Hey everyone! This is my fourth year living in New York City, and I was just thinking about how much everything has changed since I unpacked my bags for the first time in August 2010. I have to say that the balance of these years is absolutely positive. However, things are very different now and the expectations I had at the beginning have been changing a lot. Here are four expectations I had at the beginning that have changed throughout these four years.
1) I wouldn't need to care about housing, because I would never be in my room.
Expectation: Before moving here and during my first months, I thought I would never care about the housing situation while in the city. I just needed a well located room that was big enough to fit my stuff. That's it. I thought I would be all the time out exploring the city and wouldn't care about the room, since I would only use it to sleep. I could save on that.
Reality: I was wrong. Not only I care about housing, but I have become an expert in real estate in NYC. Housing has been key to feeling well here, and I would rather spend a bit more of my budget on being comfortable with that than on going out. Actually, now I'd rather spend money buying good quality groceries to cook at home than on a night club cover charge. And yes, I spend Saturday nights watching Food Network shows and I love it.
2) I would always feel like I'm traveling.
Expectation: If you've ever been abroad you'll understand what I mean. I'm referring to that feeling of being somewhere new, with everything to explore and to understand. I remember the first months in the city, when I would spend hours walking around feeling like I was discovering something. When you move to a city like this, you tend to think that that feeling would be a permanent thing.
Reality: The truth is that after a couple years, that feeling started to fade. Sure there are still many things I haven't seen, and I'm still in love with the city, but that's not the point here. Now I feel like I'm home, and that I belong here, even if it's only been a few years. My relationship with this city has been so intense, that I don't feel like I'm abroad anymore. In fact, going back to my country would now feel like I'm abroad.
3) I would be meeting new people all the time
Expectation: New York City is a place full of enthusiastic young people looking for experiences. I imagined myself meeting new people in the same situation as me all the time. Like you walk into a cafe and people start talking to you.
Reality: Well, part of that is actually true. I have been meeting a lot of interesting people throughout these years. However, as I started feeling less of a foreigner and enjoying more and more being at home, I don't have the "need" of going out and being social to that level anymore. Not that I'm not open to meet new people! But I guess I have found a great group here that has become somewhat like a family, and I might just feel comfortable with that. I don't go out nearly as much as I did as the beginning, and I am guilty of walking around the city with my headphones and my music on.
4) I would have amazing opportunities that I wouldn't have anywhere else, and all my dreams would come true!
Expectation: Moving to NYC was already a dream come true for me. When I moved here I couldn't help but dream about things that could happen here. After all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, right?!
Reality: I think the city actually met that expectation. However, I have learned how to be patient with my dreams and goals. As part of my education and growing experience, I have learned that there's a certain timing for everything in life, and that everything has to follow a process. I think I'm still just as enthusiastic and full of dreams as I was four years ago, but I'm a little more grounded now and I am more confident that dreams come true when you pursue them and put all your effort and focus into it... not just by moving to a different city. I still have a lot of work to do!
All in all, I knew this would be a life changing experience and that's exactly what it's been. Honestly, I have to say that in my case this experience has exceeded all the expectations I had and I couldn't be happier with that decision I made when I was only a teenager. Thanks for reading and see you soon!