Tuesday, May 14, 2013

One Year Small

“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” 
                     ― Dr. Seuss

I can not believe it has been one year. One amazing, thrilling, unbelievable year. 

When I packed my bags and got on the plane for New York last May I did not have a doubt in my mind that I would fall in love with this city. With that being said, it was also the hardest, scariest and most challenging thing I have ever done. Even now, looking back at old pictures from when I first arrived in New York I am slightly overcome with anxiety. Remembering that lump in my throat and the constant voice in my head whispering "you are so far from home... all alone." I am so thankful and quite proud of myself for sticking it out. Life could not be better. Yes, I have one year under my belt and many more to come. I love you New York.

The blogger in me feels that it's necessary to recap the amazing year I had. To those of you who read this incredibly long post, thank you! You are true friends. Everyone that only made it this far- I still love you. And if no one reads it, at least I have it for myself. Hopefully a year from now I will look back on this post and reflect on how much more I've grown.

For the last few weeks leading up to this anniversary I have been thinking about random ways to highlight the things that make New York unique. I have done my best to cram as many memorable experiences into one year as I could. I tried to live every season as a tourist to get it out of my system and to see the city in its finest light. 

For example: I spent the Fourth of July watching the fireworks over the Hudson listening to Katie Perry sing. Visited the Jersey Shore. I was spotted on a billboard in Times Square. Attended 2 New York Fashion Week shows. I celebrated Halloween early by dancing the night away, dressed as Daisy Buchanan, in Greenwich Village. Worked a Santigold + Diplo concert. I survived Hurricane Sandy. I pulled an all nighter to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Saw Jay-Z perform live at the first ever concert at Barclays on opening night. Cheered for Obama at an election party on a rooftop in Times Square. I watched the lighting of the Wall Street Christmas tree. I ice skated at Rockefeller Center and in Central Park. Attended the first ever Nets game in Brooklyn (and 3 more after). I shopped Fifth Avenue. Saw the windows at Macy's on 34th Street. I rang in the New Year by watching the ball drop (at a bar) IN REAL TIME! Attended a St. Patrick's Day bar crawl. Had Easter brunch and went to church in midtown. Pretended to be Carrie Bradshaw while blogging from my room in Manhattan cause I live there!!!    

Other slightly crazy things I have encountered in New York: I have, in the last year, spotted Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Obama, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Julia Stiles, Santigold, the whole Nets basketball team including a "what's up?" from Brook Lopez- my new favorite NBA player, Buddy (aka The Cake Boss), Snoop Lion, Leighton Meester,  Ed Westwick (Chuck + Blair forever!) and part of the cast of Jersey Shore

Fun Facts: I have received 10 pairs of free shoes from jobs. Shout out to Yosi Samra, Portovelo, Cole Haan, and some random red shoes from Eye5. I have seen 9 Broadway musicals this year. Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia (x2), Book of Mormon, Newsies, Mary Poppins, Once, Talleys Folly and Cinderella. I have been spotted on TV 5 different times: Twice when Obama won - I was the crazy girl cheering in Times Square as seen on ABC and CNN. Twice on NBC for the Thanksgiving Day Parade when Lyd and I dressed like THIS, and when I worked a job requiring me to wear bright yellow sunglasses on The Today Show. Lastly, was my trip to the Malibu Dude Ranch when we got a visit from TLC's The Cake Boss. There have been 4 separate occasions where I witnessed people throw up on the subway. In one year I have moved 3 times, twice in Brooklyn and once to Manhattan. 

There are a few VIP's in my life that deserve a special shout out. Without them I never would have lasted a year.

First, my incredible bosses Mallory + Bianca. These two tiny ladies are extremely important to me. They probably don't realize that they completely changed my life. I will never be able to thank them enough for noticing me, taking a chance on me, and teaching me everything I know about PR and life as a New Yorker in general.
Mallory offered me an internship in New York when I most needed it. Meeting Mal only 3 weeks after Tanner passed away brought new hope to my slightly confused mind (as cheesy as that sounds). During that time I was praying for a way out of Utah and sure enough, it came skipping onto the USU campus preaching about prom PR and standing at a fabulous 5 foot 3 inches. #glittervision
Bianca and I met on May 14th, 2012. I remember inching up the stairs of the Makery (our old office) and standing outside the door for a full minute as I gathered the courage to walk inside. Upon my entrance, Bianca stood right up and gave me a welcoming hug, just what I needed to calm my ever anxious nerves. Fun fact: Bianca is also a former dancer and we have spent a few hours, here and there, bonding over ballet.    
Mal + B, you guys are my role models. I hope to be just like you when I grow up. 

Mr. Jaxon + Miss Jackson. Yes, even after 3 years people still find it funny that Jaxon's first name is the same as my last. I don't know if I would have survived without the support of my side-kick and bf. One year ago J moved me out here and stayed for 3 weeks until I was settled. It's thanks to him that I was brave enough to explore the city and learn the ins and outs of the subway. He has spent hundreds of hours on the phone with me listening to me through tears and triumphs. Best of all, after 2 years living apart, Jaxon finally packed up his stuff and followed me East. Having Jaxon in New Jersey is wonderful. It is still amazing to think that he actually lives here. I sure owe this guy a lot for his patience and love. 

