In order to tell you where I’ve been over the past few months, I have to share how I got here.
Most of the biggest transitions in my life over the past five years began and ended in a taxi cab. When I moved to New York City after graduating from college, I was filled with excitement and a young naivete about journalism as I stood in line at the airport waiting for a cab. I had never been to New York, but I was moving to Manhattan to become a writer — more specifically a journalist, and later, after hard work, I wanted to become the editor of a women’s magazine. I had it all planned out. I was going to conquer this foreign and unwelcoming city — even though I was just 21-year-old and had grown up in a rural Northern California town without a stoplight (or cabs, for that matter).
Big Apple? I was ready to take a big bite.
I wanted to learn from journalists who wrote for national newspapers and magazines, and gain experience at a magazine while studying for my Master’s at New York University. And, I was ready to take whatever the city was going to throw back at me, despite never having been there before. Ever.
What followed during my first two weeks in New York, were the agonies of finding an apartment during the height of the real estate market. (We’re talking pre-recession, people!) My boyfriend, Daniel (who later became my husband) and I needed to find a true one bedroom (that did not look out onto a brick wall and had a kitchen) for under $2,000 somewhere near the Village, where I would attend class for J-school.
However, we also needed to be near a subway stop so Daniel could commute to downtown Brooklyn easily. Boy, was that a lot to ask. We had only two weeks before my classes started, but the school wouldn’t give me any money to pay for a deposit on an apartment, let alone my books. I had graduation money, which was running a little low after experiencing my first summer without a job. I had worked all through school and decided to give myself one summer free from working minimum wage. Thankfully, my future in-laws helped make the work-free summer and new apartment a reality — without them, it would have been impossible.
We finally found a place amidst the sticker shock, humid heat and our aching feet. It took a pushy broker and $10,000 to move into our first apartment in the East Village on 3rd Street at 2nd Avenue, but it was ours! Who knew we’d need three months’ rent and a huge brokerage fee to get a place on such short notice? Yet, we were starting a new chapter in our lives. The apartment was tiny, but we loved it. We didn’t have air conditioning or much closet space. No matter, our little second floor walk-up was home. We even had a view of a park — well, ok it a quiet, squirrel-filled historic cemetery, but for $2,100 a month it was totally worth it.
Fast forward through new restaurants, friends, classes and jobs — our East coast lives had rapidly changed our outlook on the world and each other. During our time in New York, I buzzed around the city reporting stories on a woman comic writer, a stabbing in Williamsburg, a young jewelry designer and then got the amazing opportunity to work as a web intern for my favorite magazine, Marie Claire. Each week was filled with new stories, books, lessons and adventures, as I learned the subway lines and fell in love with living in NYC. And I wasn’t the only one to find a passion for my career path. Daniel worked his way up at an e-commerce start-up, got to know Brooklyn, found us cool concert venues and discovered trendy restaurants and hot spots before they were popular. It was as if the world continued to unfold before us through grid-like patterns of the city streets and the boom of internet businesses where we started to find our niche.
Over the past few years, our lives in New York were not limited to the city. I spent part of a summer in Africa reporting stories from Ghana. Daniel moved to India for nine months to help manage a new office in Jaipur. He also traveled to Australia and New Zealand. After grad school I joined him in India for a couple months before we were married in the summer of 2008. Life continued to change.
For me, post-grad life in New York included freelancing and working as an Associate Online Content Editor for teen news network, Channel One News. For two years I worked for Alloy Media + Marketing, learning the inner workings and demands of a daily network news program and what it’s like to edit and maintain a website with a really small staff — it was the best opportunity a young journalist could attain. Writing, editing, publishing and working cross-functionally with teams in marketing, sales, broadcast, design and engineering.
I could go on and on with how much I will forever live in an “Empire State of Mind,” but living in the city that never sleeps can be tough. To be honest, some of those people aren’t sleeping because they are just out having fun — they are working second jobs, writing in the middle of the night and searching for their next big break. Mine came just before Christmas as the snow began to fall.
I was offered a job in Southern California. Daniel and I had started our careers in New York and then, on December 22, with only a few weeks to prepare, we left it all for my new job as an editor for Demand Media. So much has happened since moving to California: new jobs, friends, an apartment, two cars…. but I realized in the move I lost touch with my writing, some of my friends and great things that made my life special because I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of changes we’d made. Then I remembered that the things I love most don’t just disappear. We just have a to make a little effort and find new adventures in the City of Angels.
Glad to say things are back on track (just on another coast with significantly fewer cabs).