first new york city apartment tour (+ tribute to gus)

Gussie moves out on Saturday.

I'm writing this post in tribute to her and this incredible year we spent in 1C.

I've never talked about this publicly, but I was severely bullied by my roommates during my freshman year of college. I'm sure they were all coping with their own things and are better people a year later (in fact, I'm friends with one of them now and we've been through a lot together), but it was quite a tough time for me. I spent many hours crying outside the dorms on the phone to my parents because of dumb notes, snapchats, and things said to me meant to make me feel small and powerless. Not to say I was a perfect roommate (I definitely left dishes in the sink way more than I should have!), but I hope no one else ever has to experience the way I was treated.

By December, I had basically hit rock bottom. While the Instagram photos I posted of my adventures around the city told one story, when I came home it was a completely different one. The one glimmer of hope I had was finding an apartment. I saw that as my simple solution and way out.

I knew that I wanted to live on the Upper West Side after one morning that fall. I was headed to a taping of Live with Kelly. I remember getting off the subway and feeling like I was in another world from Chelsea. It was quiet, clean, everyone was in suits and no one talked to me! It was pure bliss compared to being harassed by people and bad smells the minute I left my door in Chelsea. I knew immediately that I had to live near there.

I began looking up apartments within that area and found some to tour with my Dad, hoping to move out in the middle of the year. We toured a few when he came to visit in November, and I remember having brunch in a nearby café with him and bawling my eyes out when he told me I should just stick it out the rest of the year. I vowed to try as hard as I possibly could spring semester to meet amazing people and continue on my positivity journey.

Have you ever been in someone's presence and felt an instant pull to them? I swear that all of the lasting people in my life whom I love so much have had that effect on me. The minute I was in a class with Jordan, I knew we would eventually be together. The minute I met Morgan, I knew we would be best friends.

I had a class with Gussie fall of freshman year and she sat behind me. We never spoke, but her comments to the class always made me smile and I knew I wanted to be her friend. Apparently this is not unique because from firsthand experience, people are drawn to her!! It's the most insane thing I've ever seen. People come up to her on the street and ask her questions/compliment her all. the time. Her aura is just something else.

 look at this TREASURE! no filter!!!!! perfect night.

look at this TREASURE! no filter!!!!! perfect night.

By the end of fall semester, my self-esteem was very low. I typically would've introduced myself to her like I do to anyone I want to befriend, but I was feeling more down than ever due to the circumstances of my life.

On one of the last days of class, Gussie overheard me mentioning the Anthropologie holiday party and piped up that she also worked there, just at a different location. 

It was like angels sang from the heavens. We exchanged numbers, and I texted her to see if she wanted to get coffee with me before a class we shared next semester. She said yes!

We had little meet-ups like that here and there and were casual friends. Until one night in March when I had one ticket to a concert in Williamsburg and absolutely no one to go with. I frantically texted Gus to see if she was free, and she was! 

That night we danced a lot and both remarked at how refreshing it was. I think both of our New York City experiences were not what we thought they were going to be at that time, and that night is when we saw the potential for what it could be. We got ice cream after the concert and hung out the next morning even! 

I don't think we had really figured out if we wanted to live together for real, but then we went to see Jordan's cousin's apartment that she was leaving in the East Village. We became obsessed with it and decided we would live in it, whatever it took! Laughing now because it was WAY out of budget and we were so naive then. 

After that didn't work out, we decided to get a broker and find our own spot (in budget!). Luckily Gussie lives in New Jersey and could easily come look at places throughout the summer. She somehow came in probably four separate times to see places in the 90 degree heat, 98% of which were like 5th floor walkups. A REAL LIFE SAINT.

Our application fell through for one of the apartments, and we hadn't seen any more that felt like home. We were pretty restricted to Yorkville on the Upper East Side, guaranteeing us a 45 minute commute to school. We had all but given up when one unique little spot opened up on the Upper West, just blocks from the apartment I toured with my dad.

It felt like absolute fate. We signed the lease August 1st and I moved in soon after. It was home!!!

 from the ONE time we went on our rooftop because we're pretty sure it's not allowed.

from the ONE time we went on our rooftop because we're pretty sure it's not allowed.

A lot of times I think it's easy to be friends with someone, but not easy to be roommates. Luckily in our case, we are great as both. We both have our own strengths and preferences and know each other so well that we don't bicker about the little stuff (or really anything). 

We have been through about a million things this year. I feel like I went from being a child to an adult in this apartment. 

We dealt with a couple of weeks in 90 degree heat without an air conditioner. We found an air conditioner on the street, dragged it up to the apartment, and it miraculously works to this day. We built IKEA furniture together (kinda!!!). We waited for 5 hours for the Wifi man to come, and he finally arrived WAY after that. We went on the roof of the damn building because he needed our help!

We dealt with way, way too many waterbugs. I've got this under control now and consider myself a part-time exterminator at this point. We even dealt with a few mice (and some dead ones), which we had the sense to have other people clean up because that was bananas. One night we had a mouse in the middle of the night and I set up a trail of cheese to the front door and it ACTUALLY WORKED.

We dealt with our psychotic downstairs neighbors who shall not be named. We dealt with dropping a shaving cream can out the window on accident. We dealt with being sworn at by a grown man and an unwarranted noise complaint! We dealt with them banging on their ceiling at us. God, they're the worst.

 when we first moved in lol

when we first moved in lol

We dealt with ceiling paint peeling off and that one week where we thought we had mold and were gonna die. We dealt with calling the landlady a hundred times. We dealt with weird smells, clogged drains, and that night where you fell into the bathtub but lied and told me you threw your shoe in (amazing). We dealt with the laundromat never ever doing anything right and ruining all of our underwear.

We dealt with a million job interviews, idiotic boys, cooking mishaps, friend problems, and wardrobe crises. We cleaned out our closets probably 80 separate times... We even traded shirts once which was the most sisterly moment I've ever had (neither of us even have sisters!!!!). 

100% of the people who walked into this apartment said "wow." as their first reaction. Obviously because it's oddly spacious and charming, but I'd like to think also because they can feel the energy and all of the amazing experiences we've had in these four walls.

You're headed off to a big fancy building in FiDi, and I'm headed off to Italy for awhile. But you're the closest thing I have to a sister, and I wouldn't trade this year for anything. 

Peace, love, and Magnolia banana pudding,

Em