Everything that I’ve Learned From My Mother, I Unlearned in New York by Fae Barandon  Friday, January 17, 2014

I was looking for some documents in an old box where I compiled my old files when I found this old specific piece of bond paper with printed words in bullets. It’s a printed copy of one of the blog posts my cousin, Fae wrote in her Multiply account before the website was turned down. It was an entry for her first year in NYC that I purposely printed so I could have something to read on as a reference in the future.



Celebrated my first year in the Big Apple (and the longest I’ve been away with my loved ones) in the company of two friends from work and a lovely stick of Marlboro ultra lights.
I really should be writing a book by now. Tiny little excerpts, snipped from the feature article I wrote for my Advanced Journalism class this semester past.
  • Color coordinated clothes are not a necessity. This is New York for cryin’ out loud!
  • Sandwiches and salads, no matter how bland, are considered lunch. This one I’ve learned to live with. I actually crave for salads more than rice now.
  • Starbucks is not a place to hangout with friends while sharing one grande frappuccino. Show some manners and go order your own drink!
  • It is not bizarre to walk across someone talking aloud to themselves. It’s called bluetooth, baby.
  • If USPS says the mail will reach its destination in five days, it will —unless Philippine Customs says otherwise. So much for paying extra for express mail. Pfft.
  • Eggs are always expected to be cooked well. Hindi uso dito ang malasado.
  • In attending a wake, proper dress code requires black. No questions asked. And viewing hours are designated and not round the clock. Even the dead needs a break too, you know.
  • Why text when calling is free? Free minutes are included in the plan so there’s no need to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome with all the keypad pressing.
  • Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are not non-working holidays, unless you go to a Catholic school. New York is not a city of one religion. So much for extended weekends like back home.
  • Malls are just meant for shopping. No cinemas, no arcades and just a few indoor restaurant choices. I never thought I’ll say this but Megamall, I miss you!
  • Why buy bootleg materials when you can rent the real deal unlimited at Blockbuster for $39.99/month? Take note: unlimited.
  • Check the weather every day. Your outfit depends on it. This is no place for summer all-year round.
  • A note to men: you cannot romp around shirtless if you’re not within the premises of your own abode. You can actually get arrested for it. Sorry, dudes.
  • Buses will only stop on designated bus stops. Re-learn how to walk. It will only come on designted hours too. Take heed of time.
  • “Dress up” translates to “wear black.” Enough said.
  • It never hurts to say “hello,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry.” And it’s not new to hear your grocery cashier say “hi, how are you,” even if it’s half-meant because she’s already been working a ten-hour shift and all that’s running inside her mind is taking of her shoes and lying in bed.
  • When the red hand on the pedestrian sign is blinking, it means run-for-you-can-still-make-it-to-the-other-end. On the mean streets of New York City , it’s not the sleek black Mercedes SLK Kompressor that’s the king, it’s the pedestrians. So drivers better have their brakes checked.
  • During subway rush, let people out first before squeezing yourself in. This is generally a rule of thumb, I just don’t get it why some people still do otherwise. It’s just freaking annoying. But hey, this is New York .
  • When in doubt with directions, pretend to be a lost tourist. A majority of New Yorkers can be pretty obnoxious but there are a lot of incredibly nice people too.
  • Curb your own dog. And pet owners are responsible for the poop too. This is one thing I like about New York . It’s poop-free! You can walk without having to look down so often and not worry stepping on something squishy.
  • Almost every crop is organic. I thought of this as being absurd, having lived a quarter of a century digesting the averagely grown vegetables and fruits. But now I’m convinced that when I  get back to good ol’ Pnaz, I’ll convert to organic —because it’s just too hip! Heeh. Seriously, organic bananas are the shit.
  • It is not a good idea to convert every purchase to peso. I did this in my first few months and it was horrible. The guilt feeling was unbelievable. “Two hundred pesos for a freaking bottle of Snapple?! What the fuck?!”
  • It is perfectly normal to be whiny in New York . Too much sugar in your coffee? Complain. Slipped because someone forgot to rake their yard free of snow? Sue. Got at work late because the bus arrived 2 minutes late? Rant. It’s always easier when there’s someone handy to take the blame.

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