A New New Yorker | What Living in New York Has Taught Me | Tale 4

Today marks my sixth month in New York. Whatt?! Half a year?! How did this happen? Well, to be totally honest, not without tears, tantrums, lots of complaining and pent up anger (I’m afraid if I ever show aggression out on the streets someone will follow me home and kill me).

I’ve decided that, as a 6 month anniversary gift to the city that I…uh…(sometimes) tolerate, I will compile a list of things I’ve learned from living here.

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  1. Not letting gross things bother you (for that long): In the past 6 months in New York, I have been exposed to more disgusting things than I have in my entire life. I’ve had old air conditioners leak their cooling juices on my head as I walk below them, I’ve learned how to avoid getting bed bugs in a place infested by them, I’ve taught myself how to avoid breathing by port-a-potties, and I’ve even learned how to get over a cockroach the size of my palm scurrying across my desk.
  2. How to get from point A to point B: In New York, you just have to know where you’re going. Because if you try to ask someone, they will most likely give you incorrect directions. Really, this happened to me on my second day of work. You can truly only count on yourself. And Google Maps…but only if you check it before going underground because then you’re screwed.
  3. That I don’t like crowded, loud places: When I was living in Chicago, I attributed a lot of my nights spent at home to my lack of friends living in the actual city. Now, after some time in NY I’ve realized that even when I have the option to go to these jam-packed, rowdy places, I happily opt out without any FOMO at all.
  4. How to pretend like some rude person didn’t just cut you off or aggressively push past you: Okay. I’m not even a slow walker. Like, I walk really really fast. So when someone pushes me out of their way (instead of just saying “excuse me” like a normal, non-savage, human being) I simply don’t understand it. But I also don’t understand why most homeless people here have iPhones or iPads, so what do I know?
  5. Just get your groceries delivered: For the love of God, don’t make the mistakes I have made. Walking a mile with three filled Trader Joe’s bag or paying $25 for your cab…not worth it. Fresh Direct is the way to go.
  6. Wear layers: Subway stations are 100 degrees and the office is 60. Need I say more?
  7. How to deal with claustrophobia: My two-bedroom apartment is the same size as my studio in Chicago was. To deal with this I – pretend I live in the fantasy worlds I watch on Netflix, go to A’s apartment, or force myself to fall asleep to avoid life.
  8. How to do pretty much anything in bed: My bed is so much more than a place to sleep. It’s also a place to eat, work, paint my nails, do crunches, and pretty much any other thing you can imagine me doing during the day. This is what happens when you don’t have a real living room.
  9. How to ignore gross men or crazy people on the street: Whether it’s a catcall or a guy walking around in a leotard screaming Selena Gomez song lyrics, for your own sanity, learn to tune it all out. I actually always day-dream of responding with some witty, bitchy comment. But refrain because, again, someone from the street can always follow you home and kill you.
  10. How to look past all this shit because you’re in New York: As much as I dislike the city, I realize that it truly is a city of dreams. The number of opportunities you have just outside your door is astonishing. So learning to look past all the negatives and focus on all the positives, is the number one thing New York has taught me. Granted, I still complain at least 5 times a day. But most days I can step back, look at my life, and realize that I’m so lucky to be where I am.

Moment of truth: I actually don’t deal with most of these situations well at all. And my #1 way of coping is actually just calling my mom and complaining. Then she tells me she’s sick of hearing it. So then I call my dad. So thanks dad, for putting up with me!

Love,

K

My (Biggest) Struggle of being an Indian Girl

If you’ve kept up with Jointly at all in the past almost two years (ahh!), you probably know by now that one of my favorite things to write, discuss, and vent about is being Indian. In most cases I like to joke (but never exaggerate) about what it’s like to be an Indian girl, but today I want to be totally honest and share with all of you, my biggest struggle as an Indian girl.

I’ve always known my biggest pain point with my ethnicity, but the full extent of it didn’t really hit me until I finished Mindy Kaling’s latest book, Why Not Me. The number one reason I struggle with being Indian is because Indian culture prohibits me from being 100% real with all of you. I always think about my goals as a writer and how I can further refine my voice and skill only to realize that I can’t really, because I’m Indian.

Now, before going any further, I would like to caveat that this post is based solely on my personal experience and feelings. Additionally, I would like to make it undeniably clear that I love being Indian and could not imagine my life in any other way. Okay? Okay, moving on…

I feel that, as an Indian woman, I have a certain image to maintain. I should conduct my life with the perfect amount of grace, respect and reservation. I should share little and keep my personal life, especially the portion of it grandparents may frown upon, personal. And to a certain extent, I totally agree with this. I am all for grace and you probably can’t find a girl who loves and respects people (who deserve it), more than I do. But not sharing…I’m sure you can see how that would hold me back as a writer.

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                          Indian girls should be all shy and shit

As I got deeper and deeper into Mindy’s stories, I couldn’t help but go a little bug-eyed as I read about her love life, how she enjoys filming sex scenes and her excessive drinking (and McDonald’s eating). I was shocked but inspired and could feel my already present admiration for her grow as I flipped each page. She is real, I thought. I want to be real too.

And I try to be. I really do. I’m sure you can tell from some of my writing. But there are certain personal topics I avoid completely, as I know my audience. But I’m getting to the point where I’m old enough to not care what other people think. I’ve been raised well and I know right from wrong and appropriate from inappropriate. I mean…it’s not like I want to be a lingerie model. Just a good writer. If you want to be a lingerie model (which I would also totally support, to each their own), and this post inspires you to do so, please do not tell your strict Indian parents that I gave you the idea. If you need someone to blame, blame Mindy.

Love,

K

P.S. For all Indians reading this and preparing to judge me for the unfiltered stories I am to tell in the future, just know – I heard young adults in India are way worse.

New York City: Four Years Down

It’s really weird to admit this. Especially considering the majority of our readers are likely New Yorkers who LOVE being New Yorkers, but New York never used to be my thing. I wasn’t the type of person that dreamed about moving here one day. That fantasized about flying through the New York streets in a yellow Taxi, the skyline of the city creating a consistent sheen of bright light and color. It just never really appealed to me that much. It felt oversaturated, hyperbolic, self-aggrandizing. I just knew it would chew me up and spit me out, and frankly I enjoyed living in a city that skewed herbivore.

I was a softy through and through (and through and through), and when I moved to Chicago, I thought that was as city as I’d go. I loved Chicago. In spite of the harrowing winters, my long commutes, and my bike getting stolen (actually, that one still stings). For one, K and I lived together (every close sister-combo’s dream), in an impeccably decorated, two-bedroom, apartment. I had a balcony off my bedroom, guys. I had two sinks in my bathroom. A bathtub and a standing shower. A desk, a queen-sized bed, two night stands, a TV stand, and a couch all in my room. IN MY ROOM.

I loved my job at FCB. I loved my smart, down-to-earth, genuine, kind, friends. I felt like a part of something. Friday night happy hours, overly indulgent dinners at Portillos (that glutinous chocolate cake though…), karaoke. Life felt pretty great.

But the English language gave us qualifiers like “pretty” great for a reason. For moments and feelings of inadequacy. When something is just incomplete. And there was something very significant missing from my life in Chicago.

Abi.

So after many conversations, job interviews, lonely days, and red-eye flights, I decided to take the plunge, and move to New York (because I couldn’t move my then-finance-boyfriend to Chicago when he was in the finance capital of the world, and I watched enough Mad Men to convince myself that New York was the place to be in Advertising, too).

I packed up my beautiful apartment, made a deal with K that we’d live in the same city again one day (BLESS), and trudged over to the Big Apple.

This was exactly four years ago today. And I can’t believe how much New York has changed my life, but maintained my essence.

It has injected me with confidence, strength, resilience. My skin is much much thicker, but my soul is just as gentle as it always has been. It’s taught me to love myself, and put myself first, and treat myself to everything life has to offer. To take my time growing up. That maturity doesn’t come with stature, or money, or property, or children, it manifests in a mindset. That birds of a feather don’t need to always flock together! And as cheesy as it is, diversity is life! It’s taught me that being weird is f*cking awesome. That I want to have a story unlike any other’s. That I don’t care if people think I’m kooky, as long as I’m being true to myself. Because being true to oneself is the single most important pillar of living the best life. I’ve learned when to say yes, and when to say no. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine (/completely amazing) to spend a Friday night on the couch in my dog’s company, watching Charmed and eating boxed mac n cheese. I’ve learned that when something becomes an obligation instead of a pleasure, it’s okay to let it go (within reason, we’re all responsible adults here).

Don’t get me wrong – New York has torn me down. Way down. But, man, has it built me up. If my pre-NYC-self saw my life now, she’d be thrilled. And maybe even in awe. Knock on wood.

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Not to mention, now I’m totally the type of person that looks out of the windows of my yellow taxi at the New York City skyline with gratitude and dreamy wonder.

Love you NYC,

A

Being From Believeland

Tonight, we’re going to bed feeling broken in a way that we’ve felt before. In a way that, honestly, we have felt since we can remember. A dull ache in the pit of our stomach. Like watching someone you love suffer. A sinking heart mixed with hands trembling with exhaustion and exasperation.

The feeling of a broken heart from Cleveland sports.

We can handle the loss. We really can. Coming from Cleveland, one is raised tough. One is raised to be proud of effort, hard-work, determination, and fighting until there’s simply no energy left. We know Championships don’t come easy. We know that sometimes, great things that are important to a city, to a community, to a team, are snatched away. That’s just life. Life isn’t fair but it teaches incredible lessons on how to be the best one can be.

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What we can’t handle, is the people on the other side.

The jeering, the jabbing, the unfounded hatred. Hatred is a strong word, but that’s the only word we can use here.

What is the meaning of sports if not to bring people together? If not to unite us in the pleasure of Americas favorite pasttimes? Weren’t you all hoping for a game seven if only just to watch two incredible teams duke it out? Why has an internal appreciation for the sport turned into an external desire for putting each other down?

We can’t say we’ve never jokingly ignored our friends when they’ve rooted for the other teams. We can’t say we haven’t brushed them off, or made faces at them. But we’ve never gone as far as to hate.

Being from both Cleveland and Chicago, we’ve gotten the worst of this. Big sports towns with a lot of heart. Passionate fans with a lot of fire. And haters with an incredible amount of distaste.

But what saddens us most is that when Chicago has a win, Clevelanders let it be. We even applaud our midwestern brothers and sisters. We’re proud of where we come from, and since they’re our neighbors, we’re proud of them, too. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we appreciate a valiant effort. We appreciate exceptional teamwork. But tonight, wearing a heartbreaking Cavs loss on our sleeves, seeing so much negativity and hate from people we spent so much time with in Chicago, at college, etc. was staggering.

They chalk it up to a long-standing rivalry. Which interestingly, very few Clevelanders even acknowledge. We reason with them. For Cleveland a championship is more than a win for a team. It’s a win for a city. We tell them they have no idea what it’s like to tell someone where you’re from, and have them snicker and say “Oh…I’m sorry.” (It is here we often want to say, “Oh really? Well I’m sorry that you have that big city skyscraper of yours stuffed up your a**.” But we don’t because that would be mean). We describe the power of believing, the attitude of persistence, and the zeal of faith. We open our hearts and share what a championship could mean for Cleveland. A skip that’s been missing from our step for years. An updated identity. A chance to prove everyone wrong. Isn’t that something we all want?

It’s moments like these that prompt us to wonder. What’s the point of sport? If it brings out the monster in people? The Cavs losing is tough enough. But the lack of respect from people we’ve broken bread with, and the respect that we’ve in turn lost for them, is tougher.

