I worked in retail for 6 months. I had no experience in sales, and I had too much experience in schooling. Some may say maybe that’s not the best career choice for me. Yet, albeit how hard on the body it was, those 6 months were the most fun out of any job I’ve ever had.
In part it was because I was at the perfect age at the perfect store. It was at a successful local boutique that had several stores throughout the city, but still felt more like a local small business than a corporate conglomerate. And I was in my early 30s.
For the customers in their 20s, I was young and hip enough to seem like their cool older sister. For the customers in their 40s and above, I was mature enough to understand their tastes, yet young enough to make them feel younger themselves. And for women in my age range…well, I’ve worked corporate, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve lived in so many metropolises, that I am like the best friend in the dressing room that will tell you, “No, those jeans make your hips look wide,” or, “You will be able to walk all day in these pumps, lady,” and they know I’m right. The cherry on top of all this is that I’m a new mom, as are so may of the customers. And yes, I am well versed on what the problem areas are for a woman who carried a child, and how best to camouflage that.
I moved quickly through the ranks during those 6 months, and at one point, I thought maybe my dream is to own a similar boutique of my own.
But then I moved back to the East coast, and reality set in that retail just didn’t pay enough for the lifestyle that I wanted to lead. So I returned to my own field, and though I feel so fulfilled in the work that I do now…I will always look back on those 6 months fondly. Wow, what an amazing time I had.
Today, we headed north of the Golden Gate Bridge and finally saw a little of why people rave about the Bay Area. It was an exceptionally gloomy day in my neck of the woods, and the second we started driving (and hitting traffic), I started feeling the resentment creep in. Ugh. Screw this weather.
But surprisingly, the water in the bay was REALLY blue, dotted with little white sailboats, lush, green hills and islands weaving in and out of the backdrop. And about three minutes after crossing the bridge, the skies cleared up and OMG, it turned into fantastic, giddy-worthy weather. Today was the first day since moving to San Francisco (it’s AUGUST!) that I wanted an iced coffee instead of curling up in a heavy sweater with a mocha.
My husband took us to Hawk Hill, and the views were breathtaking. At one point, the fog covering the city was so thick that only the tallest skyscrapers were visible, peeking over the fog like a city in the clouds.
Today was a special day, not because I spent an afternoon in the sun, or because we saw some amazing views. It’s a special day because for the first time since moving here…I see some promise. And a teeny tiny spark of…hmmm…maybe I will like it here.
See that photo above? It was taken this past weekend on a rare occasion when the sun came out and the skies were clear. I sat with my husband and baby outside the Ferry Building enjoying a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee and marveling, “I’m so happy today cause the weather is nice!”
That nice weather lasted about half an hour before gloom and doom set in and I started hating the city again.
The city aforementioned, is San Francisco, one of the best cities in the U.S., they said. You are soooo gonna love it there, they said.
I’ve been here for a month and I say, F*ck you guys and f*ck this city.
I’ve lived in a big city. I’m not culture-shocked by the hustle and bustle. I’m not daunted by the dirty streets and diversity of the people. But what I’ve seen of this city so far? It’s on a whole new level.
Now granted, I haven’t been here long enough or know the city well enough to make a “fair” judgement, but here are my observations so far:
1. This city stinks. As in SMELLS FOUL. As in, every big city smells like urine at certain places, but in the contest of which big city I’ve been to in the world that smells the worst? SF gets the gold medal.
2. This city is cold. And gloomy. And depressing. And did I mention cold? “You’re from New York! You know cold!” Um, East Coast may get harsh looooong winters, but in the summer, it is SUMMER. And though I love layering and blazers and scarves and boots…not in August people. Not in August.
3. Who’s brilliant idea was it to install carpets on a pubic transit train? Also, who’s brilliant idea was it to build elevators to and from train platforms OUTSIDE the turnstile? I’m either getting a free ride, or stuck inside the BART station forever.
4. This city has some amazing sights, undeniably. But it’s cold. And foggy. So the sights are very now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t. And that ruins everything.
If you are from SF, or have/had lived here for awhile, will you please share its secrets of why people rave about it with me? I am desperately trying to find the magic that so many others see. I am desperately trying to love this city too.
