It feels so odd that about five years ago, I wrote a life update about my move to New York City. I did have six months to fully prepare and get all the paperwork sorted. And once I got to the Big Apple, it took me about three months before it sunk in: I was living in New York City. My Gossip Girl moment was just ahead of me. I was about to have a once in a lifetime experience.
Life update: We’re leaving New York City
And despite a lot of life altering world events, so I did! I lived in New York City through the COVID pandemic, stay-at-home orders, a lockdown, travel restrictions and the reopening of everything. I remember experiencing working from home full-time, brunching outdoors by 10°C (or with snow on the ground) because indoor dining was still unauthorized after the lockdown ended, dealing with the immigration administration while everything was backed up and so very stressful.
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Those four and a half years in New York City were also my first – and I hope only – brush with (the worst of) corporate America. My first job was at a startup with a very entrepreneurial owner who did not believe in work from home. My second job – which I mention in another life update – was at a medium-size company that still believes itself to be a startup (it is not) and also does not believe in work from home. All in all, it was quite a unique and interesting experience, not without its consequences. I may write about it later, but not sure yet.
In addition, COVID and the subsequent administrative consequences of the pandemic did impact my experience in New York City. While my DS-2019 was valid for 5 years, my spouse visa J-2 was not and the only way to get it renewed was to do so at a US embassy. With travel restrictions and Europeans travelers not being allowed into the US for the longest time, and then with long embassy wait times, you understand how that became a bit tricky. And so, it was simply easier to just stay in the US as is, and travel within the country. The hardest part was not being able to see my family back home. Last time I was home was in May 2019.
RELATED – Moving to New York City: a year on.
However, New York City was also an amazing experience. This is a city full of energy, so diverse, with some much to do and see. There is always something happening, the city is always buzzing. I have loved exploring Manhattan, trying out tons of new restaurants, bars and cafés. It has been amazing meeting so many new people from everywhere, making new friends, seeing new things. It’s been great fun to travel the US, and see unique places like Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, San Diego.
Where we’re going next…
May 1st 2019 is when I moved to New York City. It feels so far away and almost surreal. And four years and a half later, I am both excited for what’s to come and a bit sad. Sad because I am leaving NYC. There is a lot of great takeaways from my stay here and even the not-so positive experiences have some great silver-linings! It was a life-changing experience full of important lessons. But I am also very excited because…
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…we are moving back to Scotland. On November 29th, my husband and I are leaving New York City permanently. As we are packing up shop in the US, we are preparing for our next move: Edinburgh. We will spend December between France and Germany, mostly staying at my parents, and visiting my husband’s family in Heidelberg. After New Year’s Eve in Paris, we will be heading to Edinburgh where my husband is starting a new job on February 1st 2024.
It’s fun how he started his job in New York City on February 1st 2019 and the next one also starts on that same day. We will be back in NYC of course, to visit friends or for work. There is a lot to do before we can settle down in Scotland. Finding an apartment, a new job, getting all our paperwork done, sorting our visa, but we are super excited with this new adventure and fresh start!
RELATED – My favorite foodie places in Edinburgh.
I can wait to be home and celebrate Christmas with my family for the first time since December 2018. And then moving up to Edinburgh, back where I went to university, where I met my husband and where we got married!! So yes, there you go with this pretty big life update. We’re crossing an ocean… again!
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See you soon,