Briauna Mariah here.
Writing from New York City.
I know you all want updates, so here it is. I arrived at the airport at 8:23AM Eastern Time last July 12th. It took me hours to finally make it to the house I’m staying at. I’m renting a nice little room in Woodlawn, Bronx, NYC. Bronx–Yikes! Right? Not as bad as it might sound.
Woodlawn is a cute little community very north of Manhattan and I feel rather safe here. It’s like a little bubble in Bronx. Stepping outside the bubble is a little nerve-wracking though.
My first day here was an adventure: commuting the Subway system and learning the ins-and-outs. I purchased my unlimited monthly MetroCard to navigate as freely as I’d like, and my amazing friend who has been living in the city for almost a year now helped me make it “home.” She woke up early to meet me at the airport and gave me yellow roses. So sweet!
The first thing I did when I got here is open up the box I had shipped from WA with my sleeping bag in it. Something comfy. I considered the options I had for the rest of my day, got situated, and headed into Manhattan on the 4 train.
I had been expecting so much of a culture shock that there was virtually no culture shock at all.
I expected long blocks filled with building after tall building. Crazy things to look at. More tall buildings (I made sure not to gawk; just took the occasional photo). Horses near Central Park like in the Madagascar movie. Diversity, diversity, diversity. I expected things to be different. And therefore, I was already adjusted to it. The best chameleons are adaptable!
The only thing so far that really gets to me is the heat and humidity. You can’t escape it! Everyone is shiny with sweat. It doesn’t even cool down at night, which WA at least offers during the few hot summer days (technically, WA offers that every night). The only way to cool down is a cold shower when I wake up in the morning. Never thought a cold shower would feel so good. I’m rather excited to see how the winter turns out. I’ll take cold over this humidity any day.
I had trekked into the city on my first day and still hadn’t had much to eat so I found a Trader Jo’s and discovered their amazing quality of food (after eating it when I got back to my kitchen, that is). Food here is so much more expensive than the west coast though, so that will be my only escapade into Trader Jo’s for a while. Currently budgeting for $25-30 per week for groceries. My mom has been helping me determine the cheapest ways to eat. She wrote me an entire email dedicated to cooking a whole chicken, which I successfully accomplished today and made a soup for dinner.
I was totally exhausted by the end of my first day and conked out by 9PM. Though, I’m still totally on Pacific Time.
Yesterday (day 2) I had a few appointments that were quite successful, ate at Subway with a gift card, and went to Brooklyn for my first time. The location was a bit creepy and the fashion show I was participating in there went well after 1AM, so I ended up taking a cab. The designer I came to walk for was really helpful with tips and her boyfriend was also really nice. They are renting out a nice room in Brooklyn that I will be checking out on Friday. I need to be closer to the city! My commute is looong.
Finally, day 3, today. I got to relax and settle in a bit! I went for a walk to the local grocery store with my roommate to get my chicken, a few other items, and look at food prices. Of course, I had to call my mom at least 5 times asking what a good deal looked like. She’s probably feeling pretty useful. After the groceries, I got some hangers for my closet, had some pleasant conversations with the guys at the local delis, went for a 30 minute speed-walk, and did 100 situps. It is crunch time for New York Fashion Week and I’m ready to get back into shape.
I don’t feel like I’m so far away. I’m just a plane ride away from my old life in Washington. I’m not quite sure the permanence has sunken in quite yet.
Thank you to all who has been texting me and posting on my wall (“timeline”) and checking up on my progress. I’m not ignoring you (okay, well I kind of am), but I still love you! Things have been hectic with settling in. Keep checking up with me and sending your support because it means the world to me.
I do want to make sure I write my more informative blogs here soon. Someone has asked about how I was able to secure housing when moving to New York City so I did write a post to share with you all for that one. I still owe all of you guys parts 2 and 3 of my networking post, plus many more that I have yet to write.
Some interesting things that have happened….
- There was a fenced rooftop with a basketball court and playground on it while going through the Bronx.
- Getting into Manhattan on the subway train, I met a nice (loud) woman who was born in Brooklyn. I let her borrow my phone and we got off the same stop. She was my first real encounter with a New Yorker and she was super nice.
- People asking me where things are and how far they are from the playgrounds. I’m good at looking like I belong. Sorry lady, I don’t look clueless, but I have no idea where I am!
- Realizing I am the ONLY Caucasian in sight. I love the diversity!
- Being greeted by a deli guy in Spanish and replying in Spanish.
- Uuuh, I just heard my first gun shots… really close to the house! As I write this blog for you. Creepy…. What are they shooting??
Tomorrow I interview for a possible PT job at a Salon in Brooklyn. If all goes well, I’ll have a flexible source of income living in Brooklyn in a month (less commute), and I’ll be signed with a great agency. Next stop, Fashion Week!
Briauna Mariah (: