Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lessons in pouring half-full glasses

Part of moving to a new city and beginning a new way of existence is adaptation.  It’s a learning process, and I’m determined to learn through the lens of optimism (which, I know, is easy to say when I’m still in my first week). Here are a few of the, shall I say, negotiations I’ve been making thus far between petty annoyance and hopeful opportunity regarding my apartment.

·         My roommate, Karen, originally from Jamaica, apparently likes to reminisce about her homeland by keeping the apartment a sweltering temperature, probably about 80 degrees at least.  Even after coming in from the cold, the atmosphere does not feel pleasant but stifling instead….but this just gives me the opportunity that I wanted to interact with different cultures, I suppose, even if that culture is only exhibited through climate.  The Northeast U.S. and the Caribbean, all in one neat package. Besides, this provided the occasion for opening my window when it was twenty degrees outside, proving that the window works!

·         The bathroom is equally, if not more, hot – so hot that my lipstick melted.  I was just trying out the whole lipstick-thing anyway, figuring out prime application and colors, so why not add to the challenge?

·         For reasons I do not know (and would rather not think about), my roommate also does not keep trash in the apartment, forcing me to take the trash through a labyrinth of locks and doors outside to the bitter cold every time I cook.  However, climbing stairs never hurt anyone, and this forces me to eat every last, bitter leaf of my salad in an effort to avoid trash, ultimately improving my nutrition.

·         When I spoke with Karen about what to bring when I moved in, I asked if there were any contributions I could make to the kitchen.  She replied, “No; I’ve lived here for several years now, so the kitchen is fully stocked.”  This event gives me the opportunity to explore new interpretations of vocabulary, for Karen’s interpretation of “fully stocked” does not include a microwave.  Such a lack will force me to finally learn how much pasta to cook in order to avoid excessive portions and, therefore, leftovers (or food that I would throw away since I want to avoid the no-trash dilemma mentioned above). 
·         While I am delighted that my apartment is quite close to the subway, it’s a neighborhood that is, well, a tiny bit out of my comfort zone.  As with “fully stocked” and relearning vocabulary, such a situation will encourage me to evaluate proper implementation of certain terms.  Just as we all faced the political incorrectness of overusing “gay” and “retarded,” I will now more carefully consider my haphazard use of “ghetto.”

·         Regarding my room, from photos in my previous post, you can see that it is remarkably pink and small.  For ease of reference, let’s compare my bedroom before my move and after:
Before #1

Before #2


Two things: I have long fought against the distinction “girly” in favor of “feminine,” particularly when applied to me and my style.  But if I am to accept different cultures, personalities, and dispositions, I suppose that I must also have to accept the girly among us.  Also, the lack of space serves a practical purpose:  given my current lack of income, I don’t need to buy anything to fill out the room anyway.

·         Upon moving my belongings into the room, we discovered that the radiator (now disconnected and useless, which is thankfully not an issue based on my first bullet point), had at one point leaked, leaving the floor a bit warped.  I did say that I liked buildings and details with a history…

·         The provided bed is really just a mattress on the floor that we managed to (almost) wedge between the walls to maximize space.  Being so low on the ground isn’t all that bad: after all, now I don’t have to spend workout time on squats.

·         It was nearly 70 degrees when I left Mississippi, and the night after my arrival, a digital sign informed me that the air through which I was walking was a mere 17 degrees, not including the windchill.  Legitimate truth, though: I think I look pretty damn cute with rosy cheeks.

Thus ends the first installment of willed optimism and bold approaches to city life.  Adieu.

*Also, special thanks to Whitney Miller Coll for making me a unique banner and such!


  1. Nice and hot! You will enjoy it when you come out of the -20 degree windchill factor!