culture shock

July 23, 2014

Before I moved, I told myself, “Brace yourself, Chary.”

Adjusting hasn’t been difficult nor a quick transition either. I am getting used to certain things, like my form of transportation, but not the ridiculous weather.

A short synopsis of my subway stories – (#charyssubwaystories on Twitter)

  • First day, I managed to survive the train to get to Target.
  • “Did you steal that Metro Card?!” a Lady NYPD asked. “No Ma’am. It’s mine, I swear. I just got lost that is why I am re-entering the station.” Yeah, that happened, too.
  • There are train performers, even kids who are rapping and dancing for money.
  • Nap time happens, all the time. Even when drunk. I, too, have been guilty of this action.
  • If you don’t have headphones, you’re screwed. People usually read or listen to music on their commutes. Or people watch (my fave).
  • This past weekend, a well-dressed gentleman’s package was nearly next to my face. So awkward. So awkward. Of all body parts, really?
  • Cute shoes can’t happen. Wedges? Maybe, but you’re walking up-and-down stairs and catching train transfers. Comfort wins!
  • There is no such thing as personal space. Shoulder-to-shoulder. Body heat. Maybe I should catch the next train Uptown…

Time is of the essence. They were not kidding about the hustle-and-bustle.

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I was explaining to family and friends that grocery shopping is difficult and expensive. I am used to purchasing a week’s worth and stuff it into my car and drive off. I don’t have the luxury anymore. Now? I usually get two day’s worth due to my train ride. Got to be able to carry it on the train and the walk home.

There are little markets on every corner, “bodegas” they call it. I still don’t understand it entirely, but a little bit of deli + groceries? For larger grocery markets, there is a long line outside of Trader Joe’s just to enter, and Whole Foods gets expensive! This happened: I went into a small corner market, looking for lemons. Three lemons for two dollars – what in the! Can’t get over that. 

It’s very interesting when it comes to the food culture here. People dine out more often than cook at home. There is a Seamless ad that reads “People call it take out. New Yorkers call it dinner.” A Seamless meal can be equivalent to a piece of salmon from Whole Foods. I don’t know how or why, but it just is. They were not kidding about the cost of living is pricey here. Who grocery shops? Who cooks? A lost art…

Everyone is so diverse and there is a sense of community amongst the different cultures. I’m so used to being surrounded by many Asians, but not so many I’ve seen. And Chinatown does not count. Heard they’re populated in Queens though! I’ve came across Jewish, Dominican, and Puerto Rican backgrounds. 

New Yorkers have that attitude - I am assuming it’s the Don’t-mess-with-me and Get-out-of-way attitude. They’re not rude, just in a rush. Me? It’s rubbing onto me a little.

Oh, briefly put: party life is way different than in LA. Does not stop at 1:30 – 2AM. Reminds me of Vegas, where you party when the sun comes up. Me? I like my sleep, thanks!

As far as the neighborhoods and City itself, there are many history, culture and street art. It reminds me of another great city, San Francisco! And it’s a little dirty. When I said this to K, she said, “You sound like a total Californian. ‘Oh my gosh, it is so dirty!” Clearly, mocking me.

The vibe is different, but I like it. A lot. This is my new normal.

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I overlooked the City, and I thought to myself, “I really live here.” It’s going to take time to fully transition and adapt, but by far: I love you, New York.

*Artwork by S.

*For my daily sights of the City, check out my Instagram @charypie.

a touristy weekend

July 21, 2014

Hello and good morning!

It’s Monday and my body is aching from this past weekend’s adventures. One of my dearest friends were in town and I am playing tour guide. I would say I didn’t too bad. We got lost on the train like three times, but that’s not terrible.

smorgasborg DSC00743 DSC00746 First stop: Food at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. It’s kind of like a flea market for food. Or 626 Night Market, but every weekend and during the day with such a great view of NYC.
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Got to celebrate National Ice Cream Day! Free vegan ice cream by West Elm.

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A hearty breakfast before we head out to more touristy spots. Found out about Black Seed Bagels through First We Feast. My oh my, I was not disappointed.

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I can’t believe I live in such a beautiful city. Do you see the tallest building there? That is the One World Trade Center.

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New York has many parks and they vary in sizes too, but Washington Square Park is probably my favorite so far. The ambiance, the people, and just the location makes me enjoy it even more.

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She wanted to conquer all the attractions – I cannot believe I did the entire thing. Y’know the whole Times Square, Empire State Building (from afar) and all the historical places.

I am having difficulty in trying to describe how exhausted I am from these past few days. Staying up late and getting up early can be so dreadful. Honestly, how do people do it? They say the City never sleeps…

I will save a full on update about everything soon for next time. Stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by!

ny nomad

July 16, 2014

I feel like a nomad with big baggages, literally.

