How do I even begin to describe the past 48 hours? Let me start by describing where I am now. I am on the Upper East Side on E 78th street in an empty one bedroom apartment. Well by empty I mean that I am sitting on an air mattress in the living room and there are 6 suitcases lining the wall. This is what home will be like me for the next week.
Yesterday morning almost could not have gone worse. I woke up after an anticipated sleepless night. After getting my two suitcases, my carryon, my rain coat, my lap top and my purse into my car, I got a test from Southwest that my first flight was delayed by 3 hours. See when you have a connection to catch, a 3 hour delay just doesn’t cut it. So after a minor freak out, I called Southwest and booked the last seat on a flight leaving at 12:25 (to get in at 11:30PM). This was not ideal, but at least I would get there. Well that was of course until about a half hour later when I got another text that THAT flight had been delayed. So now I’m really starting to panic. I had to get to NYC that night if I was going to be able to start work on Monday morning. So I call Southwest AGAIN and book a flight through Chicago that is supposed to take off at 1:40 but is delayed until 3:40 and won’t get into LGA until 1:30 AM. I’m not stoked about getting in that late, but at this point I’m accepting whatever comes. Now I have all of this time to kill. My mom, Cathleen and I go to Melissa’s house to pick up the girls since Cassie was watching them so that my mom could get me to my flight that was supposed to leave at 10:50 AM. Cathleen and I decide to go to one last Carls Jr run. We hadn’t done that in a while, but that was our norm back in the day. We go home and I get a precious last hour to hang out with Aubrey and Olivia. Olivia and I cuddled on the couch for almost 15 minutes, which is a really long time by her standards. I got a text that my flight was now leaving at 2:40 instead of 3:40. Alright! Time to go! We move all of my stuff from my car to Melissa’s car so that my mom and dad can both drive me to the airport. My mom (the saint that she is) tries to cram herself in between the two car seats so that I can sit in the front and my dad can drive. When my dad realizes this isn’t going to cut it he turns to me and tearfully says “this isn’t going to work, I think this is goodbye.” He then gives me a hug says he loves me and leaves the car while my mom is still trying to finagle a seatbelt on her jammed in the middle of two huge car seats. I get her attention and she starts climbing back out offering that I drive since it will probably stress me less.
Off we go. We get onto the freeway trying to make casual conversation when we both know each of us is anything but calm. We keep it up pretty well until it is time to exit. The closer we get the more real it becomes. I tell her I almost didn’t want the car ride to end and she tells me she wasn’t going to cry. We pull up to the southwest terminal and lug all of my stuff onto the curb for one last goodbye. I have to admit that after a week of saying good bye to me, I was relieved that this was the last one, but it was definitely one of the hardest.
My first challenge is getting my bags checked. Luckily Southwest lets you check two bags for free, but there are weight limits. I packed my bags as full as I could possibly pack them. Aubrey even helped by sitting on them to make sure I could get them zipped. They were at max capacity and I had no idea weather they’d make the cut or not. Finally my luck started to change as they were both half a pound under the limit which of course left me feeling like I could have fit a couple more sweaters into each. It was pretty much smooth sailing after that. The travel part is all well known to me. I made it through security and to my gate in time to wait 45 minutes for boarding. I got my own row for the flight to Chicago. More good fortune. We made it to Chicago with no problems. The pilot even pointed out Denver as we were flying over which only broke my heart a little as that was the last trip I took with Lama.
After waiting on the tarmac for about 20 minutes the next set of passengers going to LGA began to board. A young guy sat down next to me followed by a middle-aged guy who said to him, “You look interesting, I’m going to sit next to you. You better not disappoint me.” Then they began talking about Grindr versus something called Scruffed? Or something like that…They were both talking about where they lived in New York so I wanted to jump in and ask them about it. I wasn’t sure if there was flirting going on and didn’t want to interfere so I just read my kindle for a while until I overheard the older guy refer to his partner. Then I knew there was no hanky-panky and at the next pause I mustered my courage (propelled by the thoughts “you’re going to have to make new friends, might as well start here”) and asked them how long they had lived in New York. This sparked a whole fun conversation about how I was just moving there which was followed by a plethora of advice on how to navigate the subway, where to find out what’s going, which neighborhoods are cool and which to avoid. They both recommended I get a membership for MOMA. They both recommended Google maps for navigating. When I told them where I was staying the older guy offered to split a cab with me since his stop was on the way. Once we got off the plane the other guy asked if I wanted his email proclaiming, “I’d totally hang out with you.” Look at that, not even 5 minutes into New York City and I had already made two new friends and gotten more advice on living there than I could absorb. After I got my luggage, we split the cab and I headed to the Millenium UN Hotel, which mind you is 100 feet from the UN.
I found out in the morning that during the General Assembly there were three presidents staying at that hotel. It wasn’t hard to believe. When I got up to the room Erica told me to look at the view before I went to bed. When I pulled back the curtains, it was the first time in my life I was breath taken. You could see the Chrystler Building and the Empire State building right there. To the left waaaay down the way you could see the Freedom Tower. I was truly taken aback. I went to bed that night feeling so assured with my decision and too excited for my adventure…meaning I didn’t sleep at all. A whole new meaning to the city that never sleeps.