Living in NYC – 5 year anniversary

Wow! So today, July 1st 2016 – just about 35 weeks pregnant with a little baby boy; I’m sitting on my POÄNG chair from IKEA, in my new apartment in Elmhurst, Queens – thinking back….

Five years ago, I left behind my old apartment in Copenhagen and what I thought would also be my entire life in Denmark.

I never returned. Well, it’s not completely true because I did have to go back for a couple of weeks to finish my dissertation at Copenhagen Hospitality College. And also, to get my F-1 visa. But I never came back to live in Denmark. New York City was a fantasy and a dream that manifested itself in a goal once I hit the streets of 8th avenue and 40th street back in 2006. No one believed me when I said I wanted to call NY home. No one took me serious. I don’t blame them.
But; I made it happen and now I can say I’ve lived in New York for five years and by no means do I regret making the move. There’s no feeling of being “home sick”. There never was.
Yes, life is hard and I don’t live a glamorous New York City life. I live a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of lifestyle like the majority of real new yorkers but I’m happy. There’s no security blanket like there would have been had I continued living in Denmark but there’s a multitude of opportunities just waiting to be explored. A variety of options that I can choose between and see where it leads me. I’m not scared of the future. I get super emotional at times but I know that once you put your mind to something … you really can achieve a lot!

Looking back at the 5 years… what did I achieve? Well, first of all finding an apartment in New York City with a visa is tricky. And due to the fact that I couldn’t enter the US on a F-1 visa more than 30 days in advance of my studies I decided to make the “move” on my ESTA before getting my F-1 visa. (Do not do this. This is not the right way to go about it)
I knew I wanted to live in Forest Hills, Queens. This is an above-average-rent area. But I had fallen in love with the neighborhood the year before and it just seemed to be the right fit.
I managed to convince a board, and a management company that I was capable of paying rent on time and that I would be a wonderful tenant. I did have to put 4 months rent down as security but I had a little money saved up.  It wasn’t easy … it did take several weeks to find the right place and until then I was staying with a friend. When I finally moved in I was extremely happy.

Park Manor
My home in Forest Hills for almost 5 years.

I lived in this place until 10 days ago, when my landlord had the nerves to “give a 30 day notice” because he wanted to sell the apartment. It broke my heart. Don’t take the home away from a pregnant woman.
Anyways – found a new place in Elmhurst, a completely different neighborhood (cheaper, yes!) and I’m going to be a big girl about it and learn to love it too.

I started school in January 2012. Paying tuition was very, very hard. Yes, I did receive financial help from the danish government but it barely stretched enough. I have no clue how I managed to get through the many semesters of “double tuition” because I was international student. But I did.

In 2014 my boyfriend and I decided to get married. It was a City Hall wedding. It’s $60. It made sense. And later that year I also got my permanent residency (aka. Green Card)
IMG_20150602_102714In 2015, I graduated with honors. In 2015 I also decided to focus 110% on my own business I had slowly built over the years. It’s a online concierge & sightseeing platform providing danish tourists with quality travel advice and unique experiences in New York City. I also started a more international version of it but then ….

I found out I was pregnant in December 2015. I was already 7 weeks along. I blamed my recent, frequent flying (as a mystery shopper in airports) to my constant headaches and nausea. We didn’t plan or expected to have children so it became a huge surprise.
So I decided to start working extra jobs to care and plan for our future with a child. That lead me to working part-time at an attorney’s office. A completely different experience, and so far from my educational background. I was there for six months. Yesterday was my last day, and my sweet co-workers got balloons, cake and giftcards for me. That really touched my heart a lot!

Now, with a due date of August 6 I’ve decided to take it a little easy the last month. Since the news of being pregnant, I’ve juggled three different jobs to save up for this baby and for maternity leave. I don’t want to leave our baby at day-care if I can avoid it. So my focus is back 110% on my own business and whatever other small side-gigs a ‘hustling new yorker’ might come across. Next year I can apply for citizenship. But my little baby boy will be born as an automatic dual-citizen of Denmark and America. (He’ll never know the struggle … Lol!)

Living 5 years in New York City taught me patience, confidence, humbleness … it caused me a lot of grief and a lot of happy tears. And yeah … this is my home! It’ll always be my home!

8 thoughts on “Living in NYC – 5 year anniversary

  1. From one Dane to another I applaud you for following your dream! And I wish you all the best in your new life as a family – and a working mother. We are today celebrating two years living in the US which also marks our return back to Denmark. It’s a sad day but we will eventually be excited to return to many of the values we cherish (which we have not found here).

  2. Good for you! I’ve lived in Florida for the past 10 years. Took my masters degree here. I am happily married and have a little son. However not a day goes by where I don’t feel my strong roots to Denmark. America is where I live and work but Denmark is my home and always will be. I am planning to buy a ‘sommerhus’ within the next 10 years…
    Good luck with your little boy. Motherhood is amazing 🙂

  3. You are brave and smart, everybody should dream and then follow them. I came to Canada 1968 just got a couple of years but I am still here and have loved ever since. I also still love Denmark but mostly the family that I left behind. I wish you held og lykke med den lille dreng?????
    Love from a mormor/farmor??

  4. Stort tillykke med jubilæet og med de lykkelige omstændigheder. Det er så spændende at læse en update, når man har fulgt din rejse gennem bloggen siden engang i 2010-ish. Hatten af for, at du har forfulgt din drøm, selvom det ikke altid er uden udfordringer!

  5. Thank you very much, Henny! I appreciate the kind words and encouragement.
    I didn’t want my post to be a blame on Denmark – for some it will always be home, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – obviously!
    I hope your return to Denmark will run smoothly – and all the best to you and your family!

  6. Wow, du har alligevel luret med de sidste mange år. Ja, må indrømme at livets travlheder tog over og jeg fik aldrig rigtig udnyttet bloggen til fulde men alligevel er det sjovt at kigge de mange blogpost igennem (flere af dem er private nu, indtil jeg oversætter dem til engelsk) og se hvordan man udvikler sig selvom drømmene forbliver de samme!
    Tak for rosen! 🙂

  7. People say that I’m brave and I don’t really acknowledge it until I look back at the many years that has passed since I first decided I wanted to call NY home (which will be 10 years in September).
    I miss some danish foods, some friends and family in Denmark .. but everything else I feel that I can find over here in the US. History, nature, tranquility. Maybe not in NY but USA is a grand country!
    Thank you for your sweet words! 🙂

  8. Thank you so much Marie! I don’t feel Denmark is my home and I don’t know why .. if something horrible had happened living there I might understand. I just can’t. Denmark is a part of who I am and who I’ll raise my son to be but .. nah, NYC and it’s diversity and opportunities is where we belong. For now. I’m not against maybe moving to different parts of America when the baby is older. Though I love NY, I don’t necessarily think the city is the best place to raise a little one.

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