I somehow managed to condense my entire life into two suitcases and a backpack. Thought I was being an exceptional minimizer until I hear other transplants coming to New York with only a carry-on and a duffle bag.

WHAT? How does that even work? Oh, they made it work.

Living conditions are rough due to uncertainty and instability. Although these are rough patches down my adventure, I need to see the positives when these things unfold.

There is a rush of excitement when I deeply think about it – I have all the liberation in the world. With no address, I feel as if I am off the grid.

I can pick up and leave whenever I want…

Ultimately, I know myself that I cannot live this kind of lifestyle. I have to establish myself soon. My goal is to figure out a stable living condition by next month, and well, I don’t have a choice. So grateful to have friends that provide a roof over my head thus far.

noadIt’s weird because I have always been the type to have something concrete, a solid plan and this entire experience so far, almost to a full week, there is nothing tangible or definite. Everything is “up in the air” and I just go with the flow.

Something I was not a pro with doing, but getting used to now. Comforting myself to that idea. Who am I becoming?

Sending lots of love from New York to all my friends, family and readers!
*artwork done by S.

 

 

the california transplant

July 12, 2014

I can’t believe it’s only been three days since I been here – I feel like it’s been over a week. Time has a way of going fast for some odd reason.

It’s so surreal that I am living here. The things you see in movies are happening to me, well at least some parts of it. The subway stories and massive crowds of people speed walking.

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Friends, family and readers have been asking me the same thing: why did you move to New York? And I never really got a chance to explain the conditions and how I went about it.

If you’re an avid follower, or taken a peek at my About Me section: I want to pursue in the editorial industry. If I must be more specific, print and/or digital publications. However, in the end, all I want to do is write. Don’t ask me what about – I am still trying to figure out that myself. 

Knowing that Los Angeles was not the home of fashion and print media, it only made sense to move my bags to the East Coast. I been wanting to do this for a long time. Initially thought of moving last Spring, but I already had prior commitments.

Now, it’s my time. I have no boyfriend, no kids, and my job was not my career. No attachments aside from friends and family. There is no such thing as perfect timing, but it sure look like it. The stars were aligning, and I felt like the Universe was telling me to just do it.

I went about this very rational though – saving every month, cutting unnecessary expenses and changing my lifestyle just a tad while managing to pay off student loans. To be frank, since October 2013 I been planning all of this. So this is not entirely on a whim… per se.

Did you move for work? Had something lined up?

Technically, yes. I managed to land an internship and been working remotely since May. If you read a recap post (click here if you missed it) I am Contributor Writer for The Co Report. Here’s something: it’s unpaid. There is no promise that I will be getting an any income from this role, but I am willing to pay my dues and gain exposure as a writer. In addition to having content for my portfolio.

brooklynI am here for New York in the long haul. I can’t say I won’t go back to California because I don’t know what the future holds, but I won’t make it an option either. I am determined to make it all work out.

I know it’s very ambitious of me, but life always has a way of working itself out. I truly believe that.

But as far as obtaining a job in my desired field, no. Technically I am unemployed, once again. But this time, I am unemployed in one of the most expensive cities in the world. How did I manage to do that?!

I figured I will begin to apply to places once I am here and with the fast-paced lifestyles of New Yorkers, it would be easier to get interviews. There is hope, I been connecting with other creative types as well as trying to find a day-job to get some income rolling in while side-hustling as a writer. Networking is crucial.

My first job interview is tomorrow, on a Sunday. It’s all happening so fast that my emotions haven’t caught up with the reality of things. My second day in New York, I was already meeting with Head Hunters. I think I am still in disbelief or some form of denial…?

It’s Saturday night in such a lively city, and what am I doing? Writing, getting some emails handled and conducting research on the company I have an interview with. Got to brush up on my interview skills!

Until the next post! Thank you all for reading and for all your kind wishes. It really means a lot to have a wonderful support system. It’s so cliche, but I have to do it: #blessed.

Mocking is super fun!

 

 

 

 

 

starting anew

July 10, 2014

“Is this really happening?”  I questioned myself repeatedly on the plane. It is happening now.

This is it: a new chapter. A new adventure.

It was only a few months ago where I decided to take this leap of faith and move, and here I am now. Going blindly into New York in hopes I can establish myself and my career.

Writing to you live from the East Coast, my new current home. Until the next post – I need to get situated first.

 

 

so long, farewell

July 6, 2014

I hate goodbyes and I am terrible at it.

Coming to my last few days with my friends, parting has never felt so… I cannot even find a word to describe these moments. 

