Something Good #8
a dream job, social science for dummies, the sire of all the world's values
Hi, I'm Nina Iordanova and this is the 8th edition of Something Good, a newsletter designed for your 🧠, 🖐, and ❤️. Coming your way every two weeks, I hope you find something good here.
Hi everyone, and welcome to the new subscribers who joined these past two weeks! It’s so good to have you here.
I accepted a new job offer yesterday.
In a lot of ways, it’s a dream job.
I’ll be working with a friend I’ve known for the past 5 years, at a company that’s doing some really cool work. That company’s also based in New York City, a city I’ve wanted to live in ever since I spent a summer there in university. The choice is mine to move there once the job starts.
I was in New York for a 3-month internship with my best friend. We’d both landed a job at the same small consulting firm and were living crammed into a tiny studio apartment in Greenwich Village. We’d rented it off Craigslist from an astrophysicist who was going to install his work in a subway system somewhere in China, and were living one floor above Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth. We spent our first few days figuring out how many hot dogs our below-minimum-wage US dollar salaries could buy from the local organic hot dog stand.
We spent our summer catching free movie screenings in Bryant Park, walking for an hour and a half from where we lived to Central Park and back again so we could explore the city, and picking the free days to go explore MoMa and the Museum of Natural History so we could save some money.
On my best friend’s birthday, we splurged on a fancy raw vegan restaurant for dinner and were so impressed that we decided to go raw vegan ourselves for 2 horrible days after (spoiler alert: the restaurant was much better, and we ended our raw vegan trial with a trip to McDonald’s for all the French fries and burgers we could carry). That same night, we went to see a then-unknown band called Icona Pop in a tiny bar in Brooklyn (they’d go on to become one of my favourite bands and give me my most hipster “Oh yeah, I saw them before they were big” moments).
We spent a lot of Fridays going to Sephora to get new perfume samples, then going out dancing in tiny underground bars or at fancy clubs at the Dream Hotel and 1 Oak. We thought we were really hot shit because we always got let in without having to line up. Turns out clubbing in New York does not start at 11 PM, but we didn’t know that then and just lived off the high.
I remember so many things from those 3 months in New York.
It lives as the city of my dreams in my memories, and it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to try living.
I grabbed brunch with my mom yesterday and told her the good news.
She said she was happy for me but that she’d miss me.
As we ate our Thai curry in the park, she went on to say, “You know what your grandma said to me many years ago, after we left Bulgaria? She said your grandpa gave up when I left.”
“But he has two grandchildren living with him now and he loves them a lot, right? Don’t grandparents love their grandchildren more anyway?”
“Yeah,” she said, and left it at that.
It’s made me consider what’s most important to me right now.
I’m 30 years old, which feels both young and old. I want to start a family soon, and I want to be around my own parents as much as I can. I think of what they gave up when they left their families in Bulgaria, and what they hoped to gain both for themselves and us in starting a new life in Toronto. And I wonder if that’s something I can walk away from, just because I like New York.
Thank you to everyone who filled out my survey to help me build Something Good! (If you haven’t done it yet but kept meaning to, YES I would still love to hear from you!)
This caught my eye
🏴☠️ The comeback of the sea shanty. Do you love sea shanties? You will by the end of these TikTok videos. Check out how one Scottish postman’s sea shanty inspired some legendary interpretations. 🎵 There once was a ship that put to sea, the name of the ship was the Billy of Tea… 🎵
🤯 Social science for dummies. Ever looked at the systems in our lives (families, government, education, the economy) and wondered how they came to be? My best friend Niloo just launched a newsletter called How Does It Work?, exploring exactly that! Come learn about all the pieces that make up our world and how they actually work, in a way that’s fun and easy to understand.
✏️ Forget everything you know about being a good writer. If the reason you write is to change how people think about the world, go watch this. Yes, it’s a lecture, but when was the last time you had a teacher who was this passionate about their field? Make some tea, grab some biscuits, and come be a student again.
🦢 The pressure to be exceptional. A good read about young adulthood and the pressure to be extraordinary. “We act like moving away for fresh start after fresh start — without family or community — is the bat signal for solid development and independence. For some people, that may be. But wanting community, a routine, to feel safe and comfortable, isn’t a failure or leaving the party of exploration early.”
Things my mother taught me
I was joking around with my mom on Easter about how Bulgarian food is largely based around flour, eggs, butter, cheese, and yogourt, and how all our food is a variation of those 5 ingredients in different quantities.
“We didn’t have much variety back then, so you just worked with what you had. And so everything is very simple, there isn’t much fancy food,” she said.
I thought there was something very sweet about that. That things can be simple and still special.
“Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values. What but the wolf’s tooth whittled so fine the fleet limbs of the antelope? What but fear winged the birds, and hunger jeweled with such eyes the great goshawk’s head? Violence has been the sire of all the world’s values.”
- Robinson Jeffers
If you’re wondering who’s behind this newsletter:
My name is Nina Iordanova. I’m a writer, community builder, and co-founder of Good People. My mission is to create more ways to make us feel like we belong - to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us.
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Thanks for reading and I'll see you in two weeks! 👋