The unsettling feeling of settling into a new city


Photo taken by Katie Orlinsky, NYT

Getting used to a new city is something that I always expect myself to be great at, since I should have acquired so much cultural sensitivity and flexibility from my life experiences so far (HA!). But I suck at it. No matter how long I distract myself by finding a place to live and decorating the place and figuring out basic things like where I’m going to buy groceries and how I’m going to get to and from work, there comes a time when it hits me that I’m here with no friends (except, of course, my loving boyfriend) and it’s going to take a long time before this city feels like it wants me to be here. The feeling of having all of my belongings in this new city but not belonging here myself is pretty unsettling. The only thing that makes it bearable is the knowledge that somehow life has a way of working out situations like this one, and before I know it (waiting, waiting…) I will feel a connection to this city. I’ll be sad to see its distinguishing features pass underneath me when I fly somewhere else, like I was every time I flew out of Miami and saw my college campus, the Biltmore Hotel, Latin Cafe on Le Jeune, and Miami Beach pass below me. I will get annoyed about the things that people here get annoyed about and I will revel in the little festivities that people here revel in. I won’t have to sheepishly look at Google Maps on my phone while on the bus to figure out if we’re near my stop. And I won’t feel particularly American or particularly new; I’ll just feel like everybody else who once moved here and now calls it home. Until then there are growing pains.


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