Cheers, Oxford! Hello, New York.

teaI start too many posts by saying it’s been too long since I last wrote. In this case, it really has been much too long. Since my previous post, I finished my year at Oxford, and though I wasn’t doing a lot more than I had done in other terms, Trinity was very hectic, mostly for personal reasons. Since I’m still processing the experience, as it’s a big one, I intend to write one or two post-mortems about studying abroad once I’ve settled in a bit more. There’s a lot I want to say–I just have to find the time to say (write) it. For now, I’ll focus on my adjustment from Oxford to NYC.

formalMy last week in Oxford was lovely. Once I finished my tutorials on Tuesday, I was free to do whatever I wanted in town before it was time to leave on Saturday. The first order of business, of course, was Vaults & Garden for the legendary scones. I tried to see friends before everyone went their separate ways, I went to one last formal hall (though when I visit, and I will visit, I’m sure I’ll make it there again), I even went to my tutor’s house-boat with a few other visiting students for prosecco, cheese and crackers, and biscuits. There’s always more to do and see, but by the time I was due to fly back to the states, I felt like I had done plenty. It was a great, peaceful note to finish on after a year of anxiety over making the most of things.

boat
Back to the city

When I landed at JFK, I shortly returned to pick up Sonja, who stayed with me for a week before heading off to Stanford’s summer session. It was her first time off of the European continent, hence her first time in the US, so I was determined to show her a good time. On Sunday, we had a nice indulgent brunch at Le Barricou in Williamsburg, popped into Manhattan to see some stuff and run some errands, and moved into my summer sublet. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have much time to spend with her after that first full day because I started my internship Monday.

As you might (or might not) remember, I interned at Macmillan last summer. This year, I got a job with Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I wasn’t told the specifics of my position, only my vague title: Atria Publisher Intern. So when I arrived, I found out I’m doing Marketing this time around. I’m super happy to be trying something new in the industry (as I’ve already done an editorial internship), especially because Marketing can easily be applied to other fields. The team I’m working with is full of friendly, helpful people, I get to work in another cool and famous part of the city (Rockefeller Center), and I’ve already accumulated a hefty pile of free books. Sigh. The luxury.

Sonja picI had a busy but very fun week with Sonja even though I could only hang out with her after work. We walked a lot, took the ferry at sunset, grabbed my favorite ice cream (Ample Hills), and saw Miss Saigon on Broadway. She told me right away that she really liked New York; it wasn’t as scary as she thought it’d be, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s pretty similar to Europe. By the end of the week, Sonja was really sad to leave the city behind. But now she’ll get to experience the opposite end of the country: California! A few days after she left, I saw Miss Saigon again with my friend Sung to catch the Tony-nominated Eva Noblezada since she wasn’t performing when Sonja and I went. Let me tell you, she was well worth the second excursion.

Sung pic
Miss Saigon round two!

Almost as soon as I got here, I realized that this summer is going to be a completely new experience. Last year, I lived with four acquaintances/friends from KD in a brand new Williamsburg apartment building, worked with a small editorial team in the Flatiron building, and tested the waters of online dating in the biggest city in America. This year, I’m living on my own in a Cobble Hill studio, working in Marketing for a large imprint of another Big Five house, and I’m in a long-distance relationship. I take the F train, which is much less crowded than the L during rush hours. My best friend is half a state away in Ithaca. I’m here for a shorter amount of time.

Fire escape“Different” is the only way I can describe this summer. It’s no better or worse than the previous one so far, just completely different. It’s a very, very welcome change. What fun would it be if I just had the same summer again? True, I had an amazing time last year, but I’m loving my life this time around, too. High up on the list? Living alone. My apartment doesn’t have air conditioning, but it does have a wide windowsill and fire escape looking straight onto lower Manhattan. Can you imagine how happy it makes me to sit in the open window with a book, watching the sunset over the water? It’s pure bliss. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks here.

~Natalie

sunset pic
I mean, seriously? Is this view really mine?!
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