I moved to New York one year ago on February 7th and I've been reflecting so much on everything leading up to my life here. My life here the last year has been nothing short of the most magical and hardest experience I've ever gone through, but before I get into that let me tell you a little about my time leading up to the move.
I knew New York was going to be a part of my life before I even left to go back home on my first visit here. When I got back to Portland, I couldn't shake this place. I cried every day for two weeks thinking about this city - and don't think I didn't feel like a lunatic about the tears and these intense feelings about a place I never thought about or really cared to visit. It got to the point that I knew I had to come back and figure out what that was all about, so two weeks after being back home, I booked a ticket back here for a few weeks' stay to check out the city and see if I could possibly move out here. I should write about that time spent here and that process, but that feels like a whole different post...
Anyway, once I decided I was moving here, it was a four months of excitement, sadness, anxiety, and joy. I had no "reason" to move to New York; no job waiting for me, no people I knew, no real path I was planning on following, just a confidence and peace in knowing that this was something I was supposed to do. I had lived in Portland for most of my life, and had made a L O T of mistakes and shitty decisions for a long period of time in my life there; the idea of going somewhere new where I could start over had never been one I'd considered but this seemed like just the thing I needed and I was looking forward to it. But in that excitement and peace and confidence, there was a constant doubting and having to push through that, so I decided that the best thing to do was to dive headfirst into the process of making it happen.
One of the hardest things I did was move out of my apartment of the last few years. That place was a God send in a time I really needed it; I moved in with a roommate I hardly knew that turned into one of my closest friends, in a neighborhood full of friends a 5-10 minute walk in any direction, my sister and her family a short walk up the hill, and a nice stroll away from my favorite place in the city, Mt. Tabor. We had the best landlords right next door that became like my adopted grandparents and taught me so much about being a good neighbor and caring for those around and working hard to stay young at heart (they are in their mid/late-80's and any time we would get snow/ice, Jerry was out first thing in the morning clearing the sidewalks and walkways of everyone on our block to prevent any falls). Apart from the setup of people I had in that neighborhood, I had also worked so hard to turn it into a lovely, welcoming home for friends after my roommate moved out and I took over the whole place; I am not a material person that had a lot of things but I am very intentional about what I bring into my home, so there was a lot of letting go of things I had sentimental attachments to - like my plants I'd had for years and years, many I had grown from little cuttings into full grown healthy babes. But I had to do it, so I sold/gave away 98% of my belongings and moved in to the guest room at my mom's.
I will never, ever take for granted the encouragement I did and still feel from my family during this whole process and all of their help. I admit that there was some pride about being 33 and moving into my mom's and living with her and my little sister, but being able to do that and spend that time with them and save money is something I am so grateful for. It's not to say it was easy - moving in with your mom and teenage sister when you're in your 30s is not for the faint of heart, ya'll! - but the fights and discomfort felt at times does not trump the memories of being cuddled up on the couch with my mom watching many episodes of Law & Order: SVU and getting to know my little sister even better since because of our age difference, I had never really grown up living at home with her.
Then there was the walking away from basically my dream job to move to a place where I had no job... I had been working at a shop for a little over a year when I decided to move, but had known for a while that I did not want to be there anymore, so I quit. Which then left me with no job while I was supposed to be working to save to move, but I knew it was the right thing to do. And it really was, because literally the next day I got a call from a the manager of a friend of a friend's who was looking for a private chef/personal assistant. They knew I was going to be moving but after meeting with the guy I was going to work for, we decided it was a great match and I'd do the job until I moved and would help them find a replacement. It tuned into one of the best jobs I have ever had; I basically went from a part-time chef to full-time managing the house he lived in and overseeing projects in his other homes, furnishing the kitchens with the best of the best (do you know what it feels like to go into Sur La Table with a credit card to buy all the Le Creuset your heart desires?!), buying plants and flowers, cooking with the best ingredients ever and even getting to take home so much food he wouldn't use to bless my family and friends with.
And then there was the hardest thing of all - moving away from my family. My family like all families out there is not a perfect one, but one thing I never ever doubt is our love for one another and even while there have been hardships, we have been together. Other than a short stint in Idaho and then Texas on my sister and brother-in-law's part, I had never lived away from them... and never away from my nephews, whom I saw all the time (excuse me while I wipe away tears streaming down my face at the coffee shop as I write this, but just the thought of them and not being close to them is making me cry). Knowing that I wasn't going to see them at the very least once a week broke my heart so much and honestly made me reconsider moving many, many times, but knowing that this is something people have done over and over and it didn't mean we lost our relationships with them helped (we moved from Mexico when I was little and there is not one aunt/uncle I have ever been cut off form or forgotten!). Also, I've never been more thankful for FaceTime than I have been this last year.
All these things are normal things that people all over the world do and have done over and over for decades and hundreds and thousands of years, and honestly not anywhere close to as hard as it was for my parents when they moved to the States from Mexico and it has been for millions of immigrants and refugees, I know that, but as simple and even amazing as it is that I had the opportunity and privileges to move to New York City with money in the bank and a chance to start a new life, it was hard. Definitely the biggest and scariest thing I have ever done in my life.
And I can't wait to tell you how it's playing out in the next post :)