I Envy You New York” – Are you sure…?

„I envy you New York”. I don’t know how many times have I heard this sentence. I firmly believe that the people saying it have good intentions, but I’m becoming more and more irritated by it. How come? First of all: if you happen to be single, untied by family or a partner, you don’t have a job that gives you 300% satisfaction and you wouldn’t ever think of leaving – then you can do the exact thing I did and just fly over here. If you want to say you have no money, let me beat you to it and say: „You can always find someone who will lend it to you” (which happens to be my case). If you don’t have a person that trusts you and knows that you will return the lent sum, then you should seriously think about yourself and your friends alike. There has to be something wrong either with you or with them.

Second of all: I’m irritated by the fact that the people saying the aforementioned sentence really don’t know what they are jealous of. In fact, I’d be very curious to hear how do they imagine living in New York is like. My fear is that most of them see life here as walking up and down Manhattan all day with a cup of coffee in one’s hand, running in Central Park and going to cultural events 24/7. It’s exactly that – if you’re a tourist loaded with money. Things are different if you’re an immigrant. Of course that we take the advantage of the wonders that Manhattan has to offer, we see interesting cultural events and inhabit a reality known to most of the world from the movies. But apart from that, one has to work here much harder than anyone even suspects. You have to remember that to partake in NYC goodies, you need the money, and it doesn’t exactly lie down on the street. You have to win them with much effort. Many people work here from dawn to dusk, 6-7 days a week, often working two shifts. You work all the time – especially right upon arrival so that you don’t even see the place you rent that often (which is for the better, since it probably looks no better than a flophouse).

Work is one thing, but you shouldn’t forget that most people here are immigrants, who left their places of origin because they wanted to live in New York for a variety of reasons. And even though most of them are happy because of that, the fact remains that they miss their mother countries a great deal. After all, they left their families and friends there, and these are things not easily replaced – even if NYC gives you happiness. Another thing is the difficulty of assimilation (not my case, but still). Here in the US, many things are COMPLETELY different than in Europe (for those coming from India or China the change will be even more striking). These differences may sometimes bring joy, since all difference breeds excitement, but can as well irritate and frustrate you till you reach your breaking point. You are dealing not only with a foreign country, but also with people coming from a variety of cultures (which I love, but it still may cause even basic communication to be extremely hard). 

Before you profess your envy, then, think twice how much you’d be willing to sacrifice in order to live in NY. Because staying here for a longer time is in many ways a sacrifice. Over here (just like in life in general) nothing comes easy, and often it doesn’t even come when it should. Not only will you have to work hard for every little thing, but you will need to sweat and toil to even get your bearings. There’s a saying here: „You’re only as good as your last job”. You never rest here, because there are already dozens of others ready to take your place. Every day you have to prove you’re good to be in NY. Before you pack your luggage to come here, think seriously of how long are you planning to stay. NY will quickly verify your plans and will give you a hard lesson in humility, which I’m still learing every single day.