My Scandinavian midsummer did not go quite how expected. The evening started promisingly with a get together at Jenny’s place in Chelsea and the plans were to continue to Battery Park to a Scandinavian midsummer celebration. I never made it there. At some point, I noticed my iphone screen did not work. I tried to continue the evening and decided to deal with the phone on the next day. In cab on our way to Battery Park, I did a radical decision and hopped of the cab and left my friends. I took another cab to the Soho Apple Store. I was able to schedule an appointment for an iphone doctor in an hour. I killed the hour by finding the nearest sushi place and ate there by myself in Soho, without my friends and unsure of my phone’s kohtalo. I guess the entire store felt sympathy for me when I finally saw my “doctor” as they replaced my screen, completely free of charge. And all this took less than hour.
I know there are worse things in life but these two hours were one of the strangest in my life. Being in a big city, suddenly without chance to contact your friends, use google maps, felt stranger than I could have imagined. I am a one happy Apple customer – this is how customer service should be like in every company. And though I never made it to Battery Park, I did make it to the after party (people here find it funny how excited I am of rooftops above apartments but again, this was the best part).
I now know what my sister meant by saying that New York is small. She told me stories of just having thought of someone and how nice it would be to see this person. The next moment this person would step to the same metro or cafe she was in. I mean, what are the odds – same van, same place at the same time of any of the million places and 24 hours. Yesterday, I was on my first run here and felt like catching up with someone. I thought about the three people I know in East Village and whether it was too late to call one of them and ask if I could stop by. Before I noticed, I literally ran into one of them, Luca, at the street. I think all East Village was out watching the last finale of NBA last night – and all of the bars and streets, Luca happened to be calling outside the bar exactly when I passed by. Turned out, he was watching the game with the two other people I had thought. I gave high fives to them, caught up with Luca and took off to my run again. And I even got a past-workout booster to take with me. Thanks boss! Running felt so good after not working out for several months. I felt like I could have run the entire night across Manhattan in my new pair of Nikes. I love running at late night and will definitely make it a habit. Coconut water (which I’ve considered as waste of money until last week) had never tasted better.
For me, life is all about learning and discovering. The question people have asked me the most is why I wanted to come here. This is the main reason. I consider myself blessed to have so many close friends, loving family and a network of amazing people in Finland. These people, for me, are the best people in the world and will always be in my life. You know who you are! Yet, living 22 years in Finland, I’ve always had an endless desire to put myself in a situation where I have to create a new life for myself and tie new relationships in a new place. I feel like a need challenges to learn and discover. So why not to do it in the city I’ve on each one-week stay had a feeling of not getting enough? This leads to another point of my life philosophy. I believe you can learn so much from other people of how to live your life to the fullest. Of course, ultimately it comes only by listening yourself, but other people are the ones to inspire you on the way. New York is a place where people come to fulfill their dreams and it takes courage. No wonder I have met so many fascinating people.
Luca is a new friend of mine and a true New Yorker. I find it funny how many mutual interests we share – yoga, nutrition, a vision of running a sustainable farm in the future. I also think his lifestyle is so cool, working in a sustainable water store and at a restaurant, studying nutrition in university and IIN, pursuing rest of the time his interests and going towards his dream career and future. What could be more New Yorky. Yesterday I met a finnish model Anna-Sofia who turned out to be the most sweetest person. I loved her down-to-earth attitude and appreciation towards Finland, even though she’s had the opportunity to travel the past two years across Asia, Europe and USA. I also respect the fact that she has already acquired a position in university and plans to start studying. I don’t know, but I could assume that most internationally successful models wouldn’t think such things at the stage when their model career os blossoming. I have also had the chance to get to know a script writer Leo, which is fascinating as I’ve never known a script writer/movie maker before. I find it so fascinating to hear of a lifestyle where work life goes in cycles; first you focus on writing a script for a certain period, followed by the uncertain time of waiting whether your agent will get it sold to producers. If you’re lucky enough, the production starts and go travel to LA for an intense period of filming the movie. So cool. Today I’ll meet ut for coffee another wonderful person, Elita. She is a friend of my sister, whom I met on my last visit here last year. She seemed to be living my dream – having lived in San Francisco and studied in University of Berkeley and then arriving to New York City to study and later work at NYU. Both my ultimate dream universities. I’m not jealous anymore – just so fascinated and eager to hear more.
The thing I love most in New York is the welcoming atmosphere that the people create. I love the feeling of being one in a million yet still feeling as part of the scene. The way strangers wish you good morning on streets, small talks and general kindness in short encounters. I think all this is why I so strongly feel that I belong here. Also, making friends is so easy. People might talk to you on streets, store or at the cafe. Not to mention that everyone I’ve contacted have been more than willing to go for a coffee and catch up, no matter how busy they would be. Also, all the Finnish people I’ve met here have been amazing and share my desire to absorb the most out of the city. I think it requires certain character – curiosity and independency – to come here.
Last week we had a dinner with an amazing group on Finnish people in a lovely restaurant Aria in West Village. Ade was so kind to introduce me to these amazing people, which all are spending atleast the summer here for work. I will definitely see these girls and guys again! I was also so fascinated to hear how they all have come here to the city of our dreams. It made me once again realize that it is not impossible to us Europeans come here, in contradiction to what I’ve always thought. You’ve just got to believe in your dreams and work hard towards it. I’ve certainly begun to create a plan for my future here:).
