Once Upon a Time In New York City

, by Zoë Gulliksen

For years all I talked about was finally getting the hell out of college, landing a kick ass job in the city and moving to Manhattan. I had very specific goals for 2012: land a job I LOVED no matter that many people told me that I did not have nearly enough experience or that I was too young. I also did not want to live anywhere but Manhattan, specifically the Upper West Side. Most people my age flock to Broklyn because it’s cheap and hipsterish. Whenever I would say I wanted to live in Manhattan, I was scoffed at. When people heard I was determined to live on the UWS (home to characters such as Will & Grace, and the crew of How I Met Your Mother) I was considered downright absurd. I would never make it.

Well I did. I have a job at a company in a loft down in NoHo with a rock wall, pool table and ping pong competitions. I live on the UWS (the real UWS mind you, not Harlem nor Morningside Heights) in an apartment with a 24 doorman for only $750 including all utilities. I hit the New Yorker jackpot.

And yet, things were not quite as I thought they would be. The girl who lived in my apartment before me refused to move out until two weeks after she was supposed to, leaving me in the ditch. So my building gave me a different apartment for those two weeks, rent free. It sounds like a good deal, but this temporary room is not nearly as nice as my actual apartment. It is not renovated, does not include the stainless steel appliances, and is lacking a stove top and microwave. It’s a place to stay, so I should not feel so sad about this, but I have been. 

This less than stellar apartment only made my sudden homesickness all the more impactful. I have never been homesick in my life, but never had a good reason to. I never went to sleep away camp or even away to college. I went on trips with friends, and had many sleepovers, but I had never spent considerable time away from home before. I was so eager to move out to be on my own that the suddenly shock of being away from my family in a scary apartment really took a toll on me.

I admit that I probably cried every night the first week. And well, every day this week too. But not just because I was homesick: My third night living in the city I had a horrible 24 hour stomach flu bug (throwing up 20 minutes all night is not a pleasant scenario no matter where you are).

Last weekend I did go home for a couple of days, and it felt amazing to be near my family again. I quickly returned to the city (covered in sunburn from the beach) for another crazy week. I cannot go more into details for the sake of others, but this has also has not been a good week. Part because I’m sick again with a head cold but mainly because of other people.

I am not one that enjoys having friends because people, for the most part, cannot be trusted. I am a terribly friendly person that cares deeply for the ones I know. However, I am fully aware that no one is perfect and anyone can treat you poorly at the drop of a hat. And this week, many people have treated me as such. Things don’t turn out the way you expect them to, for good or bad.

And so many life changes are continually happening. I wouldn’t have gotten through these last two weeks without many phone calls from my mom, often very long ones. And I certainly would not have made it anywhere without Pietro, who installed my air conditioner in the middle of the night (in the rain because I probably would have dropped it out the window and onto Broadway) and has looked out for me in this great vast city.

I wanted to give you all an honest update, because the bloggers I respect the most are the ones who give pieces of themselves for other to find comfort in. I had all my big dreams come true, and somehow I have still been disheartened. Nothing worth having ever came easy. 


  1. You know... after reading this I feel pretty inspired to go after what I want in life. I means its not the first time I've felt this from one a post but its the first time in a long time that I've taken to heart after dealing with failure most of my life. So I guess I just wanna say... Thanks for the inspiration and I hope you get everything you want in life.

  2. Just moved to NY too, it'll get better! Thanks for the great post and best of luck settling in!

  3. I'm sorry it has been a bit rough for you. I know this was/is an exciting time for you as you are figuring out your life's purpose. I did go away for college to Long Island from Ohio and it was tough being away from family. If it wasn't for the upper classmen on my dorm floor and a few public speaking classes, I may have been a hermit my entire college life. College gave me some of the best days of my life, and especially being near NYC. I have fallen in love with that city and still proclaim to everyone that it's my favorite city in the world! You really are living a dream right now, and I hope that girl gets out of "your" apartment soon so that you can continue your dreams, feel comfortable being in the city, and be able to enjoy yourself. You have been quite an inspiration in the short time I've known you through Twitter and your blogs, and it's great to see what you are doing now. Everybody has their ups and downs in life, just like a rollercoaster. I know you'll be great out there. Just know you have other people who are concerned and wish you the best, too. You are definitely not alone in this world. I'll pray that things get better, and hopefully stress will subside to prevent you from being sick. We need a healthy, happy Zoe! Keep up the great work! Look forward to hearing more tales from the city!