New York City

Things Are a Lot Different in a Small Town

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As you all know, I recently moved away from New York City and it’s not going well. I never considered myself that much a of a city girl. Sure, I was taking the train alone by the age of 10 but I also owned a car and drove it regularly. I lived in the most suburban part of NYC for the last 18 years of my life so I thought I could handle a small town.

I didn’t think there would be that much of a difference. Boy was I wrong!

If you actually live in a small town, you’re probably going to roll your eyes at a lot of what I’m going to say. Considering that my town has a population of 11,000 I am not exactly sure how small it’s considered. But for me, this shit is very small. Every day something new happens that makes me think, “Holy shit, I am living in the boondocks!”

This has been quite the learning experience for me. Below are just some of the many thoughts I’ve had since moving to the boondocks.

What is up with volunteer firefighters? Coming from a city where firefighters are revered, I just cannot get behind the idea of volunteer firefighters! Any child here who dreams about growing up to be a firefighter one day, needs to be put in their place. “Sorry sweetie, fighting fires is just a hobby. You’ll need a real job.” Cause apparently risking your life to save people from fire is not worthy of a paycheck. Since this is a small town, and the surrounding areas are even smaller, I can understand not needing a HUGE staff. Maybe have some people who want to volunteer if there is a big issue. But to not have any paid staff members is absurd to me.

If I get sick or hurt here, I am going to die. As a hypochondriac, doctors are very important to me. I had reliable doctors back in Staten Island and I even had 1-2 urgent cares that I trusted for same day issues. Now I have to start all over again and at a place where the doctors do not have the best reputation. I turned to my coworkers for references when I first moved here but practically all of them do not have a primary care physician. These are grown ass adults so this boggles my mind. I finally settled on a doctor that had decent reviews. However, I couldn’t get in for 2 months and the office is 45 minutes away from my home. I need to drive almost two hours just to see a mediocre doctor. There’s also no hospital in my town so if I fell down the stairs I’d have to drag my ass to the next town over, 20 minutes away!

I question the whole cost of living theory. When I was moving up north from NYC, so many people commented on how my cost of living is going to be much cheaper. When it came to rent, they were absolutely right. In NYC, I would be living in a studio basement paying what I pay for my 2-bedroom apartment up here. But plenty of other things are either just as expensive or even more expensive than the city. I have never spent more money grocery shopping than I have here. It’s unreal. I’ll go in for just some fruits and veggies for the week and spend over $60.

Maybe taxes aren’t so bad. This is one that I NEVER thought I’d say. Every 2 weeks getting paid in NYC, I would die a little inside. “Why does half my paycheck get taken away?” Then I moved to a place with volunteer firefighters and it all made sense. NYC may take a bit too much taxes but a lot of those taxes do go to good use. I’ll take some out of my paycheck to make sure those putting out fires are compensated. I’m also willing to pay out of my paycheck to make recycling easy cause recycling is a real bitch here. In NYC you could leave a three-piece bedroom set outside and sanitation would easily take it. Here, it’s like they don’t want you to recycle. Since I’m renting I don’t have to pay for garbage pickup. However, the garbage pickup does not recycle. So if I want to do my part for this world that’s wasting away, I have to lug all my recyclables to a dumpster down the road. Now, I get this is a first world problem complaint. However, not a lot of people can be bothered with going that extra step. Where I live, my neighbors don’t recycle. They just put all their giant Amazon boxes with all the other garbage. This world is falling apart, towns should be doing everything they can to make recycling as easy and accessible as possible.

Who comes up with these business hours? My current library is off a main street. And when I say main street that’s the actually name of the street. I am convinced that only small towns have a main street. And they are usually incredibly quaint and cute. My main street is no exception. However, the hours of the shops and restaurants are bizarre. My sisters came to visit on a Monday and decided to walk around main street while I was working. They came back to complain that only TWO stores were open. There are some shops that are open for three hours a day, two days a week.

I miss rats and cockroaches. Now this is a statement I really never thought I’d say. I’m not suddenly a fan of rats and cockroaches but I’d take them over ticks, bears, and rattlesnakes. The wild creatures living in this neck of the woods freak me out on a daily basis.

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I Give Credit to People Who Move Away From Home

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I moved in the middle of March to start a new job as the Youth Services Librarian for a small library. Between moving, starting a new job, and getting engaged, I have not had much time for anything else. I will blame some of all that on why I haven’t posted regularly. Hopefully now that things are starting to settle down a bit, I can start writing in this little old blog more. Lord knows I have a lot of material to write about.

I want to start with writing about my disastrous move up North. I may be a bit dramatic with my use of the word disastrous but it has not been easy. I moved about 2 1/2 hours away from where I lived and grew up. Doesn’t sound like too far away but a lot can change when you drive 2+ hours. I moved to the Catskills so technically I am still a New Yorker. However, for anyone familiar with New York, you know that New York City and the rest of the state are two completely different species. I don’t even know why they are considered the same state. They have nothing in common. I could have moved to New Jersey (an actual different state) and it would have been less of a culture shock.

