Our First NYC Apartment

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the kitchen

where I slowly learned to cook better food, Salem’s hideout choice the first 2 months we adopted him, and the location of our apartment ghost.

You could say I’m somewhat of a “nomad”. I’ve lived in several different places from my childhood up until adulthood. If I were to count every single time I had to pack up my life, I would say I’ve moved a total of 12 times, most moves happening on the latter part of my life. I’ve had several different living situations, each unique than the last… but I’ve gotten used to it and it’s what helped me become adaptable over the years.

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the dining area

an extension of the kitchen, only salem ever ate here… we hardly ever did. the table doubled as an extra place to dump our stuff after coming home from somewhere.

Moving to New York was to be my 11th move. We found a spacious studio apartment in the eastern side of Queens for $1,300 in a luxury-type condo building. That’s cheap for New York standards; we had a gym, a seasonal pool, a promenade, 24/7 doormen and security, a mail room, and washer/dryer units on every floor. Again, hella cheap for NY standards. We got lucky finding our place through word of mouth, being able to rent with zero credit history, no jobs lined up, nothing. Our landlord put her faith in us and simply asked for 3 months of rent upfront and just like that we had a home. For just getting started in New York, we already hit the jackpot.

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the living room

a space we also hardly really used. the couch housed folded laundry every few weeks.

We moved into the apartment towards the end of fall, and before we knew it winter had rolled around and with it came my seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is a common mental disorder among people who live in cold climate countries, and as someone from the tropics, my seasonal depression hit me fast and hit me hard. With all the good times we had in our new space, it balanced itself out with the mental challenges brewing and festering in my head. Dealing with seasonal depression and my constant battle towards demotivation was not how I imagined or expected my first year in New York would go. And although it was quite tough going through 2018, I tried my best to embrace what was happening to me. You all know I’ve always been optimistic like that.

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gab’s work space

where he spent most of his time on his laptop, either on social media or writing his scripts.

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my work space

where most of my clutter & mess lives.

I liked our apartment. I liked how cozy it was despite it being just one big open space, how we had a balcony that we could open big sliding door to, how the bus stop to the train station was right outside the building, how we hardly ever heard our neighbors unless Apt 3J’s babies were running down the hall shouting at 9 o’clock in the morning. But eventually the coziness of it felt less and less, and instead it felt as if on most days the walls were closing in. Like I said, we loved our apartment. It’s perfect for when you’re starting out in a big expensive city like NY, but the thought of moving elsewhere was a constant visitor in both our heads. Firstly because we felt too far away from all the places we wanted to spend most time in (Manhattan/Brooklyn), and then second was because a studio apartment just felt too small for Gab and I. As creatives, we needed to live in a location that fed our creativity with inspiration. Unfortunately, the neighborhood we were at was sleepy at best.

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the bedroom

where i mostly laughed & cried throughout 2018.

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our saving grace

from the down times: the television and our fur baby salem.

Despite it all, our first apartment will forever hold a special place in both our hearts because it’s where we experienced many trials and tribulations not just with Gab and I as individuals, but us as a newly married couple learning how to run a household, budgeting properly (always still such a challenge), and even learning new things about each other after 7 years together. In our little space we shared many nights talking about our life together, our challenges with our mental health, laughing about the most stupid things, binge-watching tv shows while pigging out in bed (oftentimes a way to distract us both from some of the unhappiness we had been dealing with in certain parts of our lives — me with my depression and demotivation, Gab with his work), and most especially celebrating all the wins that came our way. It was emotional having to pack up our apartment and say goodbye to it.

You’d think after moving 11 different times throughout my entire life this one would be a piece of cake but our studio apartment was my first real apartment that I had to live in with zero support from anyone except Gab and myself. The process was an emotional one, for both me and Gab, especially because we’re such sentimental people. Unfortunately, we had outgrown it pretty quickly and not to be dramatic, but if we had stayed we would probably spiral into an abyss of unhappiness. I’ll always be thankful for this chapter of my life, and I will hold it dearly close to my heart, but one thing I’ve always been good at was knowing when it was time to pack shit up and move on… and oftentimes towards better & brighter things.

Watch our apartment tour video below: