How Much Time Do You Need To Fall In Love With NYC

How Much Time Do You Need To Fall In Love With NYC

It took me a while to call this concrete jungle my home and embrace my inner Carrie Bradshaw. When I gave the city my all, the city gave back to me.

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I remember my first time getting off the plane in middle school and welcoming NYC to my heart with open arms. I was in AWE. I will never forget my first steps in Times Square and thinking to myself, "one day I will call this my home."

It's so typical though; the big lights, the movie stars, the dreams, and the skyscapers can make anyone feel brand new and special. It's so hard to describe - but if you have been here, I know you recognize the feeling. This city makes you feel new, alive, and gives a sense of hope like none other.

I had told my parents for years that I wanted to move out to New York City and become an actress or a singer or be a writer and channel in my inner "Carrie Bradshaw". I had aspriations to ditch college in total and move out to the city but of course no kid thinks about the money or working multiple jobs to pay rent here. For people who don't live here, it's a fantacy, it was my fantacy.

When I first was told I got an interview with Hearst Magazines, I thought it was a joke. I remember the moment I got the email asking what time in Scotland I could hop on a ft call with editors of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen and I thought to myself holy sh%$ all my dreams might be coming true, so of course I couldn't tell anyone. I kept thinking, no way a girl from Iowa is going to move out to NYC and have this happen, no way, and it did.

The second I got the congratulations email, I had butterflies, I mean, my dreams were coming true but I also had a large panic attack. I couldn't imagine moving from Scotland to NYC and I didn't think it was possible. I didn't know how to balance the city and didn't know if I could survive. But, I was determained.

Living here is such a different ball game. My first couple weeks here were rough - I could not understand for the life of me why ANYONE would want to live here and dedicate their lives here. The people are so beyond diverse and at first it was a large culture shock for me. I was sad to see people on the subway working so late and closing their eyes because they were so tired and hot and exausted. It was hard to pay for such expensive groceries and understand why a lot of people can't afford food here. I can't even talk about the smells or the mystery liquids that will drop on you while you're walking from gosh knows where and etc, etc, etc.

I kept asking myself, "Why is it taking me so long to fall in love with living here?"

I was dealing with a lot. I had a lot of anxiety about money, not being with my family, figuring out my transportation, food, different cultures, new roommates, being single, keeping friendships, my internship, networking, figuring out if I could ever see myself living here and what I want a career to look like and blah blah blah. It was too much and I was blaming it ALL on the city.

I was told so many times that this is one of the lonliest cities in the world. Everyone comes here for themselves and for their dreams. This city has time for your needs if you put everything into it and I wasn't. I then realized right then and there that it wasn't the city that was wrong, it was me.

When I gave the city my all, the city gave back to me.

So yes, it did take me longer to fall in love with the city than expected. I thought the bond between us would be immediate. This city has hugged my heart and I 100% will be back.

I started to see the beauty in the city. I felt confident walking next to such determained people off the subway and realized they were tired and hot from working their asses off to live in such an incredible place. Initially I wasn't giving Harlem a chance. I have been introduced to many different cultures and situations and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to see how these cultures live and handle the city. I needed to be pushed outside of my "Iowan" comfort zone and I will totally admit that. Food? I started shopping in the sale section at the grocery marts to save money and not go out to eat as much.

I wasn't giving New York a fair chance because it was too new and it was too big. Honestly, I didn't give myself enough credit to survive here. I now am inner channeling Carrie Bradshaw and feel the love from the city and why this place truly does make dreams come true. The other day I was running in Central Park and was looking at all the people and the skyline and got chills. This city has endless amounts of opportunities for us all and I am blessed that this city has welcomed me.

