I’m Moving to New York…

Pretending to look studious in Washington Square Park
Pretending to look cool in Washington Square Park

It started, as most good stories do, with Eloise at the Plaza. Next came Friends followed swiftly by Gossip Girl and Sex and the City which I would watch under the covers late at night because I was most definitely too young for the Samantha scenes.

The obsession deepened as I got older. Once I got ill, TV, books and movies were pretty much my full time job, I watched every episode of How I Met your Mother, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, Law and Order SVU and Wizards of Waverley Place. I watched When Harry Met Sally, then You’ve Got Mail, then I never ever stopped watching You’ve Got Mail because it was pretty much the only thing that made me happy. Me and my dad watched Manhattan while eating baked beans on boxing day, followed quickly by Annie Hall and Hannah and her Sisters. I’m not saying I had good taste (I genuinely love and have seen every episode of Wizards of Waverley Place) but my choice in entertainment definitely had a running theme, New York City.

It dominated my reading habits, I lusted over Breakfast at Tiffany’s, raced through Washington Square. Me and my brother read Catcher in the Rye on holiday but we only had one copy so every time I finished a page I had to rip it out of the book and hand it to him. I read A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Nanny Diaries, Watchmen and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. At 16 I read The Great Gatsby, then I read it again, then I read it sixteen more times. I was a walking, talking cliche but I didn’t care. I was obsessed.

On my 16th birthday my mum took me to New York for the first time. As we drove into Manhattan I started to cry, I hadn’t really believed this city existed, it was my Narnia, the place I went to in my bedroom when I was unhappy, but we were actually here. We had coffee and croissants outside Tiffany’s wearing plastic tiara’s, we went to central park zoo, we had tea at the plaza and we tried, in vain, to sneak onto the set of Gossip Girl. I was still in a wheelchair but this meant we got wheelchair seats to the extremely sold out first run of Book of Mormon and we followed that with a Chinese takeaway in our hotel room. I went home in a daze. It was all real and I had to go back.

When my physical pain got better at the age of 17 I found myself a bit stuck. Everyone else my age was halfway through their A levels. I tried to go back to school but then the depression hit and I dropped out again. As my friends left for university I was still sitting in my bedroom watching Friends, not really sure what was going to happen next. I had 4 GCSEs, no A levels and only one plan. I wanted to escape from London, this place where I’d been so unhappy, I wanted to move to New York.

So we made another trip, in preparation I watched Felicity, then Girls, then I watched every episode of Girls three more times just to make sure I was ready. We weren’t even going to visit NYU. I was still pretty fragile and everyone was sure I would never be able to handle such a huge university, let alone actually get in. But as we drove up to Washington Square Park I fell in love. It was everything I had ever dreamed of. Finally after years of flailing and failing I had a goal, New York University.

I arrived back in London and started working on my SAT’s (the American university entrance exam). My anxiety and depression were still pretty bad so I did most of the work in bed while crying and watching Youtube videos. But after missing the first two opportunities to take the exam because I was too nervous I made it to the last one and got through all 3 hours.

I applied to NYU with my four GCSE’s, two essays begging them to let me in, some references from old teachers and an incredible recommendation from an incredible friend. Yesterday I found out I got in.

I actually sort of found out in February which is when you’re meant to find out but my offer came with some conditions. They had liked my application but it had come to their attention that I hadn’t actually been to school since I was 14 so they wanted me to take an NYU course in London over the summer just to make sure I could actually read. I had to get a B if I wanted to get in and that’s what I’ve been doing over the past six weeks. At 4 in the morning last night I found out I got 2 A’s so in 18 days I leave for New York.

I know it’s not going to be like the movies. It’s going to be scary, and dirty, and I’m going to feel like I can’t get through it. But I’m going. After 5 years of cancelling things, dropping out of schools and sitting in my bedroom crying I’m finally leaving the house. I’m very scared. But I’m also very excited. And I’m excited about this blog being full of more things that just me baking cupcakes. Although my dorm does have an oven so late night baking is definitely still going to be an option.

I will keep you updated, and who knows, it might literally all be too much and I’ll be back in London after two weeks. But I’m going to try and make it work, and if that means I cry every day of the first month I’m okay with that, I cry most days anyway so I might as well do it from New York!

I hope you’re having a wonderful week.

Scarlett.

