Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm probably the worst blogger ever

I don't forget I have a blog, per se, I just forget to write frequently. And time flies by so darn quickly. I feel like I just posted, but almost 2 weeks have passed. So here's an update:

I got a full-time job! Yay. I will be an admin at an Architecture and Interior Design firm. While this job isn't the reason I moved here, it will allow me to stay in NYC as I continue to work with World Vision. There is potential WV trip to Ethiopia in February (more on that as details progress) and I am also getting to take some photos at the New York City marathon for World Vision this Sunday!

This last weekend I went up to Mass. to visit my family. My grandmother goes back to England before Thanksgiving and I wanted to take some time before my full-time job starts to see her. She's really cool, you guys! She has traveled all over the place, worked in Switzerland for a few weeks and worked for the Foreign Office after WWII helping transcribe pieces of the Treaty of Rome that went to the Queen and the Prime Minister! She comes to America twice a year, and always regales us with stories from when she was younger. I hope when I'm her age I'm that sassy, active and wonderful. Just FYI, I love you, Grandma :) Never stop having adventures.

Speaking of adventures, two sets of my friends in Raleigh got engaged this weekend! Yay to Jillian & Manny and Quanah & Anna Beth for the new adventure of marriage you will be embarking on.
I was thinking about all the weddings I've had the privilege of being invited to this year- despite the fact I haven't been able to make them all, I'm so honored to have been a part of so many wonderful couples' lives. Kicking off the year of weddings in February was Lauren Elizabeth & Jacob, Kimberly & Austin, Jennifer & Justin, Paige & Aaron, Elizabeth & Josh, Ashley & Jonathan, this weekend Melia & Brian and in December Katherine & Brad. You're all fabulous! (Did I forget anyone's wedding? I'm so sorry if I did!)

Also, Brittany, her sister Bree, and their friend Taylor will be here in 10 days. I can't wait to take y'all to some of these places I've found :-D

Well, this post turned into more random rambling than actually writing about NYC, so here is a New York related thing I'll throw in, just to make me feel like I'm actually living up to the name in the web address:

Tomorrow after work, my plan is to visit Warby Parker's store! Yay. I need some new glasses, because I realized the ones I wear now I've had since HIGH SCHOOL (yes, I finally upgraded from those horribly huge ones I had in middle school - although I would like to observe that those obscene glasses are back and are cool now. Hipsters....). WP has two stores in Manhattan so I'm going to check them out. I'll post pictures!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I know I posted this on my facebook page already, but it is worth sharing again:

This may help some of you understand why I love living in this city so much. Humans of New York
Maybe one day I'll get photographed :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Stories from the Subway

Ah, the subway. My primary mode of transportation (along with my feet) these days. Several things must fall into place on a daily basis in order for me to arrive on time. Now I've never been nominated for any punctuality awards, but I could always make up for running late by driving a little faster, or maybe running a red light (haha!) and I always knew the approximate time it would take to get from point A to point B. Now it's pretty much out of my control, and I just have to sit back and go with the flow. It is an exhilarating, exhausting, fun and stressful experience. I have compiled some stories from the subway (or train) for you.

1. Weekends suck when it comes to public transit. It seems a line or several is always shut down for maintenance or something like that. This weekend (and next) the 4 line that runs by my house and takes me directly into Manhattan was shut between my house and Yankee Stadium. Which meant finding an alternate route. Which was significantly slower. And it took me an hour and a half to get to church. I feel like I'm always late these days, and there's nothing I can do about it.

2. I heard a horror story from my friend about being stuck in an unmoving train last weekend. There is no cell phone service underground, so thousands of people were literally crammed into these cars, unmoving, unable to escape, and unable to communicate with the outside world. Apparently a track was broken, and they couldn't go forward. They were able to get off eventually when a rescue train came and pulled up behind them. They filed out in a line out the back of the first train into the rescue train and went back to the station they just left. Two hours. TWO hours! I don't know how I'd not have to go to the bathroom in a 2 hour time period.

3. A couple of weeks ago I boarded a train that was really crowded and I was unable to find a bar to hold on to. The train lurched forward quickly and since I wasn't holding on to anything I fell backwards. I fell into the man behind me, but I reached my arm out to catch myself and ended up knocking him in the stomach and falling back into him. Awkward....

4. Another time I found myself wedged into a corner with my back to the emergency exit door, a person seated on my left and a bicycle on my right with its owner seated to the right of the bike. More people kept coming into my car, so I ended up with my bag resting on the seat of the bike while my left leg was draped over the leg of the person sitting on my left. My back was wedged completely against the door. I didn't need a handle to hold. I wasn't going anywhere. Seriously, you'd think people would just wait for the next train. Nope.

5. There was a man with a large dresser on the train. That is all the information I have.

6. I don't know much about sports, but I think wearing a Red Sox hat on a train full of people headed to Yankee Stadium is an unwise decision.

7. Fun fact- different train lines have different announcer voices. Also, some trains haven't been updated since the 70's and you have to really focus on the announcements over the PA or you may miss your stop. Not that that's happened to me of course...

