The Newbie In New York
I stepped off the plane on February 15, 2020. I was scared, nervous, excited, and overwhelmed. For two weeks, I spent the majority of the time packing up boxes and purging myself of my previous life. My full time job consisted of organizing, packing, shredding, and making plans. It was one of the most brutal but exhilarating times of my life. I sorted through boxes that I had never touched before. I went through so many memories, pictures, notes, and reminders of my previous life with my husband. I saved some of it, but a majority of it was trashed. I truly felt like I was saying goodbye to my former life and making room for a new life 3,000 miles away. This plan didn’t start two weeks ago, though. I knew that I was going to move here as early as April 2018, when I visited the city to commemorate my late husband’s birthday and the first anniversary of his death. He lived in New York before moving to Los Angeles. His main residence was in the East Village. I traveled to that neighborhood to retrace his steps, celebrate his birthday, and mourn his death in the place where he held so many memories. The trip itself was transformative, hard as hell, and so, so healing. One thing I knew when leaving New York after that trip was that I was going to live here one day. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew.
Fast forward five months later. It is September 2018. All of my plans are coming together and I am getting closer to making New York a reality. The only thing is I have got to find a job! But I decide to go to New York anyway and look at neighborhoods after getting advice from my New York friends. One thing I have learned in life is that you make plans before they’re finalized. In other words, if you want something, envision that it will come to fruition and make bold steps. The mindset combined with action will do wonders in making a dream a reality. My bold step was staying in New York for a week and looking for a neighborhood before I had any idea as to where I would work or how I would pay the bills. I knew that this is what I wanted. After looking at five neighborhoods, I decide on where I want to live. I go home to Los Angeles and begin my long journey of apartment hunting in that neighborhood. In the meantime, I am saving money and continuing to heal, so that when the opportunity presents itself, I am ready. I had no idea how fast that opportunity would come.
After the Holidays, I line up a few interviews in January. Each interview seems to go well, but they result in no job. That month I also decided to postpone my planned move by two months. I originally gave myself a deadline of February 2020 to move to New York. When I still couldn’t find a job by January, I thought that giving myself time was the best plan, so I changed the moving date to April 15, 2020. Then on January 20, 2020, something unexpected happened. At the end of the day, I received a notice for an opening for a job at a Non-Profit connected to the UN. I decided to quickly apply before I ended my day. The next day I received a call from a staff member who asked if I could come in for an interview. When I told her that I was in California and wasn’t moving until April, she brushed me off and said it wasn’t going to work. When I got off the phone, I knew I made a mistake. I spent the next few days aggressively pursuing the organization, attempting to convince them to let me interview and telling them that given the opportunity, I would move to New York sooner. I had no luck. Instead of giving up, I decided to make the boldest move ever. I bought a plane ticket and planned on pursuing the company in New York. I also planned on looking for other jobs while in the city, but my main goal was to get a meeting with the President of the organization. On January 22, I left for New York, not knowing what was going to happen but determined to get the job.
I landed in Newark, New Jersey on the early morning of January 23. I took a Red Eye to the city and was exhausted. I relaxed and enjoyed the city that day, because I knew that the next day was one of the most important days of my life. I got some sleep that night, though not nearly enough since I was so nervous about what I was going to do the next day. The next morning comes and I get ready to commute to Midtown Manhattan, to the nonprofit office and speak to the President. After a 30 minute train ride, I arrive. I walk into the office and the President is not there. The only person working is an intern. I also notice the office and am underwhelmed. It is very small. It looks like an office that one would find in many companies. It also doesn’t look like the organization has a lot of money. The only thing that impresses me is that the President put up many pictures of her with significant figures, such as world leaders and Nobel peace prize recipients. I let my desire to work near the UN, and my stubborn determination, cloud the reality that the organization didn’t look very busy or affluent. I tell the intern why I’m there, and that I was in town for a few meetings and was stopping by to talk to the President about the position. She calls the President on the phone and leaves the room. She comes back and tells me that the President said that she will not be in, but she will give me a call. I leave my resume with the intern and attach a friendly note to the President.
The next day is Saturday, so I wake up late and plan on enjoying the weekend. While I’m getting ready, I get a voicemail from Sally, the President of the non-profit. She sounds eager to talk to me, so I call her back right away. When I call, she answers right away and interviews me. I fight for the position, selling myself and pushing to have an opportunity to sit down with her. At the end of the phone interview, she sounds positive and says that she will call me the following Monday to set up a time to sit down for an interview. I feel very hopeful and decide to enjoy the weekend and put it behind me. Saturday is a blur because all I can remember about the weekend is the news that I received the following day. Sunday, January 26, 2020 is a day that many people all over the world will never forget.