Musings of a French girl (but really British at heart) living in New York
Friday, November 25, 2011
Crash Course City
I am always honored when approached by an individual or a company asking for my thoughts on relocating to New York.
It has been one of the most life-forming experience of my life and I am always happy to share my perspective - as I did in this interview with Crash Course City.
Meet Stephanie, a marketing director from France, who relocated from London to New York in 2007.
Why did you move to your new city? I was working for a major financial services company in London when a promotion opportunity came up in their New York head offices and I jumped at the chance!
I fell head over heels in love with NYC after my first visit in 1999 and it had been a dream of mine ever since to live here one day.
What do you like best about living in New York?
Convenience is the first thing that comes to mind. I realized early on that I could happily live my life without going further than five blocks either way of my apartment, if I chose to do so. Everything is at your finger tips here.
The relentless energy of the City is also a big pull. There is always something to do – museum exhibits, festivals, fairs, concerts, operas, plays, outdoor movies, courses, sailing, kayaking, cycling… the list is endless.
What was the easiest part of your relocation?
I would say the actual relocation itself – my company organized and paid for my move and professional packers took care of everything. Therefore this was by far the easiest move I have done in my life from a logistics perspective.
What was the hardest part of your relocation?
Realizing upon my arrival that I only knew two people in the city, and not very well. I went from having a large circle of friends in London to having to build new friendships from scratch.
New York is a transient City with many people relocating here from various parts of the country and the world, so making friends is not hard but it definitely takes time of course.
I am happy to say four years on, I now have an extended but close circle of friends that I can honestly call family.
How would you describe your relocation experience? For the first couple of years, it was definitely a mixture of ups and downs as I adjusted to the crazy pace of the city. I made new friends but also “lost” some who moved away and I faced cultural challenges in my professional and personal life.
But, I also consider these two years to be the most formative of my life and wouldn’t change them for the world.
I see my relocation as a success – I am very happy in New York, more in love with it than ever and still constantly trying to make the most of the amazing opportunity I was given.
Can you share 3 tips for someone making the same move?
In order to speed up the “making friends” process, try to find people in your current circle of friends who may have friends already based here.
Get to know your way around the city as soon as possible. The grid system makes it easy to navigate and I would suggest that you go exploring with a map at first and eventually you will be able to walk around all the neighbourhoods without it. New York can feel intimidating at first so knowing your way around can make it feel less so.
When the city feels too noisy, too fast, too hot, too cold, and it will, – don’t hesitate to go away for a weekend. Explore upstate New York for a bit of countryside relief; catch some rays in Florida in the depth of winter, cool off on one of the many beaches in the summer.
Most New Yorkers have a love/hate relationship with their City. As a newcomer, don’t be surprised if after the heady first month or so, you start to notice the grimier aspects of it, perhaps start to feel homesick and regret your decision to move. A quick escape from New York is the best way to come back and enjoy it even more.
But I definitely recommend sticking with it and developing strategies to deal with some of its more challenging aspects. The reward at the end - which is to live in perhaps the most exciting city in the world - is more than worth it.
I'm French and after 12 years in London, I moved to New York in March 2007. Living in NYC is a dream come true and this blog documents my experiences in making the most of it.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org