Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mission: To Love NYC

I spent most of yesterday feeling homesick - although not necessarily homesick for home. Just homesick for old lives where I was completely content and spent all my spare time hanging out with really great friends.

Getting people to understand this homesickness is hard. Friends from home always respond by asking why I don't just pack up and head back immediately and friends here don't really get it because they all just love NYC and claim to not imagine living anywhere else.

I don't hate the city, but I also don't love it enough to picture never living elsewhere.

I mentioned this to a friend last night and he has decided it's his job to make me love NYC. He has promised to show me all the best places in the city and the things he's discovered that make this city unique and loveable.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Airline aggravation, round 2

My frustration with air travel from my Christmas visit home has barely subsided and I once again find myself frustrated by the airline industry. This morning I started searching for tickets home for my youngest sister's high school graduation. Tickets into Moline are about $185 compared to $389 to fly into Waterloo.

Why is it so freaking expensive to fly into Iowa?! No wonder I never get to go home.

I could fly to a foreign country for less than it costs me to fly within my own country.

There are limited national carriers that fly into Iowa and none of them offer anything direct. This is where I lose time, money, and most often, my patience. All of my horrible airline stories involve a connection issue of some sort and most often O'Hare. So you can see why I don't love that place.

It literally costs me more to fly the 45 minutes from Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, where ever, to Des Moines than it costs me to fly a leg from Boston or NYC to one of those hubs.

Can someone please get Jet Blue or Southwest to fly into Des Moines? I would be eternally grateful.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feeling "home" less

Ever since my visit home for the holidays I have been contemplating the meaning of home.

The place where I grew up will always be home, yet I no longer consider it home in the sense that it is where I belong, if that makes any sense.

Flying back into Logan last Christmas I found myself feeling at peace when I saw the Boston skyline. It surprised me to discover that I felt as if I were coming home.

Boston is technically the first city I had lived in without having to be there for some reason. I wasn't living there because I had to be there for school (Although that is why I first moved there. I made a choice to stay there afterward). It had become home to me because I had developed a great circle of friends, my job was there, and in essence, I had created a "home" there.

Flying into LaGuardia this Christmas was weird. I found myself not all that excited to return as I boarded the plane in Illinois and the sight of the city lights below as the plane descended did not give me the same warm feelings the skyline in Boston does when I see it. I know it's probably because I haven't had the time to make NYC a "home" but part of me wonders if it will ever feel like home.

All I know is that I have been gone from my real home long enough that I didn't feel at home in the quite the same way this year and I also didn't feel like I was returning to a "home" in coming back to NYC either.

I just hope that when I decide to return to Boston my "home" there is still there.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcoming 2009 NYC style

A long time ago I started a little list of things I wanted to accomplish at some point in my life. I get it out every once in awhile and make additions to it. Now I can cross another thing off of it - seeing the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve.

I am not a big fan of New Years. It seems everything is usually over hyped and doesn't live up to expectations. But for some reason I have always wanted to spend a New Year's in Times Square. I can remember watching Dick Clark and the countdown on TV and thinking that it looked like so much fun. I hated watching it being replayed for all of us in the Central time zone and knowing that it was not live.

As a resident of NYC I decided this was my year to do it. If not, I never would. I was lucky enough to have some friends crazy enough to want to do it too and we began researching what spending the evening in Times Square would entail. We learned there were no bathrooms and no food vendors, you couldn't mill about, and that backpacks and other large bags were not allowed.

We knew it was going to be cold and tried to create the warmest possible combination of clothing before heading out. I ended up wearing some long underwear I had from my undergrad tailgating days, three shirts, three pairs of socks, and all the winter gear I could possibly fit on. I was sweating on the way out of my apartment but knew it wouldn't last.

We arrived in Times Square around 5 pm and found ourselves stuck in a very large crowd waiting to pass through a security checkpoint. Once we made it through, we were led into one of the "pens" about eight blocks from the ball. (Apparently the people in front must have arrived midday. But as far as I could tell, the only benefit to being closer was being able to actually hear the entertainers - definitely not worth being there for another 4 or 5 hours more.) Each pen contained a few hundred people which helped a bit in keeping us all a bit warmer.

Then the waiting began. We stood around for a few hours trying to ignore cold noses and toes. Around 8 pm my friends and I started to reconsider our decision but we soon decided we had already waited for so long that we had to stay.

Shortly after, the pen in front of us opened up and the police began moving us forward. This wasted some time and also put us in a spot a bit more shielded from the wind and further from the crazy Spanish speakers who kept jumping up and down and singing what I imagined were rowdy soccer songs. The hours passed and the girls and I amused ourselves by recalling crazy high school stories.

Finally we had reached 11:30 and the crowd began to perk up. At 11:58 the countdown began. The ball dropped, everyone cheered, confetti rained down, and fireworks went off. It seemed to be over so quickly after having endured such a long wait.

After taking it in for a few minutes we wanted to beat the rush to the Subway and head back to my warm apartment where our bottles of wine were waiting.

It was something I was glad to experience, but I am also glad to think that I will never do it again.

Happy New Year everyone!