Where I Have Been Map

Friday, April 12, 2013

Let's start at the very beginning...

Well, I didn’t believe them.  I didn’t believe the people who told me how fast paced the lifestyle is in New York. I didn’t believe how the only free time I would have would be the 20 minute train rides holding my nose, trying to escape the smelly person on the other side of the cart.  I didn’t believe that months would go by in a blink of an eye. Now all of a sudden, I looked back and realized it’s been almost a year since I’ve moved here!

I felt like the moment I stepped onto the New York concrete, I was skyrocketed forward on a hyper speed moving sidewalk. The proof of that is right here, on this blog. I love writing on this thing, yet I haven’t updated a post since July! So that’s why my last few days living in New York, I’m going to try and write all I can remember about this past year. Because I know once I leave this crazy, incredible, unforgettable city - it will all feel like a dream.

So let’s back it up about 11 months ago, when I first moved to the city. I remember my family driving me to New York, I was crammed in the back seat with my sleeping mother and all I could pack in two suitcases. As we crossed over the bridge, my forehead was pressed up against the window as the city came into view. It was the first time I had ever seen the city skyline, and I remember feeling an excited/nervous jump in my stomach. As if I was looking off a cliff about to learn if I could fly, or plummet down below.

I had literally just decided two months earlier to move to New York, I place I had never even visited. I knew no one there, and the biggest city I had previously ever lived in was Nashville. Ok let’s be honest, I lived next door to cows in Eagleville and only visited Nashville.  But now, instead of the escaped cows roaming down my road – a gang of five angry looking men grazed upon my apartment steps in Brooklyn.

Yes, I had made the novice decision of seeing an Ad on craiglist for a reasonably priced apartment in:

You’ll have a jolly time riding your days away, since this apartment is by the 2nd to last stop on the 1 train. In a lovely “Up and Coming” neighborhood, gang shootings are as low as happening once a week! Every story around the block takes food stamps, and if you don’t have those – just rob the store, everyone else does!

…. Woo sounds fun!

Thankfully, I have the most wonderful and supportive family – who not only supports my impulsive decisions, but are there for me WHEN I make mistakes because of those impulsive decisions. I had to live in deep Brooklyn for at least a month, due to my lease. So my dad, who had just gotten back home from Brazil, decided to give up his time off to live with me and serve as my “body guard” walking back home from the train for the rest of that month. It turned out it was a mistake I am actually very happy I made, because I got to share a life experience with my dad.

So, why did I decide to drop everything and move to New York? Well, it had always been a dream of mine to live in that city at some point in my life. Now seemed as good a time as any! And it being a big city for production, I was ready to dive head first into my career. So I google searched, emailed, sent in resumes, emailed again, until finally I found someone who said she’d give me an internship, that eventually led to a part time job.

That someone was a documentary filmmaker by the name Alice. She had won various awards for her documentaries that focus on people with disabilities.  In just a few months I learned just how much work it takes to make a documentary, with absolutely no profit in return. But the reason why people put so much time and work to film them - is to tell the most incredible, real stories. One of those stories was about a man named Larry.

Larry was one of Alice’s very first documentary subjects. He was a man with mental disabilities that stole the hearts of his community. They grouped together and created a fund to keep him living in an apartment in the West Village, and get him the care he needed. Everyday when I would walk to work, I’d see Larry in his wheelchair, asking for donations for various causes. An old man now, he would stay outside all day just to raise a few dollars for different charities. Ironically right down the road from the apartment featured on the show Friends, Larry became my instant friend. He would tell me stories of his life, how he is the “star” in Alice’s documentary, and how if I don’t get a boyfriend soon – he would be a good one. Every day our conversations would end in a single question by him, “Can I have a hug?”

I found out just a few months ago, that Larry passed away. A lot had happened and I was working at a different job by that point. I hadn’t gotten the chance to visit him in quite awhile. It’s crazy how you could know someone for a very short time, but they can make a big impact. I am so grateful I got to meet such a genuine person! 


Kamila (Belém-Brazil) said...

Hey Annie, I just love your post! I'm going to pusblish the link on I group I created for my students on Facebook. I hope you're doing fine!

Olga said...

I am so happy you took me to meet Larry, Annie. He was an amazing man, and he sure did think a lot of you! I know he will be missed, but he is now making all the Angels in heaven smile!!!