To Cleveland – thank you for a wonderful upbringing. You’ve taught us to hope in the darkest times and to persevere no matter what. You’ve given us a family that crosses zip-codes. You’ve taught us that East and West mean nothing. That when it comes to passion, we’re all one. Thank you for always lifting us up, and not even thinking of kicking us down.

And to the Warriors and all their fans out there. That was a killer series. Congrats, excellently played, and we’ll get you next time ;).

#AllinCLE #Believeland #Cleveland #Cavaliers

Love,

The Gautam Girls

A New New Yorker | Tale 2

I’ve been sitting on tale two of this series for a while – eagerly anticipating the next event that would inspire me to write. It hasn’t happened yet. So, I’m going to try to write on my lack of inspiration. Is this every writer’s nightmare or just mine?

I moved to New York City nearly a month ago now. My list of expectations was long and honestly, at this point, forgotten. Despite the move having happened not even a month ago, I can’t remember what all I had dreamt of – I can only remember how these hopes and dreams were unmet.

I think I thought it would be something like the opening credits to Sex and the City, where Carrie Bradshaw is fabulously strutting about the streets with a bright-eyed smile and a confidence only a character in a TV show can have. The sky behind her, blue as can be with some very picturesque cumulus clouds floating across the Chrysler building. Skip to the end of the video, the part where she gets splashed by a taxi cab – yup, that’s more like it.

Let me give you an example. One of the first thing I saw today was a man – how do I say this in a pretty, flowery way…I can’t…the man was literally peeing right outside the subway and I unfortunately saw it all! Last week on my way to work, I had to stop and gag up a little in a nearby trash can (which they should really put more of those around because if you look at the sidewalks you will clearly see that there is a lot of trash) because I couldn’t handle the various scents of NYC. Wet dogs, urine, dead fish – to name a few.

I know, I’m being a total Debby Downer. I don’t want to be! In fact, my least favorite question has quickly become “how are you liking it so far”, because it is for some reason impossible for me to lie and then I have to gently tell these happy New Yorkers that I have yet to fall in love with their home. A wants to kill me every time I talk about it and I’m sure I’ll get some backlash for writing about it.

But I think what I’ve learned so far is…

1. No matter where I go, I can’t leave behind who I am. I thought that this move would help redefine me – change me. But what I’m realizing is that even a new place can’t do that. Only I can. And getting myself to a place where I’m ready to let go of the past and embrace the present and future is a lot harder than packing up my apartment and leaving a city.

2. I’ve come to see that my present never seems as wonderful as it really is. While I’m living it, I’m discontent. Waiting for the next chapter. But when I look back, I ache for it. I’ve always heard those cheesy “the present is a present” quotes and dismissed them. Because well…that just sounds dumb. But learning to live in the moment and cherish it while you have it is so much better than regretting your lack of appreciation for it later in life.

So despite my less than warm feelings about The Big Apple – I’m going to make a public promise to give it a real chance. Feel free to keep me an honest woman here, guys.

With love,

K

10 Thoughts on Winter

Up until this month, I was pretty content with 2014-2015 winter season. Obviously, it was colder than I’d like (I’m a 70s and sunny girl…but who isn’t?), but I was managing.

And then, February hit.

I partake in the semi-frequent social media “it’s so cold” conversation (posting Snapchat stories with the weather filter, uploading photos of the frozen lake onto Instagram, and tweeting multiple hateful tweets a day while still maintaining a semi-professional voice on Twitter), but it just doesn’t seem to cut it. I need to complain. I need to vent.

So, I have decided to share with all of you, some of my most recent and frequent thoughts on winter and, more specifically, winter in Chicago.

