Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Avoid the Queens B&B

Today I was sitting at Starbucks, enjoying my free chai - courtesy of my birthday Starbucks gift cards (thanks guys!) and I decided I would read the New York Post that was left behind on the table. I thought to myself- this will be good, I haven't read/watched the news in awhile, so it's good that I get caught up and know what's going on in the world. I begin to read and am shocked by the amount of celebrity news that's in the newspaper. Now don't get me wrong... I love a good People magazine (it's the only crossword that doesn't make me feel like an idiot!) but I was trying to really catch up on the happenings of the world but I found myself reading about Lindsay Lohan's fifteenth proclamation that she's going to turn her life around. Then the last half of the paper was just ads and page long lists of "unclaimed land recipients" (which I'm not one). I finished the paper and sighed thinking to myself, "Well I guess that's why I don't read the news- it's all useless... I mean if this is the New York Post, what are non-legit papers printing??" Later today I was at my friend Andrew's apartment sharing this story with Andrew and his roommates Kevin and Kelsy. Kevin, who has been attending Columbia for the past couple of years (making him a local as far as I'm concerned) informed me that the New York Post is in fact NOT a legit newspaper and I had basically wasted my time. I just assumed the Times and the Post were comparable... apparently while the New York Times and the Washington Post are good newspapers, the New York Post and the Washington Times are not. Seriously? What is wrong with these newspaper people? I now will no longer read the news because it's too hard to figure out HOW to read the news.

ANYWAY- to explain the title of this post, I will share with you a story from the New York Post that was probably my favorite. This past weekend a woman was staying at a Bed and Breakfast in Queens (not sure why anyone would do that... perhaps there are pockets of Queens far far from me that are beautiful and tranquil?) and the owners of said B&B were monkey-owners. Always an amenity one looks for in a B&B-- free monkey interaction. Apparently as this woman was sleeping, the monkey snuck into her room and bit the woman in her FACE. The woman had to be hospitalized due to the damage. I think there are about 12 morals of this story- the most obvious being do not leave your door open at a B&B where there are exotic animals. So I mean honestly, if the Post wants to continue printing stories like these, I think I might prefer it to the Times. Who needs to know about a hurricane threatening my existence here in the Northeast? Did the Post mention anything about that? Of course not-- why would you when there are rabid monkeys biting off faces of Queenslings on their staycations? THAT, my friends, is news.

Yesterday I had a meeting with the HR people at Catholic Charities (the agency I'm going to be working for)- where I filled out about 78 forms to prove I'm not a child molester or criminal, and will officially start work on Tuesday. FINALLY. Don't get me wrong- the break has been great and it's given me an opportunity to start figuring out this city.. but I'm ready for a routine and, more importantly, an INCOME. Cause those Starbucks cards are running THIN- and I've formed a strong attachment to the chai. Feel free to send gifts.

Also I apologize for the lull in blogging... I have absolutely no excuse for this since you know that I have no job or obligations at this time. I'm going to blame my friend Katie who gets the prize for best birthday present ever- a 3 month membership to Netflix. I finished Arrested Development Season 1 at an embarrassingly quick rate. Anyway- I'll try and be more diligent as I encounter more exciting/strange things her in ole NYC!

Monday, August 23, 2010

One additional bullet point...

I was reminded (awoken) by a rather sharp, but deserved, 1:30am text from Angie that I neglected to highlight a very important event from our weekend o'fun. Please forgive my negligence...
  • On Thursday night, Janell, Angie, and I went to see WICKED!! It was absolutely wonderful, of course, and Defying Gravity gave me chills. We had awesome seats in the Orchestra section... next to a couple of whom the woman spoke no English, so her boyfriend/brother/interpreter had to explain everything that happened in Spanish. That was probably my favorite part. But seriously-- definitely a huge highlight of the past few days, and I'm not sure how I remembered to highlight my rat siting, and not Wicked. So there ya go!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oh where are those windshield wipers?

