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If you had asked me a year and a half ago whether I would ever consider living in NYC, I would have answered unhesitatingly, “No. Never. I love going into the city for the day, but I could never live there. I’m just not a city girl.” Now, one year after moving here, I have fallen head over heels in love with New York. There are days when I need a break from the constant rush, the subways, and the tourists, but on most days I can’t imagine ever leaving it for good. When I pause to look back over the past year, it amazes me that I am where I am today. It has been a long journey, but I am finally starting to feel like a city girl.

When I made my decision to move to the city, it was based solely on my desire to work in publishing. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and if anything had happened differently I might be somewhere else right now instead. In a matter of a few weeks last spring, I learned I had been accepted to grad programs including one at NYU. I was thrilled, but I didn’t feel ready for NYC. And then I lost my grandfather. In one of our last conversations, he had said, “make me proud.” Losing someone you love has a way of putting things into perspective. It reminded me that life is short and the future uncharted; that I should reach for my dreams without hesitation. I knew that NYC was where I had to be to make this happen.

Last summer, I was stressed about the big move, but everything was going smoothly. I had found an apartment and a roommate. I was excited for my program and looking forward to all of the opportunities ahead. But just a few weeks before I was set to move last August, my apartment fell through. Not only was I back to square one with finding a place to live, I was on a family vacation and couldn’t even go into the city to look at apartments for another week. I was in a pure panic.

I spent a good amount of our vacation doing research and emailing and calling people about their apartment listings. Most of it was through NYU’s own website that is only accessible to students. I was able to set up a meeting time with four places over the course of one day, two in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn.

My dad and I went together (I highly encourage anyone doing apartment visits to bring someone else with you. That person is good for reasons that range from safety, missed questions, a second opinion on everything, to escape and excuses in awkward situations.) One room was in an area that I didn’t feel safe; one room was with a mother/daughter where I would be taking over the daughter’s room (and she would be relocating to the “living room”) and I would have to tell the nosy neighbors that I was a “family friend” staying for a little while; one was a tiny space in Chelsea with an elderly woman and her cats (she did NOT sound that old on the phone); and one was in a house with my own personal space and normal people.

At the end of the day I immediately knew where I wanted to be. On the train ride home I emailed my now landlady. (Looking back I’ll describe the feelings behind this email as basically begging her to let me live there, but I’m sure I wrote something a little more casual.) Within a couple days everything was set and ready to go. I had a place to live and felt extremely fortunate. After going through that overwhelming experience and finding myself in a great rental with people who are kind and respectful, in an area that is convenient for travel and with much to offer, I know that I have been extremely lucky.

Finding the right place to live was the foundation for me feeling comfortable, safe and at home in NYC. And I am so excited for everything that year two will bring.