I can honestly say that I had NO CLUE what I would be getting myself into when I jumped into this move to New York City. I knew that it would be a bit of culture shock to move from Vancouver, BC to NYC, being that it’s another country and all but I figured that living in Worcester and Boston would prepare me. It’s another big city, how different could it really be? Hah. So different my friends. So, so different.
The day we showed up, we ran around for hours trying to get keys for the apartment that we had never seen. You heard that right, we rented an apartment based on photos from a broker without even stepping foot inside. Oh, we also paid the full year upfront, in advance. Hah. Put that in the “Risks Sarah Probably Won’t Take Again” column. When we finally got to the apartment, we were tired, hungry and just not in good places on our own. The place looked dingy, things were falling apart, no one spoke English in the area and I lost it. I melted down and we ended up driving back to Connecticut and staying in the hotel we’d stayed in the night before. I cried for hours. HOURS. I couldn’t stop thinking about feeling unsafe. I knew this was the right move for my husband but…what had I gotten myself into?
The next day, after some breakfast and a relaxing morning, we went to the apartment. It looked completely different in the daylight. I had spent a lot of time during the night trying to figure out how much of my tears were legitimate and how much was simply because it was DIFFERENT. I had lived in a quiet neighbourhood in Vancouver with very different demographics. This just wasn’t what I was used to and I worked hard to tell myself to open up and just…be. It helped. It helped a lot as we started to figure out our way around things. I didn’t feel great, but I felt like I could do it in comparison to the night before when I was ready to pack my bags and go home.
The one thing that I honestly have been shocked by is how NICE people have been. There is a stereotype out there of New Yorkers being jerks or cold and so far, I just haven’t found that. Sure, in Midtown Manhattan people have been a bit…brisk but in general? People have been kind. Every checkout person has a chat with me. Every server has joked about my husband’s superman t-shirt or my Redsox hat. I’ve had homeless people tell me I was beautiful and to have a great day. I’ve watched people give freely and generously to people asking for money on the subway. It just really wasn’t the welcome that I had expected and I feel like a complete ass to have expected differently.
What I’m saying is that we have so many preconceived ideas of people, places and things. I consider myself a pretty open person in general. I try not to judge but I’m human. We all are. We don’t MEAN to judge often times but it happens. I expected people to not give a crap about us in any way. I expected gruff interactions. I didn’t expect casual conversations and smiles. That’s on me for buying into the stereotype and the stories. I was scared of my new neighbourhood and was fearful. That’s on me too, for trusting my fears, my inexperience, the unknown rather than giving the benefit of the doubt.
I’m going to make my best effort to give people more of a chance than I have given in the past. I’m going to do my best to contribute to this community in some way. I’m going to make it here and I’m going to make it my home.
But I’ll never be a Yankees fan.