I’m writing you this from my hometown, Brooklyn NY.
It’s gorgeous, sunny, and I just got back from a 6.45 am 5 km power walk (after being up since 3.23 am, but hey, who’s counting…) and I popped in to get a bagel, as you can see.
The bagel was 18 dollars.
(Ok, it had some salmon on it, which does cost more, and vegan cream cheese, but still.)
When I was living and studying here, the same bagel was less than 5 dollars.
My friends here think this 18 dollar bagel phenomenon is completely normal. Ridiculous but normal. You can’t get a bagel for under 10 dollars anywhere anymore, they say.
Living here is very, very expensive.
But nobody complains.
Here people work very, very hard, get shit done, and are extremely service centered.
A big reason for that is the hourly wage is (much too) low, and people get a commission for helping you, if it’s a retail or restaurant situation. (Many non-Americans don’t realize that, and complain that Americans are ‘overhelpful’ – this is most likely why.)
People talk a lot here. All the time. They will spark up a conversation while you’re waiting on line for a coffee, show you photos of their kids, start a discussion about the elections or the recent NY marathon, or give you a compliment about your hair or your shoes. (All of these have happened to me in the last 48 hours.)
I love the optimism and the hard work ethic here.
It’s not that I don’t see that in the Netherlands, it’s just something about New Yorkers.
Maybe it’s the grit. The resilience. The sign in the gym that says the 5 am spinning class is full. The trying. The always trying.
In the Netherlands, I often hear that people don’t get my energy or my drive or my enthusiasm.
Then they go to NY for a week.
Then they call me when they get back.
‘Now we get you!’
Sometimes living in a country with a ‘do normal’ culture is a very lonely place for me.
People sometimes forget that what I do IS normal. To me. It’s just not normal to others.
I discussed this at length with the FD Persoonlijk and you can read the article here.
Signing off with a favorite quote from Dorothy Parker:
‘London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it.’
I’m off to meet something good today.
And I hope you are too!