After 7 years in New York, I’m leaving.
New York City, what can I say about you. I came here straight out of grad school for my first job, outgoing and open, but innocent and naive. And you changed me.
I hadn’t been here for long when I met my first ‘bad boy,’ and my life took a turn in a direction my parents tried my whole life to steer me clear of. For several years after that, I worked a corporate job by day, and moonlighted as a Club Kid by night. As part of the ‘in crowd,’ I was offered connections to the rich and famous, a never ending flow of alcohol, and access inside a glamorous and alluring world I had never known. I was invited to private parties, offered front row seats at NY Fashion Week, no reservations were needed at any of the hottest restaurants, no velvet rope wouldn’t be unhooked to admit me instantly, and hobnobbing with models and celebrities became the norm. Growing up, how could I have guessed that one day, I would be sitting next to Leo at his private party in his club, or that David would offer to buy me a drink, or that Sienna would be sharing a chair with me at a crowded dining room table after a wrap party. Though I was spiraling out of control, drowning, not knowing which way was up, which down, I was on fire. This is what I had come to New York for, I had thought.
But I was wrong. You can’t live in the fast lane like that without it one day coming to bite you in the ass, and luckily for me, before I made any mistakes that couldn’t be rendered, I met The Honey, and again, my life altered courses.
The Honey was not part of ‘the scene.’ I tried to bring him into that world, but he was a nice boy from the Midwest who had come to the big city to pursue a higher education. He was turned off by the fake glitz and emptiness that follows a so-called spectacular night, and though I resisted (Oh, did I resist!), I left my world farther and farther behind, and slowly, I became what I am today: responsible, healthy, dedicated, someone I hope will set a good example for my soon-to-be born Dragon Baby.
Some people say New York City chews you up and spits you back out, but I don’t feel that way about my time here. I don’t resent that first ‘bad boy,’ nor regret anything that has happened since. He may have opened the door to that darker world to me, but I was the one who giddily took the plunge. Nevertheless, I still excelled at my corporate job, made amazing friends, and had life experiences not everyone can claim they had. In short, I came out of New York a little scarred, but a lot more well-rounded.
After 7 years in New York, I’m leaving.
I remember the first time I did laundry in the basement of my first tiny NYC apartment and saw a dead cockroach flipped on its back. I broke into sobs and wondered why, WHY (?!) did I receive a higher degree just so I can come pay such crazy prices to live in these crappy conditions. Now I understand, cause though there have been so many things about this city that I hated, there are just as many that I love.
I’ll miss my first tiny, tiny studio on the Upper West Side with a kitchen so small I had to chop vegetables on a stool. I’ll miss running out of contact solution in the middle of the night and having instant access to more at the 24/7 CVS across the street. I’ll miss taking the tram to my last home in NYC and watching the sun glisten off the East River from high above. I’ll miss people watching at the coffee shop on the corner of Broadway and Prince, going to The Met and pretending I know anything about art, food from any country I could possibly image, being surrounded by people the second I walk out of my apartment, hailing a cab when I’m late to work, walking amongst suits in Midtown on my lunch break, having a cocktail or brunch on a people-filled city street, being able to walk to shops, the gym, the grocery. I’ll even miss getting on the often unreliable, definitely unsanitary subway and having the doors open up into a completely different, diverse neighborhood from when it first picked me up.
Above all, I’ll miss the friends I’ve made here, mostly the ones from my normal life, and a few that have crossed over from my party life. These people have been there for me when things were not good, celebrated with me when they were. These people are my family away from family, so how do you say “see you later” to people who have so impacted your life?
After 7 years in New York, I’m leaving.
I resigned from my job, packed up my apartment, and am moving to San Diego with The Honey, to live on the beach, start new adventures, create new memories, and hopefully build a new life that is even more fulfilling than the one I’m leaving behind. I guess I did find what I came to New York City for after all: a career, a good time, a great love, and possibly the biggest gift of all, my Dragon Baby.
Oh, New York, I’ll always have a soft spot for you. One day when my child(ren) are bigger, maybe, if you play nice, I’ll introduce them to you 🙂
• Culver City
• Zuma Beach
• Tito’s Tacos
• Third Street Promenade