MZUNGU GIRL: Oh hey, concrete jungle…

Current Tunes: What Do I Know?, Ed Sheeran

MZUNGU. This is my favorite Swahili word of all time (sorta pronounced muh-zoong-oo). In Kenya I would often be called mzungu, usually in whispers from surrounding children but other times straight to my face as it is generally used for a person of European or foreign descent in Kenya (and in my experience, basically anyone with lighter skin). Kind of reminds me of the Spanish “gringo” of Kenyan culture. But I was told the word actually originates from the Swahili word zungu, which roughly translates to “spinning around from place to place” and adding the letter “m” at the beginning gives it ownership to a person who roams around aimlessly. So besides the fact that it’s just fun to pronounce out loud (I dare ya to give it a try, rolls off the tongue nicely) my wandering heart and nomadic lifestyle just resonate with the deeper meaning of this word. Even when I am physically sitting still, I often feel like my thoughts are spinning with my brain just sort silently whirring. I guess I truly am a mzungu to my very core.


And after four glorious family filled weeks in California, I’ve launched into assignment numero cinco…on Saturday I flew from California to Pennsylvania since my aunt graciously let me store my Jeep filled with my whole life in her shed while I was gone in Africa/California and from there I drove to New York. Homegirl is officially living in the BIG CITY! As in underground hot sticky subways, shoulder to shoulder shuffling, corner stand hot dog stands, and a wicked skyline that won’t quit city. To say I’m excited is an understatement but underneath that excitement lives a thin, healthy layer of anxiety and uncertainty. I keep picturing myself as a sweaty hot mess express that somehow managed to take the wrong line and end up late to work or as a lost puppy that has accidentally roamed into some questionable neighborhood that could be the setting of a Law and Order SVU episode. For someone that travels as much as I do, my sense of direction is pretty abysmal and if direction dyslexia was a thing, I’m sure I would have it. Which makes me all the more thankful to be reunited with my dear friend and old travel nurse partner, Kaitlin. We last traveled together a year ago with a six month stent on the West Coast’s version of the city in San Francisco. And on Thursday together we will start a new adventure at one of the premier cancer centers in the country in the oncology/surgical ICU of Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan. It all just sort of feels surreal. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would live in New York, New York.  Well not before before I made one of the scariest and best decisions of my life when I took the leap and began travel nursing two years ago.

So what’s a girl to do in NYC in the summer? Ummm, I’m sort of hoping everything. Definitely a lot of walking. Today I used Uber twice and the subway yet still managed to rack up 15, 000 steps. While we might do a few touristy things, for the most part we plan to steer clear of tourist death traps like Times Square. I really want to see the city from a local’s eyes and seek out the hidden gems. Maybe I’ll rent a bike and go on a graffiti tour, devote a whole day on a quest for the best bagel in Brooklyn, or seek out the funky events I know NYC would have to offer like being a part of a crowd that breaks some sort of world record. I do know one activity that will be on my weekly to-do list… Eat. My. Face. Off.

If you are at all intrigued by food bloggers or Insta Food Porn, click here to check out @OneHungryJew. Just looking at her posts make my mouth water and heart skip a beat.

I also hope to catch a few outdoor concerts, eat some cracker jacks at some ballgames, and get lost in each of the boroughs. For my West Coasters, the Big Apple is broken down into five boroughs (basically five smaller cities) which include Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. While my workplace is in Manhattan, Kaitlin and I landed an Airbnb Sublet in one of the up and coming neighborhoods of Brooklyn in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area. I also learned my neighborhood is often home to many television sets like Girls, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Master of None. Hoping for a celeb sighting or two…Aziz, hollatyagirrrrl! And guys I am just gaga over this loft duplex apartment.

The building itself used to be an old factory that was recently renovated into furnished short term rental apartments. The real exposed brick, dreamy embroidered rug, and loft ladder to the second bed got me looking like the heart eyes emoji. Plus the AC is included in the rent which is a BFD since y’all know I sweat buckets and this East Coast summer humidity is going to come at me with no mercy.

Can’t believe this time last year I was gearing up to move to Boston. Good gravy, sometimes I am just so overwhelmed with God’s countless blessings and the opportunities I have been given to see and meet His people in all forms, across so many different locations. Speaking of which, if anyone has any church recommendations in this city, drop me a line please. 

Hope everyone is prepping for some fun summer vacay plans! Just got home from a Mets game at Citi Field in Queens and I could definitely get used to this city life :]

Cheers and keep on wishing!

Miriam

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