by Lynn Kim Do

Street Talk | "When I Moved to NYC..."

January 3rd is my official anniversary date in New York City—one of the most intimidating cities in the world. The city I had always prematurely claim. The city I now get to call home. Which in turn, I inherited impatience, a microscopic attention span, and a #richbroke mentality. We pimp one another out, voluntarily and with kindred affection. It owns me as much as I own it. I am its bitch as much as its mine. Tough love. 

Over a year ago, I was in no rush. I had just graduated college. I had just started a full-time job. I had just formed a friendship—around 6 months—and dived into a rather life changing decision. I had never lived on my own. We spent about 6 hours looking at apartments, became smitten with one in East Harlem (the first one we saw that day), and applied for it before the sun even went down. Each step felt lucid. I remember making the decision not to tell anyone until the application was approved. Perhaps, I didn’t want to jinx it. Or it was my own way of coping with the potential disappointment. I decided my fate would be in the universe's palm this time—praying it wasn’t going to end with an excruciating belly flop but a skillful triple back axel followed by stadium size applause. 

Our application arrived back in our inboxes with a large green checkmark. YESSS!...but no time to celebrate. We packaged over two decades worth of frivolous investments including 80 pairs of heels, an Ikea bed frame, and a million “vintage” picture frames in life-size cardboard boxes. Miraculously stuffed two women’s entire belongings into one UHAUL truck, convinced a couple poor suckers we call friends to help, many six floor walk-up trips later and it was home sweet home. This entire endeavor took about 4 days. And trust me, it was exactly as difficult as it sounds.

When I finally started telling people that I was making the move into the city, I received mixed reactions. Many were genuinely excited for me, some looked excited but weren't really so, and a few were unsupportive. My mom was sad that I was going to leave her but she was also very proud of the daughter she raised. Her society-questioning parenting has poetic madness to it. And my existence and this transition was proof of that. I left her with promises of monthly phone calls and drink dates in the upcoming year. My best friends at the time had questionable thoughts on my move. On the outside, they seemed excited for me. Although, they were more upset I didn't tell them. More upset that my plan has changed. More upset I didn’t send group notifications every time I snipped my hair or wiped my ass. Motives were revealed. Feelings were hurt. Lessons were digested. Maybe we were growing apart, maybe we outran our story, either way these were simply the growing pains of a twentysomething year old. 

That was a almost two years ago.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2016, I packed up the remains of my Harlem apartment to move to a new borough—Brooklyn. I threw out old memories—cracked tea pots, college t-shirts, old photographs and saved only one or two nostalgic pieces I can afford to salvage for my own sanity's sake. Minutes before leaving the apartment, I took two shots from a bottle of Black Label left over from our Harlem housewarming, fittingly so, with my now ex-roommate and business partner. We said, "Catch ya later," not good bye. She moved to the next chapter in her life, while I went to Brooklyn to write mine. Long story, long, I am somewhere else. Again. And that's perfectly okay. Because I know I belong right here, right now. I am sitting on the same bed, typing on the same laptop, but surrounded by fresh plants, more square footage, located several blocks from the L train inhabited by a couple more man buns and yuppies than I have ever seen in East Harlem. My room isn't anything like the one that I use to call mine in Harlem. I am not the same woman who lived in Harlem. My space reflects that. 

And present. 

It's safe to say, I'm excited for 2017. And the changes it will bring...

Visuals by Daniela Spector