June 2013, New York City
I often find myself reflecting on my life back in NYC, even though it was ages ago. I was an ambitious 23-year-old living alone in my dream city. Every day was an adventure in New York, from the extraordinary strangers on the streets to the eclectic array of cuisine that ended up burning a hole in my wallet.
Six months into being a New Yorker, I reached a really depressing point in my life when everything just wasn’t working out for me. I’d started off in New York chasing down the big guns of the fashion scene, and after a few months in, realized that I was more miserable than I’d ever been.
That’s another story for another day, so anyway, just after my fashion internship ended, I found myself feeling stuck, confused, and incredibly disappointed in myself. I’d come all this way with so much hope brimming at the front of my mind, only to be met with a gaping hole in my future and a lost of love for the city. I’d ride the subway home alone and stare at the mass of faces around me – stylishly-clad young urban professionals whose eyes were almost always transfixed on their iPhones, hippy 30-year-olds who did nothing more than smoke pot and talk about world peace and escaping rent in Brooklyn, and elderly Asian women with weather-beaten faces as they clutched their metal grocery carts, their haunting eyes windows to a deep world of struggles and subdued pain that they bore on their hunched shoulders – and I’d feel a massive urge to just leave New York and return to Arkansas or Malaysia.
But somehow, I stayed. After a month of mulling around in misery, I decided to turn things around for myself and press on. I hadn’t come all this way just to leave with a botched internship experience and tear-stained memories of New York. I was going to make the most out of my limited time here as a foreign graduate. And I’m so glad that I met amazing ladies like Erika and Jacqui just shortly after that internship ended. We spent a lot of weekends together exploring the city. We became unofficial brunch buddies. We even celebrated our birthdays together! I’m grateful for these two beautiful souls who injected bucketloads of joy and motivation into the bleak month of June, because summer would not have been the same without them.
So on one of our exciting brunch dates, we decided to hit up The Tipsy Parson, a cozy restaurant in the West Village that serves Southern cooking with a modern twist. And then we decided to shed some of the calories from our hearty meal by taking on the West Village by foot. It was a sunny afternoon away from the typical traffic-clogged streets of Manhattan, and life was good. We found the pizza parlor that was featured in Sex And The City episodes – Two Boots – and we popped by Magnolia Bakery around the corner for the infamous banana pudding.
Missing the West Village, and missing the lovely ladies that I explored it with! ❤