Irish in NYC.. during the pandemic

31 March 2020

My first few weeks in NYC
The last few days before lockdown 

Well, how times have changed since my last post. I've been working from home for 6 weeks now and working on 6th Avenue in a distant memory. I landed in NYC on the 10th of January and started work on the 13th. I was an hour early on my first day at work and sat in a cafe opposite my building facetiming my mum while eating a croissant I paid $8 for. I spent my first few days exploring part of the city by myself, listening to Dermot Kennedy on repeat while I did so. My new flatmates were still at home for Christmas so for these first few days and my first weekend I didn't speak to anyone other than baristas and shop assistants. I remember thinking how unusual that was for me, to have such limited human contact but knew it would be short-lived.

It was, of course, short-lived. My flatmates came back to NYC after Christmas, I met the other intern at my company Aidan (also from Belfast) and spent time with some old friends from Camp America. My weekdays were busy with work (when I finally worked out what I was doing) and my weekends became a blur. I spent my first paycheck in record speed, I raided vintage shops, I started taking spin classes, I drank way too much, I jumped the subway turnstiles and lost many a day to hangovers. My last weekend before quarantine was spent having a boozy brunch and a boozier Sunday club the next day. We, of course, had no idea what was about to happen and at this point, Coronavirus seemed like a problem that would never really be our problem.  

We're now in the thick of it, six weeks in and I've no idea when NYC will get back to any sort of normality. As the weeks of working from home went by the streets surrounding my flat got quieter, more people started wearing masks until the inevitable no mask no entry signs started going up in supermarkets. People from home ask me a lot about what it's like over here, no doubt seeing all the news about New York has them worried but where I live is quiet and I feel like it's a bubble that I know no different from now. I'm exercising now more than ever to keep some sort of routine which is really helping, I'd like to say that I'm reading more too but I've been reading the same book for about 3 months now so that would be a lie.

I've been trying to exercise most days, learning how to cook different things and talking to the people I love pretty constantly. My family were due to come visit in a weeks time, my mums never been to the states and has a must-see list the size of the River Lagan so I'm sure that'll only get bigger now that the trip has been postponed but let's hope she'll still get to visit while I'm a resident. 

I've no plans to go home anytime soon, hopefully for a visit when this calms down but I'm not ending my time here prematurely. I spent months applying to jobs and reaching out to anyone and everyone that could possibly help get me here so I'm not giving it up. I'm learning a lot at my internship, my flatmate and her doggo are excellent company and we have a garden for when/if the weather picks up so I'm counting myself extremely lucky. Not the J1 experience I had expected but we're all in this together and hopefully, normality will resume at some point. 
I hope you're all safe and well, stay positive.