Dear Blog,

STOP OFFENDING ME! I didn’t like my own post, I liked the page to see what happens. I AM TRYING TO GET TO KNOW YOU. We are in the dating phase, ok? We aren’t married yet and just neglect each other. But FINE, if you think I’m vain then…. well….then think whatever you want.

Sincerely,

Me

Hi, I work here.

There’s something really strange about working where you normally study. Suddenly people who you collectively referred to as “admin”, become Nancy from Accounting, Tanja and Bianca from Housing and Hilke from Purchasing. I mean, of course you knew the people from career services and the financial aid department, but when does a student really interact with the people in charge of purchasing? I like purchasing requests, by the way. You put these ridiculously large amounts of office supplies on a list, add up ridiculously high prices and then just give the form to someone else, and miraculously, stuff gets delivered and paid for. I’ve been considering smuggling in a few extra items I might need for myself… no, just kidding, of course.

My team is great. I mean, seriously amazing. Within three weeks they went from random faces to people I laugh and joke with. My boss invited me to a painting class the other day and my office mate complains whenever I am NOT playing music on my computer. He also brings me coffee, even though he likes to tell other people that it’s the other way around. All in all, I almost feel like I’ve been part of the team for a really long time, even though I’m an intern and even though I haven’t worked there for more than a few weeks. I’ll be a bit sad to leave in five weeks, really, even though that will also mean I’m finally going home.

I don’t really love the fact that campus has become so quiet with the start of semester break, but working eight hours a day is surprisingly tiring and while during the semester I tend to be most active in the evenings, now I generally just watch TV and then go to sleep early. So it’s okay… not perfect, I’d prefer my social life to be more… well… existent. It’s only for two months, though.

Anyways. I have a few more things I wanted to write about… I went to Berlin and Hamburg for work, for college fairs, and that was quite fun… but right now Criminal Intent is on TV and I’m gonna go watch that, drink tea and doze off… early day tomorrow!

Rooftops…

..are AWESOME! Today, we got invited to the apartment by one of the intern girls Jess is working with. Her apartment is in a building right at Central Park West and from up at the rooftop you can see over Central Park and the Skyline around it. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! This is the kind of building, you end up in and know that you made it in life. If I lived in that apartment, I would go to this roof every single day:

In the morning, I skyped with my Mom, who had her 45th birthday today. Hence, the whole family was there standing around the laptop screen, even the members that you only see once or twice a year for the important celebrations or when the cake is expected to be especially good. It’s really great seeing everyone but on the other hand, it also made me notice how much I am living in a different world right now. This big city, this different country, the people here, the lifestyle…all of these things are something I can absolutely connect to. But it’s the complete contrast to what I came from. And I can see that in their faces whenever I start talking about my adventures in New York and how much I want to move here for good at some point. This facial expression saying “Oh, thats nice dear, its a nice adventure and have a great time, enjoy every second but don’t put up your hoped to high.” And its not that they wouldn’t support me. Its just the generation and the time they grew up in, this mindset that makes it impossible to imagine family emigrating to the US. It makes me worried that I am distancing myself from then without even noticing. So, that was one thing I realized today while smiling and nodding and telling funny stories about my everyday adventures here. The other thing I noticed was how old my grandparents turned. I do make sure that I see them twice a year and more often if possible. And of course I know that all of this is absolutely natural and just the normal circle of life blablabla but it just rubs it in painfully that your childhood is over and the people that belonged to it, the people that took you into the woods to search for mushrooms or taught you how to ride a motorbike or pretended not to hear anything when you sneaked downstairs at night to steal some candy, these awesome people start fading and, at some point, will be gone and you have nothing but your memories. The summers that my cousin, my brothers and I spent at their house, in the countryside with nothing but trees, fields and a lake, these summers were great.
SO, I think I finally found one downturn of living here at the moment: There is no open space to just walk and get everything off your mind. You couldn’t walk barefoot or just stand at a shore letting the wind blow through your hair and shake your thoughts back into place. The parks are closed after 10 and dangerous to be after sunset anyways. Hence, you have a blog to not only look cool and up-to-date but also to be able to have some sort of diary to get things off your head. Jupp. And since you are in the States and NOT 21 yet, you can’t even go out and dance your melancholy away…