Another funny and typically New Yorky spontaneous incident took place yesterday. In the morning I got a text from a finnish guy who had heard of me being in NYC from my colleague in Finland. Jaakko was few days in town for work and asked if I had time to meet and catch up. I had been 4 nights away from home, taken a 6am bus from D.C, survived the weekend mostly with men’s cosmetics, in other words looked like shit (the bag in the picture is ALL I had for the weekend trip and two working days) and above all was drowning with work, so I promised to grab a coffee. Eventually, after delicious outdoor salads and smoothies, we found ourselves getting a private tour from Jaakko’s Danish friend Rasmus, in Google’s empty office on a late night above the Chelsea Market. I was thrilled as I love the atmosphere and the building of Chelsea Market and it was very similar on the floors above. The office was so inspiring – and can you believe that there is a wide range of healthy food (nuts, dates, granola bars, coconut water (!!!)) served 24 h. My kind of an office. Like it had not been beyond exciting evening already, we ended up in Google’s “secret” underground bar Tippler. It was so much fun to share and hear stories of the corporate world, Scandinavia, living in New York and abroad and much more. There’s also something with the american drinks – they are deceptively delicious and strong. Once again I ended up feeling a little dizzy – after one drink!!? But, when in New York… After the weekend with Adam in D.C and this spontaneous Monday I couldn’t feel but overwhelmed by how happy I am to be here, right now.
I didn’t think I would want to spend a day out of New York during my 8-week stay. Someone, however, was able to change my mind and I ended up spending the weekend in Washington D.C, where Adam lives. Now, I can’t feel but glad that I did. I told to Adam that the weekend was full of firsts – before anything a new city of course. I saw landmarks like Georgetown University (which reminded me so much of Hogwarts), the White House and other important monuments. I found the apartments so weird by the way. The building reminded me of a hotel – there is a 24h reception, Starbucks on the ground floor and a rooftop with a pool and grills. And this seemed to be pretty common. I was also lucky to have my first traditional American barbeque, which I loved. This one was far from my image of grilling burgers, hot dogs and corn. The boys prepared (!) huge amounts of brown rice, salmon, chicken and bell peppers, accompanied with a delicious goat cheese & strawberry salad (and delicious drinks). The bbq took place at a rooftop overlooking the monuments of the “capital of the free world” in great, welcoming company. All in all, an unforgettable Saturday night in D.C.
The lazy Sunday consisted of wandering around as a tourist for few hours, some tanning by the pool and eating & drinking, of course. Adam grilled turkey burgers for lunch, which were also the first for me, and delicious. Followed by a lazy walk to a rooftop bar next to the White House. Drinks had never tasted better. Next up amazing thai food – spring rolls, seaweed, pad thai, dumplings, sprussel brout salad all to die for. It was kind of embarrassing to notice towards the end of the dinner that I had gotten a bit drunk of the drink and bottle of wine – walking home and doing some shopping at Wholefoods at daylight on Sunday afternoon… The evening passed watching NBA finales – the game unfortunately did not turn out the way Adam had hoped (and bet) for. I hope the miss America coming at the same time from other channel and I managed to cheer him up even a bit.
It’s weird though. I was two nights away and miss New York so much. I’m gonna miss Adam but it’s funny how NYC already feels so strongly like home for me. Writing this in the bus, I’m anxious to see the skyline of the city again and arrive in the middle of the beat. How can I ever leave?
I got to cross one thing on my bucket list last weekend when one of my favorite artists, Kings of Leon, played at Governors Ball festival. Our plans seemed already to have crashed as Friday turned out to be catastrophic in terms of weather. After queuing for an hour and about to board, we looked at each other with Adam and agreed to not step on the ferry. The storm was getting worse and the visibility was about an meter. Once getting back to hotel, we read online that the band had canceled. Welll, at least we were warm and dry again and had an amazing dinner at Asian cuisine Zengo restaurant.
I was the only one with Friday ticket only – however, I got lucky. Waking up Saturday morning, I heard that Kings of Leon had been rescheduled and Friday tickets had access. I got a new meaning to being independent later when I took off by myself to the festival island as others had already left earlier. I knew the phone lines were going to bad and that turned out to be true. I couldn’t reach Adam for several hours, which meant hanging with a guy met on the ferry. At some point I got separated from him so I had to sneak among another group of friends. All good, I had company all the time and finally managed to find Adam, though would’ve been nice to see Kings of Leon in familiar company :).
Heye! All good and more in the big apple. Loving every moment here. I think the biggest setback until now was on the second day when I was trapped under a little shelter in Central Park with few other people when it started to pour. I mean really pour. We stood there for a time that seemed to last forever (1,5-2h). Other than that, life has been treating me pretty good here.
I’m getting more in love with the city every day. Everyday I’m finding new objects to observe and spread my love to – areas, cafes, people, restaurants, food, habits, anything (I know I sound like a geek). I love that the city never sleeps. Days feel long but I still wish 24 hours contained more. For the first time of my life I’m too excited to sleep and stay long in the shower. Also, for a healthy geek like me, New York is paradise. Wholefoods and the endless options of restaurants & cafes…. Somehow the Finnish grocery stores are tempting anymore. Eating out here is easier than ever.
My favorite discoveries so far:
❤ Butchers Daughter on Elizabeth street (perfectly fresh and light little organic cafe)
❤ Whole foods – no explanations (or a separate post) needed
❤ Washington sq park – the atmosphere surrounded by buildings of NYU and laidback attitude of people
❤ Chelsea market
❤ ‘snice cafe West Village ❤ the most cozy and welcoming café I’ve ever been to – best place to spend hours working
❤ Sushi Yasuka – best Japanese food I’ve ever eaten