For those of you who know me well, you may know two small facts about me... 1) I do not like driving and therefore was more than happy to sell my car and move to the land of public transit and 2) I love rainy weather and prefer it to the sun (No... not just because I'm extremely pale). Both of these facts may have changed about me today, due to the flash flooding experience I endured today, alongside my dear friend Janell (the one who's not me in the above pics) who has been up visiting for the past five days. Though we were armed with umbrellas and had established transit routes with the least amount of exposure to the elements, nothing could have prepared us for the afternoon of wetness that was to ensue. As Janell and I stood waiting for the bus with no awning for sanctuary for at least 15 minutes in the pouring rain, I- for the first time in two weeks- began to miss my beloved Nissan and her ever-faithful windshield wipers. And as I wrung out my clothes after we arrived back at my apartment, I decided that perhaps rain was not in fact my favorite weather-- perhaps only from afar... under shelter... taking a nap. So... next time you're complaining about the rain storm as you run from your office to your parking spot ten feet away... remember to be thankful for your windshield wipers!

These past few days have been crazy and awesome. I'm going to share some of the highlights in bullet form, so as to not lose your attention...

  • We saw Mike Myers walking through Little Italy carrying a hockey stick. Yes, I'm sure it was him- Janell spotted him first and then Angie and I stalked him down to verify it. Apparently celebrities play hockey just like the rest of us.
  • We helped Angie move into her new dorm room... which is so much nicer than my Baylor dorm ever pretended to be. WHY is it so expensive to go there?!
  • Saw a speed limit sign for 17 mph. Don't even think about going 18 mph.
  • Janell, Chris, and I went to a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade. And it was HILARIOUS. Tears and stomach cramps all around.
  • The power went out in my apt so my landlord (who's about 80) had to get up and switch the breaker like 3 times to make it work again... and he was in his cute old-man pajamas. Ok this isn't really an interesting highlight... he was just so cute in the pajamas! I should have taken a pic, I know.
  • I had my first rat sighting... no- not in my apartment. He/she was tucked safely in the subway tracks. You'll know when I see a rat in my apartment... because that will be the day I return to Texas!
  • Ate one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life at the Majestic Delicatessen Cafe... it's all in the name.
  • Went to church tonight and it was great. Loved being with fellow believers and worshiping together!
  • Had my laundry done. I know, I'm such a poser for having my background as the laundromat, and maybe this makes me snobby, but I made use of the "same-day laundry drop-off service" at the nearest laundromat. I dropped off all my clothes, towels, etc and the lovely laundry lady, Linda (perfect for the alliteration, I know), washed, bleached, dry-cleaned (when necessary) and perfectly folded/hung all my laundry- and hid dryer sheets within the folds to keep that fresh scent. All within a day. While I was playing in the city. Now, I could have done the laundry myself for approximately $10-$12... Linda charged me $15. Safe to say, I'm never doing my laundry again. No shame!
  • I apologize for the length of the last bullet point.
So as you can see- life has been eventful. I will be having a meeting with HR either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week and starting my new job within the next couple of weeks as soon as everything gets processed and whatnot. In the meantime, it's more navigating this crazy city and figuring out where I fit!

Also... I'm going to sweaty yoga again tomorrow. No, I do not know how it happened. Yes, I will be bringing twice the amount of water. No, I will not be wearing boxer briefs like my old man friend. Yes, I am attempting to sweat out the thirty pounds of junk food I ate in the last 72 hours.

Have a fabulous August 23rd!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweaty Yoga

Well I guess I can officially call myself a New Yorker, because I have experienced Bikram Yoga. For those of you who are not familiar with this little hobby- Bikram Yoga is a combination of 26 different yoga poses practiced in a room that is 106 degrees at 40% humidity. I know- you probably want to run out right now and find your closest yoga studio to inquire about this enticing sport! So, for those of you who know me well, probably know that I would not NATURALLY by drawn to this sort of activity... but my dear friend Audrey asked me to come along and so I put together some sort of yoga-ish outfit and headed on my way. I figured the class would be around 30-45 minutes-- because I mean, who could survive those kind of heat conditions for much longer?? Even as a Texan, that's a bit too long of a stretch without an air conditioning/snack break! So I brought in my liter of water and Audrey and I assumed our positions on the yoga mats. We were ten minutes early.. I suggest being late if you ever attend.. the 10 minute pre-sweat added nothing to my experience! As we're beginning the class, I see that you can do Bikram yoga in any sort of outfit really-- bikinis, workout clothes-- or like my neighbor, the middle-aged man who came in nothing but gray boxer-briefs. Awesome.

