Here’s a background feature for ya all:
Growing up is a weird thing. Here I was a 22 year old college graduate ready to embark on a new adventure. And I was scared out of my freaking mind.
Who was I kidding? I didn’t belong in the big city. I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Nashville, TN. Big cities freaked my parents out but I loved the feel of the cities. But did the big city love me, was the question.
As a fresh graduate from Vanderbilt University who studied journalism, I knew I wanted to pursue my Master’s degree. Where better to do that than Columbia University in New York City. I couldn’t believe I was accepted. When I got that letter in the mail I jumped around and did a happy dance right on the lawn. It was only mildly embarrassing since my cute neighbor didn’t catch me.
After the summer ended, I packed up what little I had (hey I’m a poor college kid!) in my worn Honda Civic and headed north. My parents saw me off but they didn’t want to travel with me because they had to work. I think it was because they have a fear of a big yellow cab running them over. Anyway, the drive there was pretty uneventful. Lots of trees, and more trees and the occasional cow, and then…more trees.
Driving into the city was the worst part, though. So much traffic! Holy crap I don’t know how anyone can drive in this place. I think I almost fell asleep while I was waiting for people to move. Finally I arrived at my apartment which is not too far from the campus. I have to say, unpacking is a lot easier when you have friends. Since I didn’t know a soul, it was just me lugging my boxes up three flights of stairs.
In that moment, I was so thankful I was poor and didn’t have a lot of stuff. As soon as my car was empty, my stomach gurgled to let me know it was dinner time. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 8 pm. My body was still on Central time, not that it made any difference to me. I could eat any time or any place. I headed up the block past throngs of people. Honks and chatter filled my ears as I hungrily scouted out a place to eat.
The city was way different than my little town in Tennessee. For one, there was actually a big selection of food places! My stomach turned in pleasure as I tried to make my decision. I finally settled on a Chinese place and sat down. I asked if they had any sweet tea but the waiter said they had unsweet and I could just sweeten it myself. A pang of homesickness washed over me. And from the lack of sweet tea, no less.
Moving to New York City is a big change but I’m getting used to it…and so is my stomach!