This move up was not a smooth one. For starters, I was the only one who moved up full time. My fiance is a professor so he had to finish up the semester before moving up full time. He officially moves up this week. But before this week, I would spend Sunday night to Friday afternoon by myself. I am OK with living on my own. I did it for many years before I met Jonathan. However, living on your own in a new place, where you don’t know anyone, is difficult. Once I got to my house after work, I felt trapped (I’ll elaborate on that a little later). I was in a complete rut. I would wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to sleep, and then do it all over again. Jonathan would finally come on Friday and I’d have someone to hang out with only to have to say goodbye so quickly on Sunday.

Why did I feel trapped in my apartment? Why didn’t I step outside, take a walk, try to meet new people? Let me tell you why! Cause my apartment is in the middle of nowhere. I live on a route, not a street. I don’t have any sidewalks. There are woods behind me and across the street from me. If I want to go anywhere, even the supermarket, I have to get in my car. It’s also incredibly dark where I live, no street lights. Only bears (which have already attacked our garbage cans once so far!). I am not going out after work so I can come home after dark by myself. Am I a scaredy cat? Definitely. I have no shame in admitting this. When I get to my apartment after work, that is where I stay. I am not venturing outside to get attacked by a wild beast.

Speaking of my apartment in the boondocks, I am counting down the days until my lease is up. Jonathan and I worked with our landlord and she agreed to a 6-month lease instead of a year. I am so glad of it too because I am moving to a new apartment the second I can. A part of it is because I miss sidewalks and want to be able to leave my house without having to hop in my car. But the main reason I cannot wait to leave is because I have to hold my breath whenever I take a shower or do the dishes. My lovely apartment comes with sulfur water. If you’re not familiar with sulfur water, you’re incredibly lucky. Before March, neither was I so I didn’t think to run the water before renting an apartment. However, up here in the Catskills, many buildings get their water from wells which can result in sulfur water. What’s so horrible about sulfur water? It smells like rotten eggs! And I am not being dramatic with this one. I do not even brush my teeth with the water. My bathroom sink always has at least two jugs of store bought water next to it. (My mission for less plastic this year has not been as smooth since moving to a place where the water scares me.)

The only thing that I’ve been somewhat OK with is my job. Sure, I am still learning to get comfortable with the work and my coworkers, but I’ve only been here for two months so these things take time. Overall the new job has been the one bright spot with my move. However, it did not start that way. I started my job on a Monday and by Thursday I had to go home because I felt like I was dying. I got the flu my very first week of work and had to miss 7 days of my new job. Great first impression. Thankfully my boss was understanding and told me to take all the time I needed. However, I hated having to take an entire week off of work after only putting in 3 1/2 days. I also discovered that the flu fucking sucks. I know this is common knowledge but you never fully know how horrible it can be until you have it yourself. That was my first time getting the flu and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

With Jonathan moving up full time and our lease halfway over, I am sure that things will start to go a bit smoother. But I realized that I don’t think I ever would be able to move away from home on my own. I think if I didn’t have a fiance coming up with me, I would be back home as soon as my lease is over. (Sorry job, but you’re not that special.) I guess I am not as independent as I always thought I was. But moving away from home on your own is reallyyy hard. I give a lot of credit to all those people who have done it. Kudos to you!

Why Growing Up In Brooklyn Was The Best

There's no Place Like Home
So I noticed that while my posts are hilarious and relatable (modesty is not in my vocabulary), they are very general. They could have been written by anyone. Aside from a few tidbits here and there, I haven’t revealed much about myself. I bet some of you don’t even know my name. And since I know you’re just keeping yourself up at night wondering what it is, I’m here to tell you: It’s Liz! And if you’re dying to know more about the lady behind this blog (don’t kid yourself, of course you are!), I’ve updated my About Me to make it a little more personal.

But wait, there’s more! Last year I went on a rant (one of my many) bitching about New York City and how it’s not as great as the media would have you believe. I still stand by that post, and could make a brand new one with all the new reasons I’ve discovered to hate the city. But it’s still very much a love/hate relationship when it comes to New York. I have a friend who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in New York. I was bitching about New York and how it’s not that great. All he said in return was, “That’s what I’ve been saying.” I immediately wanted to bitch slap him while singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I can talk trash about this city all I want but when someone else does, I get testy.

Because as much as I hate many things in New York (it’s dirty, way too expensive, overly-crowded), I still wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else. This may just be my annoying New York arrogance showing but I take pride in saying that I grew up in Brooklyn. I love where I’m from and feel a little badly for anyone who is from somewhere else.

So why so much Brooklyn pride from someone who has spent so much time bitching about where she lives? Glad you asked. Let me fill you in on why growing up in Brooklyn in the 90s (before a bunch of hipsters from the Midwest took over) was the best.

This was my backyard
Prospect Park Long Meadow Brooklyn
If you ever visit New York, everyone will insist that you visit Central Park. And I do agree with them. Central Park is awesome. But don’t forget its much cooler younger sister: Prospect Park. From the Zoo to the Botanical Gardens, this was by far my favorite place growing up. There was always something new to find. It was like exploring my very own Secret Garden.