So the class begins.. I'm already sweating due to our punctuality, and we start doing the poses and I'm enjoying myself. I'm drinking my water and keeping up with the crowd, so things are going well. The class started at 10:00 so at about 10:40 I'm thinking we're going to wrap up pretty quickly... I'm still thinking the same thing at 11:00... and 11:10... and 11:15. Around 11:15 my water is hot and almost gone and I'm feeling nauseous. The class finishes at 11:30 and we are instructed to lay on the mats as long as we need to and then exit. I felt the cool breeze from the opening door and raced out as quickly as possible-- probably not the best yoga move, but I was going on my 100th minute in 106 degrees. I was NOT thinking about finding my center!

All in all, my experience was a good one. I'm happy I have a friend who encourages me to try new things (even if it requires soaking my clothes with sweat for an undetermined amount of time!) and I'm extremely sore today, so it must have been a good work out... slash I may have done all the poses improperly. So my suggestion-- if you get the chance to try it, give Bikram a whirl! Just take a lot of water... and prepare for the long haul!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

And we have a paycheck...

So for the first time since being in the ole Big Apple, I'm breathing deeply. Because today, while shopping Target for extension cords (not sure why the constructors of my apartment thought 2 plugs would be enough for the whole building)-- I received a call from the Program Director of Catholic Charities Family Support Center (one of the jobs I interviewed for on Friday) and she offered me the position!! I accepted the position- probably a little TOO eagerly- and she said HR will be contacting me by the end of this week/beginning of next and everything should be good for me to start right after Labor Day!

I can not begin to express the relief that overcame me at that moment. I had to put down my basket of extension cords and just smile and offer up prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord as the woman continues to talk about benefits and whatnot.

SUCH a blessing. I'm so excited to start the work and so thankful for the Lord's continued provision along this little trek. He is always faithful!

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement during this time-- it has meant the world to me!

So now I'm off to two more weeks of exploring the city, getting lost, and finding more free activities!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black-And-White Cookies

What you are observing is the New York special Black and White Cookie, sometimes called the Half Moon. I went on a search in the Upper East Side to find the "best in the city"... and it was delicious! So come visit me... and we'll have cookies :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Awkward Encounters Ensue...

Well it has been an exciting few days... filled with job interviews, getting off at the wrong bus stops (AGAIN), and creepy guys asking for my number on the subway. Good times. The job interviews went well and I should hear back from them next week so we'll see!! I'm gonna need an income pretty soon though-- I'm blowin' through the list of "100 free things to do in New York" list at a rapid pace!

Last night I went with my dear friend Audrey to this Indian food restaurant where she personally knows the owner, Babu (yes, pronounced like Aladdin's monkey-friend)-- Babu learned my name quickly and continually came to our table asking how we were, and kissing Audrey on the cheek. Things were slightly uncomfortable... but we got free mango ice cream, so I guess it's fine? I sincerely wish I had taken a picture of the place-- it's a tiny long room that is decorated from floor to ceiling with sequins and streamers and blown up beach balls are hanging from the roof. They also do a birthday dance where Babu flicked on and off the light switch to create a strobe-light-like environment and the waiters sing what I can only assume was an Indian rendition of Happy Birthday. It was pretty magical. The the birthday table decided to open up their sparkling water or whatever it was and it spewed ALL OVER me and Audrey. Awesome. Babu was apologetic and gave out more hugs and kisses. We took this as our cue to leave. I'm definitely going back.

