Hey guys! This is my first blog post ever, eeks!
I’m Sarah-Joy and my column is going to be a mixture of fashion and my experiences of being a Bajan living in New York. I am not sure what I’m more nervous about; writing my first column or writing about my experiences and fashion. Either way, both of these opportunities I will see as a new journey to embark on and discover new and exciting things. I think it is only appropriate that I start with my initial experiences in adjusting to the New York life and culture as it was indeed a shock for me. Oh, and keep in mind this was my first time travelling to the United States.
First of all, everything seemed to move at the speed of light and everyone walked around with their own impenetrable personal bubble. It also seemed like their heads were permanently bent in a praying position to their phones. No one seemed to care. I think I cried every day for a week because I felt so isolated and out of place. To make things worse, I could not find another person who was from the Caribbean and up to this day I still have yet to find a student who was from the Caribbean. However, I have to keep in mind that I lived in Manhattan and not the other five boroughs of New York that offer a little more cultural diversity. Oh, by the way, New York City is divided into five boroughs those being: Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. As a person from the Caribbean, I would hear stories from my friends about studying overseas and having ridiculous and ignorant questions being asked about their island country. Well, turns out those things do happen in real life, maybe not so extreme in my case, but I did get the occasional, Oh Barbados that’s soo cool…that’s near Africa right?, or “Omg that’s where Rihanna is from right?…are you a fan? -_- and yes I even got the classic “Barbados is like part of Jamaica right?” Good times.
Then there is the great effort in trying to stop your ears from exploding whenever you hear the word ‘like’, in a sentence. “ So omg, I saw this like pink dress that I like really wanted, but like I wasn’t sure if to buy cuz like….” -_- Yes people do talk like that…every day. I had to make a conscious decision not to let that influence my speech at all costs, God forbid that it did.
Then there were the dorms. Good ole small claustrophobic dorm rooms filled with people you can barely stand. Fun times right? In my first year I switched rooms three times over the course of just two semesters. Living with people is NOT my strong suit. At first I was in a quad, no cooking facilities and a public bathroom which had to be shared with four other guys who lived next door. Not to mention I was in a freshman dorm…nuff said. I then moved to a slightly better dorm where I only had to share a room with one other person but lived in a suite with five people the size of my basement. Well, that too didn’t work out. Thankfully I managed to get into another suite with my friend and her roommates whom I really liked, thank God! The space was smaller but I was in good company. My advice, if you don’t like people, don’t live in dorms, simple.
You know, I thought I would have great difficulty writing about my experiences because I have a pretty bad memory and my mind tends to block out unpleasant experiences but in writing this article, I’ve realized I do have a lot to share and I haven’t even touched on anything about what my university was like nor how awesome travelling across the city was, or better yet, the food!
When I was living in New York, everyone who asked me how I liked it there would get the same response: “it’s interesting” which was code for THAT PLACE SUCKS!!! I felt the Bajan in me was slipping away and I tried so hard to hold on, not allowing myself to fully embrace all this big city had to offer. Now, I can’t wait to go back to New York. Whether New York has changed me for the better is highly debatable but I wouldn’t change anything that I have experienced…well actually, I would like to but I probably wouldn’t have learned as much, so yeah, I’m good.