My New York City Adventure

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Rachel Lynn Blog! Wow, does it seem like an eternity since I posted last. You all have been such a wonderful support system and have seriously made this move and transition to the big city more manageable. So, today's post is going to be story time-- a little (relatively speaking) recap of what I've been up to the past few months.

A year ago last month, I decided to move to New York City. I was in an odd transition period of my life and wanted to do something I had been too scared to even contemplate before. It was finally time to chase my dream and move to the city that had stolen my heart years before. (I talked a lot about that time in my life HERE if you want to read more about it!) That decision was the easiest part of the whole process. After my heart was set, we had to actually find a place to live... 

Oh. My. God. Finding an apartment in New York City was the most stressful process I've ever experienced. When I was in college, if you didn't have a lease signed at least six months in advance, you were probably screwed.. or living with random people. I started searching for apartments as soon as I decided to move and was laughed at by every broker/ owner I spoke with. There wasn't a single landlord willing to sign a lease for even a month in advance. In theory, it makes sense. There are so many people who are looking for housing in the city, they could have that apartment filled in a week. No way they want it sitting for a few months while you wait for your current lease to end. 

As much as I wanted things set in stone well in advance, there was no way that was possible. We planned to move in August, so come July we were finally able to start looking at apartments. One of my roommates and I took a few days off work and looked at almost 20 apartments in two days. TWENTY APARTMENTS IN TWO DAYS. We walked all over Harlem and then all over Astoria (the most adorable neighborhood, btw) in search of our future home. On the last day we were able to look at apartments, we made a last ditch effort to schedule viewings. As we were walking to the subway, the two of us were furiously calling brokers. 

Up until that point, we had a few options, but none that truly felt like home. The last apartment we looked at on that fateful day was the one. People always say you just know when something is right. I never thought it was true until that day. There was just something about that apartment. I knew it was ours and made no attempts to hide how badly I wanted it. That day-- two weeks before I was supposed to move-- we met with the landlord and started the application process. 

Two weeks, guys! 

After that, I packed up everything I could fit in my brother's truck, left behind anything I couldn't and set off with our two little kittens. Off to take on the big city. 

"Little coffee takes on big city. 🗽"

Since then it's been a whirlwind of applying for jobs, interviewing, networking and acclimating. Career wise, I could not have made a better decision. I've had countless interviews, met with amazing start up companies, sat down and picked apart a CEO's brain and overall found a clearer sense of where I want to take my job search. I've had to work a lot harder to stand out and make an impression, but I've found that to be so much more rewarding. 

Even better, though, all of my interviews here have centered almost entirely around my blog and the work I've done with it! Not only discussing my personal blog at a professional level, but impressing interviewers with my experience enough for them to invite me back has been such a pivotal moment in my job search. It meant the world to hear that the past few years I had spent growing my blog and putting my heart and soul into it has led to more than just a hobby, but a potential career. The writing opportunities here are absolutely phenomenal and I know in the long run this was the best move I could have made!

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about actually living in NYC. One of the things I absolutely love about the city and miss every time I leave is the independence I feel. The first week or so was a nightmare trying to navigate the subway system. I missed meetings, was late almost all of the time and had to Uber to my final destination because I had no idea where I was on MORE than one occasion. I even started doing this fun thing where after a week or so I would have way too much confidence in myself, walk 15 minutes in one direction, only to check my phone and realize I'd been headed in the wrong direction the whole time. That was one night I don't ever want to repeat. 🙄

Once I mastered* the subway system, I felt that I could conquer the world. Whenever I go back home or go back to Pittsburgh to visit, I constantly feel like I have to rely on someone else, whether it's friends or Ubers to get around and miss being able to rely on myself to get around. Now, in all fairness, I've been stuck underground, delayed, or have mentally freaked out in trains my fair share, so it's not perfect by any means, but it still feels good to have the confidence to get wherever I need to be with some amount of ease.

*One never fully masters the subway system. It simply lets you believe you have an understanding of it.

Everyone says New York City is the city of opportunity-- a place where anything can happen. They were not kidding, let me tell you! I love the thrill of leaving my apartment on a day off and expecting everything and nothing at the same time. I could head into the city, sit at a coffee shop to do work and simply enjoy the experience. Have nothing extraordinary happen, but still be able to revel in the experience-- still be inspired by the city and it's people. Or, on the other hand, I could leave my apartment, expect nothing and somehow stumble into an amazing experience I never planned for. 

As much as I love running into the occasional celebrity (Oh, yes. There will be an entire post on just that experience.) and hanging out in speakeasies (Of course, I will be writing about this, too!), my favorite New York experience has been singing in bars. And not karaoke, either! An accompanist and you. If you know me, you know how much I love to sing. It's hard not to find me humming along to some tune or another. A friend of mine found out I can carry a tune and has been on a mission ever since to take me to bars with live music. 

These spontaneous trips always turn into him "coercing" me to sing at the piano and I would always, without fail, freak out beforehand. "I have nothing prepared. I haven't really practiced in years! I didn't warm up. I'm going to sound horrible!" And a whole litany of other excuses. We'd start by standing in the back, listening to everyone else take their turn, while I wished I had the courage to do it myself. Slowly but surely, I'd inch closer to the piano and "nonchalantly" make eye contact with the pianist until he asked if I wanted to take a shot at it. 

The first few notes my voice always shakes, but I will never loose the performer's part of me and I always find my footing. There's such a wonderful moment, when you forget to be scared and just enjoy it-- when you let yourself have fun and sing your heart out, connecting with those around you. Everyone there is always so supportive, too. I've even had a complete stranger quietly sing the harmony in support. Just listening to two strangers, who will probably never meet again, vocally support each other and create such a beautiful space gives me such LIFE. 

Now don't get me wrong, things have not been all fun and games. Every day I have to work and really put in the effort. I could never say it's been easy. There have been plenty of nights I've cried in the subway or been genuinely lost as far as where I should take my life next. I had an HR coordinator tell me to my face I wouldn't make it because I don't have the "city instinct" and I've been so close to finally landing my dream job, only to have it slip away over the slightest technicality. Living in this wonderfully crazy city means that I have to wrestle with these facts everyday and make the conscious effort to push through. I've decided to fight for what I want and by doing that I've learned more about myself in this past year than had the past 23 others. 

It's definitely a work in progress, but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Be on the look out for more updates from the Big Apple! 


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