New York City
I am going to share a few tips, that might be relevant to moving to NYC or any city or maybe any transition in general.
Tip #1: There are purchasable AC or fans at most Hardware stores, so if you think you only have the google mapped 4 miles away (so far is cities, could be a hour away), no parking walmart or targets as options then you are wrong! Hardware stores are everywhere and on most blocks, so don't even Amazon Prime nothing until your lobby and intercom is set up!
Tip #3: Having a car in the city, changes how you engage with the city. Lowkey it’s a burden and you have to be on edge most of the time trying to find parking, when to park, when not to, it defines where you get to go, etc. Having a car in the city is the exact opposite of the usual liberation, freedom you get on dirt roads and middle ‘merica. No car equals more freedom. Hence, why Cardi B doesn’t have a license.
Tip #4: Learn to be a “minimalist”. If you live with less, are more of a wanderer lifestyle you can live more cheaply in the “nicer” areas, with less of a commute.
Tip #5: As long as you have a subway/transit close walking distance, a laundromat, grocery mart nearby then you are winning. If you have a indoor elevator and laundromat then you luxury! Count your blessings. NYC, you should be able to think of being able to pack up and leave at any minute. That’s the motto for the city, there’s always such a movement.
Tip #6: Buzzfeed is pretty correct on the stereotypical boroughs of NYC. Yes, that means I live in the "perceived danger" not real danger! I would say where Buzzfeed gets it wrong, is any neighborhood can have a more be "dangerous" part, plus dangerous things can happen anywhere you live!
I finally can sit calming (jk, never calm in NYC but I like the visual) in coffee shop in the East Village, with other studious folks and the two cutest pups. Yes, people just happen to bring their dogs to the coffee shop too, and the dogs just nap because everything here is normalized! Plus, dogs here are smart? If your picturing the idyllic janky but cozy artist eatery, where we all sit with earbuds in, typing away staring at screens is where I am? Then, you are correct! It is the scenario you picture in the movies. I sip my usual ice coffee with vanilla and room for cream, although I prefer my own home brew. The eccentric music, the walls spilling with brightly colored verbiage, and I can’t help but notice everyone is dressed fabulously unique, actually pretty weird. Although this doesn’t exist everyday for me, it just happens to be my Wednesdays, my longest day on campus. As I wait between my classes, I feel like a true New Yorker, I exhaustively searched for cheap places were I eat, snack, study, update insta and sip coffee.
New York is a city that holds the entire world with in it. That’s why I say Wednesdays is the day of venture to explore nooks and try a new something, you could seriously explore one part of Manhattan everyday and still everything would be new. I have friends and members of my cohort who live in surrounding neighborhoods, but they could be considered countries or states away. It’s not the new mode of transportation or should I say no mode of transportation (because I never have walked more in my life) that makes it feel like a whole world - it’s the cultures, the peoples, the foods, fashions and languages. Manhattan is only 13.4 miles long by 2.3 miles wide. Say what! I live at the top and at the bottom is my campus. This small world houses 1.66 billion people in literally only 22.82 square miles. For example, I'm still finding new grocery stores and coffee shops in my own neighborhood.
In New York, I've noticed there is quite a desensitization, a diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative, aversive or positive stimulus after repeated exposure to it. The normalization of certain acts, experiences, or way of life can be beautiful, fabulous and purely inviting in cases. I love seeing people get to be their true selves, live their best lives, feel comfortable in their skin. Especially in the East Village you see a lot of the eccentric, so I fit right in! Those who take trends to the extreme, experiment with new waves, and really have a don't care what you think attitude. I'm like yaaas! This is where I live. Then, there's the scary part. Where you start to normalize the screams down the hall, gun shot after the club closes, cat calls in the dark, a guy jacking off full show near the Highline, the musty sour smells of summer of the subway platforms, a friend being robbed waiting for the bus, etc. These are not normal!! I will not let them be! It's not okay, but a few of my friends were just like "oh ya, yup that happened, yelp". Instead, I don't think we should censor the crazy completely, but be aware and learn from everything. I am still amazed at everything! So, I encourage look at the mice below the subway tracks, cringe at public displays of sex arousal, be creeped out, be scared, but also celebrate the beauty, the unusual, the dogs in coffee shops. Live a life where you are aware of not only wrong and right, not just tolerance but how to treat each other.
Tip #7: Headphones save your life, I do not leave my apartment without them because they block most catcalling situations. Other helpful tips, speak a different language or stare into their soul, but the more subtle is headphones.