Diversity
Every time I see some new Buzzfeed article telling white people what they shouldn’t say to minorities, I cringe. Is it not common knowledge that it’s rude to ask another person if you can touch their hair? Growing up my best friends were Chinese, Jewish, and Puerto Rican. I was introduced to all different races and cultures since Pre-K. It’s crazy to me to think that some people don’t meet someone outside of their own race until they reach college.

Friends

That's little Liz in the middle on the top pic and big Liz on the left in the bottom pic.

That’s little Liz in the middle on the top pic and big Liz on the left in the bottom pic.

When people brag about having the same best friend since college or even high school, I can’t help but get a little hipster. It’s cute but I’ve had the same best friends since Kindergarten. Yes, friendships aren’t measured in time and I’ve met some wonderful people since then, but there is something about being friends with the same person since before you were able to fully read. You know all of each other’s secrets cause you were there for them. You’re close with their family. Some people aren’t lucky to ever find a friend that they truly connect with. I was lucky to find two at the ripe old age of five! And while we’re all grown up now and have busy lives, we’re still best friends. I guess we just do friendship better in the BK.

Independence
I had a lot of independence growing up. Part of it may have been the decade. Parents just don’t let their kids play outside now like they did in the nineties. I was always playing outside. The schoolyard was the place to be. And I can’t even remember exactly when I took the train for the first time by myself but I had to be at least 10.

Field Trips
When you live in such a culturally diverse city, it’s natural that your class field trips are going to be awesome, and my trips in elementary and junior high did not disappoint. There were farms, museums, and science centers. I even got to see my first Broadway show for the senior class trip when I graduated elementary school. It was Cats!

FOOD!
It’s no secret that I love. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. And growing up in Brooklyn I was introduced to some really great food at a young age. Whether it’s a sicilian slice at Spumoni Gardens or cheese fries at Roll N Roaster, plenty of the places I grew up loving are still there today. That’s a pretty great feat when taking into consideration that so much of my borough has changed in the last ten years or so. Eating a home cooked meal was even better, whether it was Italian at home, or Chinese or Spanish at a friend’s house.

So now that I’m done bragging about my hometown, it’s your turn. What’s so great about where you grew up?

New York, I Love You?

 

Don't let this image fool you. New York isn't nearly as glamourous as it seems.

Don’t let this image fool you. New York isn’t nearly as glamourous as it seems.

I was born and raised in New York and a large majority of the time I hate this city. Overall it’s a life-sucking, dirty city. Sure it has its good parts. I get it. I really do get why so many people want to visit or move here. I often wish I could view the city as an outsider. Even now I find myself getting overwhelmed by the beauty of the skyline. But then it’s time to pay rent or I have to buy something and the wonderment quickly fades away.

Holy Hell is New York an expensive place! Like really expensive! People joke about it but it’s true. Whenever I travel to other cities, I’m amazed at the prices of things. You mean I can get a beer for three bucks on a Saturday night? Even the shittiest bar doesn’t offer that deal. (You can possibly get a can of PBR for that price but that’s about it.)

And more than anything else, New York is really gross. There may be dirtier cities but I have yet to visit one. New York may have a bunch of delicious restaurants, cool bars, museums, etc. but this city also has an abundance of litter, rats, roaches, and dirt. Every time you read an article about how New York City is the greatest place on earth, just know that somewhere there is a native New Yorker scoffing at it!

One of the things you’ll always hear from people trying to wax poetically about New York is the famous statement: “Only in New York.” Well, I actually agree with that. There are plenty of times I’ve come across things in this city and thought, “Seriously, only in New York fucking City* would I have to see this shit.”

Maybe one day when I’m in a better mood, I’ll share some nice things about New York. Because again, I get it! Don’t let my love/hate relationship fool you. New York is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their life if they can. But today is not that day! So now I am going to present you with some of the real “Only in New York” shit I’ve seen these past 28 years of living here.

  • A mouse running under the table at a bar/restaurant where people were eating food. Thankfully I was not actually eating food. (Not surprisingly I found out that the place was closed down a few months after this event.)
  • A giant rat running at me when I was walking in the subway. (Rats are inevitable in NYC, especially when you’re in the subway. But usually they are contained on the train tracks.)
  • A lady stopping to squat, taking a dump right in front of a store on Fifth Avenue, getting back up once she was done, and walking away. (I was strolling along 5th Ave. with my mother and grandmother at the time so that made it extra special.)
  • A homeless lady violently masturbating in Union Square.
  • When I was walking down the stairs to catch the train, there was a man walking up the stairs in a trench coat. The trench coat starts to sway open revealing his entire naked body to the world. (I’d like to note that I have seen this same exact streaker TWICE. Aren’t I just lucky?)
  • A drunk man puking in the middle of a crowded train during rush hour on a Tuesday.

It truly is the greatest city in the world!

*Fun Fact: New York fucking City is the unofficial official name for NYC.