Wow. It’s really only been two weeks since I got here?
I spent my first few days meandering around the area near my apartment—and when I say “meandering” I actually mean “speed-walking for hours in terrible shoes until my back, knees, ankles, and feet were completely out of commission, oops.” My neighborhood is quite lovely: quiet, safe, peaceful; but I feel uncomfortable finding too much joy in these things, even, because of their racist and classist implications, however unintentional. Rob’s first impression of the area is probably the most accurate one: “It’s so…gentrified.” The politics of city growth, I am learning, are complicated.
Rob visited from Friday through Sunday, and we hit a bunch of places, including the Museum of Sex (not as impressive as its price tag might lead one to hope but worth it to learn about The Sex Lives of Robots
) and the MoMA (my favorite exhibition was Rising Currents
, which featured artists’ renderings of possible NYC solutions to climate change-induced rising sea levels). We also went to Prospect Park’s weekly farmer’s market, some vegetarian restaurants, and the NYC Build-a-Bear store where I bought my bear kimono
. Additionally, we got to meet up with mutual friends from school and play tag on a Battery Park playground with Caroline.
I’d been looking for a part-time job, and for a little while, I thought I had a sandwich-making gig lined up with Vox Pop
(a café I have seen described on the web as one of the most invigorating places around, and alternately, a “shiteous hipster outpost”). However, when I went in to train, I discovered that “training” was actually a six-hour uncompensated screening shift, and I was up against about a dozen other would-be baristas. Which would have been ok, had anyone informed me that this was going to happen, especially after I specifically asked
about their hiring process.
The internship, on the other hand, is going phenomenally. I love the people, and I love what I do. I have my own cubicle where I hide, reading reading reading all day long. On my first day, Naomi handed me a stack of 60-some pages of copy for the upcoming magazine and told me to have fun. So I did! Well, mostly, apart from when I realized I do not understand comma usage and, to make matters worse, neither does anyone else in the world. :\
After my second day, my coworkers took me to a party hosted by Tablet
, a prominent Jewish-interest web mag, in celebration of its first year up and running. I had the chance to meet a number of people who come up regularly in JBC conversation and who are names to know in the wonderful world of Jewish publishing. I made my first priority trying to make a dinner out of hors d’oeuvres without looking like a pig. I put this before my other priority—trying to mingle without looking dreadfully uncomfortable—because I always like to have my top goal be something I am capable of accomplishing.
Rob came back to visit again at the end of the week on his way home from seeing our friend Ashley in Pennsylvania (he brought me farm animal sprinkles from Amish country, which I will use on all my vegan cupcakes, and a shotglass that says “I ♥ INTERCOURSE PA
"). We had a fancy Italian lunch with my bestest friend from my Japan program, Rachel, and her mom. Unfortunately, Rob wasn’t feeling as much better from the mysterious stomach sickness he’d had in PA as he’d thought, and walking 20 blocks to lunch may not have helped. He ended up spending the rest of his stay curled up in a ball in my bed, only able to manage the occasional sip of diluted orange juice, and running a fever. I accompanied him to New Haven via Amtrak to make sure he was all right till safely in the hands of his parents, which would have been a much less traumatic experience had our train not been two hours late leaving.
The stress of that compounded with all the stress I’ve been collecting from summer part-time job and fall for-real job hunting has put me in a bit of an icky place for the time being--though it's probably the typical one to end up in following graduation (see: "Oh, the Places You'll Actually Go"
I am trying to be optimistic and excited for the future, but I’m so, so scared. I can’t find part-time work to do alongside my internship, because, in the rare event a business is hiring, either I don’t have the right qualifications for the particular job, I’m generally too well-educated, or nobody likes seasonal employees. I also have no idea how to get into the sort of real work I want to do—even if I could find something that would put me closer to children’s publishing, I’m worried it will only be another unpaid internship, and I can’t afford that. And what if I get into the work I think I want to do and don’t like it? And what happens to my hopes of traveling and doing more adventurous and exciting things if I get tied to a full-time job? I’m most terrified of becoming boring. I want to meet people and go places and do things. If I come home too tired to do much of anything but read a little and sleep, when will I find the time to do my own creative projects and give anything back to the world?
Through college, I could maintain a feeling of direction because I really enjoyed what I was studying. Now, however, I have to face the realization of my own overwhelming responsibility. I’m the only one who can make my life what I want it to be. And that might be a hell of a lot easier if I had any clear sense of what I want. tl;dr
I do actually seem to ♥ New York, but our relationship status may be destined to remain “it’s complicated.”