Pretending to look studious outside NYU
Pretending to look studious outside NYU
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119 thoughts on “I’m Moving to New York…

  1. Such wonderful news & a great beacon of hope to all who have hit rock bottom that if you can just get through the next minute & then the next five & then the next 60 that there is a way out of the rabbit hole & back into the real, exciting world. Just going is success, staying would be marvellous & NYC will be what it always is a mad, thrilling ride in the biggest theme park in the world. All the best. D -x-

  2. What fabulous news, be brave and take NY by storm! I was obsessed with going there as a teenager and at 19 went there on a whim for 2 weeks. Best holiday ever 🙂 I’m 40 now;)

    1. I’m very jealous you can do things on a whim. I have to plan everything for at least a month before I can do anything! Thank you for reading my blog and your lovely comment. x

  3. Congratulations Scarlet. I hope you have a fantastic adventure. I left home for the first time when I was 16. I was so homesick, but that passes and you get used to it. I’ve never been to NYC and I ain’t seen many of them TV shows you mentioned, seen all the Woody Allen films though. Loved them. I think you have been through so much, you deserve a bit of New York Magic. So Good luck my friend.
    George.

      1. Hi Scarlet, just saw your message. I’m a bit of an absentee blogger and only visit my own blog occasionally. I have bought this domain 23 quid! so hopefully it will encourage me to write more. I hope things are going well for you in New York, just be yourself and you will shine through. I read an interview with your dad, think they are all looking forward to you coming home for Christmas. Can’t imagine Christmas without my boys.
        All the best Pal
        George

  4. Congratulations! What an inspirational story! I one day hope to get the chance to live in New York and I suppose anything can happen! Hope everything goes well for you, sounds like you really do deserve it xx

  5. It’s the best city in the world and that’s speaking as an Englishman who moved to the States. NYU is great. You’ll have a blast. If you need friends, drop me a line and I’ll get some NYC mates to take you out on the town. Well done and Best of luck. 🙂

  6. I wondered where you had been.Well done it is so difficult to focus when you feel low.Have a fantastic time you deserve it

  7. Darling girl, how wonderful!
    Life isn’t like the movies, you more than anyone will know that – but grab hold of this opportunity and gift with both hands and hang on tight. Walk round those streets and look at the brownstones, sit in Central Park and people watch, drink it all in and we’ll be beside you every step, cheering you on.
    Much, much love xx

  8. That is SO exciting! Oh my goodness – I LOVE your mum for tiaras and croissants outside Tiffany’s! *makes note to do that with own daughter one day! Feeling the fear, but doing it anyway is a GOOD thing! Good luck on your exciting new chapter x
    “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all” Helen Keller.

    1. Thank you so much! I love that quote, although I’m also a bit believer in a little normal life being just as amazing as a big exciting one. Definitely do tiaras outside Tiffany’s, although the people inside do look at you a bit funnily 🙂 xxx

  9. Oh it will be fab!
    I cried my first 2 weeks at University but just decided I would stay to Xmas then I was fine,
    New York is one of my happy places, nothing bad or sad has ever happened to me there I hope it is for you.
    Remember life isn’t like movies but movies make the rubbish bits of life better. Along with reading romantic fiction for me (when life gets sucky for me I read a Mills and Boon book a day)!

    Have you seen the Mindy Project?

    Good luck and enjoy each day when it arrives, I have a theory never plan to far ahead and you are not disappointed!
    Xx

  10. This is such awesome news! I’ve followed your blog for a while and this just seems like such a hugely brave thing to do. Totally rooting for you and can’t wait to see how you get on!

  11. How amazing! What an achievement, you will have the best time. I love NYC, everything seems possible there.
    Much love and congratulations.
    Phoebe

  12. So happy to hear this!!! I’m now considering transferring to NYU… Oh wait, I forgot… I’m definitely not dedicated enough! You go, girl! 🙂

  13. I don’t normally comment on blogs but this such wonderful news! Huge congratulations to you. I have no doubt you will have a wonderful time. Be brave and be brilliant! x

  14. Scarlet, I feel like I am reading about my 18yr old self when I read your blog. I have struggled most of my life with anxiety issues and your fearless attitude in the face of fear is a wonderfully defiant poke in the eye for those insidious bedfellows anxiety and depression. I wish I had half your courage and half your talent! I feel sure you will realise your dreams and meet the challenges you face along the way with equal amounts of grace and determination. The gift of the anxious and depressed is the wisdom they possess and if you can match that wisdom with some of the courage and persistence you seem to possess then success is your mistress. The fact it is difficult will only make everything you achieve that much more satisfying. I wish you every success in life and in New York! You seem like a remarkable young woma and I look forward to reading of your adventures in the Big Apple.