98°F

… its hot outside. This kind of heat that just shuts down your brain, makes you sweat even though you are just blinking with your eyes, makes you drink water every five seconds. Even the usual heat and stuffy air in the subway stations now feels smoothing compared to the air outside. Apparently, for Americans, this weather is the normal weather condition in summer and thus no reason to complain or be surprised. However, for me it is something completely new. All of my summers I have spend at home, at the sea. If we ever had 36°C in Northern Germany, it would be all over the news anyways but even that high temperature wouldn’t feel as overwhelming as it does here. Here, we don’t have a fresh breeze coming from the Ocean. Which probably makes it more likely that, at some point, I will just settle at the sea, its just too much a part of me. Oh my, first world problems, I know. But does that make them less real?
No, I really don’t want to complain. Being the optimist that I am, I wanna point out the upside of this whole hot-weather-situation: Excuse to go summer dress shopping! I love going shopping here. That’s because of the American way of interacting. The first time, I was a little overwhelmed and the conversation between me and the girl in the dressing rooms went a little like that:
Employee:  “Hi, how are you?”
me: “Oh, thanks for asking! I’m good, a little dizzy from the heat and my feet hurt, these shoes are new. But the clothes here cheer me up, soooo… How are you?”
Employee: “Erm, good. Whats your name?”
me: “Ariane, but you can call me Ari if thats easier. I’m from Germany hence the name.”
Employee: “Nice to meet you Ari, I’m Tiffany. Now, call me whenever you need me, sweetheart. There is a button inside the cabin. If you want me to bring you a different size or just something completely different or whatever, just push the button. Good luck with the clothes!”, smiled and walked away. Isn’t that great? Despite my obvious lack of knowledge about conversational American, she stayed super friendly and in her role. In Germany (especially in North-Eastern Germany) the customer is supposed to be king but in reality, we often are subject to neglection and rudeness. Especially if you are not grown up yet….anyway.
Yesterday was solstice, which New York celebrated with a Yoga-Session on Times Square. Hundreds of people all doing the same yoga movements and just as many people to watch them. I was thinking about participating but doing weird yoga movements in the heat was just not that attractive of an idea at that point. We took pictures though:
I will now go and explore Harlem on my way to picking up a package. When the door rang yesterday, I just didn’t open. Having had a history in terms of watching too many thrillers and horror movies and being alone in the Harlem apartment all day are just an unlucky combination. When the doorbell rang then, all kinds of images came into my mind of me opening and not seeing the postman but a guy with a knife in his hand pushing me back into the apartment and killing me. Stuff like that. I know, my imagination is just more lively than is good for me. I ignored the doorbell. The package was dropped of at the local post office. Jess can’t pick it up because she works. Hence, its my responsibility to walk deep into the area, the part where our host warned us in the beginning “just not to go there, its not unsafe…but for you it kinda is”. Well, the things you do for a package which, hopefully, contains chocolate chip cookies from Jess’ mom.

Yes, I know. I am playing with stereotypes here. Harlem is not as bad as I make it sound. Our apt is in the safer part of the neighborhood and you can tell that a couple of years ago it must have been way worse than it looks now. However, its hard for me to judge situations I have never been in. Hence, I rather stay on the safe side of life with this. Wish me luck with the package!

Challenges

are on my list of things to do in New York. One of the Challenges at some point will be writing a little card saying: “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy but here’s my number xxx-xxx-xxxx so call me maybe!” and give it to a cute male barista at Starbucks. Mostly because I love the song, a friend of mine and I brought it back from Dublin and made it viral in our university. But also because I think its a hilarious idea and if it actually resulted into something-if only a nice dinner- it was worth it. However, I started small with: giving fake names at Starbucks. This one was Disney themed:

next will be… running like Phoebe in Central Park. OR going up to a random stranger on the street and saying: “Omar says hi!” and keep walking. I love doing random stuff like that. And at the moment I am also a little bored and alone, so i might come up with even better things. Gotta always push yourself out of your comfort zone.