My Morg. Morgan and I were pals at Utah State but it wasn't until my move out here that we became besties. She held my hand through everything during my first summer in New York and she took me under her wing as her Utah sister. We spent the summer taking mini vacations to the beach + Philly + secret spots in the city. Morgan is the best New Yorker I've met, and she's not even from NY. She has taken full advantage of her (almost) 4 years in the city and she knows it like the back of her hand. I spent months asking her for tricks and tips. I feel so blessed to have Morgan + her sweet husband, Brit, in my life. They are the kindest, most selfless, amazing people. Thank you Morgan for always loving me and going out of your way to be the best friend I could ever ask for. I honestly have no idea where I would be without you. 

James has been one of my best friends for 3 years now. We met in the summer of 2010 when I started dating Jaxon. James, Jaxon and I have traveled the world together. He visited me in London, we visited Amsterdam together, and we spent a week in Puerto Rico together. When Small Girls first offered me an internship James was one of the first people I called. It just so happened that James' job at Vivint sent him to New Jersey exactly one week before my move. We graduated together and moved East together. He has been my family out here. There is no being homesick when part of your family lives a short train ride away. This year we spent countless weekends on that NJ Transit train heading back and forth to explore our new homes together. I am so thankful that James and I ended up here at the same time. 

Sweet Lydia became my roommate after a series of fortunate events. In July I returned home for Caroline + Grady's wedding. Originally my plane ticket had been purchased for my return home at the end of the internship. At that point Small Girls had decided to let me stay on as an accounts assistant and so I decided to move back. I returned for the wedding but had to move from the apartment I lived in for the summer. I was suddenly homeless in New York and I didn't have a large enough network to find roommates. It seemed that every plan I made fell through. The day I was scheduled to fly back to New York I had a major panic attack. I cried uncontrollably as my dad hugged me. I was so upset I almost threw up. I cried until I was so dehydrated I felt sick and fell asleep. My parents reminded me that I absolutely did not have to return to New York. I felt like I didn't have any friends and no where to stay. But the more they told me I didn't have to go back, the more I knew I had to. I would never be able to live with the regret of not trying. Plus, I loved my job at Small Girls and I was just getting started. 
Durring the middle of my anxiety attack I received a phone call from an unknown number. When I woke up I listened to the voicemail and heard a sweet voice saying that it was a girl named Lydia who was a mutual friend of my college friend, Riley. She explained that she had recently been offered an internship in New York and heard I was looking for a roommate. It was fate. Someone, somewhere had my back. Instantly I knew I needed to go back to New York, so that night I got on the plane. I spent 3 days living out of a hotel until my dad stumbled upon a place called University Place on Google. It was a housing complex for students, interns and recents grads, perfect for me and Lyd. That day I trekked through Brooklyn and found my way to Church Avenue. I took a tour of good old UP, fell in love with it, and moved in. An hour later I called Lydia and told her I hoped she was still coming because I had just signed a lease for us. Turns out it was the best decision I ever made. My time at UP was the best ever. Lydia and I are still roommates and soul sisters. She is the kindest person I have ever met. I know for a fact I would not be in New York now if it wasn't for her friendship. 

My little dutch girl, Renee, is one of the greatest, most hilarious people on the planet.  In the 3 months we had together I don't think I have ever laughed so hard, or been so out of control. Renee is the life of the party. Literally. She would walk into a room and a party would start. In November Renee had to return to Holland when her visa expired. That's the thing about UP, you love it but the place rips your heart out. I am counting down the days until we get a visit from Riri this summer. 

Gretel has the biggest heart of any friend I have ever known. She is the one person I can honestly tell anything in the world to and know she would never judge me. She has done such an amazing job of staying in touch with us since her return to England. I miss her everyday. But I know someday soon she will find a job in America and we will have her back where she belongs. 

When I lived at Highgrove, in Leicester, I met Katie Neal. She lived in the room below mine and we were always meant to be friends. When I found out she was applying for a job in the city I was pretty pumped. In January Katie made the move and she is my housemate once again. We like it that way. Isn't it crazy how the universe brings friends together just when you need them. Seriously though, Katie is an incredible friend. She would do anything for anyone and for that she deserves a huge THANK YOU!  

Taylor is the newest addition to our Manhattan penthouse. Our little T-Swift look-alike, sent straight from California, fit in instantly with our crazy crew. Tay and I are kind of the same person. Or at least we like to think that. We pretty much do everything together, and we like it that way. Tay arrived in March and in the last 2.5 months I think we have made a new memory every single day. I am so happy Tay found her way to our mini home. I wish she could stay here forever. 

Lastly, Juan - Juany is our token Columbian. We found him at UP and fell in love. He is the most genuine guy I know. He would do anything for his penthouse girls and we love him for it. Juan spends his time learning english, watching soccer and making me pancakes. It's a new obsession of mine. He's a great friend.

I'm sorry this is such a looong post, I just have so many wonderful people to be thankful for. It's incredible to think that just a year ago I didn't know any of these awesome people. They are the biggest reason that I am glad I moved to New York. They are my New York family. Life is better with them in it. 

One last mention - I don't think I can blog about my year in New York without thanking the two biggest supporters in my life. Jeffer and Cynth are, without a doubt, the dream when it comes to parents. They always have my back no matter what. They will drop everything just to chat with me on the phone. I can't thank them enough for everything they do for me. In one year they have both visited NY twice. As well as my baby sis, Emma. 
I love my family more than anything. I miss them constantly. 

Dear New York,
Thank you for being so good to me. One year later and I am still completely fascinated with you. It's a love that grows stronger every minute of every day. This crazy, complicated, ridiculous place that I now call home. And you know what? It really does feel like it. 

Yours truly, 
Annie Grace

To read my welcoming to Small Girls post go HERE + To read my first post on the Small Girls blog go HERE. 


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