Diaries Magazine

New York

By Pearlmacek

Please excuse my long absence but I have been busy trying to start a new life here in New York City…Brooklyn to be exact! It has been an intense two months. I got here the 28th of February and within three days I had found an apartment. This apartment is not perfect but I was so worried that I would not be able to secure anything given that fact I have zero credit in the United States. This place is great for the moment but I am still on the look out. Brooklyn and Greenpoint especially is great since it is not as crazy busy as Manhattan yet, close enough to the center of the universe as one would want to be (20 minutes).

I have begun working in a restaurant just off Wall Street—on Pearl Street in fact! It is a pretty good gig that will hopefully make me some money and then I can quit in August and focus on the important things in life! CUNY here I come—I got accepted into Boston and wait listed for Columbia but CUNY was my first choice although if Columbia had offered me a tuition waiver I would have definitely thought about it—but that would only happen in a country where education was not a money making business (I am not bitter just a realist!). CUNY has offered me 5,000 dollars in scholarship and have been extremely personable and helpful throughout the application process which touched me considerably and so they were always who I was truly aiming for. I have sat in on a couple of classes at their Graduate Center and I am really excited about kicking off my career with them!

So what has New York taught me so far? Not too much that I hadn’t learned in Paris already. However, I was reminded yesterday that if you see a car of a metro train almost empty….there is a reason why it is that way…..normally a stench….whether it be vomit or unfortunately, a homeless person who hasn’t been able to bathe in weeks….that is perhaps the most shocking thing for me is seeing people in the streets who hold signs explaining their homelessness…many being veterans of the Iraq war….fewer and fewer from Vietnam which most people from my generation could hold at a comfortable distance…not so much those who come from a war that happen within the past 10 years.

The next step in American life for me is health insurance. I still have none in the States although I am covered in Britain, France and at a cheap price…Cuba. Here I am looking at 200 a month for extreme basic insurance (that is to say, only extreme medical issues will be covered: appendicitis, heart surgery).

We now have a TV! A 40 inch to be exact and watching the adverts, I realized that nearly all adverts are based on fear: life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, financial security—American thrive off people’s fear to the simplest level. I feel silly just realizing that now. I believe I did a lot sooner—I just couldn’t put my finger on it—the drive that motivates people to continuously show up at a job everyday that they hate when they have the financial means to choose some other job (because there is a big difference there when it comes to the ability to choose a job or not due to legality or economical situation).

Which leads me to my next point; I have been working with Mexicans, Uruguayans, Colombians and Africans at this restaurant and it has really shed light on the immigrant condition here in the US. I was complaining to one employee from Burkina Faso in French that my partner had left and I was missing him. He quickly responded that he had not seen his wife and family in 10 years because he had not left the country either because he could not afford it on his minimum wage or that he could not leave the country. I quickly grew sheepish of my emotions. New York ain’t easy!

After having said all that, I am excited about being here. I know that this is the place I am supposed to be in and I am ready to take on my Masters program and become whoever I am supposed to be. It does feel like destiny is at play here although I can be a skeptic sometimes.

I can’t wait to see my family—my mom and dad. I feel and see them in me everyday and I want to show them what I have become and (hopefully) make them feel proud. I wish I could see them more but for now, I have to focus on my goal!

Speak soon!!!!

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