Monday, December 5, 2016

Look, Ma, No Mattress!

On November 20, I finally moved into my apartment and fit a massive amount of fabric and art supplies into the size of a NYC room. My new roommate eyed my boxes with skepticism, but I insisted, “I am optimistic!”

I wouldn’t have been, expect that over the course of the last year I’ve learned more and more about how much stuff can fit into a small space. With the exception of my beautiful home in Australia, I’ve only lived in tiny spaces since college, and each time I moved, I had fabric to concern myself with. The good side of it? Most of it can be crammed into tiny crevasses, unnecessary to remove until the one time you actually need it.

Living in New York was mostly a bucket list item for me. I knew that I didn’t want to live in Wyoming—the small town lacking in opportunities—but had no clue what I was looking for, or what the options were. New York had everything I knew I lamented about my hometown, save for the drizzly weather, and so I decided that I would go for the next two years and figure out what I sought out of life, but mostly be able to do things creatively that had been difficult in a low population area.

Now, (at the time of writing this) I’m sitting here, on the floor in a heap of pillows waiting for a mattress delivery, thinking to myself, “Okay, now what?”

It’s easy to decide to face your fears long before you actually have to take action. I haven’t truly organized my budget yet, and part of my goals were to take classes, see the sights, engage with like-minded others. In essence, I wanted to learn, create, and meet people, but a lot of that involves actually going out and engaging with strangers which, to me, would be less preferable to starving to death inside my own personal space. But that’s a big part of the reason I came.

It’s interesting to me how I have no idea what my life will be like in three months. I’ve said I’ve always lived my life in three month increments, but now I have no real plans. Life in New York is noticeably different than in Wyoming, so much so I can’t even speculate what kind of daily routine is expectable.

In Wyoming, there is one large grocery store that has pretty much everything you’d want, or rather, two regular groceries stores and an organic Whole Foods because Jackson is chock full of hippies. If you’re really specific on some items, like the delicious Wickles Pickles, you might run to the ‘far one,’ but typically, no. You wait until you’re out of desperately needed items—like milk in which you stocked up on—then drive a half an hour through the National Park, run all your errands, fill car with 200 dollars worth of groceries and then drive home. You avoid going back in for at least a week if you can help it.

It’s hard getting my mind around it. This morning I stepped out into the street for the first time by myself, hungry and a little confused. Truth is, I haven’t seen a lot of chains here, in any kind, and I feel intimidated by the buffet style delis, even though it looks incredibly obvious what to do… It just involves more talking to strangers.

And here I have no idea what the response will be. Everyone’s smiley and chatty in Wyoming (don’t they know I’m insane?!) while in New York I get widely mixed responses. After I talk to them a minute with a smiley and friendly tone of voice, their moods perk up, but it still startles me (irrationally) when I get barked at, or more so, worsen my nerves in preparation of a perfunctory tone.

In New York, there’s not a lot of space to store food period, and I don’t have a kitchen anyway. The grocery store is on the corner of my street, though I had to go to three to get what I wanted—all right next to each other. I had to carry everything back, and keeping that in mind as I considered what I actually wanted and what was a waste, I suddenly remember that I could just come back for lunch and it wouldn’t inconvenience me the least bit. Instead of planning for a week, I didn’t even necessarily need to figure out what I’d want for the day, which is great considering that my tastes drastically vary in short time and predicting what I’ll eat in two to four hours is impossibly difficult. Not what I’d like, what I’ll be willing to eat.

I planned to go out to buy a few household items, but the weight of my bag and my hunger turned me back around. Are you allowed to bring in purchases from other locations? I suppose yes. Seems like the obvious answer. That was the weirdest aspect of Australia though, having grocery stores inside malls and bringing your milk into Big W. Where I grew up, the distance between everything was far enough that you one, had to have a car, and two, would be incredibly difficult to carrying food from one store to the next. You just didn’t have reason to carry anything into grocery store, so it never occurred to me if it was rude—like bringing outside food into a restaurant.

When I returned home, I thought, I need to be back for the mattress guys, so I can’t go wandering the streets for house supplies. Where would I buy such things? Where would I get them cheap? I Googled Walmart.

“New Jersey.”

Not really surprised, but now I’m at loss for what even to say to Google. I tried, “Home supplies in New York,” but it gave me one ridiculously expensive store with no address. But it was in New York!

I’ll probably ask my roommate when she wakes up and that’ll be the end of it, but it proves to me New York is even more foreign than I initially expected—and I expected it to be fairly different.

Due to the aid of others, I have so far found the transition to be easier than anticipated. Now that I have my apartment and can relax a little, I’m far more concerned that I will not take as much advantage of the opportunities despite the reason I came here. However, I’ve only been here a day and I get the overwhelming feeling the city’s not going to let me.

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