Culture Shock

*My apologies for the delay on this one. I was too traumatised.

Starting moving day with only a few hours’ sleep and another night in a Manhattan bar – Greenwich village this time, it’s getting better, more adventurous – was not going to go down well for moving into a flat with no clue who I’d be living with.

Although at least the reason for the late night was to meet my RA (the boss man that arrived in August and had been bumped up to have responsibilities) that I’d be moving in with.

Despite feeling pretty horrendous, and like I hadn’t had a wink of sleep for a week, I was feeling more comfortable about moving in.

The Room

By some crazy stroke of luck I managed to get a twin room to myself for the first six months. So there was the initial challenge of what to do with the second bed.

Do I turn it into a huge double bed? Too much furniture to move, don’t care enough for that. Leave it as it is and just look at an ugly blue mattress in the corner? That’s just a bit sad. Turn it into an epic sofa covered in pillows and blankets? Hell yeah.

Only challenge is to find crazy cheap stuff so I can actually do this. So the double eventually may be a better option….



I got to Target and had to work out the unnecessarily complicated process of buying bedding. And as if the hangover and the change in language wasn’t enough of a trauma to find what I wanted. Why not chuck 90 other people into the mix to battle with for twin sheets that would maybe do about 40 people. It was never going to be a success.

This wasn’t exactly helped by always living at home, excluding a 6 months period. There had never been any urgency to get things. And even if there was, you knew exactly where to go to find it. Plus I’d go with my mum and make a day of it.

That was not the case on this occasion. It was the blind leading the blind, with a bit of every (wo)man for themselves.

The terminology was different. What the hell is a comforter and why can I not wash it? What is a sham? Why do I need so many different types of sheets? And why is there none of anything left?

After trekking around four different shops to find anything that resembled a decent prices and wasn’t designed for either babies or grannies, I finally settled for a bright blue and green one I stumbled across in the clearance section. Score!

Followed closely by a 30 minute conflict of opinion wondering why on earth I had bought such a bright cover and what had crossed my mind – it’s actually nice now that I have slept and can think like a normal person.


I had been impressed with my effort of only bringing one suitcase before I left.

But unpacking it showed just how much stuff I had actually managed to stuff in.

I’d done well.

Maybe all the practice of packing a rucksack over and over again had helped. The trial and error of stuffing, rolling, folding, vac packing had all paid off.

Rolling is officially the winner.

Now all I wonder is if I hadn’t brought quite so many clothes could I have fitted my pillow and cosy blanket?!


Or ‘grocery store’.

This has been an eye opener. I nipped into the shop to make sure I had some food in the house for breakfast. Cereal and milk.

Who knew it could be such a demanding decision. An entire aisle dedicated to cereal. Healthy, unhealthy, pure sugar, rabbit food, normal looking stuff.

One thing I did find that made my day and I will definitely be buying the next time. Peanut Butter Cheerio’s. Dream come true.

Then it got to milk.

Surely there can only be a few types. No.

I was so gob smacked I had to take a photo.


The meat incident

I came home from a trip to the shop to get some dinner to find this questionable package in the freezer.


Frozen meat, fish and vegetables from Africa.

This was my first introduction to my new flat mate, who had snuck in while I was out and was hiding in her room.

Definitely time for a drink. As if I needed an excuse.


After a long day of getting worked up over things that didn’t matter, the best thing to do was join friends in the city for a drink and chill out.

Easy enough. Unless you’re me.

I had to buy a monthly unlimited PATH ticket to get me into the city and be prepared for work the next morning when it would no doubt be busy with other commuter’s.

First I discovered that you couldn’t just get a ticket from the machine. You had to go to another machine to get the card and then top it up. Fair enough. Asked someone where I do that – because there’s no office – got pointed in the direction of the wrong machine, which I discovered after buying it.

I phone customer services for help before I get the wrong thing again.

Went to the right machine. Only takes $5 notes. I’ve just been given 5 $1 coins as changed – that I can’t use. Great, can’t get a ticket.

All of a sudden I am crying talking to the customer services guy and I can’t stop. What has New York done to me?

So the PATH man takes me to get some fresh air and tell me a story to make me feel better.

This story is supposedly true but I have no idea.

“A man wanted to commit suicide,* so he climbed up a tree to a good spot. But first he eats a banana and watches the people walking along underneath him. He threw the skin down to the ground and gets ready to jump, when he spots a man pick up the banana skin, eat it and continue to walk. The man in the tree suddenly realised that he just ate the good bit of the banana and wants to kill himself, but this guy ate the rubbish bit and is quite happy to keep going. His life is not that bad after all. So he climbed back down from the tree.”

*Alarm bells are going off that at no point did I think or say I wanted to kill myself, where has this come from?!

So the nice PATH man took me for a little walk around the block, talking to me about life and giving me motivational chat. Reminding me that this is just one day in life and it may seem bad now, but sometimes you just need to do these things to get you where you want to go.

I have never had any doubt that these things happen and you just pick yourself back up and move on and get better and stronger. But this did not seem to be one of those days.

Plus, New York certainly isn’t a means to an end. This is the dream. So I’ll take the crap days because there will be so many more good ones.

At the end of the conversation he told me to go and meet my friends and have a nice night and gave me a free trip on the train.

Then to my extreme disbelief, gave me his number and told me to go for a drink at some point. Damsel in distress, fairy tale story or what?! What has happened to my life?!



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