One New Yorker’s guide to the cheerios and peanut butter diet

 

Hey friends!

Remember how I used to live in NYC?

For today’s “Memory Monday,” I figured I’d tell you a little bit about that time a million years ago when I was a New Yorker.

After graduating from college, I started a paid internship in Times Square with Edelman PR firm. Having recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Biology, I had plenty of science courses under my belt, but zero training in PR. I remember literally googling “what is public relations”…lol!

My first NY apartment was a small [read: microscopic] place in Queen. My then-boyfriend-now-husband, Joel, and I rented a small truck, packed it with my stuff, and drove from Pennsylvania to New York.

After we unloaded and returned the truck, we decided to eat at one of the neighborhood restaurants. I remember that despite our boisterous server, I was feeling very sad that day. We were saying our goodbyes. You see, Joel had accepted a job in Texas, and it would be a while before we saw each other again. Texas never felt so far away.

My internship started the very next day. It was fun meeting the other interns and learning more about PR. There were lots of intern lunches and happy hours, and we all bonded quickly. The hardest part about that internship was knowing it was temporary. All of us interns were hopeful to be hired on at Edelman full time, but only 1 or 2 received the honor. I wasn’t one of them.

When my internship ended, I started a PR job at Rx Mosaic Health in the Grand Central area. By this time, I had moved to a studio apartment on Staten Island. The commute from Staten Island was longer, but the cheaper spacious living arrangement enabled me to save a bit more money.

My commute from Staten Island to Manhattan involved the train, ferry, and subway. It took 2 hours each way. While it was fine for a short while, I can honestly say it would take very desperate times indeed before I would ever willingly sign up for such a commute again. I can think of better ways to spend 4 hours every day than to sit in New York transit. :)

One of the things I never quite figured out was the food situation. Staten Island, at least the part where I lived, is not very pedestrian-friendly. The closest grocery store was over a mile away and sidewalks were not consistently present. It was actually easier to go to a corner mart in the city after work. This meant carrying groceries for 2 hours during the journey home.

I didn’t buy things like milk because I worried about it spoiling or “getting gross” in a hot subway/train. Plus, it’s quite heavy. I also didn’t buy much in the way of food I’d have to cook, because I didn’t own pots, pans, or even plates/utensils with which to prepare or eat it with. The only edible items I kept in the apartment were cheerios and peanut butter, both of which I consumed with a plastic spoon.

If you think I was woefully unprepared for living alone, you my friend are correct.

Now that I’m in my mid-30’s I cannot help but shake my head when I think about that time of my life. I still don’t know how I survived on cheerios and peanut butter!? Goodness, young Dawn, what were you thinking.

Despite that, I made a few friends on Staten Island, two of whom were Lily and Deena (not their real names). The 3 of us hung out almost every weekend. One weekend, Deena thought it would be fun to paint the walls in my apartment. I eagerly agreed. Yes!

True to my naivete, I had never painted walls before, and didn’t realize what a task it could be. But we were in good spirits, and of course, with the right combination of youth, hard cider, and free time, something was going to get painted…it might as well be the walls.

Deena was the only one of the 3 of us to have her own car, and she drove us to the nearest Home Depot. We browsed paint swatches for a long while, selecting several shades of red that we collectively approved.

Side note: Why we decided on a red that was the exact color of blood is beyond me.

Side side note: I’ve seen red walls in various settings over the years, and willingly acquiesce that red can be beautiful. However (spoiler alert), it was decidedly not beautiful on my studio apartment’s walls, and instead leaned more towards the “murder scene” end of the spectrum.

The entire task of painting walls was far more expensive and time consuming than my 21-year-old self imagined. We needed several cans of paint, paint brushes, paint rollers, paint trays, painting tape… before I knew it, I had spent more than I expected. But it was too late to turn back now, and those walls weren’t going to paint themselves!

The job took the 3 of us the entire weekend and a few hard ciders to complete. By the time we were done, we were each peppered with gory-looking red spots, and thoroughly sick of painting. My white shorts (who wears white shorts when dealing with red paint!?) looked like I had been in a fight and barely escaped with my life.

The walls could have done with another coat, as the red was slightly streaky in some areas. But we couldn’t bear the thought of buying another can of paint and doing more painting.

But I’d have to say, overall if the lights were dimmed, the walls looked…decent. It wasn’t the worst paint-job in the world, or maybe it was, I don’t know. :) The ceiling and floor did not escape the carnage –> due to hasty rolling, there were red spots speckling the ceiling and floor…a scene somewhat bloody for my taste.

All in all, I’d say that my stint in NYC was a real eye-opener. It was a lot of fun, but also a little bit of a disaster. I learned a lot in that time! And have done a lot more growing up since. Oh, and I still do like cheerios and peanut butter, but prefer not to eat either of them anywhere NEAR as a frequently as when I was a New Yorker.

Have you ever been to New York City? What’s one thing your younger self did that makes you cringe? 

25 thoughts on “One New Yorker’s guide to the cheerios and peanut butter diet

  1. Hello! Yes! I took my kids in December and my sister in law lives in NYC with her husband. We didn’t realize how complicated the Subway would be with a giant double stroller!! Lesson learned!

  2. I have never lived in NYC but I live about an hour away in New Jersey so I’m close. The prices of apartments and then the size you get is absolutely crazy to me, so expensive! I still basically live on a peanut butter diet because it’s just so good hehe.

  3. I’ve been to NYC many times since I grew up about an hour away . . . it’s too much for me. Too many people. Too much noise. Just too much. Of course, I feel the same way about most cities.

    I have Cheerios and Peanut Butter in the pantry. :D

  4. Hilariously endearing – I’ve definitely lived that cheerios + PB diet throughout the college years! I just read this Buzzfeed post about apartments in NYC and the insane rent, I commend anyone who can live in such small space and pay such high rent to work in the big apple!

    1. Lol! Glad I’m not the only one who has lived that “cheerios & PB” life 😂 yes those nyc apts are teeeenie!!

  5. I’m laughing so hard reading this as I also lived in Staten Island for many years and commuted daily into Brooklyn!! I understand the struggle the the Staten Island commuter. I have since moved into Brooklyn (that commute is no joke, nor is the toll!). Great post! Two of my favorite things: cherrios and peanut butter!

  6. New York is on my bucket list of to do items before I go home in December, planning on the first week of December so I can see the Rockerfella center lit up.
    I commuted 2 hours each way per day when I worked in Chicago, 4 hours a day for 8 years, it was brutal!!

  7. I loved this post! I related to it on so many levels… hahaha. My first weekend in my first apartment in the city (Portland, OR) I was basically paralyzed with anxiety. It seems so silly now, but doing stuff like that alone for the first time can be scary!

    I’m also in marketing and PR and would love to know how you made the jump from biology and sciences to an Edelman internship. That’s so cool!

  8. Sounds like you learned a lot and had a lot of fun during those years. You seem to have blossomed into an amazing woman who is confident in who she is and what she wants in life. Best of luck to you in all your future adventures!

    1. this is so sweet, thank you Nina! I appreciate your lovely compliment. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read, I hope you have an amazing day!

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