Since I am back in NYC for good, I have to get a life here, which means finding an apartment and a job. (Luckily my NYC social life from eight years ago has survived until now and fulfills that aspect of life.) Since I am a teacher and it’s summertime, I figured I should use this time to focus on the apartment aspect. Big mistake. Huge. Really set myself up for a mega failure on that one.
Nobody will rent an apartment to a jobless person. Regardless of how much money is in my bank account, they do not care. Like I literally told the agent, “I can pay six months up front! Or even the whole year!” and she was like “I’m really busy, gotta go, byeeee.” Because apparently they need to see a contract that tells them how much money I am going to be making. And pay stubs proving that I have been getting that amount. And the yearly amount that I make needs to be 40 times the monthly rent. You can use a guarantor if you don’t have that amount, but the guarantor needs to make 100 times the monthly rent. So if the rent is $2,000 per month (which will get you a tiny studio apartment) your guarantor needs to make $200,000 per year.
It’s next level.
So obviously that option was out for now. Which led to looking at subleases or rooms in shared apartments. And oh the scams! This one guy was trying to pass off this gorgeous studio, whose actual price is roughly $2,500/month, (when they give you an address, you should definitely search it and find out what price it’s been listed as before/on other websites, etc.) as being only $1,100/month. I didn’t realize it was a scam at first, but when I grasped it, I played along a little bit more until he sent me this ridiculous lease agreement with typos and strangely huge font sizes. And there are also these horrible companies that rent out rooms in shared apartments that they don’t clean, but they then add mystery cleaning fees multiple times throughout your stay. (Don’t forget to search for reviews of brokers/companies you’re renting through!)
So now I’ve decided to stay in Airbnb apartments indefinitely. It’s honestly roughly the same price and at least I can know exactly what I’m getting myself into. But oh how I dreamed of no longer living in a suitcase or sharing an apartment! I just wanted my own wee flat to furnish and decorate and love…. one day, one day.
I’ve been back in NYC for about 24 hours. Today I went to meet my friend for lunch, so I was loitering in Union Square, waiting for her to meet me, and this man decided he needed to talk to me. He said hi, and I might have half responded with a hi, but definitely not an inviting look of any kind. And his next line was “Do you have a man in your life?”
I was honestly shocked. And I’m old enough and teacher enough for my knee-jerk response to be, “Do you really think that’s appropriate?”
He asked if I’d rather he said how are you, and I vehemently agreed, yes, please. So he said, “fine, ok, since you said please. How are you?”
But he did not like my cold, “I’m fine, thanks.” So he proceeded to get very mad and walk in a circle around me while he shouted something about how men with big dicks shouldn’t talk to me because I’d just give them attitude.
Welcome back to America, I guess.
Many cultures seem to think their habit of being late is specific to their culture. Arabs also think that. And I have recently theorized why that might be: the Islamic calendar. See, my exhusband is currently in Bali, living it up, alone, because he is a failure at planning anything while I need things planned months in advance. He booked his ticket literally two days before leaving.
But in his defense, that’s how we get our holidays. I didn’t officially know I’d have the entire week off for Eid al Fitr until literally the Wednesday before the break. There were rumors, of course. But we all have to wait for an official announcement. Which blows for planning trips, honestly. Unless, of course, you are of the spirit that can book a ticket two days before a trip and be totally fine with that.
One reason for such delays in official dates for things is the way the Islamic calendar works. It’s shorter than the Gregorian calendar and it revolves around the moon. (No pun intended.) Which means that you don’t actually know which day is going to be the start of the next month until you (ok, an official moon observer) observe the crescent moon. And Ramadan being one of those months, the dates of it relied on that observation, so we knew it would start on one of two days, but we weren’t 100% sure which day until that night. And Eid is the first day of the month after Ramadan, so again, we had to wait for the new crescent to be sighted.
Ok, fine, I don’t know if it’s correlation or causation, I just know that Arabs are often late and the Islamic calendar is confusing.
The holy month of Ramadan has come to its end, which means it’s Eid al Fitr. Which means we all get a week off of work, hurrah! It also means the fasting Muslims are back to their non-fasting lives. Which means we all have to go back to normal working hours after our break. But we can drink water shamelessly again during daylight hours, so that’s good, especially since it is insane weather. As I described it to a friend, it’s that time of year where you feel as if you’re bursting into flames when you step outside during the day.
I’d say it’s global warming, but that record is broken and people are deaf.
Speaking of political issues and ignorance, I’m moving back to the good old United States of America in exactly one month after yesterday. (That’s awkward wording.) I’ve been watching The Good Fight as part of my attempt to reassimilate. It’s an amazing show and I really feel like it’s helped me to catch up on some of the intricacies surrounding the nonsense that is American politics.
It’s very sad to be leaving Abu Dhabi. Tomorrow is my birthday party and I don’t know how I’m going to keep it together. Last night I went out for drinks with my exhusband and at one point in the evening I just started crying. Like tears were just streaming down my face. For no discernable reason. Like nothing had happened in the moment that would cause such a public display, but there I was on my bar stool spilling tears rather uncontrollably. When I finally got it together, he wanted me to explain why I was crying, and I couldn’t because there was no one reason for it, and then my inability to explain it set off another round of waterworks! And I’m usually quite good at not being emotional in public ever…
It’s been real roller coasters of emotions over here. Which I suppose is normal for such a transitional time. My American friends are all showing me so much love about moving back, and my exhusband is his usual conflicted, childish self, and my free time has been very stale here, so I know I’m making the right choice. But the future is so unclear that it scares the living daylights out of me. I tend to just ignore it, and try to focus on what I can do moment by moment. But it’s still crazy overwhelming. And it does not help that my friends here keep having these damn conversations about how much they’re going to miss me. Like, please, get on my bandwagon of pushing the emotions under-rug!
Anyways. That’s my life for the next month. A bittersweet mess.
I did not contact my ex for his birthday or at any other time as of yet.
During one of my ex’s and my previous breakups (we’ve been through countless), I read an article about how the key to being single is to accept that maybe it might be forever. But like to really accept that. To accept that you’re never going to find your forever person. To accept that you’ll never have children or a family. To accept that nobody will be obligatorily forced to be at your side when you’re on your deathbed.
Et cetera. Whatever aspect of being single is hardest for you, you have to fully accept it.
For me the aspects that’re hardest are definitely the loneliness ones. The idea that nobody wants to spend time with me all the time. The idea that I am not anybody’s number one. The idea that I have to entertain myself and take care of myself always. The idea that nobody will rush to my side if I ever end up in the hospital. The idea that my emergency contact is unclear. And I definitely dread that empty room when I’m on my deathbed. (I know, how morbid.)
And I don’t know how to accept that aspect. Like I can get my head around the fact that my ex doesn’t want to be with me. I can also accept that I have to move on. And I am also confident that I will find someone to be with in the future. But I don’t fully trust that any relationship would ever be forever. So I have to accept that I’ll be alone forever, really, at the core?
I mean, there’s coping mechanisms for it. Build really strong friendships and collect friends like Pokemon. Fill your time with hobbies. Learn to be social in a general way with strangers. Find fame and fortune and have an adoring public. Buy yourself fancy things. Get a pet that’s forced to love you. Or better yet, adopt a child that’s forced to love you. But all of it’s really just trying to fill the hole in your heart, isn’t it? The hole that says “nobody choose you for forever.” And that thought still bums me out, even as I work on those coping mechanisms…
I’m going to read an article about why you should actually look forward to being alone forever now. Byeeee.