New Girl In New York
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to New York, etc.
I moved to New York in November 2010 when my husband was relocated by his employer. We were living in the beautiful Kent countryside, but had just moved there from London where we had lived for many years. I left my job as the manager of a nursery school, which I loved, but I was more than happy to move to New York!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging in January 2011 as I wanted to share my experiences about moving to, and living in New York with others. When I was trying to find out about living in the city I found it difficult to find information that wasn't related to tourists. I started writing about all the things I wish I had been told when I first moved here. I also thought it would be a great way to document this period in my life. Oh and of course I fancied myself as a bit of a 'Carrie' from 'Sex and the City'!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I really enjoy looking back on my blog posts and I forget some of the great things I have done since I arrived here. I like my posts about the Catskills as I really love it upstate, and my posts about my experiences of New York living.
Tell us about the ways your new life in New York differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Getting in step with the rhythm of life in New York was made much easier by the fact that we share a common language. I can read a newspaper, watch TV, use public transport and most importantly, ask questions. It also makes it easier to make friends and become part of the community.
However, as New York is such a fast paced city people tend to assume that you know how everything works, which can be hard when you first arrive here. Coming to the USA from the UK I thought that everything would work the same way, paying bills, banking, finding an apartment, etc, but is very different. Learning and understanding all of these little differences take time and can be quite frustrating. It is also hard being away from friends and family
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in New York? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don't think anyone can be fully prepared when they relocate to a new country. There is always something you didn't think about or forgot to organize. I would suggest being as organized as possible before your arrival and do as much research as you can. It is also handy to have a few contacts before you arrive, someone you can ask questions and help you settle in. I get quite a lot of emails from people when they first arrive and I am always happy to help if I can!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Check out my 'Terrible subway experience' post, although not funny at the time looking back it was pretty hilarious!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in New York?
- Go to everything - Making friends is a big part of relocating successfully. Go to everything you are invited to as this is the best way to make friends and learn about your new home.
- Downsize and Compromise - When it comes to New York living everything is on a much smaller scale. Before moving out here I would recommend a good sort out as storage space is a rare commodity in this town! Be prepared to compromise when looking for a place to live, it is unlikely that you will find somewhere that meets all of your requirements.
- Be a tourist! - When I first got here I went on a couple of bus tours and found it was a great way to familiarize myself with the city, it was also fun! Make sure you go to the top of the Empire State Building and out to see the Statue of Liberty, enjoy being a tourist before you become a local!
How is the expat community in New York? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I don't think the British expat community is that great here, there are a few groups that you can join, but I have made most of my friends through the gym and volunteering. I have met the most amazing people and am extremely lucky to have a great group of friends. One of the great things about living in NYC is the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. I have friends from the UK, but also from Canada, India, Germany, France, and of course, from the USA.
How would you summarize your expat life in New York in a single, catchy sentence?
New York is like somebody throwing a party for 7 million people with no door staff or a dress code!