Yes. I moved to New York. This was the big "secret" I was hiding, because honestly my visa appointment was on the 12th of August and I was flying on the 17th so I really didnt' want to jinx anything.
I'm now officially a graduate student (holy fuck) at The New School (holy fuck) studying Media Management (holyy fuck).
There's so much I don't believe about my life right now. For example: all I need to do is walk 10 minutes to be able to see the Empire State Building to my north and the One World Trade Center to my south. Sometimes, at night, I can see the faint beams of the 9/11 memorial if I stand on a clear avenue. Both coasts of Manhattan are only a 20-minute walk away.
I feel like Carrie Bradshaw, except I'm really more of a Miranda and I'm actually good with financial planning. None of that credit card debt or asking my friends for mortgage payments. Carrie could have never afforded her life style on a freelance writer's salary anyway. It was all a farce.
I'm trying not to overwhelm myself with a to-do list of things I want to do and see in this city, primarily because I hate being a tourist but also because I'm convincing myself that I have time – I'm not going to have to abandon this 6-year-old dream of mine because of another outbreak. It's hard, moving to a new city halfway across the world as a pandemic is still going considerably strong – it feels a bit traumatic to walk outside to see so many people with their masks off, acting like everything's back to normal, when back home this virus was killing people en masse just this summer.
This crosses my mind literally every single day, multiple times a day, and I have to consciously stop myself from going down that road every time. It's too painful and agitating.
Back to the topic at hand. My move to New York City.
Here's some highlights from my first three weeks:
- My flight here was a nightmare. British Airways operates their BOM-LHR-JFK flights under some weird loophole, so you can't fly that route as an Indian student unless you book it through American Airlines. They almost didn't let me fly. Had to sit at the airport for 2 whole hours before we booked a whole new fucking ticket. Truly hellish. At least we got a refund for the original ticket?
- Cried on the sidewalk on the day I moved into my dorm because my Target bags were too heavy. Found an Indian restaurant near my dorm that somehow let in a crying 22-year-old and let me leave half my bags there as I trekked back and forth to carry everything together.
- Met three complete strangers who I'm going to be living with for the next 8-9 months. I really like them.
- Got drunk in a new city for the first time. That's always fun.
- Went for an in-person class for the first time since February 2020. Terrifying but also... amazing. I hate that I've missed college, but also not because I love it.
- Received my first ignorant (?) comment because of my background & the fact that I obviously don't look white. I'm not even counting the countless "omg you speak English so well!!!11!!!" from years past.
- Bought my first-ever designer piece from a thift store using money I earned a couple months ago. Such a stunning Vivienne Westwood Anglomania jacket that I feel like crying every time I look at it. Burn/bury me in it.
One of my main things about moving here and attending grad school is that I'm not going to do what I did at Ashoka and plan my entire life out. Frankly, all that planning went to shit anyway, and it's not like it brought me much joy. What feels so much better is taking life as it comes – whether good or bad. I sound like a fucking jerk writing this, but it's true: plans never fucking work out so you might as well not even bother and go with the flow.
It kills me to write this, because I've never been this person, but I realize now that I have to be. There's things I want to do and see here, and I don't know if I'll ever get around to them. What I do know is that it'll only happen if I don't pressurize myself into ticking off every box on some kind of bucket list. If it's meant to be, it'll be.
Except one thing: if you know any NYC finance fuckboys, send them my way.