Sad. Bittersweet? Painful.

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A flush of emotions. I never took myself to be the emotional type, or the type to have a cry-fest by herself before bed. Although it appears that I am well with expressing my emotions, I am not. Fooled you, didn’t I?

I honestly don’t remember the last time I cried this much. Well, that sounds a tad dramatic, and I hope you’re not all thinking I am crying and sobbing for hours. No, it has been sporadically these past few days. Irked that I cannot control them either.

The only way I can describe this entire situation is: as if I am breaking up with parts of me – breaking up with my life for a new uncertain life…

But this is part of life’s journey, people come-and-go periodically. But those relationships you continue to nurture and maintain will always be there for you. Those are the ones who matter. Not all goodbyes are forever. 

Y’know what they say – distance makes the heart grow fonder. 

*illustration by S. 

writing memory lanes

July 2, 2014

I don’t know why this time is more dramatic than others. I feel like I have never moved before, but in actuality, I have. Many times in my life span.

But this time feels a little different. I am literally leaving everything behind: family, friends and wonderful memories.

As I put away boxes, I opened one to find my old journals. Flipped through a few pages to see them filled with glitter gel pens (yes, I had a whole set that was 20+ gel pens), and wrinkled pages.

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I read a couple of pages, some I couldn’t even understand what I was saying - is this really me? So odd to see how my penmanship, pen selection and diction changed over time. The maturity level and my perspective on myself and life. There was a total of four journals. That does not include the one I recently completed earlier this year.

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I had secrets. My first high school “heart break.” Feelings that I don’t remember feeling and some feelings I vividly do. So many words and memories filled those pages.

I am happy that writing in a physical journal is something that I continue to do, but not with gel pens..

I find it funny, well ironic, that something we enjoyed growing up, something so natural to us, is where our truest passion lies. 

Born to be a writer, I guess. Or, expressive to say the least.

I have exactly a week left, and nowhere ready with my moving process…

fight & flight

June 30, 2014

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? 

I constantly question what I am doing with my life. What is my next move? Unemployed. Now what?

After meeting with former colleagues from Fashion Week, I was re-inspired. I questioned: why not?

I devised a time line, a goal and began to slowly execute my plan.

They say: Fortune favors the bold. You cannot fathom how scared yet excited I am to embark on this life-changing journey. Truth is, I don’t know how things will result. But who does?

Throughout the entire duration of my planning, my friends and family have been utterly supportive. I am so grateful for the people in my life.

My one-way flight departs on July 9th.

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what if’s?

June 25, 2014

My colleague L and I were chitchatting in the main lobby. She asked the usual, “Are you training her?” followed by, “Where are you going?” As I responded to her questions, her boss, VP of Merchandising overheard our conversation and asked, “Are you leaving?”

Here came the moment of truth: Yes. She then said, “Hold that thought.” She took a few steps back towards her office and then came back, “Do you want to stay?”

“You want me to stay?” She said yes without any hesitation. She then went on saying there is a position available on the Women’s Merchandising Team that is currently vacant. The Director of Merchandising has mentioned my name in a couple of conversations and said I appear to be “quick” and is “has her things together.”

What the! There she was, the VP of Merch offering a new role in the company, on the spot. What do you do?!

After I politely declined since I had another route in mind, a stream of “what if’s” flowed into my mind afterwards. Typically, I don’t question “What If” much, and if we’re friends, you would know this, too. But I was so surprised and struck by this one. It bothered me.

What if I accepted that role and postponed Plan A? What if this role help me progress to the direction where I intend to be? What if I end up staying with the company and moving up in the department?

Frankly, I would have accepted the offer if this happened sooner, like six months ago. So many questions and what if’s followed that moment where it happened. I remembered my heart was racing so fast.

Something amazing came out of this – someone in the higher power, literally, recognized my work ethic. I feel honored to be recognized and this is all so humbling.

What would you do? Have you had any career what if’s? I bet you do. Share, please!

Two more days of work … home stretch, baby! You all are probably think I am insane for quitting and having no prospective job lined up…

My Mom says so, too.

before bed thoughts

June 22, 2014

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a lifestyle, or a job. If it doesn’t make you happy let it go.

William Chapman

A food for thought for those who ever questioned themselves if they’re truly happy or not.

I understand that you may not want to risk a job, relationship, or lifestyle due to many reasons.  Comfort and security are common reasons. I understand you, entirely.

But in my twenty-somethings years of life, I learned that life is meant to be filled with happiness. Why live miserably?

Hate your job? Quit. 

Because I strongly believe:

If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will regard you with a new hello.

Paulo Coelho

Love,

charypie