Tonight I went up to my friend Andrew's rooftop and looked at his incredible view of the city. Then I proceeded to go home on the Subway where this conversation transpired:

(I'm sitting on the R train drafting a text message- since there's no reception down under and this guy comes and sits next to me.)

Guy: Nice phone, what is it?
Me: Um, an iPhone
Guy: Oh cool... yeah I could use one of those for nursing.
Me: (confused) For what??
Guy: Nursing, I'm a nurse... what do you do?
Me: Social Work
Guy: Oh yeah there's a lotta jerks who do that
Me: (still confused) Um... okay.
Guy: Hey you wanna get a drink?
Me: (REALLY confused) No, I don't think so - I'm on my way home.
Guy: Oh not right now, like a rein check
Me: No, I don't think so
Guy: Are you single?
Me: (Ooo an OUT!) Nope.
Guy: Yes you are
Me: (Why can he see right through me?! RUDE.) No, I'm not.
Guy: Are you married?
Me: No (WHY did I need to be honest now??)
Guy: Then it doesn't count!
**uncomfortable silence**
Guy: Can I look you up on Facebook?
Me: Um, I guess
Guy: What's your name?
Me: Sara Henderson (CRAP why did I just say my last name?! I hate myself!!!)
Guy: Sara with an h?
Me: Yes, there's an h (WHAT?! Yeah, cause THAT'S gonna keep him from finding you, Sara-- IDIOT)
Guy: Awesome- see ya. (Guy exits train)

... I feel like I made 18 mistakes in that exchange. Moral of this story... always pretend to be a mute late at night on the train. And from now on I'm married with three children. Needless to say, I changed my Facebook settings so he won't be able to find me. Not sure why I cracked under the pressure.

All in all-- an eventful start to the weekend. Thank you for all your prayers and support during this time of transition-- God has been so faithful and continues to amaze me each day!! Can't wait to see what this next week holds...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Start Spreadin' The News...

Well folks- I made it. I'm here in NYC, unemployed, and ready for this little adventure!

My dad and I left on Friday on our two and a half day trek across the country. To the left is a photo of my dad and I at the Arkansas welcome center. I feel like this pic really narrates the trip for you. There were a lot of rocking chairs involved- primarily because of the frequency at which we stopped at the Cracker Barrels along the way.

When we arrived, after hours of Barry Manilow playlists and meals of powdered donuts, we were joined by my sweet landlady and her husband who helped us start unloading the truck until my friends from good ole T-High, Andrew, Sarah, and Matt, arrived to help unloading. Definitely could NOT have done that without everyone involved!! Not only were we moving a bunch of stuff, but we were moving it up two flights of stairs in narrow hallways. I could hear Ross in the FRIENDS episode shouting "PI-VOT!" as we were navigating the couch. So after about four hours of moving (yep, FOUR HOURS), everything was in place and I was standing in my very own NYC apartment!

Tomorrow I have an interview and so today I decided to pop on over to my friend Andrew's house (who's also, conveniently, unemployed-- hey anyone need a gifted, fresh Assistant Account Executive at your Advertising Agency??) which is but a mere two miles from my apartment, so we could have a job searching slash researching the agency I'm applying for party. My new best friend, the HopStop App on the iPhone told me the trip would be simple, just walk on down to the bus stop, hop on the Q58 (I made that number up... I already forgot the bus... I'm never getting home!) and head to the R stop and just take the R to Andrew's. EASY.

... two hours later I arrived. Yep, two miles in two hours. With an iPhone giving me directions. Pathetic. But hey, I got here and we're job searching/researching/blog-making and I'm feeling hopeful.

Tomorrow's interview is with an after-school program in the Lower East Side in Manhattan where I would be providing counseling and mentoring to teens and their families involved in the program. So we'll see how that goes! In the meantime, it's Subway map studying, job searching, and deli hopping for me. Start planning your visits! As you can see- my calendar is FILLING up :)

I definitely miss Texas... but I'm excited about this new little (huge) world... so please continue along this journey with me!