From honeymoon stage to reality: Feelings you bound to experiences when your new city life is not as glamorous as you think

There would be a time when everything that your experience in a new city feels like a “honeymoon” phase. Everything is nicer, better, and bigger. All the grandeur of the city would let you fall in love with it quickly. The cool musicians you meet on the subway, your school mates or new network you found through mingling, even the man that always asked you to play chess near the subway station. These people would make you feel like you belong in the city. But, boom! Then reality hits you.

This April marks my four months living in NYC. As a student, I’m very lucky as it let me meet new people easily. Four different classes with students from more than five nationalities, who does not like that? The activities offered that are not available in Jakarta.

There’s this rush of energy from the city and its people that you’re being pulled in. Everything feels great. Why would not be great? Everything in NYC is GREAT, right?


“In our era of instant connection, Twitter updates, and undying memory, keeping friends requires almost no effort at all.” – Scott Brown

However, something happens. I feel lonely. True I made friends, really close ones, that I can talk and share things. I hung out (a lot!) and managed to meet so many interesting people. Then, other than school, I need to manage my time between work and studying. It feels balanced at first but when you’re used to living with family and in an environment where anything can be done by using an app (in here GoJek from Indonesia) – even you can order someone to mail your stuff right away. There’s a new way of living you need to adjust. Which as in my case, these lead to a lack of sleep, work piling up, and lack of social life.

So, here it goes. The feelings creep in; I’m lonely. And I hate the feeling of it. Sure, there’s always people I can call to meet up or chat online if the person is staying in another country. Which happens to me a lot now. From an article I read about friendship by Scott Brown, he said, “In our era of instant connection, Twitter updates, and undying memory, keeping friends requires almost no effort at all.”

But it’s not the same. You don’t have a “real” connection when talking only through online as oppose with meeting in real life. Also, not all our friends come from our childhood. Where these people had seen the ugliest and the best of you. There was nothing wrong with how I managed my life here – the people were all nice, my grades are good (thank god!), and I just started my internship in a company that I truly believe in their mission.

I began to feel dejected with the constant rush, soaring skyscrapers that make me feel claustrophobic, the crazy price of eating out, the black outfit everybody always seems to wear everywhere, and especially the exorbitant rent price of teeny tiny apartment here (ugh!)

A friend shared me a graphic about “Culture Shock”. That what happens to me is normal. After hours of talking and teary eyed (Oh well, yes I do sometimes cry. Haha ), now I feel better. I know it’s time to move my honeymoon phase with New York to a higher level. It’s time for me really to adjust my life in New York City. A more graceful hustle. I stopped doing everything extra. I choose what activities I know would be beneficial for me. I make myself exercise more (walking a lot in the city does make you procrastinate to go to the gym). And just take it easy. I know New York City would not always give out love, in fact, its like a boyfriend you would always have to get to know over and over again. It’s a love and hate relationship between New York and me.

From withdrawal, to getting to recovery.

I’ve always dreamt of living abroad, creating a new life and breaking out of my comfort zone. I don’t look this experience as a bad thing. In fact, now I know that it’s what’s right for me, I don’t want to change it. As annoying and sad it is to experience this, I know I won’t trade it for anything. Now, this life is my new adventure. New York is my new adventure.

1 Response
  1. I totally see what you are saying, living abroad can be a totally super adventure itself where it’s full of surprises! I am so jealous you can still live in NYC regardless of the loneliness 🙂

Leave a Reply