go west

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I didn’t grow up in Nebraska. I didn’t live there until I started college, and only stuck around for five years. But somewhere in that time, even as I was plotting my escape, it snuck into a corner of my heart and stayed there.

I always figured New York would be temporary, but had no definite plans as to where I would end up after my time here was done. California sounded nice. Pacific northwest maybe? Somewhere else along the east coast?

Ultimately I decided moving back to the Midwest was the way to go, both because being halfway across the country from my family is harder than I thought it would be and because it’s the lifestyle I’m used to. But it wasn’t until I came across a job posting in Lincoln that the idea latched onto my brain: I want to be back in Nebraska.

And, a week from today, that’s exactly where I’ll be! Back to Willa Cather-land, prairie, and Cornhuskers. (And most importantly, back to affordable rent.)

 I don’t regret moving to New York, but I can’t say I’ll miss it. I’m ready to be a Midwesterner again, and to settle down somewhere I can see myself long term. After all, I’m officially out of my early twenties now, and the idea of flying wherever my fancy takes me has become less appealing.

So next time you see me on this blog, I’ll officially be a Nebraskan again. Go big red!

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this girl decides to quit her job and head to new york city*

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Disclaimer: this is not an advice post. There are lots of articles out there about whether or not you should quit your job to pursue something else and advice on how to do so, but this is not one of those articles. I was inspired by Sophie’s post on how she quit her day job to tell my own story (although our reasons for leaving our jobs are quite different), but you should probably not follow my example. Because I did some kind of stupid things and I’m just lucky it happened to work out. So without further ado:

How I Quit My Job and Moved to New York City

The year was 2013. I was fresh out of college and desperately seeking full-time employment. After two months and over 30 job applications (I kept count), I took the first (and only) job I was offered, a proofreading position in Western Nebraska.

Even though I made great friends out there and the job was in my field of study, I was unhappy. I thought I had been doing the right thing for me working in my field and saving money, but before I graduated college I had turned down an opportunity to go to grad school in New York City and I was full of doubts. I couldn’t shake the feeling I should be somewhere else. I was depressed, drinking more than usual and gaining weight.

So after some thought and several tear-filled conversations with my mother, I decided to finally go for my dream and move to New York City. In April 2014 I gave my boss a month’s notice without a place to live or another job lined up. (This is why this is not an advice post.)

Luckily my mom let me move back in with her while I made arrangements to move to NYC. The original plan was only to stay there a couple of weeks; drop my stuff off, make living arrangements, pack and go. Instead I ended up staying there all summer. (Sorry, Mom.) I got a part-time retail job to save some more money. Because the funny thing about quitting your job is, even when your income stops you still have bills to pay. Yikes.

Finally, I buckled down and found a sublet on Craigslist. I spoke to the subletter over phone and email and saw pictures of the place, but living halfway across the country obviously I wasn’t able to see the place and meet the roommates before I sent in my rent. (Another reason this is not an advice post.) Even though I was in communication with the subletter and roommates up until my arrival, there was still that slight fear that once I got there they would be all, “Psych!” and I would be on the streets of New York homeless and 700 dollars poorer. (That didn’t happen, and my temporary roommates were delightful.)

I was able to transfer my retail job from the store in Omaha to the store in New York, so I had some employment. That also could have gone wrong–the store manager in New York could have rejected my transfer request. (Did I mention this is definitely not an advice post?)

Turns out it’s impossible to live in one of the most expensive cities on the planet with just a part-time job. I lost all of my depression weight and then some because I was living on peanut butter. (Also, no car equals a lot more walking.) It was hard to find a permanent place to live without a full-time job and a guarantor, but somehow I managed to do that, once again through Craigslist.

I had thought I might try to get some freelance work for extra income, but my new landlord, worried about me getting by on a part-time salary, offered to pass along my resume to the office where she used to work. And that is how I got my current day job. (Which I will not be quitting anytime soon, because I like it and I plan on living in New York for a while longer yet.)

