[Soundtrack to this post: C.R.E.A.M. by Wu Tang Clan]
I'm five weeks into my new American life. I'll admit that adjusting to a new country, a new neighborhood, and a new way of spelling the word "neighborhood" hasn't been easy-breezy. I should have seen it coming when I flashed my American passport at the border and instead of a "Welcome back, Beth! Where've you been for a decade?" they searched my U-Haul and confiscated my extra "u"s (sorry, "neighbourhood", "colour", and "favourite.")
And so began the culture shock.
In addition to flimsy green dollar bills (so long for now, "loonies" and "toonies,") I write "checks" instead of "cheques," "dip" my debit card at the ATM, and flash ID when I use my credit card, even if it's just for a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter.
When I first moved to Canada, I marveled at all the Bryan Adams on the radio. Did they not know that his popularity had fizzled after one last great slow dance ballad (entitled as I recall, "Everything I Do, Ahhh-ahh-ahh, I Do It For You")?
My friend Alli explained that it was a legal requirement (Americans, that would be "Canadian Content" a.k.a. "CanCon.") Here, a generous helping of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett seems to satisfy any legal requirements.
But I remain an optimist about our future together, me and New York. After all, this place is throbbing with culture and I am truly enjoying my classes at Columbia. M&Ms taste like they did in my childhood and there's mail on Saturdays - for now, anyway.
If I can just make one complaint, New York, the honking has been hard to get used to.
I bought myself these lady earplugs to muffle the sounds of the cars racing down my street and honking up a storm all night long. These helpful drivers wake up the neighborhood to let us all up to let us know that other cars are double-parked. Thanks, guys!
The Duane Reade cashier just laughed when I complained about the constant noise, repeating what everyone's been telling me: "You'll get used to it."
One week from today, I will wake up to a trailer full of all my worldly possessions and a GPS programmed for New York, New York.
This past Friday, I handed in my iPhone and closed the book on my life in internal communications and social media at Rogers, Canada’s largest communications company. I’m heading back to my home country, the U.S. of A., to pursue a part-time Masters degree in Strategic Communications and find a full-time gig in communications.
I am elated, scared, and proud.
Earlier this summer, I created a comprehensive project plan (nerd alert!) entitled “NYC or Bust” and I’ve already ticked off the intimidating milestones of getting accepted to Columbia, finding an apartment, and giving my notice. My move is around the corner, and the logistics are falling into place.
The next big one: finding a job.
On the whole, friends and colleagues have been terrifically supportive, including my amazing VP whose reaction was “awesome!” A couple of comments caught me like thorns, however. First, a good friend said she admired my courage for going back to school “at my age”, the ripe old age of one-better-than-thirty. Second, when I mention that I am looking for work in the current New York economy, some people are visibly frightened for me. I recognize that it’s a risk to leave a rock-steady Canadian corporation for the unknowns of a shaky job market. But for me, it’s the right time, the right program, and I’ve got the right stuff.
As Frank Sinatra famously crooned, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." I’ll keep you posted on my progress to the “top of the heap!”
About this blog
I'll use this space to write about movies, bikes, communications trends, pop culture, and my adventures as a new New Yorker.