Monday, November 14, 2011

An Ashleigh Grows in Brooklyn

view of the sunset from Ikea
 It’s official.  After 2 and a half years of waiting and longing and bitching and moaning I, Ashleigh Hill, am a New Yorker once more.  Or should I say a Brooklynite? Or a Red Hookian?  No matter how you slice it, I am back and ready for adventure.  Truthfully, Saturday was a scary day.  A month ago when I decided to move back to New York my mom decided that it was something I had to do alone; for the first time in my life, she wouldn’t be there when I moved.  I didn’t realize just how fucking big of a deal this was until Saturday morning, as I drove around Brooklyn with a lost cab driver, Googling directions to the apartment and praying to see a glimpse of something familiar.  It was scary as hell, having no idea what I was walking into, that fear that grabs your insides and makes you stop in your tracks.  As I stared at my stark room at 8 am Saturday morning, running on probably 2 hours of sleep, all I could think was, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!? I CANT DO THIS!”  I stood there for probably 5 minutes, just looking around the room and mumbling, “oh shit oh shit oh shit” under my breath.  Some tiny part of my brain, thankfully, had planned for this exact situation in the days before moving.  As soon as my bed and bedding was delivered a few days ahead of my arrival I began to run through my plan for settling in.  Item #1 was to make my bed so I could crawl into it and sleep.  In the midst of my freak out, that tiny pre-planning part of my brain started shouting, “ASHLEIGH: make. the. bed. MAKE. THE. BED.”  Pretty soon my “oh shit” chorus became a round, melding with “make the bed” and before I knew it, the bed was made, I had retrieved pjs from my enormous suitcase and was in bed.

Top: Dean and Kyle, Bottom: sights of Ikea
I woke up a few hours later with a plan.  I had spent the winding down to sleep time planning what I wanted to do with my room.  I made a list in my head.  I went over it as I slept.  When I woke up I wrote the list in my phone and set about preparing for my darlings, Dean and Kyle, to arrive for lunch and an Ikea trip.  There is no need to go into a ton of detail about this part of the day as most of it consisted of browsing the Ikea show room and laughing until my sides nearly split but needless to say we found 90% of the things on my list and brought them back to my apartment.  Here is what I will say about Dean and Kyle: these are they people you want as friends—the people who will haul their asses on a bus out to Brooklyn and spend 3 hours in Ikea with you, planning and mentally decorating your room and THEN return and set everything up.  These are the guys, the ones who stay until it is done.  The ones who, even though they are clearly tired, carefully move through the set up to make sure that everything is done correctly.  The ones who, after all is said and done, still want to go out and celebrate and don’t even get mad when you get everyone lost walking to the train.  These are the guys you want to have with you.  I am BEYOND grateful to them for all they did today (and to my new roommate, Kyla, as well, who has kept me sane the past week by working around weird mattress delivery schedules and giving me huge pieces of furniture).  I know that without these three I would have spent most of the day in my room, crying over a seemingly terrible decision.  These three, with their confidence and their caring, gave me the strength to be brave on a day when I missed my mom and dad more than anything.  And it is because of these three that I know that everything is going to be ok.  Because I know I have people in my corner, even if I’m not 100% sure where that corner is or what bus I need to take to get there.  And knowing this is half the battle.  Looking back on today, the best thing I did was to make a plan and then set out to execute it, detail by detail.  And the absolute best thing I did was chose to surround myself with people who wanted to help make that possible.

Things that are difficult might not always be fun, but they certainly help us learn in a way that nothing else can.  And sometimes these are the experiences we need, the ones that make us take a step back and make a detailed list, the ones that make us feel hyper aware, the ones that force us to take a risk.


  1. I will always be in your corner. Just like I know you're in mine. Wouldn't have it any other way.

    What an exciting time to be alive and in New York! Here's to many more adventures.

  2. How exciting/daunting/wonderul to be living in New York. I'm moving there in a year for grad school, and this pretty much encapsulates my emotions. It's both a terrifying and thrilling thought to be out on my own, half a continent away from my family. Good luck!