Traveling Through Canada
For legal purposes, no kitties were a distraction to driving. Bring cats to Canada, is easier then bring them back into the USA. Although, each passage took under 10 minutes, so it was pretty easy!!
Tip 8#: Don’t buy vacuum and seal bags if you have cats! Also, fabric kennels for cats who have claws, it's very wasteful and you'll be so sad that your cat didn't care how cute and chic it was.
Tip 9#: Skip the pee breaks with Cats, they are too squirmy and nervous to even notice a litter box outside of a Wendy’s. They’ll just try to book it out of there any chance they get, they your panicked chasing them toward highways, and they are freaked out from the change of environment, cars, highways and now from your ass chasing them! Just set up a litter box zone in the car and get to where you are going.
I love this girl so much! I say travel with a best friend, because they will love you unconditionally enough to struggle through any new situation. Yes! That means every 5 minutes, they are down for the cause. Ginger, I praise you for the late nights that became early mornings of sleepless despair to the heavy boxes/bags and pouring of sweat tougher than any "Sheila workout" to the legit fears of the unknown when you left. I still see you walking away and leaving me here. I questioned out loud and even more in my head, if I could do this the second you hopped into that uber that I so wanted to be in too. I cried, you cried. I shoved those tears deep down and went to work because what else was I going to do. I already invested $6,000 just getting here: signing a lease, security deposits, pet security deposits, cosigner/guarantor fee, first month rent, rental car, and of course Drake tickets!
Tip #11: You can savvvve so much money, by having roommates or subletting - so no broker, cosigner, security deposits. So don't let me discourage you venture of any city! I needed studio space and brought two cats, so I invested in a further away studio to have my own space. Normal people find roommates online (Facebook groups or sites just for roommate finding!), then you can live closer to where you want live and have better amenities for cheaper! It's all doable, just that route would have been closer to $700 - $1200 monthly + travel getting here. If any one is down for two kitties and an artist, hit me up! My future self, wants to live in the Upper West Side, next to central park maybe.
My Tiny Home, the "Indian in the Cupboard".
New York City and the people I walk passed in small sweaty trains, those who I walk with on my way home, the people I get food with - all have an agency or this innate need to get shit done. There is a buzz in the mofuckin air telling me I’m not getting the amount of what needs to be done, done because the crew around me is killing it. Their mission game is strong and fast and I’m learning their levels. It’s daunting, I tell you to be surrounded by the complete rush and anxiety high. However, I feel like I have an awareness they don’t even know of! Like I wish they new of the slow ease of Lake Superior shores and the grounding of the trees, the real earth at their feet not just concrete. To stand still in a space and not no anything. It’s a truth I withhold, but then I come back out of my small rural shell andow dare I try to tell anyone else their truth! But a truth I can tell is one of exposure, because it's mind to hold, I can say my new norm of environment does make me appreciate or see the word “home” as something new. My truth always makes me question what a home like New York could mean to others, why they love it, how they make it their own - and how I do that.
They probably think the same thing when they see me, a hidden truth they have but don’t share. A way to slow down, examples of self care, a familiarity with how community happens, where to find inviting conversations, how to make friends and how to find a crew or the party with the exception of google maps, cause I already tried and had no help!
Tip #12: Subways don’t have service, so download books, movies, shows, games. Know where to get off and transfer, before or search during moments of service at each stop.
Tip #13: Have your keys on you at all times, anytime you open your door. The mailman rang and as I was opening the door, Ryan ran out the door. I ran after her, the door closing behind me. I with my estranged cat and him with my package, looked at each other in horror. He broke the silence, or it was my cat shredding my chest, stating the obvious,"you're locked out aren't you." Then he ran right out of that crazy mess as any sane person should. I had no phone, no shoes! The real kicker, I was cooking with the stove top on!! Ryan and I, thankfully passed by a few tenants to said to use the intercom to call the superintendent and he happened to be there saving the day! Gah!
Tip #14: My cats hated moving 1,136 miles away, so to keep a healthy norm for them. Don't think switching their food or litter types, or changing their litter box to a fancy one because it's chic and cost more so duh they will love it! No, they will pee repeatedly in your bed, on your new bedding, once while you actually in the bed, to stress their discomfort in change. We figured it out before a vet appointment that would have been $70 dollars, they just wanted a little comforts for Michigan like cheap litter and their usual basic meow mix. I cried only once, but that's because the laundry mat is across the street and they definitely were judging me washing my blankets every fucking day.
Tashina Lee Emery