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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beth and kit’s excellent adventure (then shawarma after)

Last week I had the honor of hosting my college bud Kit on her first ever trip to New York City! Which meant doing one of my favorite things: taking a week off work and playing tourist.

As soon as Kit’s plane touched down Wednesday it was ago on the tourist attractions, starting with an oldie but a goodie, Coney Island.

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Which is freezing in mid-March, by the way.

The next few days saw us in a Brooklyn bagel shop, the High Line, Central Park, and walking the Manhattan Bridge.

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“I don’t know what it is but I want to try it.”

And it isn’t a Kit and Beth get-together without some sort of reference to the Avengers, which is why getting some shawarma was high on our list. Shawarma, by the way, is freaking delicious. (Our next goal is to travel to Budapest together so we can say to one another, “You and I remember Budapest very differently.” Yes, we are nerds.)

Although there were a few repeat sites for me, we did also slip in some attractions that I hadn’t been to yet, such as the Museum of Sex, Top of the Rock, Museum of Modern Art, the Met, Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Times Square (home of the singing waitstaff), the National Museum of the American Indian, and Battery Park. Oh, and we saw a little theater production called Chicago. Have you heard of it?

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The last couple days of Kit’s trip were a wind-down, and included us mostly wandering around different neighborhoods, including my own. And we saw Zootopia. Which has nothing to do with New York, but it was a fantastic movie.

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You can also read about our adventures on Kit’s blog!

dumbo, chinatown, and the bridge in between

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I originally had the idea to walk the Manhattan Bridge so that I could get some good shots of the Brooklyn Bridge (which I’ve already walked twice). When I found out it connected two neighborhoods I had been meaning to explore, I decided to make a day of it.

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I started out in Brooklyn, walking around DUMBO (that’s Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass–those New Yorkers love their acronyms), before heading up to the bridge for the main attraction.

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Once I touched down in Manhattan, I took a quick stroll around Chinatown…

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…before ending my day with some apple bacon pizza and a rose lemonade (my new favorite beverage that isn’t coffee).

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sprinkles cupcake atm

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When I heard there was a cupcake vending machine in New York City, I knew I had to check it out. (No, that’s not the reason I moved here…well, not the main reason.) I actually located the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM by accident while wandering on the East Side one day, so I returned shortly thereafter.

All you do is choose your cupcake flavor on the screen on the left, swipe your card and a box with your cupcake in it magically appears behind the small door on the right. I’ll be honest; the cupcake itself was good (I went with classic vanilla), but I’m not sure it was worth the $4.25 that it cost. I guess you’re mostly paying for the unique experience.

tourist for a week: union square

On the last full day of my dad’s visit, we eventually ended up in Union Square, where we stopped for refreshments at Argo Tea and Whole Foods before settling down in a grassy patch to relax for a moment.

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Another ESB photo to add to the collection.

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Several of the buildings in the area have water towers on top; I spotted these two with quirky exteriors.

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And that’s it! A couple days later I was back at work, back to being a commuter instead of a tourist.

tourist for a week: riverside park

This is the day we walked the entire 50-block length (yes, fifty–five zero) of Riverside Park, also known as the park where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet at the end of You’ve Got Mail.

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For some reason I had it in my head that they meet in front of a fountain. Turns out it’s actually in front of the 91st Street Garden (and Riverside Park doesn’t even have a fountain), which we managed to miss. Oh well, perhaps I’ll just have to take another trip out there someday.

We did still find some great views of the Hudson River, some memorials and the Upper West Side.

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tourist for a week: coney island

The day before Memorial Day, my dad and I took the incredibly short train ride from my house to Coney Island. Tip: if you’re going to go to Coney Island on a Sunday, go first thing in the morning; there’s people but it’s not too crowded. By the time the boardwalk started to fill up with crowds in the afternoon, we were already on our way out.

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We strolled the length of the boardwalk, then went onto the beach before doubling back. I dipped my toes in the water and it was freezing. Which wasn’t stopping some people from swimming (without wetsuits!). Now that’s dedication.

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The Wonder Wheel is the Empire State Building of Brooklyn; you can’t have too many pictures.

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The trip was topped off with one of the best ice cream cones I’ve ever had. (If you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, head to Coney Island Cones; the ice cream is homemade and so good!)

Still more touristy goodness to come!

tourist for a week: central park and yankee stadium

The same day my dad and I walked The High Line we also went uptown and ended up visiting another public park. A little spot called Central Park–perhaps you’ve heard of it?

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We started close to the northern end and wandered down to 72nd Street. We came back the next day to finish the walk from 72nd to the southern end of the park.

Oh, and this was happening.

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Another day we took the train up to the Bronx to take a peek at Yankee Stadium.

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Turns out the Empire State Building is visible even from the south Bronx.

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You’d think it was really tall or something.

Stay tuned for Coney Island and yet another park!

tourist for a week: the high line

Last week my dad came to visit, which meant a week off work doing what I like to do best: wandering around New York City taking a zillion photos.

Our first sightseeing stop was The High Line, a public park built on an old elevated train track that runs along the West Side. But first, we made a quick stop in Williamsburg at the Blue Bottle for what is allegedly the best coffee in New York City.

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Then a quick ride on the L train to downtown Manhattan, where we climbed the stairs to the Park in the Sky.

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Being above the streets meant great views, including several of my favorite NYC landmark.

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Because you can’t have too many pictures of the Empire State Building (trust me, there are more).

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Hello, little bee.

The High Line is totally worth the 20ish-block walk to see the whole length. We went on a Friday morning, and while there was a pretty good crowd it didn’t feel too crowded. It’s also shady enough that it wasn’t too hot. (They also have their own Blue Bottle, so you don’t even need to go all the way to Williamsburg first.)

I’ve got plenty more touristy photos from other sightseeing stops, so stay tuned!

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.

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