On Being A Newbie
I have a friend who arrived in New York last week from Seoul because she was transferred here by her company. I had assumed she knew a lot of people in Manhattan because she had lived here before, albeit many years ago. It took me a week to look her up and meet with her for dinner.
"So, what have you been doing? Partying away?" I asked. She is well known for being a party girl. But she shrugged.
"I've been looking at four or five apartments every day," she said.
"And...my boss from Seoul came here on a business trip, so I had dinner with him a couple of times. And met up with this one guy I used to work with."
"That's it?" I hadn't expected that sort of answer. So I made plans with her to have dinner again, soon.
"So are you going to look after every person who randomly turns up here without knowing anyone else?" M. asked yesterday as we drove to dinner.
"Well, you can't just leave them alone," I said. "Besides, what's so different between her and me? I came here without knowing hardly anyone."
"You're not in the same position as her. You have me," M. said.
"It's the same thing."
"No it's not."
"It's the same thing. I still hardly know anyone. I have some friends now, yes, but it's going to take more time to make more friends. And it'll be the same with her, you know. Soon she'll have tonnes of friends of her own."
"You're not in the same position," M. said. But we are, in a way. Just as I struggled to get used to the subway, understand what topics people talk about, walk around the different areas of Manhattan without losing my sense of north and south, she will struggle to find her place here. I know I am still working out where I fit in. Hopefully, in time, I won't have to wonder whether I am so very different from the tourists in Times Square.