As buzz surrounding a certain international men’s football tournament crescendos to a frenzy, I’m finding myself thinking back on my last several World Cup cycles, during which my watching locale has been varied indeed.
- In 2010, I watched matches alongside my former co-ed soccer team with a plate of sliders on my lap and a beer in each hand.
- In 2006, I watched matches in rural China with multiple children on my lap and a dumpling in each hand.
- In 2002, I watched matches from an air-conditioned camp staff lounge with my summer crush on my lap and a gimp bracelet on each hand.
Of course, World Cup tournaments aren’t the only thing that happens every four years. From Feb. 29 and presidential elections to the Olympics and Kim Kardashian weddings, plenty of the world’s biggest events ebb into the forefront in four-year rotations.
But in my case, the biggest thing that happened four years ago wasn’t watching Spain win the World Cup – it was packing up my first New York City apartment and making the big move across the park. In summer 2010, with the vuvuzelas still ringing in our ears, I officially became an East Side resident.
At the time, the new apartment was kind of a tough sell. It was more expensive than I was targeting. It was on a fifth-floor walk-up. I was moving in with a friend of my then boyfriend who I liked, but, when it came down to it, hardly knew at all. This whole Upper East Side thing could have gone either way.
Luckily, it went the way of legends. I got named editor and the rent no longer felt prohibitive. I became a runner and the walk-up doubled as hill repeats. I spent more one-on-one time with my new roommate, and I learned we were more compatible than I ever knew flatmates could be.
We threw Halloween parties and drank wine and lived the life of Riley in that apartment all mid-20s long, but we were also there for the tough stuff, from LSAT review courses and stomach bugs to more broken hearts than four walls should see. And let’s not forget the time we both forgot to wax.
With so many fond memories, it was bittersweet packing up my room in late May as a prepared to move into what is now my third NYC home. As I filled box after box, I was reminded of all the wonderful times I had in that apartment and also of how much I changed in those four years. I went from a husky, awkward 24-year-old to the confident, fit, independent woman I am today – a transformation in which those five flights of stairs undoubtedly played a role.
But while there’s always something sad about closing a chapter in one’s life, I’m fortunately beside myself with excitement about my new place. It’s still on the Upper East Side. It’s a duplex. It has outdoor space. And I’m positively in love with my new roommate.
Just like my old apartment, I hope I leave this one in several years’ time stronger and happier and healthier (and on speaking terms with my co-tenant.)
Luckily, even after four years of self improvement, I still have plenty of room to grow, and this apartment – like my fifth-floor walk-up before it – is going to help me do that. You know why?
‘Cause it’s a sixth-floor walk-up.
So what’s new with you this summer?