I was also looking into film academies and acting schools in New York. But what is it with these things? As a child you go to your parents and inform them that you wanna become a Ballerina or Actress or Star and they tell you: “But only after you have finished school!” Then you finish school and go up to them repeating the same thing and they say: “Well, you have to make that decisions but I would advise you to first learn something proper.” So you study Economics and Management. They you are looking into Grad Schools and suddenly, your parents voice is replaced by YOUR OWN CONSCIENCE saying “Naaaah, drop that. Dat stuff aint no future for ya!”. Dafug conscience?! Since when did you kick in with these things? So, I will probably pull a responsible one on me and not spend $20000 on a graduate degree in acting. Shame, oh shame.

Made in Harlem…

…will be tattooed on the back of my foot if I survive the next two and a half months here without getting mugged or worse. JUST KIDDING. Although it would be kinda cool. But also kinda painful. So, its not gonna happen, don’t challenge me. Jupp, I am living in New York. A dream coming true. However, Harlem is not quite the New York that you picture. Its not Times Square or 5th Avenue, its not SoHo, not even Little Italy. It still got Charme, Charisma and Character. You gotta be careful of what you’re doing. Going out late at night is not really advised. Being kinda a minority here, as white girls, is unusual and something I have to get used to. But Jess and I learned not to look like tourists. We got our “bus faces” on. You know, showing the world: “You bedda NOT mess wid us DUDE!” and it works-so far. Our apartment is cute. Its nicely furnished, our room is just big enough for two (since we are on a budget, Jess and I have to share a double bed- which gave us quite interesting looks from our French roommates in the beginning). The Frenchies are pretty cool and we are getting along with them very well. So, its definitely a nice atmosphere and something great to come home to….if you actually had to leave the apartment. While Jess has actual work hours for her internship, I can do a lot of work online and hence don’t have to come into the office a lot. Interning for an NGO gives your work very much a touch of “don’t worry, be happy” kinda thing. You know, all of them are very relaxed and happy about you working motivated. Anyway, being at home means being super flexible. Most of the time I am chilling, sometimes I go and explore something in the city- either on my own or with the friend of ours that just joined our group of NY interns. His apartment is SICK! Its a three-minute walk to Times Square in one direction and three to Central Park into the other. Hence, he lives CENTRAL but has less of a neighborhood feeling. Soooo…there is good and bad even in a $3000/month apartment in Central Manhattan. BOOYA!

So, its been 2 weeks into my little adventure and I have already seen so much that I am starting to regret not having posted stuff here earlier. Oh well, little summaries will have to do.
Jess and I had our first shopping-for-food experience on the very first day. Being on a budget makes it hard living in New York- especially since there is so much tasty, fat, unhealthy stuff for little money. Like…McDONALDS STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKES. Are you KIDDING me?! this stuff is so much better than it is in Germany. Or…STARBUCKS CHOCOLATE CHIP FRAPPUCCINO ICE-CREAM! its like made for me. Or…Ben&Jerry’s in any possible color or flavor. AmAzzzInGGGGG. The people that were in the supermarket around the corner that day must have had such a fun time listening to me running through the aisles like a little kid, shouting “Look Jess, the Ice-cream choice, can we buy the Mint one….oh wow, all of these are Oreos?! AND OH.MY.GOD…there is an ENTIRE aisle just for CEREAL?!” and it went on like that for several minutes. I felt like the Eastern Germans must have felt in 1990 when they went to Hamburg for the first time. So, we invented the Treat-of-the-Week, which allows us to buy one American awesomeness from our weekly budget. Its usually either ice-cream or oreos or donuts. And once every week, we eat dinner out, so that I get to know the American fast-food culture. Sometimes, this ends like this: 

Every once in a while thought, we cook healthy and German for our Frenchies. Successfully:

I also love Americans. They are so friendly. Except for one day, when Jess and I went to Times Square. They have little red foldable chairs there you know, where you can sit down at little red tables and just soak in the atmosphere…if there are free seats. So, trying to safe us a spot, I walk up to this man who was sitting on a table with one chair, folded together and leaning on the table. In Germany, this would mean that the chair is free. I friendly ask that mean: “Excuse me, is this chair free?” and the man just starts yelling: “What does this chair say?!” Confused me thinks he is stating the obvious and am attempting to grab it. That drives the man nuts. He shouts: “WHAT DOES THIS CHAIR SAY, STUPID?!” Jess grabs my arm and drags me a few meters away from this guy. A few seconds later, the man’s friend comes back and sits down while the man starts complaining about my stupidity in a loud voice, emphasizing how plain ignorant, impolite and STUPID he thinks I am. Finally, I cannot bear it any longer, astonished about HIS impoliteness and ignorance. I turn around and just: “Excuse me, I am standing right next to you, I can HEAR you! What the heck is your problem? Its a sunny day, we are in New York, you still got your chair…relax a little!”. BAM. Me for the win. Just a few days ago Jess told me that, while this incident occurred two weeks ago, she is still frustrated about not having defended me and is now just waiting for the moment a random stranger is yelling at me. She got her words ready now. We still got happy shots on Time Square:

I am also getting more accustomed with our neighborhood. Harlem is doable as long as you keep certain rules in mind. However, this one time, I really got scared to death: It was the middle of the night, our window was open but the security bars closed. Suddenly, a loud noise wakes me up and it doesn’t take me long to realize that it comes from the fire ladder outside of our window. As if either heavy wind was shaking it or as if a person was trying to pull it down. But there was no wind that night…
I freaked out but the only thing that Jess had to contribute to the situation was a sleepy “Dafuq?”, which didn’t really help. In the morning after, I slept in late (it was a weekday but…flexible work hours, remember?) but again got waken up by sounds from the fire ladder. I was close to a break down. Judith knows how jumpy I am, how easy it is to freak me out. And this time, I actually heard heavy steps climbing up the fire ladder. I wanted to grab for the pepper spray on my night table but realized quickly that I had never unpacked it and would have needed scissors to get it out. No time for that. Paralyzed I sat in my bed listening for any sound that could tell me more about the situation outside. Eventually, a male voice goes: “I am down here and I am coming up now.” I FREAKED. Inside. Didn’t wanna give myself away. After a few more minutes I collected all my left over courage and sneaked to the window to look down. What I saw? A cable guy repairing my neighbors TV. Oh well…

Apart from that, Ive done a lot of sight seeing already. The touristy stuff. Last weekend was awesome, we went to NJ to visit a college friend of ours. Spending a day at the beach? Best decision ever! Underestimating the sun and not putting enough sun block on? Stupid as *peeeep* Now I am red as a crab and every single part of my body hurts. Actually, it currently starts itching. Next will be peeling. Hmmmm, attractive. But the day was so good, it was worth it…kinda. I also tried to learn how to skim board but that *peeep* is *peeep* difficult. Gave me a few nice blue stains. However, the waves in the Atlantic Ocean are so much fun. They are huge though and sometimes you just feel like the ball in a basketball game between one wave and the other.

On Sunday, Jessi, I, the friend with the midtown apt, one of our frenchies and another girl I am interning with went to Brookyln via Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. great pictures:

We also had a late-night pick nick in the Brooklyn Bridge Park with a view over the Manhattan Skyline. More and more of great, breathtaking pictures!!!

What shall I say? Its only been roughly two weeks and I am already convinced that this is my city. I love this place. And I can say that this summer for sure will give me an other side of New York as well- the part that isn’t glamorous but poor or on the edge, where people dont wear Prada but carry PathMark bags. I still love this city. With all its up-and downsides. I love the people, the atmosphere, the contrasts. This is where I belong. And I am so, so glad that there is still more to come. So much more to come (hopefully).
Now, I really hope this makes up for my past weeks of absence. Its just been to many impressions coming at once.

P.S. Sunshine2091 doesn’t have that random of a number choice…think hart Judith, I am sure you will find out 😉