In January, I will complete three years living in New York. Quickly, the first thought that comes to my mind is: time has passed too quickly. But analyzing well, we just have this feeling that time is passing fast when we are enjoying life, right? I think I enjoy my life here. I have my routine, obviously, I also have a routine with my husband, but I always try to do something new. This also happens because of my blog – I think if it wasn’t because of this blog, I would not have done half the things I did here in New York. And, besides having done so many things, I also changed. We’re always changing and now I can see how things have changed in my personality and in my conception of the world.
So, today I decided to share 7 things New York taught me. I chose this title because these changes have happened here. I would have changed so if I were still living in Brazil? Perhaps. But, as I live here, I’ll never have the answer to that question right? So let’s assume that New York, somehow, ended up teaching these things to me.
1. Saying what I have to say – I can say I have an interesting personality. At school, I was the kind of student who was the class leader and I wanted to change the world. Because of this, I have suffered enough, I returned crying for home many times. When I was in college, I was not interested in join academic committee and groups. But I was the queen of complaint when it came to telemarketing. When the phone company sent an improper bill, my father waited for me to call them and solve it. But here in New York, I learned other things. I saw pedestrians complaining to drivers who do not stop the signal or stop on the crosswalk; I saw passengers on the bus complaining to the one who came through the back door without swiping the card at the turnstile. New Yorkers look like discreet, but they don’t tolerate these little injustices of everyday. I have already drawn attention of people who were not in the correct line of subway booth, I was also angry with a driver who turned right without worrying if someone was crossing, I have complained to my old building landlord when somebody stole all packages in the hall. Basically, if we see an injustice, why we can not open our mouth and point out what is wrong?
2. Answering “no” – I’ve lost count of how many times I did something just to please somebody, or translated, how many times I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no.” Since going at a party I was not in the mood to accept a job I did not want to, simply out of fear. Fear of disappointing, afraid of what the other person would think. Funny thing is I thought about everyone but me right? The truth is that life is too short to say “yes” when you want to say “no.” And life is too short for you to put other person in first place and forget yourself. Here in New York, I have focused on me. Many things appeared during all this time living here: proposals, invitations, etc … There is no way to say “yes” to everything. Today, most of the time (because this game of saying “no” is not easy), I say yes when I mean yes.
3. Wearing whatever I want to wear – in Brazil there was always that concern about the outfit that I would wear. But it was a concern about the other people. One of the things I hate today – and unfortunately I notice that always happens whenever I go to Brazil – is that x-ray look, from head to toe. As I was an insecure person for a long time, knowing that people were looking at me always bothered me – and made me think a lot about what I would wear. Here in New York, I realize that people are free to wear what they want. Also, I do not feel obliged to be fancy to go to the movies or to walk in the neighborhood. I am much more relax – and also feel free to try anything, from haircut to clothing. Plus, I do not feel ashamed to make a little dance if there’s a song playing that makes me happy. And I always say how much I like an outfit, a hair or nails of any girl I see on the street.
4. Be more engaged – New York is a very rich city in diversity. Here, there are people from all around the world, with diverse beliefs, colors and sexual preferences. Definitely, this is not the place to be prejudiced. And we grow with so many prejudices, right? Mainly talking about sexism . How many of us have labeled other women – bitch, easy? How many of us have judged the length of the skirt of other woman? How many of us blame only the woman in a case of betrayal? If there’s one thing I monitor myself a lot today it is about this ugly judgment that we learned so young. Thanks to wonderful groups on the Internet, I learned a lot about female empowerment. In a reading group I attended here in New York, I argued several times how much we can. I had no fear of exposing my opinion when I saw women judging others. I have said bad words to jokers in the subway and on the street who think they can mess with me just because I am a woman. And also, I can not stand other types of prejudice. I see beautiful gay couples having the freedom to walk the streets hand in hand. And I find it sad to see how racism is still strong – not only here in the US but also in Brazil.
5. Learning to reinvent yourself– professionally speaking, I think this is an advice that goes for everyone, in all jobs. I graduated in Journalism – and I started college thinking that I was going to work in television. During college, I had a better idea of the market – saturated – and I knew more about the press relations field – and I worked in this area for many years. Then came the social media and I studied again. In the midst of it all, I started this blog, talking about fashion and beauty. The blog has brought me my first client of social media, a fashion brand. I got so many clients that I left my job and started working home office. Then, we moved to New York. And, if before I was adapting myself to changes in the communications market, here in New York I was learning to reinvent myself in other ways. I arrived here still working with social media – but I’ve already planned in Brazil what I could do it here. I started writing about the city, I went to study fashion trends forecast and I did some work in the area. Then, I created a Personal Beauty Shopper service – that turned in an e-book released last year. Today, I have a new project underway, I am writing a new e-book, write this blog, make videos for my channel, picked up some freelancers … My husband was hired by an American company and I joined him on this adventure , leaving behind a career and having to look for new opportunities here.
6. Keep in mind that English is a lifelong learning – I love English since I can remember. I studied my whole life in a public school, never attended private English courses. I liked to get the lyrics of my favorite songs – at that time, I found them only in the brochure of the CDs – and I translated them. I only decided to look for English classes after college – I wonder why I didn’t strat before – and I almost got at the intermediate level, which I am very proud. One of my dreams was to speak English fluently. Today, living here, I think I reached that goal in some way. But as we are never happy, of course I have other goals – for example, reducing my accent. Living here, you realize how little you know. I can watch TV and communicate well, but English is not my first language. And keep this in mind in some way, help you to always keep in search of knowledge and improvement.
7. Enjoy time and live intensely – if there’s one thing New Yorkers do very well is enjoying the time. Time is money! I have spoken many times here on the blog about the reading habits of people in the subway, for example. I confess that I don’t do this a lot, but, in a lot of times, I’ve used the time on the subway for take important notes, writing ideas and even starting some posts. Also, I always plan a different activity for the weekend. Visiting a neighborhood that we still don’t know, a park, a shop … This city is so incredible that it is a waste to stay home. Even the restaurants: we don’t like to repeat. New York taught me – and allow me – to live intensely, because it is impossible to feel bored in this city!
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.