I sit on my newly acquired bed in Harlem, the morning light pouring in through our tall windows as the sounds of church, voices raised in song from the church on our basement floor finds their way through our floorboards and fills quietly our bedroom with the sound of loving God. I don't complain.
These past couple of weeks have felt like a whirlwind. So much going on and so much uncertain.
Moving into Harlem, I definitely had a good bit of culture shock. Especially coming from the mountains, and from my rural valley, I had (and have) a lot of learning to do about cultures and about being white.
It never mattered before. I think that's the hardest part, for me, is that it does.
But you know, every hardship has a lesson and I know that this is teaching me how to reach beyond the ordinary things people expect and think and think they know and just live. I may be incredibly white, with my freckled skin and red hair, but we all have beating hearts and even if I am objectified, I don't have to be.
But aside from that, I love my new place. My room mates are incredible sweet. I've never lived with girls before and when our newest flat mate arrives on Tuesday we will finally have all six of us here. Our kitchen is tiny, but we have the most incredible view out our kitchen window, across our rusty fire escape and beyond the tree that sways gently in the wind, reminding us that not everything is made of concrete. Beyond that and to the west is the neighbors building, covered in ivy that climbs the red brick with green tendriled fingers eating up the man made with such grace. At night we can see into the cheerily lit windows of the building across from us and the glow of the lives being lived within. I love it. It makes me actually feel at home.
The other thing that actually makes me feel at home is that after nearly ten days of sleeping on a blanket on the floor I know have a bed. (!) And not just any bed, but a beautiful slay style queen size bed. And because of the incredible (INCREDIBLE) generosity of my friend Andrew, it was free.
It was sometime in the first week and I posted on Facebook that I needed a bed and if anyone knew of one. Andrew (a friend of a friend, from a couple years ago, -we spent the new years weekend sleeping on his floor, he happens to be an amazing percussionist and plays for broadway) said he had one and that I could have it for free.
Now, my first idea was to get a bunch of friends and move it on the subway, but I just moved to New York and I don't really have a bunch of friends who I can call on like that, yet. So after a few days of trying to figure it out and a trip up to the cloisters, where Andrew lives and taking a part the bed its self I gathered my courage and rented a Uhaul van. I asked my friend Cassandra who is staying with me for the week if she would be willing to drive it in the city. She agreed with a nod of her graceful head.
So friday morning we set out, her red boots clicking as we walked the ten blocks to the Uhaul place.
After getting the van, it was only 3.7 miles to Andrew's and when we arrived we double parked in the street. It took Andrew and I seven trips up and back as he helped me load the elevator (The poor, incredibly kind man dropped a desk on his toe and it started bleeding profusely) but he still proceeded to carry/slide the mattress and box springs down the stairs (and of course he lives on the 6th floor). He was clearing out a room in his apartment and so he had a desk, chair, dresser, trashcan, and printer as well as a great flannel (plaid of course) shirt. I took it all happily and then we stuffed, tucked and loaded it, with Cassie's help into the van.
The real trick was on the other end though, getting it into my apartment.
We live in a third floor walk up. Tracy and I carried most of the light things up, and Cassie stayed with the again double parked van. A random guy on the street was kind enough to give us a hand and helped carry the head board and desk into the entry way of our building. And then Tracy made a call. To a friend named Clay and when he showed up, looking kind and competent and asked if he could 'tap me out' I obliged. The man was made of muscle and so easily pushed my new mattress up the stairs. I was slightly stunned. But so grateful.
So moral of the story. God is good. Friends are incredible. And help is sometimes, completely needed.
Otherwise this week has been full of job interviews, filled out applications and trying to unwrinkled my borrowed white button up shirt. But the first place I interviewed at called me for an interview and on Thursday, I sat in the dinning room of the Gotham Comedy club in Chelsea, hair pulled back, black heels and crossed legs as the manager looked across at me and asked me why he should hire me as a hostess for his club. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Well Sean, because I am good person, and I will work hard for you." He regarded me for a moment and then nodded. "Can you start Monday?"
I felt so proud of myself, because this is the first job I have ever gotten without knowing someone, or someone I know, knowing someone. I won it on merit alone, from craigslist and I know it is just a hostessing job, but, I am really humbled and proud that I got a job here in New York city. Whew. It's only part time so the hunt still continues.
School at the barrow group is going well. It's just two days a week, but it feels grounding to be continuing my work and study there with such kind and intelligent people. I'm working on a new scene for class with my new friend Kristina. I think it's gonna be a good scene. And I am thankful for the time school gives me to work and dance and sleep. Because those things are damn important too.
As for all the time in between all of that I've been spending a lot of time with my love, and we've been exploring the city together. We both live in rather rough neighborhoods, so it's fun to see the juxtaposition that naturally occurs depending on where in the city you are.
The music coming through my floor has changed, the second service has begun, but I recognize the tune of this one. I hum along under my breath. Otherwise it is pretty quiet, most of my roommates are off at ballet class and the regular sound of sirens coming from the police station across the street are silent. I stretch, still in my PJ's. Glad for the day and for the peace that feeling settled in has brought me, for the feeling of having a bed and a job and a dresser to place my newly clean clothes in. For food in my cupboard and good woman to live with and love on and all of New York City to explore and find and be inspired and disgusted in. It's a good life, this one.
These few days here have left me with so much gratitude. Gratitude for feeling apart of things here. Feeling like I have people and friends and a home. of showing up at Blues on friday and feeling apart of something, rather than just an outsider. I'm glad for my friends, both new and old, my family and my stars, still shining somewhere up above the bright city lights.