It’s time to wrap up how we finally planted roots in New York City, especially now that we’ve been here a little over a year. To review the story, read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
My unpaid social network internship was going well. I was good at it, and like I said before, I enjoyed having somewhere to go. When I felt especially useful, I allowed myself to buy lunch, whether it was a $2 feast at White Castle or a greasy slice of pizza down the street. There was talk of getting hired on, but it was uncertain, especially with the economic climate.
I needed a real job. The reasons are obvious, but I’ll list them anyway so you can marvel at the hole we were digging ourselves.
- We were paying mortgage on our house in Florida and paying around $2000/month to sublet an apartment here. Gut punch. If you’re not familiar, ‘sublet’ means renting someone’s apartment, usually for a short period of time, mainly because they are traveling. We did furnished sublets because we obviously didn’t have any furniture here. So, we just occupied their space and stuff for a month while hoping that Cool Baby would not rip, break, or pee/poop on any of their possessions. Subletting is usually more expensive than leasing an apartment.
- Without a job, we couldn’t lease an apartment anyway. Landlords have a silly obsession with their tenants earning income that will pay their rent.
- Winter was coming. Rent-free living under large rocks in Central Park would no longer be an option.
- We didn’t have health insurance. Our health insurance from my Florida job ended at the end of September. We were in early October now. We could’ve gotten COBRA to extend our insurance, but it was expensive. Praise the Lord that we didn’t get sick during the whole transition.
Our situation wasn’t life-or-death. If I didn’t get a job in the next month, we would just move back to Florida, most likely in with Cool Mum’s parents. I don’t think that a ring, robe, and fattened calf would be waiting for me either.
Honestly, living with the Cool Grand ‘Rents would be a comfortable situation with lots of benefits. However, with all of the time, money, and energy spent to move to NYC, it would’ve felt like utter failure to come back so soon.
I started reaching out to the very few people that we knew in NYC. You probably don’t remember, but we first decided to move here because I got a yearlong volunteer position with a non-profit that ended up going under. I contacted the girl (Alison) who had that position the prior year, since we had talked a little over email before everything fell through. She met us in Central Park one Sunday afternoon.
After exchanging stories, I mentioned that I was job hunting. She said that she had a friend (Carl) whose non-profit was looking for an office manager. A big part of why I moved here was to finally find my long-term career. Web/communications for a non-profit or church would be perfect for me in so many ways. This wasn’t a communications position, but it was for a good non-profit, so I went for the job.
A few days later, Cool Mum and Cool Baby went back to Florida for a week while we were between sublets. I was crashing on various couches in Manhattan and Brooklyn. During a long day at the internship, I wanted to hang out with people, and I saw Alison on Gmail chat. I questioned chatting with her because it might seem odd, and I just wanted to be lazy and introverted.
However, I convinced myself to be proactive, so I asked her if anything was going on that night. She said her church was having a party, and I was more than welcome to attend. I gave a non-committal answer, and I had good reasons not to show up:
- It was late.
- I had worked all day. For free.
- I only knew one person, barely. Everyone else would know each other.
Good reasons, but there I was, going to the Upper East Side church instead of to Brooklyn where I was crashing. I chose to follow my motto: “Me not wanting to do something is usually the best reason why I should do it.”
The people were cool, the food was free, and Carl showed up. We talked about the job and got to know each other a little. That goes a long way when it comes to job hunting.
Within the next week, I had my first and second interviews at the non-profit. They went well, and I got the job! (though not before some dramatic twists that I’ll save for AWSC: The Book)
I started work at the end of October, two months after we arrived aimless and clueless into the city. Gainfully employed, we finally went apartment hunting for real and signed a lease for a tiny one-room studio that’s affectionately now known as the Cool Studio. Our housing costs went from $2000/mo with no income to $1375/mo with a job. What a bargain!
We had given ourselves a two-, maybe three-month window to start a life in NYC. It was getting tense toward at the end, but as God has consistently done for the past year and a half: He swooped in and saved us. And He dropped us into a cozy little spot by the East River on the UES. We were planted. We were New Yorkers*.
Next time: An epilogue to catch us up to today (and an excuse or two for scarce posting, though Cool Mum dislikes those kinds of excuses)
* though when someone actually becomes a “New Yorker” is hotly debated, after everything we went through, I’m claiming it!