Escaped Converts: Marianella Orlando

Our occasional check-in with the flood of recent arrivals—poor, huddled and yearning to clog our freeways.

August 4, 2015 Published in the August 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Marianella Orlando, Houstonia Custom Publications Editor

Image: Chris Skiles

Convert: Marianella Orlando

Former Religion: Philadelphia, Pa.

Occupation: Custom Publications Editor, Houstonia Magazine

Distance Traveled: 1,556 miles

Date/Location of conversion: New York City, early May; received job offer just weeks before graduating from Columbia University’s journalism school.

Memento from night of conversion: Accidentally sliced off tip of pointer finger while in throes of post-job-offer euphoria. 

First impressions: The ubiquity of the freeways, how green the city is, the “disgusting” humidity. “I’m pretty sure you can fry an egg right on my forehead, because of all the oil my face has been producing. And don’t get me started on my frizzy and unruly curls.” 

Arriving Misconceptions: 

Vegetarians starve: Several great veggie and vegan restaurants already discovered. 

No nightlife: Midtown also discovered. 

Buses are reliable: Early attempt to use the bus system soon abandoned, car purchased. 

Houstonians can drive: “The drivers here are worse than those in Jersey, and I promise you I’m not exaggerating.”

Traffic, not so bad: “The traffic in Houston may not be as terrible as NYC during rush hour, but it’s pretty close.”

But you love it, right?: Houstonians are friendly. “I love how open people are to random conversation, how they will greet you when you walk by, and how they will give you a genuine smile.” 

Except for this: “I’m an Eagles fan. Sorry.”

Our initial impressions of her, or at least what one guy told her: “You don’t sound like a Yank.”

Candid Response: “Um, thank you?”

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