A soothing chai

Standing in my aunt’s kitchen this afternoon, watching the Keurig (shut up, James) work on a cup of pumpkin-spice coffee, I suddenly thought of Quyn and my first day in New York City.

I was sleepy from the red-eye flight I took in from Seattle. Luckily the cab driver knew how to get me to my new home because I didn’t. I chatted with one of my new roommates as he gave me a quick tour of the place, then I pulled out my sheets out of my suitcase for a long nap before venturing out for some groceries and toiletries. While I was out, my co-worker/friend from IM called asking where I was.

She just lived up 9th Avenue from me and needed groceries herself, so we met on the street corner and she showed me which butcher and baker are better than the rest. (Seriously. This isn’t the beginning of a nursery rhyme.)

We walked back to her apartment to put her groceries away. I had that anxious feeling in my gut. What was I going to do with the next few days in an uncomfortable apartment? What if I don’t like my other roommate? Then Quyn made me a cup of chai tea in her Keurig.

I sat with her in the armchairs in her living room and felt at peace. It was calm and relaxing to gab with a girlfriend. It was like she was an old friend, not someone I’d just met in real life.

That was the best cup of chai I’ve ever had. And as I savored this afternoon’s pumpkin-spiced coffee, I knew this is not a cuppa I’ll forget soon.

Get cultured

Not true, Manhattan Mini Storage ad, not true.
Not true, Manhattan Mini Storage ad, not true.

When I first arrived in New York City, I took full advantage of all the culture around me. I was a regular in the Broadway ticket lines. I visited as many museums as would have me. I was all about flashing my NYU student ID . In fact, one Saturday, I hit three museums!

I went to MoMA, The Met, Guggenheim. I toured Irish immigrants’ housing at the Tenement Museum. I tried to touch the space shuttle at the Enterprise Sea, Air and Space Museum. I even went to a smell exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design.

Then that stopped.

In fact, I mentioned to a friend recently that the last museum I went to was the Chocolate Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. And that featured a cartoon, starring candy bar characters. Not exactly the height of sophistication (but free candy!).

I’ve since been to the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadow and the Ellis Island Museum.

IMG_6784My heart is telling me that my New York story is nearing its epic conclusion, so my head is telling me, “hurry up and visit more museums and see more shows!”

I was thrilled that my friend Jen asked if I wanted to see Much Ado at Shakespeare in the Park today. Um, yes!

Tickets are free, but you have to wait in line. It was the most sophisticated line wait I’ve ever done. People were reading from actual books – even while walking. I shared my blanket with strangers-turned-friends on either side of me in line. I enjoyed a nice Central Park breeze on a gorgeous day. And all that before show time!

Now to see which museums are open on my day off – Monday.

Up and down the East Coast

There’s something big in those words, “Next stop: New York City!” I love hearing it boom through the Amtrak train. It’s like when I first moved here. I feel like life is full of hope and anything can happen in this place.

Some of the magic and allure is wearing off. I realize New York isn’t the only city. I’ve loved hopping on a train or MegaBus for weekend trips in the Eastern US. I think I could live happily in any one of them. I fancy myself a laid-back West Coast girl, but I have plenty of reasons to love living on the East Coast.

  1. Jump on a train or bus, be in another city with an entirely different personality in 4 hours.
  2. No car required.
  3. Accents. Everywhere!
  4. Is it just me, or does everyone here speak two languages?
  5. Show endings are never spoiled on social media.
  6. Media jobs are here.
  7. Lobster, clams and crabs.
  8. History.
  9. After that long, cold winter, spring feels so good.
  10. Fashion starts here.
  11. I like that people don’t dress like slobs here. (Sorry, Seattle!)
  12. Cousinly love in DC
    Cousinly love in DC
    Mad love for Philly.
    Mad love for Philly.
    Montreal, mon dieu!
    Montreal, mon amour!
    Hey, Burlington, Vermont, looking cute!
    Hey, Burlington, Vermont, looking cute!
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    Boston is wicked nice.

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    Why Baltimore is called Charm City.

I admit: New York is a classic for a reason.

  1. New York, New York: So nice they named it twice.
    New York, New York: So nice they named it twice.

Don’t be SAD

I never suffered the winter blues when I was in Seattle, the northernmost major US city where the sun set today at 4:17 p.m.. Sure, sometimes I’d wish for a Hawaiian vacation or at least a sunny day in February, but the notoriously gray winter didn’t affect my mood.

So I was surprised when I was sitting in my office in the mid-Atlantic, and a friend mentioned that SAD is already setting in.

That’s what that is! Maybe not diagnosable seasonal affective disorder, but the winter blues. It’s 33 degrees, gray and snowing today. Sunset was at 4:28 p.m. I wasn’t excited about coming home and sitting in my 200-square-foot apartment all evening. I’m sore from taking strength classes the last couple of days, so a workout was out. I didn’t particularly need or want to go shopping. I was briefly mad at myself for not signing up for winter session classes. I might as well learn something during potato-eating season.

I went for a walk after work to take in the holiday cheer and to rack up my Fitbit steps.

My walk served to remind me why I moved here. This city is home to 40 Broadway theaters, 80 museums and loads of other indoor activities. There’s no reason to be blue until April.

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I’m not interesting

Because I’m a narcissist, sometimes I think I’m the most interesting person on the planet or at least in New York City, and that I should write a book because everyone deserves to hear my witty stories.

Then I see someone on an exercise bike next to the fruit stand, and I realize I’m not even the most interesting person on my block.

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Need more proof?

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Quyn’s former roommate’s friend: If you want credit for this, I’ll just need your name.

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Quyn's former roommate's friend: If you want credit for this, I'll just need your name.
Quyn’s former roommate’s friend: If you want credit for this, I’ll just need your name.

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