After a long and tearful farewell to my parents (that mainly consisted of an exhausting lecture from dad while mum forced a rape whistle into my hand), both terrified and excited I waved goodbye to the vast array of fake tans and high-wasted mini shorts that is the Gold Coast, Australia and boarded a plane for my new life as an aspiring journalist in The Big Apple … or what is more commonly known to my parents as “Rapeville."
During the short 18-hour flight, I had somehow found the time to fantasize about the lavish New York City accommodation that is so evidently displayed in blockbuster movies. Soon after arriving at my Upper West Side apartment building, I came to realize my expectations had far been exceeded. There were rows of showers that provided residents with rare sporadic bursts of hot water and each bedroom was enclosed with rusty walls that had been unsuccessfully disguised in a thick layer of cream-colored paint. My first night in the room was spent trying not to contract tetanus and listening to my roommate while she talked in her sleep.
The next day, I ventured out onto the streets of New York City in search of my new workplace when I decided to treat myself to a ‘tall caramel latte’ from Starbucks. As I approached the counter and attempted to order, I was greeted with a confused look and asked “what?” five times before being accused of not being able to speak English. To be fair, Australian accents can be tricky.
Three incorrect subway-rides later, one consisting of what I’m still convinced was a “backtrack” from Harlem to Wall Street, I finally arrived at my destination: Metro newspaper, New York City bureau. Within the first hour of entering the building, I had already managed to trip over while attempting to walk in my new business-looking heels, get walked in on while toileting and lock myself out of the office, so I was off to a good start.
After reception kindly let me back in, I was introduced to all the reporters and given a tour through the office. Everyone was so warm and friendly and really good at pretending they didn’t even notice me tripping over earlier.
The first few days was an exciting blur of running through crowds while interviewing protesters outside of U.S. senators' offices (where one man told me his lengthy recount of the day which somehow involved Disney characters) to being scanned for weapons upon entry into a media conference led by the NYPD Police Commissioner regarding a massive drug bust in Brooklyn.
I just knew I was going to love it at the Metro office ... that is of course, if I could figure out how to get back in.