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The Adventures Of Alice In NewYork

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Each month Alice Holland will entertain us with her daily struggles to manage her new life in New York City.

Description: The Adventures Of Alice In New York

The Adventures Of Alice In New York

A Brief Introduction…

I moved to New York City almost one year ago, escaping the humdrum but secure life as a biological science researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. However, almost as quickly as I arrived, I departed. The Music City was filled with amazing talent entertaining nightly in the hostel downstairs from my condo, but for a girl born and raised in England, it was hard to appreciate Tennessean life and I longed for something more. It took six months before I found myself jam packed into my friend’s car with my potted miniature rose in one hand and all my hopes and dreams in the other, headed for the greatest adventure of all, the Big Apple, New York, NY.

Three months later I’m living in Harlem with no living room, barely a kitchen, no air conditioner in 90 degree heat and a cat that is determined to make my life hell. While I’m waiting to hear back from a promising position at Columbia University, I’m scraping by working at Starbucks all hours, just to hold on long enough until they make a decision. After two more months of waiting I’m informed that they “don’t have the finances” for me. Delightful! Having only saved up enough money for one month’s rent and a security deposit I was broke and beginning to think my future in New York was looking bleak, besides the fact I was getting pummeled by New York life on a daily basis (as is the way if you move here with little money and no connections). Having so many people in such close proximity all the time, combined with blazing heat and subways with minimal air ventilation, a not so great day can turn into utter hell within minutes. It takes much patience and love for human kind to not push a man down the stairs, because he’s walking at a snail’s pace refusing to move out of way – which in turn makes you miss your train, completely disrupting your finely tuned schedule for the next 3 hours.

By this point even working at Starbucks didn’t raise the rent, so I had two choices: Borrow money from my possessive ex-boyfriend and fight the last good fight for a place that chews me up on a daily basis, or move back in with the parents in sunny Florida. Being the hopeful protagonist that I am, I chose the former. After a call with the ex-boyfriend assuring me he’s going to help and send money immediately, I suddenly can’t get hold of him and he disappears off the planet. Through sheer determination and a little luck I manage to land two more jobs within the week, one as a “creative enthusiast” in this peculiar arts and crafts store, and one at the American Museum of Natural History in Live Exhibits as “the Butterfly Girl” working in the butterfly vivarium. A week later I get frantic calls from the Ex telling me he had been thrown in jail and only just got out, but he could still send the money. I was happy to inform him that I didn’t need it and when he asked, “Why not?” I replied, “I did it on my own thanks”

Description: I was getting pummeled by New York life o a daily basis

I was getting pummeled by New York life on a daily basis

The months following I’m happy to report were finally enjoyable and a lot less stressful. I was adapting to being a fun and perky girl to fit in with the artsy and theatrical types I had to work with and realized, after time, I actually started to like it. A significant leap from the hermit lifestyle required from the hermit lifestyle required from my previous work as a scientist, and ironically (and depressingly) more lucrative. I fell in love with the museum. But there was a downside, my work there was only seasonal, and though I held strong hopes they might find a way to keep me, I was finally let go. For months I tried for every position I was qualified for, though I soon realized each new opening position I applied for had realistically been taken months ago by someone waiting in line for it. What next?

A really sweet friend of mine at the museum mentioned dog walking. I was admittedly apprehensive and not too thrilled about the demotion from scientist to dog walker, but the options were a familiar friend: Do what it takes to stay in NYC, or leave NYC. The problem is that this city has a kind of magic that makes it uniquely stand out from anywhere I’ve ever lived. Thanks to having gypsy like parents I’ve lived in many other cities and countries, travelling extensively, yet I came a place like this. Here, the world is on your doorstep. Within this jungle are extremes of every variety, and everything in between. I have never been at breaking point so many times, and then filled with pure joy so quickly again. I’ve also never felt that anything is possible – the way I do here. Which translates to: For better or worse (time will tell I suppose) I am bound to this town.

Description: I bloody LOVE this city!

I bloody LOVE this city

So, here I am world, an English girl in New York, the ex-biologist who now walks dogs that snort like pigs and smiles at children who throw paint on her all day. The most twisted curiosity in all this? I bloody LOVE this city!

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