on big d's birthday of that year, we got news that it was possible that big d could get a job with a dance company in new york city. not dancing of course, but doing what he does in theater. backstage stuff that i completely don't understand. it was an amazing opportunity for big d and being childless we thought it was a great idea. who doesn't want a trip to manhattan.
then big d left for a week. he went apartment hunting with his partner in all of this. the guy that got the other job. it was an amazing experience for big d i think, being without me, hunting for a place to live that didn't have too many roaches. amazingly enough, they found a two bedroom apartment way up on the northern tip of manhattan.
we didn't know if we were going to be back to utah. but to buy our first house, we did the "first time home buyer" thing. and one of the stipulations was "no renters". so we left it in the good hands of big d's and my family. who i think took great care in keeping it the party house. or make out house, or something like that.
i remember the feeling of looking at the nyc skyline after 2 days of driving. it was amazing. and then we totally drove into the city. all the way to the north end. on crazy one way streets. to our apartment building. when we got out of the elevator for the first time, i won't say i was disappointed. more overwhelmed by the smell of nyc. it stunk. but our apartment was clean...mostly. it had a weird showers and ancient tubs. it had bars on the windows and a tiny little kitchen. it had no form of ac. the coolest thing about it though, it was home. and it was in new york.
we spent the next couple of weeks just trying to get into the life of new yorkers. big d went to work via subway, i stayed home and tried to put a house together with a total stranger (the job partners wife) it was very awkward and very strange. it was uncomfortable. but it worked. we spend our evenings or mornings (depending on the day) wandering the city. sort of. we had to find places to shop, food to eat... that sort of thing.
we quickly realized that living that far north on the island put us in an ethnic neighborhood. and while we love different cultures, we were very lost in the dominican way of life. mostly it was the strange food. we never could find normal things at the grocery stores. just a whole lot of weird. expensive weird.
we watched kids play little league. we walked through the park. we sweltered in 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity. we had a blast. we were poor. really truly poor. between our house in utah, and our rent, we were pretty much normal new yorkers. we thrived on dollar store stuff. of which there were about a million dollar stores. we learned to eat soup. we went downtown and looked the shows, but never could afford the tickets.
we went to church in the basement of a girls school. we rode trains and buses. we didn't have a car. we shopped daily at the grocery store because we had to haul it home on foot.
it was hot and weird and nothing like utah. and then september came. and big d went on tour. and my sister came (who will always be the coolest person ever because she was the only person to visit us the entire time we lived there!). we did new york stuff. touristy crap that you only get to do once in a lifetime. big d came home and we learned that our neighbors were moving. and we totally snagged the one bedroom apartment. we moved into our own place in the same building. i would go downtown and just feel the energy. the countless people zooming by me, going to different places all at once. so many different cultures, so many different languages and stories all going on at the same time. it made me feel so small and yet a part of something so big. there was always a street vendor. there was always a nasty smell. there was always somebody doing something. there were car alarms and firetrucks and just noise. there were also boats and trains and airplanes and smog. there were so many people. and it was so lonely at the same time.
that was normal for a while. we were so poor, it was so hard. i can't remember having more fun though. i remember the day we realized we needed to go back to utah. it was a hard choice. we were torn between starting a family and fulfilling big d's dreams.
i still have moments when i am lost in new york. i think about how fun it was, how crazy we were. i get a little homesick for it. i often have dreams about living there. it was such an amazing experience. and it was something that cemented big d and i together. we learned to lean on each other. we learned what we could live without and what was most important. we learned to sacrifice for each other. we learned that our little family is what is the most important thing.