarber

    Even as a Bostonian I know how awesome the Meatball Shop is. When they first opened in Brooklyn I was visiting my friend and he INSISTED we get the ice cream sandwiches one evening. Soooo good! The next time I was there I devoured a veggie ball and can’t wait to come back again. Looks like you have a great summer lined up 🙂

  • Melissa

    woah, City Island? Yes! Definitely go there (but more for the views and fish and chips than anything else)
    I spent four years of college sailing out of one of the yacht clubs there and my recommendation (I know you didn’t ask, but New Yorkers exploring City Island gets me so excited!) is to go to Sammy’s Shrimp Box for their fish and chips and then sneak onto the lawn across the street at the Morris Beach Club and have a picnic 🙂

  • I live in a small connecticut town and could never image living in NYC – seems like it would make you more independent and have a thicker skin. I know its super expensive but I think its worth it – you are living in one of the best cities in the world with tons of things to do! 

  • If you need help on any of the outdoorsy-drinking activities, count me in.

    Also, I think you’re supposed to ask children to cover their ears BEFORE dropping the F-bomb. Just saying. 🙂

  • runnerskitchen

    Hah, children probably shouldn’t be reading this blog anyway.

  • Margaritas, yes please!  Beach too.  New York is a great city that is truly not like anywhere else…and it makes for some people awesome people living here.  It’s crazy how hard it can be to meet people in such a big city, but also great how many people you can meet here.  Although I have no idea what people did before twitter…ha.  

  • runnerskitchen

    twitter increased my friends by ten fold. yay, internet.

  • Christen Goodin Kirkwood

    I am drooling over the Meatball Shop. We need one in Boston, stat.

    As for summer fun, I have houseguests for the next 3 weeks straight. Suddenly everyone is interested in seeing Boston. Besides running, we are going to Vegas next month for my 30th birthday (OMFG it’s next month-cue freak out). But I am super stoked, we have a group of 12 people going and it’s going to be a blast! And apparently 2012 is the year of weddings, because we have 3 to attend soon (all in different states that are so not close to MA). And you know, running (marathon in October). Minor detail!

  • MealsforMiles

    I looove the Buffalo Chicken meatball!! Going back there is definitely on my list. As is the Terroir wine bar on the High Line (need a buddy??). Last year I don’t think I made it to the beach more than once, so that definitely has to change this year. OH and also Grimaldi’s pizza and a picnic at BK bridge park. Now you’ve got me thinking… I should make my own list! 

  • It’s amazing how much you can learn in 5 years. Just living in NYC for two years changed me so I can only imagine!
    It’s funny what you said about public transportation delay notifications – I am convinced that they just have a bowl of “excuses” and randomly pick one when there is a delay. Some of my favorites also include “shift problem” and “de-icing”.
    MAN, I’m so glad its summer. Sounds like you have a fun list! Okay my summer list includes: Get over this damn injury and successfully begin NYC training, eat a whole fish for the first time, finally have a good craps roll in vegas, and finish 1/2 of my Rosetta stone level 2.

  • Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife

    I love your 5 things!! & I love NYC…even with it’s annoying little quirks 😉

    I also love your to do list for the summer! I wanna visit Randall Island, go to Coney Island to get cheese fries on the boardwalk & watch a movie outside in the park!

  • runningseal

    I am a little late to the commenting party but can I join you on some of those things on that list? And I still need to go to Ample Hills…that fits into lots of ice cream 🙂 WIne and pizza are good too….

  • Well I’m currently in TN, and still have trips to Birmingham, Atlanta, Boston, Southern California and NYC planned! My boyfriend and I started talking about moving to a city while were young and because we’ve lived in Suburban Florida our whole lives. New York is on our list of maybes but neither of us have been there before so we’re visiting my friend who literally moved there yesterday in August to get a feel for it! You might have scared me off with all of your rodent talk though!

  • runnerskitchen

    They’re not that bad, I promise! 🙂

  • Celeryandcupcakes

    I loved NYC when I visited last year, such an amazing city!

  • Definitely agree, you CAN’T spend your whole life dieting, and treats, in moderation, are very important.

  • 1) You are incredibly brave to have gone to your reunion!  I didn’t go to my 5-year high school reunion, but high school feels a little more raw than college.

    2) I LOVE your to-do list. Maybe we can hit a few together?  And B and I are also planning to go to City Island!  I’ve been obsessed with the idea since seeing the movie aptly titled… “City Island.”

  • AnnGMorrone
  • lolz. at that a/c setup!

    ice cream sandwiches from the meatball shop are so good.

  • PhilF

    Hi – nice post. re: 1, I’ve got the same sort of set-up for my a/c as well. dare I say it’s even less elegant. Query how much hot air seeps in nonetheless and the added cost of cranking the a/c all the time because of that. Judging from my electric bill, the answer is somewhere near a LOT.
    re: 4, I am still shocked when I’ll be out with people who *live in nyc,* and we’ll go to take the subway somewhere and they, ‘hold on one sec, I have to buy a metrocard.’ Like, what is going on that you don’t have a metrocard??

  • runnerskitchen

    haha, i was talking to someone the other day and they said they hadn’t bought a metrocard in YEARS. i don’t understand.

  • Katemck

    Hi Megan!  I just wanted to say that I miss your posts!  I trained for my first half during Jan and Feb this year, which felt like the coldest, darkest months of the year to train in London.  Logging onto runnerskitchen was a ritual for me and I look forward to reading your posts during lunch.  Hope you are enjoying your much needed break! 

    Kate (from Kansas, now London, UK)

  • I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years…I can’t believe I’m only just commenting now!  Great list, I can totally relate and I’m pretty sure we have the same a.c. set up going on.