I can promise 2 things about this post;
1 – It’s long. Like really long. It’s 8 months overdue. And doesn’t cover everything.
2 – It’s a little incoherent but go with it. Trust me.
So, it’s been just over a year since my last official update of where we are at in our crazy life journey. As many of you know we made it to NYC on June 25th. With our suitcases and some super idealist views on being able to get an apartment in just 5 days. Which don’t get me wrong is totally possible if you have a US credit score, a US in-State NYC guarantor, earn 40x the rent. Oh yes I said 40X your rent, have full time well paying jobs (we didn’t – the job I had fell through just after we got here, yay!) US rental history, or have so much money you can put down 3months – 6months extra security or just pay the 12months rent up front. That is a LOT of money. So yeah our idealist idea of moving to NYC having our own apartment and being sorted asap fell apart at the seams.
We arrived in NYC at 635pm (NYC time, 1135pm UK time) last year without a clue what we were getting ourselves into. I mean seriously. Parker one of the Pastors at our church Liberty picked us up from JFK as our friend (basically the only person we knew in the city) couldn’t. As we are driving through some of the less ‘scenic’ areas yno those areas you don’t see on the romantic movies and TV shows but the ones you do see when they show you nothing but the bad stuff about NY on TV, yeah those ones. I remember thinking what the heck, this is so not what I thought NY was. I mean where are the skyscrapers? Why are there toddlers playing on the road?! Turns out as one of our friends recently said Brooklyn isn’t New York. It’s Brooklyn. And yep, it’s a world away from Manhattan.
We got where we were staying for our first while and exhaustedly walked about the area in search of food. We bought a $5 pizza from little Ceasers and some beef jerky. Yep that was our first meal. We fell into bed and woke up at 5am wondering what to do next. Totally alone and not knowing where to start. Throughout Friday it became painfully obvious that we weren’t gonna have anywhere to live by Tuesday. Fast forward to Monday when the girl we were staying with came home and said come sit in on community group and we did. We ended up going to stay with a girl we met in London who attended her community group. But still just over a week later we had nowhere to go, we ended up being blessed continually for like 12 weeks. During this time I got a job nannying for the most amazing family, and seriously Laleh has been the biggest support, friend and sister to me. She’s prayed for me, sympathised with me, opened her home to us and loved on us and I for one know I don’t know what I would do without her. Then I ended up working for another family as well who are also unbelievably amazing. We love the Rodriguii!
But still we had nowhere to live. I remember sitting at midnight on the street in Downtown Brooklyn trying to find a hotel telling Derek that we needed to go home. Because if this, this right here, is what God has for us here I don’t want it. I was done. Fed up of Landlords closing the door in our faces, brokers saying we were hopeless, feeling like we were living off of others. All while desperately trying to hang onto the promises God gave us before we left, desperately trying to cling to what money we had brought with us.
I remember crying even more when I knew that we couldn’t leave, don’t get me wrong, God wouldn’t have stopped us. But I know what He told us, I know the promises He gave us and I couldn’t walk away from that. Then someone who is now an amazing friend said hey wanna sublet from me for like 6 weeks? And believe me we did. We all prayed about it and felt that yes it was a good decision. It meant that I could actually shower regularly, go to work having slept more than 2 hours, we could do our laundry and know where we would sleep for 6 weeks. Yes that was about the best thing in the world. Those 6 weeks have since developed into 5months. And been such a blessing. We are still hunting for our own home and still getting doors slammed in our faces. So if anyone yno has an apartment they wish to let us rent get in touch! Seriously! We are good for paying the rent!
I’m writing this after Derek and I had a ‘discussion’ last night about what we were going to do. After yet another awful viewing. We have to find somewhere or go back to the UK. Those are our options and frankly we aren’t ready to leave just yet. We aren’t ready to leave our home. We have had some of the toughest moments of our lives over the past 8 months. I’ve had some serious arguments with God. Some serious wrestling of my faith. Some major growth in our marriage. And none of that would have happened had we not come here. Would I change it? No. Do I wish it was easier. Sometimes. Am I grateful that I’ve learned that God is always there when I don’t think He is. Yes, that when I’m sitting on a bench at night with my suitcase and asking God where He is, that He’s saying ‘I am.’
NYC is hard, way harder than I thought it would be. Way harder than I could have imagined. It’s dirty, smelly, crowded, the trains NEVER run the way they’re supposed to. Seriously London – I will never complain about TFL again. You work crazy hours, sleep less, spend more, and go just a little crazy trying to keep up. But this city is filled with some of the most amazing people in the entire world. Since we have arrived we have been loved on, cried with, supported, held, blessed and inspired more ways than I can begin to explain. The people we do life with continually blow us away. When you walk into church before christmas and get handed a christmas card to open and it contains a cheque for $1500 because the people just wanted to bless you because they know how hard it is. You realise that in a city everyone says is lifeless, cold and dark that you’ve hit the motherload of treasure. When your pastors offer to write letters to help with housing, to visit potential houses with you, when they push to find you jobs. They advocate on your behalf how great you would be. They pray for you and with you.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard being away from the UK. It’s hard when you have friends going through some of the toughest times of their lives and all you can do is say I wish I was there but I love you and I’m praying. When you don’t get to watch your favourite little person in the world Ella grow up it’s so hard. When your beautiful niece gets accepted into university and you can’t take her out to celebrate it’s hard. When your little brothers turn 18 & 21 and you can’t be there with them or afford to send gifts it breaks you a little. When you want to see your friends and do life and you can’t it just feels a little tough.
But God continually reminds me that actually it’s okay, and it’s okay to be sad about those things and miss them. But being where God has called you to be is the greatest blessing. Knowing that what I’ve said above hasn’t even touched the hem of how crazy things have been since we got here. And someday I’ll go into more details. But that will take a while. I’m excited to keep going through this journey and I’m excited to watch as God does some crazy miracles.
God brought us here, it’s tough, it’s hard, we are nowhere near where we thought we would be but there’s not a thing I would do to change it. We definitely don’t have any plans to leave soon so this is where you’ll find us until further notice. #BrooklynForEver
I’ve also thrown in a few photos of NYC just to show you some of the photos of the city we have fallen in love with. Yno since this is a photography website haha.