1. The layers

You cannot even imagine how sick I am of piling on layer after layer, adding probably a good 15 pounds to my body weight. It’s the same story every day. Two pairs of socks under my Uggs (with work appropriate shoes in my bag or stored in my office filing cabinet), leggings under my jeans (as if women’s jeans weren’t tight enough, let me just throw another layer beneath them), a tank top, a sweater, a puffy or fur vest, a 600 level NorthFace jacket. And then…no, I’m not done, a hat, a scarf, and gloves.

So as you can imagine, throughout the day I’m peeling layer by layer off, only to pile them all back on around 5PM and waddle back to my apartment,

2. Uber

There is always surge pricing on Uber these days because everyone is too cold to take public transport.

3. CTA

But, everyone isn’t too cold for public transport. Which means that we must go from the freezing cold, onto an overly packed train or bus, with our ten layers and ten bags (including our change of clothes, change of shoes, and gym clothes) and try to stay balanced while the bus goes over those infamous Chicago potholes.

4. My social life

Any commute that isn’t to work or back home falls off the priority list (sometimes those do too – can I just sleep at the office?) I’d love to see ya, but I’d also love to keep my limbs. See ya in April – maybe May or June because, well, you know Chicago.

5. Adulthood lacks snow days

Just because I’m over the age of fifteen, does not mean I can handle below 0 temperatures any better than a high schooler. Science is not my forte, but I’m pretty sure our DNA doesn’t alter after twenty, increasing our chances of surviving freezing temperatures. Adults deserve snow days/cold days too.

6. Iced Coffee

I miss iced coffee. I dream about it. I really do. But I cannot handle drinking it when I’m already frozen to the core.

7. I might as well be naked

The other day I was talking to my mom and listing my layers off to her and she said, “Oh, you must be warm then!” My response? “No, no I’m not. I might as well be naked.” Obviously, I know that that’s probably not the case. But when it’s this cold you’re just like, I can’t imagine any amount of clothing really helping me. I’m helpless.

8. I shouldn’t even go to the gym

Fat keeps you warm. Why get rid of it? This is my survival technique.

9. It just hurts

It really hurts. It hurts physically. It hurts mentally. It hurts emotionally.

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10. I’m moving

It’s been real Chicago. It really has. But I have every intention of this being my last winter here.

K’s 2014 Flashback

2014 was a huge year for me. So many things changed, and so much happened that helped shape me into who I am today. It was probably the first year I noticed myself growing up, which was an adventure on its own.

While most people take the new year to focus on the present, I want to spend just a little time reflecting on the past.

Well. In prepartion for this post, I went through all my photographs from 2014 and I’m now experiencing the strangest mixture of over-the-moon happiness and deep sadness. Happy that it happened and sad that all those times are over.

2014 was a little like this for me…

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I graduated college. Which, considering that I just typed “gratuated”, is surprising. I want to take a second to tell those of you who have not graduated yet to really really embrace those years. I miss everything from $2 pitchers on a Wednesday night to entire weekends spent studying at the library (yes, I miss the library and studying). 2014 was the year of late-night talks with best friends, parties, and roadtrips.

FullSizeRender-2I started my first full-time, adult world, job. And let me tell you, it’s been a roller coaster. Firstly, I should say that I absolutely love it.  I get to spend every day in what was voted “Chicago’s Coolest Office”, surrounded by some of the smartest, most inspirational people. I actually get excited to go in every morning and finally do something that yields to more than just a large, red A scribbled at the top of a paper. That being said, I also struggle with the change everyday. I’m having a tough time finding the balance between adulthood and hard work and still having fun and doing things that satisfy a different side of me. I think this will be something I aim to achieve in 2015.

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And to keep away that evil eye...

And to keep away that evil eye…

I moved into my first apartment! I can definitely say, thanks to my parents help on move-in-day, that I’ve never felt more at home in my life. I spent months walking around stores with paint chips and creating my dream apartment, and it actually paid off.

So I guess you can say 2014 was a year of change for me. And as far as I can tell, 2015 will be a year of adjustment and settling. Excited to share another year with you guys on Jointly!

Love,

K