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12 Struggles Only Portuguese Girls Can Relate To

It's like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" but Portuguese edition.
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As mentioned before in my "8 Ways You Know You're Portuguese" article, I'm 100% European Portuguese. Which means that if you're reading this, you're probably somehow related to me (see #5). You know these 12 things to be true if you grew up in a Portuguese household:

1. You're pressured to marry a Pork Chop.

A Pork Chop is a Portuguese person. The older generation feels that this term is derogatory, but Portuguese Americans self identify as 'Pork Chops.' Some families will probably disown you if you don't marry a Portuguese guy, but I lucked out and my family is pretty open minded. Let me put it this way, if you're not married by the time you're 28, your grandma and your mother are going to take you to the Portuguese club to find a nice Pork Chop to settle down with. You may not be forced into a Portuguese marriage, but it's highly preferred that you marry within the culture.

2. You're always too fat, even if you're skinny.

Portuguese people are a feminist's worst nightmare. They will body shame the hell out of you and feel no remorse. You could lose 20 pounds and look/feel amazing and a Portuguese person will still say "well, you could stand to lose a few more pounds."

3. You must remember your Portuguese classes that you took when you were five years old.

It is a crime against humanity to a Portuguese person if you don't at least understand the language. If you can speak it, read it, and understand it, you've automatically earned yourself the "golden child" title. Every time I move to a different state, my Grandma's only warning is "don't forget your Portuguese," because someone's got to carry on the culture.

4. Am I white? Mixed? Hispanic? Unclear.

I grew up thinking I was some kind of Latina just because the Portuguese language is so similar to Spanish. You probably feel comfortable in Hispanic communities because of your Portuguese background. I eventually realized that I'm white, but I still get told that I look racially ambiguous. Whenever someone asks what nationality I am, I give them three guesses. It's rare that people ever guess Portuguese, but upon finding out that I am, I suddenly become "exotic."

5. You have 55 first cousins.

This is not an exaggeration. My dad actually has 50 first cousins. I have 13, but I have way more cousins in Portugal that I've either never met, or I've met them, but wouldn't be able to pick them out of a line up. If you go to Portugal and visit all of your relatives, the faces and names start to blur together and it's safe to call every man "Joao" and every woman "Maria" or "Ana Maria" and they'll be delighted that you remembered their names.

6. You have to make sure you don't marry your own cousin.

Portugal is such a small country that if you meet a fellow Pork Chop in America, chances are, you're somehow related or your families are friends. I suggest drawing an extensive family tree before shacking up with a Pork Chop.

7. Somebody is always praying for you.

Portuguese people are devoutly Catholic, so it doesn't matter if you're temporarily down on your luck or a self made millionaire, you have a tia (an aunt) that you probably only see when someone in the family passes away, who prays on the rosary every night for you.

8. You must have a name that can be pronounced in Portuguese.

There are two criteria for naming a Portuguese baby: is it the name of a saint, and can it be pronounced in Portuguese? If your uncle twice removed that you see every six years when you go to Portugal can't say your baby's name, you need to pick a new one. Names like "Riley" and "Jackson" won't get Grandma's approval.

9. You're considered adventurous if you move out of your parents house before you're married.

It's rare that Portuguese women don't live with their mothers until they find a spouse, and even once they do get married, it's not uncommon for their mother to move in with her daughter and her (hopefully Portuguese) husband.

10. You've been given something with Our Lady of Fatima on it.

Fatima is Portugal's claim to fame. It's the city in Portugal where three kids claimed they saw the Virgin Mary in 1917 and it's now a popular, religious tourist destination. Your grandma has probably given you something with the Blessed Mary on it to put in your car or in your bedroom so that you stay '#blessed' all the time.

11. You're not allowed to be a vegetarian.

Portuguese people are fishermen and their specialty is codfish, so it's nearly impossible to maintain a vegetarian diet in a Portuguese household. You can be pescatarian though!

12. You have to warn people before you introduce them to your family.

Have you ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" That's what it's like to bring a non-Portuguese boyfriend to a Portuguese family gathering. Good luck.

Cover Image Credit: CDMPHY / Flickr

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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