The First Bits And Pieces

September 20, 2012 § 8 Comments

It’s been almost three weeks since I moved to New York City. (If you feel like I’ve been here forever, it’s because I was squatting at my aunt’s house in NJ for all of August.) I’ve already experienced so much, so I do believe it’s time for an update!

MOVING IN

The evening of Labor Day, my father and I drove from NJ to Manhattan and hauled all my belongings up four flights of narrow stairs. We also brought an old twin-sized bed that had been languishing in the cobweb-ridden guest room of my aunt’s house. My furniture situation is a bit unique because at the moment, I’m using the bed, shelves, nightstand and window curtains of the previous tenant. She doesn’t need her things until mid-October, and I figured I’d save her the trouble of having to shove them all into storage. Eventually, I’ll have to reconstruct my bed frame and acquire my own table and shelves. Hopefully by then I’ll have befriended some strong people to help me bring furniture back to my place.

Why yes, my favorite color IS pink.

Living room: In which I don’t have to provide any additional furniture.

There is a washing machine parked in front of the stove.

I love that the bathroom is painted such a bold blue!

I think I’m getting along well with my roommate Catherine, but our schedules are so divergent that we’ve barely spent any time together. She has to sleep early and wake up early, and on the weekends she takes her daughter C to fun places like the zoo. The apartment itself is a bit dusty but overall very homey, with toys scattered around and walls lined with books. Living in a cramped Hong Kong apartment gave me the adaptability to live anywhere, and at least here, I have a closet and bathtub!

The only problem is the roach population. I’ve never encountered cockroaches in any of the places I’ve lived in, so this is new for me. The good part is that these roaches are quite small, not like the fat ones that scurry on the streets of Hong Kong. Our house roaches aren’t big enough to elicit any screaming but are definitely pervasive enough to get on my nerves. Catherine says the problem worsened this summer because she was often out of town and couldn’t catch the exterminator on his monthly visits to the building. Um, isn’t the exterminator doing something wrong if he has to make regular house calls?? I guess that’s NYC life. At least we don’t have mice. (But at least mice are cute.)

I refer to the roaches as “little buggers” in my head; it’s a term of contemptuous endearment that keeps me from losing my mind over them. They stay in the kitchen and bathroom area, and at night when I turn on the light, I catch up to 10 of the pests roaming the surfaces of our home. Upon learning that roaches breathe through their skin and are thus weak against liquids, I’ve taken great sadistic joy in drowning any bugs that I find in the sink or bathtub. (A wild cockroach appears! Laura uses phlegm! It’s super effective!) Anyway, that exterminator had better make an appearance soon because I’m getting paranoid about turning away from my food for even half a minute. Those cockroaches just think they own the place.

One other issue I encountered was the Internet connection. Apparently, we share our neighbor’s Internet, which apparently he gets for free (you mean that our $120/month cable bill, which we split evenly, is only for the TV, which I don’t even watch?!). Right after I moved in, he went to Sweden for a two-week trip. I spent seven total days without Internet at home because something went wrong with the connection and we couldn’t do anything about it. I mean, I’m a 23-year-old college student studying journalism. If I don’t have Internet, I might as well be dead. Fortunately, he arrived home on Friday and the Internet has been fine since then.

MY FIRST $100

The day after I moved in, NBC was having an NYC premiere of their new show Revolution. A friend posted on Facebook that the show was looking for participants to generate power for the projector (in keeping with the semi-apocalyptic theme of the show), and everyone would get paid $100. I had the day free, so I signed up right away — it’s probably the only time I’ll get paid to work out!

On that dreary, rainy Tuesday at a warehouse on one of the western piers of Manhattan, our group of 40 cyclists pedaled for three hours (one-hour run-through, one-hour break, two-hour actual event) on bikes that were attached to actual generators. Some of the other people looked super hardcore in their spandex shorts while others actually came wearing skirts. By the end, everybody was soaked with sweat and I could barely walk to the subway station without my knees giving way.

Before the event: the projector we have to power.

The back wheel of each bike was attached to a generator. Super legit.

Happy with the money I made, I splurged on a housewarming present for myself: a Clarisonic Mia. I’ve wanted one for months, and I finally felt like I had the reasonable means to obtain one. For $130, I’m expecting great results for my face. So far it has made my skin very soft and absorbent, but no miracles yet!

If only they had hot pink.

IN PURSUIT OF A DEGREE

Two weeks of class at NYU have gone by, and I’m loving school so far. Apologies to my alma mater, but the middle of Missouri is really a terrible place to produce journalism. I don’t mean to sound hackneyed, but NYC is just so much more inspiring. There are things going on all the time! (Duh.) There are things to write about all the time! News is created in NYC, and it’s thrilling to feel like I’m a part of it all, in a small, vicarious way.

The workload so far has been manageable — the great thing about grad school is that I only have class two days a week, which gives me much greater opportunity to prioritize my work and actually do all the reading, which I never managed to do while juggling 4-5 classes in undergrad (sigh). Also, one of the best parts of studying journalism is getting assigned to read amazing writing, which is 10000x better than having to read a textbook for class.

This year’s grad magazine program has a little less than 40 students. (There are seven males and two and a half Asians.) All the writing we do drains my energy for the recreational blogging I do here, but conversely, our readings and discussions inspire me to produce many thoughts that I would like to publish, given the time. For one of our classes, we had to create a blog to showcase our assignments, so feel free to take a look at what I’ve been working on: lauraxli.com

CHASING PAPER

In addition to classes, I’m interning two days a week at MyBankTracker.com, a website that delivers bank news, reviews and tips. When I tell people this, usually they look at me strangely and ask if that’s where I want to go with my career. Honestly, I didn’t expect to end up writing about credit cards and target acquisitions either, but I’m enjoying being exposed to an entirely new editorial subject — maybe one day I can be a business/financial reporter, haha.

Overall, I’m settling into the city rather nicely. One interesting trend so far is that my parents (and aunt!) have been calling me a lot more than they did during my undergrad years. I think they like to verify that I’m alive and haven’t been mugged. So far, so good.

A video I made for another class

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