Friday, January 27, 2012

Howdy! (I’m supposed to say that, right?)

I’m Kirsten. I’m 20 and in my third year at New York University, and this is my blog about a small-town Texan living in the Big Apple. And when I say small, I mean $400-a-month-apartment-in-Brooklyn small.

That's me. See? Some of us actually do have big hair in Texas. 

I tell most people that I’m from a city called Wichita Falls, which is only kind of true. I went to school—all 13 years of it—in a nearby town called Holliday. Along with me, only 1, 632 people call Holliday home (so says Wikipedia). That still seems like too many people to me. Let me give you some more accurate statistics. There were 51 people in my graduating class, and the class that graduated a year before mine had about 80, and that felt bigger than Texas itself. I was one of five or six people from my class going out-of-state for college—and I went to the place that is the literal opposite of my hometown.

Here are the top 3 questions I am asked by people in my hometown about living in New York:
1) Why NYU/why New York?
NYU has a spectacular creative writing program, which is what drew me in initially. I’m now a student at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, a unique and fantastic program that’s allowed me to pursue my weirdly specific interests and get a degree in them. As for New York: it’s true what they say. It’s the greatest city in the world. It’s a concrete jungle where dreams are made up, etc etc. I have gotten to do so many things I would have never experienced.

2) Do you like it?
I love New York. (Well, most of the time. I don’t really love New York when I’m trudging home in the pouring rain because I can’t afford to refill my MetroCard and out of nowhere it smells like human feces, but other than that, yeah, I love it.) But it’ll never beat Texas.

3) Didn’t you transfer back home?
No. No, random person I graduated from high school with, I didn’t. I sure as hell got close, though. My freshman year at NYU was really, really hard. Which is why I didn’t start my blog then, even though it seems like it would make a lot more sense to do that—y'know, chronicle my experience from the beginning. The whole thing probably would have been pretty depressing. Not that I was miserable 100% of the time, but I did spend a lot of nights ordering in Chinese food and throwing myself pity parties.

One last thing you might be wondering: Why am I calling myself Little Bitty in the City?
The idea came to me while listening to a song from my childhood—Alan Jackson’s “Little Bitty.” I don’t really listen to country music anymore, but when I was younger, I would belt my little heart out with more twang than Brooks and Dunn combined.

Cuuuuuute mullet, Alan.

You might have noticed the chorus: It’s alright / To be little bitty / Little hometown or a big ol’ city. Appropriate to my life, right? I moved from a little hometown to a big ol’ city. And when I moved to New York I felt, well, little bitty. I was all alone among 8 million people, and I wasn’t a car ride away from my mama like all my friends. I was incredibly homesick and missed everything about Holliday—my family, my friends, my boyfriend, the Dairy Queen, and even Friday night football (something I HATED in high school). And it seemed like I was the only NYU freshman feeling this way. I wanted so badly to quit and to give up on my dream, to say Hey! I gave it a good run, but it wasn’t for me. But the thought of chickening out on living in the greatest city in the world made me feel little bitty. Being alone in the city made me feel little bitty, too, but I knew giving up on the dream I had since I was 12 would make me feel even bittier. So I forced myself to smile and trudge on, and as it turns out, I learned that life does go on for a little bitty while.