    Love from wet green ireland!

  15. Congratulations! I lived in Manhattan for about 15 years in my 20’s and early 30’s and had the most wonderful time. A million adventures were mine and a million more await you. May your adventures be as special to you are mine were to me. I met my husband there (not a requirement!) and gave birth to my first two children there. I could write a thousand volumes about my life and times in NYC. You will soon be garnering your own experiences and sealing them in your heart and mind. You will find wonderful people, great food, amazing museums, exceptional theater and anything else you could possibly imagine. I wish you great joy, an energizing learning experience, and lots of fun.

  16. Enjoy your time at NYU. It’s a great school and in my favorite area of New York City. You’re going to have a great time, I wish I was going to NYU (but I graduated college a LONG time ago-29 years). I’ve lived in New Jersey close to New York my whole life and have been there too many times to count.( I adore London too, by the way. I would move there). You are going to have the time of your life and make a lot of new friends. We Americans are very friendly people !!!!! 🙂

  17. And if you bake for your dormates, they will be thrilled. I would have been if someone I went to college with baked all the time !!!

  18. Wonderful inspiring blog. I have a son who hasn’t attended school for 2 years due to health probs and at times I do despair as to his future education plans. Reading your wise, witty words has given me such hope that once he is ‘better’ he too can succeed and accomplish his dreams too. I wish you well Scarlett in all that you do. Xx

  19. just posting to see if you get as far down your comment list as this darling. the things people have written here are as moving as your blog. i am in awe of this online community – the support and the affection is extraordinary.

  20. ps emma kennedy appears to think she is moving in with you. she can be messy, just saying.

    1. You are a weirdo mother, so is Emma Kennedy. I can’t believe how amazing people are. It makes me believe that good things exist and that I don’t have to hide any more. See you in about an hour 🙂 x

  21. Good for you! Sometimes we just have to break with the past and embrace something different to move on. You’ve got what it will take.

  22. I’m so happy and proud of you! Congratulations! You have a strength of mind, body, and will, so you already know you can do it! I’ll be starting college this fall too, just a few states away 🙂

  23. You are very brave! I am an American, and I absolutely adore New York City. I have watched many of the same shows and movies that you mentioned more times than I can count simply to feel that I am living in the city. Always something to do, someplace to walk, walk, walk, wonderful food and people of all ages and nationalities. I’ll tell you something…when I first went away to college, I cried everyday. Not because I was dealing with clinical depression, but because I felt so isolated at the college I was attending. It occurred to me recently that I really belonged at a city school, like NYU, where I could attend classes but be part of the real world, too, not just an entire population of people my age. I really didn’t fit into that scene. I wish you well and much happiness. I look forward to reading about your adventures. Good for you for breaking out!

  24. Hi there, I just stumbled about your blog post and find it really, really impressing. I’ve had the luck never to struggle with depression, at least for now. But moving to another continent at the age of 18? That would have been quite impossible for me back then, I think. Very brave, indeed! Hope you enjoy your stay in NYC as long as it may be. I’ve been there two years ago just for a week but I absolutely loved it. Well yes, it may be cold and windy (in winter), dirty, loud and fast but hey – it’s New York and it wouldn be real if it was any different 🙂

    Axel

  25. Hi Scarlett,

    I just left you a comment about NYC in the Depression Anthems section of your blog. I forgot to say that I moved from the United States to London when I was 17 and I am still here. I found it very liberating for me to move to a different country where the language was ‘nearly’ the same.

    Sorry to hear about the bedbugs. Sounds like you need a pest control expert in and a completely new mattress.

    I did read the first blog you did, and left a comment, and was then sorry to hear about your ill health recently. Just do things at your own pace.
    Best wishes!

  26. Lovely article! You definitely love New York! I am going to move there next year and I am so excited! My favorite movies and books are connected with New York somehow. I hope that I am going to be happy there!

  27. This is very touching story, the ones like this I call the movers, the stories that actually move you while you read. I personally wish you all the best and that your dreams come true.

  28. Hi Scarlett,

    (This post is still as much of a tearjerker as it was the first time I read it). Obviously a bit of a late comment so I don’t expect you to read it. However, if you do, I’m wondering how you told your parents about going to NYU and how they reacted. I’m 17 and in the process of choosing a university after a gap year, the only place that are really screaming my name are Canadian universities. I fear to tell my parents as I’m not expecting good results, if this is read i’d love to year any advice. x

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