So that’s the story of how I stupidly quit my job and stupidly moved to New York to live with strangers. And I’m pretty happy about it. But please, don’t try this at home.

 

*The title of this post is, as anyone who listens to top 40 probably realized, inspired by a line in this song.

brooklyn, baby!

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I’m not going to start this post with the typical “I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in so long!” type thing. Because the truth is, I’m not sorry. I needed the break. A lot has been going on in Beth-land (some of it not very creativity-inducing), not the least of which was that I moved to Brooklyn!

So today, the first lazy Sunday in a long time where I’ve felt truly relaxed to just be staying in bed all day watching How I Met Your Mother and cutting up old magazines while I drink homemade cocoa, I decided a little catch-up on the blog was in order. My first week post-move was hectic (and had some truly terrible weather), so this (sunny!) day of laziness feels quite deserved. I’m enjoying watching the snow fall off the roofs across the street. Work is busy, as usual. I’m thinking of making cake batter fudge later. And most importantly of all, I’ve taken up roller derby lessons! (I won’t be playing any actual bouts anytime soon, but hopefully I am working my way towards that.) This is my impulse buy of the month:

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Damn it Target, you make it so hard to stay on budget!

So how have you all been? Is winter refusing to leave your neck of the woods as well? I hope you’re all having an equally lazy and relaxing Sunday. I can’t promise I’ll start posting more regularly now, but hopefully with new surroundings and the winter doldrums passing my creativity will kick back into gear soon. I’d rather give you all a few posts that I’m proud of rather than a bunch of so-so, obligatory posts.

one year

Today is my one year blog-iversary! Not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to this point when I first started The Purple Notebook; I was worried I might give up after a few months because of the difficulty of creating content. I’m still trying to figure out the direction of this blog, actually…but this last year was a pretty good year to start, because I went through quite a lot since my first blog post (but thankfully no more fires). Here’s a quick recap of some things that went down between September 14, 2013 and September 14, 2014:

1. I moved all the way across the state of Nebraska (twice if you go a couple months before September 2013).

2. I then moved halfway across the country.

3. I saw Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theaters. (Yes, I am such a geek that I consider these events worth noting. Anyone else cry during a certain scene in Spider-Man?)

4. I made a major career change.

5. I performed in an improv show.

6. I got added to my mom’s Netflix account and all productivity quickly halted.

7. I watched lots of movies, read lots of books, drank lots of wine, and explored teeny rural Nebraska towns with friends.

8. I tried, and am still trying, to figure out how to live life post-college. Has anyone else figured that out yet? Any tips?

Whew, that was quite a year. I think I might need a nap.

the queen of queens

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This is it guys! I’m finally settled into my permanent (for a year, at least) New York residence. It’s such a load off knowing that the most stressful part of my move (and there was stress, believe me) is finally over. Now I just need to take care of the boring grown-up stuff, like changing my address and getting my new driver’s license (okay, I’m actually kind of excited about that last one), and then I’m free to explore the city to my heart’s content! When I’m not working of course.

I’ve already had the pleasure of exploring my new neighborhood a little bit, and I think I’m gonna like it here. I’ve already discovered my new favorite pastry shop (the woman behind the counter was so sweet and even gave me a free mini croissant!), and other than getting lost when riding the bus for the first time I haven’t had any bad experiences. Not to mention the lovely view from my window as seen above.

Have you ever moved before? How did you handle the stress?

this weekend (or, how to spend the first 48 hours in a new city)

So! It’s the weekend and you have an entirely new city to explore. What do you do?

Start with breakfast.

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Play sardines with strangers (aka, take the subway). If you’re lucky, some break dancers might entertain you on the A train.

Find a new place to hang out. If it involves a view like this, all the better.

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Make new friends. Offering a dried cranberry is a good way to break the ice.

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Have a picnic in the park.

Wander aimlessly. Pretend you have a purpose, even though you don’t. Eventually you may stumble upon something like this.

