Monthly Archives: August 2013

Quote

“I am not a product of my circumstances…”

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”– Stephen Covey

Inishmore. Aran Islands, 2011.

Inishmore. Aran Islands, 2011.

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Hello, concrete jungle!

Survived my first month in NYC! Most of it was spent applying for jobs and wondering where my Ubox of belongings was, but happily, both those concerns have been resolved: my Ubox finally showed up (almost a month after I left Arizona), and as I posted a few days ago, I start my new, full-time, benefits-included job in September.

So how do I like New York? Well, I feel like I’ve hardly begun to explore and get to know the city — one of my huge flaws is an inability to have fun when I’m stressed out — but I haven’t had any major NYC-lifestyle meltdowns so far. That’s not to say there aren’t things to adjust to, and here are a few:

  • Using public transportation. For me, this is the biggest change in my life. I’ve used public transportation before, but it’s never been my long-term, only option. Some of the subway lines are still a mystery to me, but I know how to get to the basics such as boba, grocery store, Times Square, Target, and Petco.
  • and on a related note: Not having a car. I wouldn’t want to deal with driving and parking in this crazy city, but not having a car sure makes it difficult to buy large amounts of stuff at Target and Ikea when you’re putting your apartment together. We ended up using a “taxi” after shopping at Target, which wasn’t really a taxi but just one of the many guys waiting at the curb and offering to drive you home. I thought we were going to get robbed or worse, and I really missed my car at that moment.
  • Travel time. It takes so much longer to do anything because it takes longer to get to where you’re going. Tack on an hour to either end of your errand, and suddenly it’s an all-day epic journey. I’m constantly amazed at how many things Baritone Boy can accomplish in one day. I, on the other hand, feel that two activities is enough, whew!
  • Grocery shopping. I’m used to driving to several stores to get what I want at that particular store, whether it’s a certain brand or a better price. Here, there’s almost no point in looking for either because going to another store is a hassle. There are many small convenience/grocery stores scattered through the neighborhood, but you wouldn’t believe the mark-up on some of their goods. $5 for a can of pasta sauce! $5 for a frozen dinner!
  • Walking. With so much walking, I’m going to need shoes that are more comfortable. This seems like a perfectly valid reason to go shoe shopping…
  • … except we are suffering from a lack of storage space. I’m pretty sure New York apartments don’t come with closets. We have one closet in our bedroom, which I would have no problem filling up with just my clothes (but someone tells me I have to share) and a teeny-tiny closet in the hall. There is no closet in the second bedroom, no pantry, and almost zero counter-space in the kitchen and the bathroom. When my friends suggested that I just get rid of everything before moving to NYC because I wasn’t going to have space for it anyway, they weren’t kidding.
  • Rain. It’s summer, but it’s raining anyway. After living in San Diego and Tempe where it rains about four times a year, my concept of rain is that it isn’t supposed to happen during the summer. I find it strange to check the weather forecast every day to determine whether or not I should bring an umbrella with me when I go out.
  • People. Walking through them, squeezing in next to them. Your bubble of personal space gets a lot smaller out here. You also come to accept a wide variety of sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Noise. Baritone Boy used to live in a very quiet part of the Upper West Side, near a park. He essentially lulled me into a false sense of peace and calm when I would visit him there. Our current apartment is near a busier street and in a livelier neighborhood. There are people grilling, cars bouncing, and music booming fairly regularly. Sometimes the choice of music is questionable, but it hasn’t become a sleep-interrupting issue. Also, the walls in our apartment are decent and not a lot of inter-apartment sound seeps through, which is a blessing for our neighbors because I know they don’t really want to hear us practicing all the time.

There’s also the thing where I’m living with a boyfriend. Whom also happens to be a singer (do you know how many people have warned me that a two-singer relationship never works out?). With whom I was in a long-distance relationship. And now we’re in an immediate-proximity relationship. And the thing where we got a puppy together. Whom needs to be potty trained and taught what is appropriate to chew on and, come to think of it, what his name is because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know it yet.

Dante, sleepy. NYC, 2013.

Dante, sleepy. NYC, 2013.

But as I said, no meltdowns! I think I’m going to do just fine … I think we are going to do just fine.

First living-in-NYC-now job: NYU

Great great great news: I interviewed at NYU and was offered a full-time position as an Academic Advisor at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. I start in September!

I saw the job posting while I was still in Arizona but didn’t apply since it was going to be months before I would actually move and be available to interview. When I got to NYC and saw the position was still open, I submitted my application right away. They called me for an interview the very next day, and it turns out this was their last week of interview — incredible timing! And what a relief because this turned out to be the only response I got from all the resumes I sent out.

My job search was only about two weeks long, but it felt like two months. Baritone Boy can attest to the dark pit of melancholy and despair I descended into via checking job boards, writing cover letters, adjusting resumes, and obsessively checking my email. Two weeks is really not very long — in hindsight, I’m actually kind of impressed at how quickly it all happened — but I’d been worrying about defeat at the hands of NYC for months before I even moved. 

Moving to NYC without a financial/career/practical plan was somewhat out-of-character for me (I blame Baritone Boy’s incredible boyfriend skills for enticing and convincing me to do it), and anyone who asked me about my moving plans undoubtedly saw the panic in my eyes as I answered them.

There were quite a few times when, after arriving in NYC, I would look at my boyfriend and say, “I’m so happy,” — which I was since we were finally together after almost a year of long-distance — and then add on, “but I need a job.” I know happiness should come from within, but I’m such a practical girl that I haven’t been able to shake my need for a not-soul-sucking-decently-paying job.

When I got the phone call from NYU, I was ecstatic; I wasn’t going to starve/be homeless/give up and move home but without any of my belongings because I couldn’t afford to ship it all back to the West Coast! VICTORY!!

I’ll be able to pay my bills and I’ll have health insurance, two things I was extremely worried about. Of course, the challenge will now be to stay committed to singing while working full-time. I haven’t started working yet, but I’ve already had a somewhat heart-breaking experience: I had the opportunity to audition for a professional choir here in NYC, but I had to decline because they rehearse in the mornings and afternoons during the workweek. At that moment, I wished I didn’t have this amazing job holding me back…

Then I shook my head at myself and told myself to stop being so dramatic.

There will be other auditions (too many, actually) and other ways for me to keep singing. Living in a city full of music and singers and living with a singer will help me keep it a priority.

The universe works in mysterious ways, and it seems my past experience in education and advising helped to prepare me for my first post-ASU, post-MM, I’m-in-NYC-now job. Like I said, the timing was impeccable. I’m very excited to be part of such an amazing school and doing work I can take pride and satisfaction in. This is a day job that won’t crush my spirit and will also provide some measure of stability as I see where singing might take me over the next few years.

Thank you to all who offered suggestions and support throughout my move and job search! This includes my family, and especially my mom and Baritone Boy who were so much more confident about me getting this job than I was, as well as friends who told me it was going to be okay when I looked at them with panic-y eyes, and the friends who offered to pass along my resume and inquire within their own networks for job opportunities. Thank you, everyone!

Oh yes, it's official! NYC, 2013.

Oh yes, it’s official! NYC, 2013.

Aside

August 2013 I completed my Master’s in Opera Performance and moved to NYC where my boyfriend lives and where the auditions are. We have a Yorkshire Terrier named Dante, after the great author of the Divine Comedy who briefly mentions … Continue reading