And unrelated to the subway, but still hilarious. I present a Tripp & Tyler video. These guys always make me laugh:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Reality of Expectations

This is a more personal posting, of things I've been processing the past month. One I'm actually quite nervous about sharing publicly on a blog. But one I also find necessary to share as it's part of my NYC experience.  If you're not interested in serious thoughts, skip to the bottom and look at some pictures :)

When did it all begin? Probably with the subtle infiltration of Hollywood. The gorgeous photography of the NYC skyline, shots of pristine streets, bright and airy studios in the heart of the city, and women in gorgeous clothing prancing around in their high heels (they wouldn't last a minute on the real life streets of Manhattan). The perfect impracticalities of the city glossed over in the name of entertainment. Which I really have no problem with. It was probably further compounded by my two vacations to the city within 6 weeks of each other! I was intoxicated; the lights, sounds, sights, endless food choices, the crazy city life. Three years spent building my Manhattan existence in my mind. The Hollywood version of my life in the city. The carefree, easy-going lifestyle that I would have in my UWS loft surrounded by gorgeous designer clothes and a perfectly decorated apartment (with lots clean lines, large windows and plenty of teal and gray decor). But most importantly I'd be doing what I love- the reason I moved here in the first place.  Expectations. Unfounded. And the inevitable crushing weight of reality.
I am living in a house in the Bronx. I continue to work at the Container Store and leave at 5 a.m most days. I'm exhausted every day, I schlepp around everything, I carry heavy things, walk in the rain, and apply for jobs in my spare time. My life is more unglamorous than ever before. It's hard. I left behind my friends, sold most of my possessions, gave up my car, my community, Chick-fil-A(!)... everything. For this? It just doesn't make sense. 
I'll tell you what DOES make sense though. God is using this to teach and grow me. I was re-reading my journal entries from the past year and every time my pen hit the paper I was asking God to lead and guide my life. I was asking very specifically for THREE years that He would let me live in NYC. I know that He gave me an unshakeable love and desire for the city and I knew that I had to come here. Every last detail of my move worked out - and I wasn't even trying that hard! Things fell into place that didn't make sense. Things that I thought were lined up for when I got here fell away unexpectedly (a job, for one). Yet God never promised me that I would have my "dream" job or apartment or that I would have a lot of expendable income. And why would He? If I have consistently learned one thing this year it's that God is more concerned with my sanctification (my following Him and becoming more like Him) than with my happiness. He wants EVERY little piece of my heart. And He will pursue me adamantly to get it. To get me to surrender. Yes, I am in NYC - what I have dreamed of and prayed for the last 3 years. Yes, I really DO love living here (most days). Yes, it is so challenging. Yes, I believe God led me here. No, I don't understand everything. No, I don't think life is about the pursuit of material gain, so why was that my expectation?
This week I have been learning the beauty of surrendering to God's plan for me here. It still doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's not about me. And I look forward to the wisdom that comes with hindsight; maybe one day I'll know why I'm here. I don't have the answers. I don't have the next step. But I'm here. And God is good. And there is a joy in being here that transcends happiness. And slowly but surely, contentment is coming into my life.
If you have never experienced this joy and hope in Christ, I would love to share with you about what He's done in my life and how He has changed my mindset and my life. The hope I have can be yours as well. My hope in Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sins, died and was buried, who rose again after 3 days and sits at the right hand of God the Father. All who accept His marvelous gift of grace, dying for sins we committed so that we can be forgiven will spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Now that is the reality of my expectations. And that will never let me down.

"Do not sorrow. The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10)
"Those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame" (Psalm 25:3)
"Therefore I will lead her to the wilderness, speak tenderly to her, and there I will give her vineyards back to her and make the valley of trouble a gateway of hope..." (Hosea 2:4-15).
"Wait for the Lord, be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the Lord" (Ps. 27:4).
"Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6).

*Pictures taken with an Iphone - please excuse the quality.

 Another shot of the Brooklyn Bridge
 The Empire State Building - it's been lit up in different colors lately and they all mean something different
 The Chrysler Building & Grand Central station
 I seriously never get tired of seeing the Empire State Building
Inside Grand Central Station

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Somewhere in Brooklyn

There's nothing quite like getting lost and ending up in Brooklyn. My intentions for the day started with going to see the Statue of Liberty and ended with walking the Brooklyn Bridge. I was so proud of myself for pulling out my NFT book (thanks Sam!) and figuring out the trains on my own. I jumped on the NQR line and headed south. Clearly I didn't pay attention to the fact that the lines split - and the Q train that I was riding took me into the heart of Brooklyn. Sitting on the train and watching the Manhattan skyline appear behind me was so cool.
I got off at DeKalb street and figured I may as well find DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass) and the park that I see in the all the movies. Well, I couldn't find the grassy refuge, but I took these cool stone steps up off the side of the road and I was on the bridge. The view was breathtaking - and I may have found my new favorite place in the city (for now, that always changes with each new place I see). I completed the walk in about 30 minutes (I had to take in the views and the art vendors) and as I crossed back into Manhattan I was welcomed by Michael Jackson's "Annie, Are You OK?" playing over loudspeakers in the square and some men break dancing. This city is so vibrant and fun.
I did get to see Lady Liberty from a distance as I crossed the bridge, but next week I plan on taking the ferry and getting to see her up close.

 Manhattan skyline as I stepped onto the bridge
 That's the Manhattan bridge and the Empire State Building
 My fleeting glimpse of the Statue of Liberty (I added the arrow for you. You're welcome).
 Love locks! These are so cool. I believe they started in Germany, and Emily told me she saw them in Prague, Czech Republic when she was there. Couples put a lock on the bridge to signify their love. Technically, it's not allowed in NYC, but the authorities turn a blind eye. I am glad, because they're so cool to see and a fun pop of color against the bridge.
 Thanks to the tourist couple who agreed to take my picture!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rainy Weather Tips

I have compiled a list of tips for combating the rain in Manhattan.

1. Wear rain boots. Wet hems are no fun - and little leather ballet flats will not be suitable attire for the flooding streets.

2. Beware the wind gusts. Which may be challenging as the city is a wind tunnel.

3. When crossing an intersection, it may be helpful to lift your umbrella up above your head so as to avoid grazing someone else's umbrella and thus rendering the umbrella ineffective and leaving you soaked.

4. Laugh it off. A little rain never hurt. I did get wet - somehow the knees of my jeans managed to get wet and I'm not even sure how...