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In June 2010, I told my friend Angela that her tireless enthusiasm was a true source of inspiration. We had spent the last month hanging out at our friend, Lola’s house in the south of France and had many heavy late-night conversations as a result of spending all our time together. Angela got excited by just about everything from zoo fish to the Cannes film festival, and Lola and I were astounded by her spirit, which we’d assumed resulted from a drama-free life.

Angela and I were geeky tourists in France and flashed the peace sign in photos!

As I quickly learned, Angela had led anything but a comfortable existence. Growing up in Guam, she was accustomed to losing power for months on end several times a year. Food was expensive (milk cost around $6 a gallon), so she ate on a tight budget. She also bathed by dumping a bucket of cold water on her body. I couldn’t imagine anything more disgusting than a bucket shower.

Well, I experienced something similar today. I hadn’t had time to shower in three days (NOTE:  this is a rarity for me), and by the time I hopped into the bath to clean up last night at 1:00 a.m., the handle had broken, leaving me dirty, sticky, and reeking of body sweat. Come morning, my hair was oily as ever, so I filled up a pot of hot water and dumped it over my head. Though I rubbed in some conditioner and shampoo, I went to work with a nasty mane and even more disgusting skin.

When I complained about this at the office, colleague Amanda laughed and said, “Welcome to New York, where nothing works!”

Amanda, who moved to NYC three years ago, knows firsthand how overwhelming and impossible the relocation can seem. She warned me about this yesterday and said everyone gets screwed over during their first few months in the city. One of these nights, she said, I’ll be crying in the rain and unable to flag down a taxi. Furniture may never arrive, household appliances will break, and the plumbing system will fail.

Though there’s nothing more stressful than feeling out of control in one’s own home, I’m ready for the upcoming disasters, especially now that I’m showered (we fixed it!) and well fed. The sooner I can bypass all the moving of the next few weeks, however, the better. November 21, get here now please.

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