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How was your weekend? Have you ever moved to a new city before?

reasons i’m excited to move to new york

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Via Tamara Peterson

You guys, everything about my move has fallen into place so quickly. When I first left my job in order to pursue my dream of moving to New York City, I didn’t have a job or a place to stay. What was supposed to be a few weeks of staying with  my mom turned into a few months, a couple of possible living situations fell through, and there was more than one moment of panic and doubt.

But even though I took a ready-fire-aim approach, in the last couple of weeks I just got so lucky and everything is set! I now have employment and a place to stay (albeit a temporary one, but it’s still nice to have a place to set your coffee maker). Also, can I just give a shout-out to my parents for being so awesome and supportive of the fact that their daughter made a big, reckless (and possibly stupid–we shall see) decision to leave gainful employment so she could move to a new city for no apparent reason? Thanks M and D!

So, here’s to a new life and a new layout! (Do you like?) I hop on my plane tomorrow, and here’s some of the reasons I’m looking forward to landing in NYC!

  1. Having actual New York cheesecake.
  2. Trying everything on this list.
  3. The beautiful photo ops.
  4. All the cool locally owned coffee shops I’m gonna find.
  5. NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY. (cough*geek*cough)
  6. Spider-Man lives there.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

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Taken on my eighth grade field trip to New York.

Whew! I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed nowadays. It’s been a while since I did a post where I just share with ya’ll what’s been going on in my life, so here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to the past week or so:

Watching Three’s Company marathons.

Working, then working some more.

Debating whether or not to chop my hair into a pixie a la Jennifer Lawrence.

Reading The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh. (I don’t care how old you are, those books are great.)

Seeing American Authors perform live! I managed to win tickets to a small acoustic show, and it was amazing. (Photos here. See if you can spot yours truly!)

And, lastly, losing sleep due to excitement because I finally have an official moving date for New York City! And it’s in two weeks!!

Which brings me to my next announcement: since I’ll be busy sorting out all the details of my move (the biggest of which is, how am I actually going to transport myself halfway across the country??), I’m going to put the blog on the back burner and not post for a little while. But I’ll return in two weeks, and when I do I’ll have a surprise!

What have you been up to lately? What’s the coolest concert you’ve ever been to?

The World is Your Rocky Mountain Oyster

One move down!

I’m now settled in my mom’s place for the time being. But I had some very important things to do in western Nebraska before I left, like crossing “Try rocky mountain oysters” off my bucket list.

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If you haven’t been to the middle of America and don’t know what rocky mountain oysters are, well, I’ll let Wikipedia explain.

And, of course, I also had to say goodbye to the view.

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Now I’ll be spending my summer working my new theater gig (which I’m SUPER excited about), planning the move to NYC (of course), and making other plans (but that’s for another post). But for this week, my plan is to finally relax.

Oh, and enjoy cable television for the first time in months.

What are your summer plans? Have you ever tried rocky mountain oysters? (Would you ever try rocky mountain oysters?)

Cocktail of the Month: New Yorker

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My move to New York is still a couple months away, but as you can probably tell by my drink choice I’m still pretty excited about it. There were actually several NYC-themed drinks to choose from in See Mix Drink–Manhattan and Waldorf to name a couple–but I went with the obvious one. (And the one I already had the ingredients for in my cabinet.) Boy, was it good. If you like sweet drinks, that is (which I do).

But Beth, if you’re not moving to New York yet, why are there boxes in the background of that picture?

Good question. That’s because although I’m not making the move, I am making a move. Back to my mom’s house, where I can gather my wits and make my official moving plans without the whole full-time job thing taking up all my time. Which means I’m spending the next week packing boxes, doing grown-up things like leaving my forwarding address at the post office, taking some last pictures of that crazy Western Nebraska landscape and trying to eat up all the food in my cabinet so I don’t have to bring any of it with me. (Which means my diet lately has consisted mostly of pancakes, spaghetti, Lean Cuisines and popcorn.)

Have you ever made a big move before?

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