First Week in NYC

This past week has gone by incredibly slowly, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I feel like time has been very deliberate, and I’m okay with that. It feels like we’ve been here much longer than a week, but maybe that has to do with the fact that we’re still sleeping on the floor because alas, our furniture won’t be here for another 7-10 days.

I’ve taken to exploring the city and scouting out coffee shops during the day. I successfully went running outside twice already. I feel like my feet have taken me all over the city, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface of everything there is to explore. I still haven’t been up to the Upper East or Upper West Sides yet, or over to Brooklyn, or north of Central Park, or even much more downtown than I am right now! The city is positively endless, and I’m really excited about that.

What’s still a struggle for me though is waking up in the morning. Since my work is 1) remote, and 2) three hours behind me, I have no real motivation at the moment to get up before nine, and that really isn’t helping me adapt to the time change. It’s also throwing my entire day off. I’m going to work on creating a schedule for myself (and actually sticking to it). But I want make sure I’m patient with myself – we did just get here, after all.

Another thing that I need to be patient with myself is (and this is kind of embarrassing) my shock at the bugs here. And by “bugs”, I mean roaches. I never thought bugs really bothered me before, but goodness, they freak me out here. They’re HUGE! And they look scary, and they creep… everything about them gives me the heebie-jeebies. Thankfully I haven’t seen that many of them, but there was this massive one yesterday that made it kind of hard to sleep last night. I do find myself peering into rooms and around doors before I enter, and jumping at any little noise. Davis is incredibly wonderful about my reaction to them, never getting frustrated with my cowering and doing the dirty work. But I need to get better about them. I think I will in time.

Right now our experience still feels so temporary. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Oh, I need to talk to so-and-so about that when I get back…” and then I catch myself, realizing I’m not going back anytime soon, at least not in the permanent sense of the word. I think it’s going to be so much better when our furniture does get here – it will feel more like home and finally seem real.

I’m excited to make friends too. I have to say, the people here have been really nice for the most part. I’ve been “welcome to New York”-ed at least four or five times, and that’s kind of a cool experience (like, “whoa, people actually say that!”). But both Davis and I are still strangers to almost everyone except each other here, and we’re ready to meet more people. We each have acquaintances or old friends in the city, and our social calendar this weekend has gotten rather busy with plans to reconnect. Good things lie ahead, I can feel it.

Oh! One more thing. I’ve joined two establishments already, both of which I’m excited about. The first is the New York Public Library! And I did it at the huge branch too, which was really cool. The second is a gym. So now I have no excuse: I can work out day or night, rain or shine. Time to get back into shape for the half marathon I’m doing in September! So that’s where I’m off to now – yay for new places and fun adventures!

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Sandwich Extravaganza!

(Hi there, WordPress. It’s been a while. Again. I know, I’m sorry for neglecting you, I’ll be better this time.)

I’ve decided to go on a sandwich quest.

Yes: sandwiches.

A few months ago, I discovered this delicious sandwich shop in our lovely little town (let’s call it Sally’s) that makes this sandwich called “The Tipsy Winemaker.” And since trying this sandwich, I can’t get enough of it. I went back again the week I first had it, ordered it again, and re-fell in love with it. Even though there’s 24 other things on the menu (not to mention the “make it yourself” option) I can’t not get this sandwich.

But then I realized something: in my tiny little town, there are easily eight other sandwich shops that I can think of that I haven’t yet been to, which might hold equally delicious and amazing treasures inside of them. So I decided it was time to try them all.

A little more on my history with sandwiches: I’m not such a huge fan. Which can probably explain how I’ve lived somewhere for the past four years and haven’t tried the local spots. Given the option, I’d prefer to eat almost anything else for lunch: burgers, leftovers, salads, breakfast, you name it. It’s not like there’s something inherently wrong with sandwiches – I mean, I love bread and all, and am usually a fan of veggies. But I guess my main dislike comes from the temperature aspect: I just don’t really like cold meat. So, if I do get a sandwich, I try to get it toasted. Also, I feel like often, I can make a sandwich at home for a fraction of the cost – so why get it if I go out to eat? (And one more thing: none of this applies (obviously) to PB&Js. I love PB&Js.)

Putting my biases aside, I’ve decided it’s time to try all of these places. I’m going to do my best to get the local favorite/popular sub at each spot, then review it here (because I need a place to keep track of my thoughts, and hey, why not subject you to talks of food?). Oh, and one more thing: due to my desire to keep my location anonymous, I’m changing the names of the sandwich shops as I go. Sorry.

I guess I should start by describing what Sally’s Tipsy Winemaker was and why I liked it so much. The Tipsy Winemaker is a sandwich that comprises of turkey, ham, lettuce, tomato, brie, and strawberry jelly on house-made French bread. The concoction is then broiled (yay warm meat) and served with a lollipop. I like this sandwich for a couple reasons. First, brie and jam on a sandwich? Um, yes please. Second, I can’t properly describe the flavors the sandwich has and the sound that I uncontrollably make when I bite into it, every time, without fail. Finally, I just love how untypical the combination is, and how all of Sally’s other sandwiches are equally (lovably) strange. They like using things like mozzarella sticks and onion rings as toppings. I love it. Plus they serve their sandwiches with lollipops.

So rating anything against this wonderfully magnificent concoction is just… hard. I mean, to be honest and completely fair, I kind of doubt I’ll find anything as good, but I’d really like to give the other sandwich shops in the area a shot. And along the lines of honesty, the last time I went to Sally’s, the sandwich was still good, but it wasn’t quite as delicious as it had been the previous four times. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I also want to explore some more before going back.

So that was my starting spot with my sandwich exploration adventures. It continued today, when I decided to venture to a new place that I’d heard great things about.

After discovering Sally’s, I had to tell everyone I knew to go there and try their delicious subs. Some of my friends finally gave in, came with me, and liked it too, but as we’re sitting there eating, they couldn’t stop talking about Lou’s. “They’re turkey veggie,” they said. “You have to try their turkey veggie.”

So about an hour ago I decided it was time. I jumped in my car, drove to Lou’s, and ordered the turkey veggie. And to be honest: it was a sandwich.

After the hype, I had high expectations. I thought it’d be sent-from-heaven delicious, but it was just a sandwich. Plus the meat was cold.

I could go on about the goods (friendly customer service, sandwich smelled tasty, easy ordering system) and the bads (maybe putting Italian dressing on it was a bad idea on their part – it made it sour), but ultimately it left me with a shrug-inducing feeling about the whole thing. I’d go back if others were going, but I wouldn’t rave about it the way I do about The Tipsy Winemaker.

So, yes. My sandwich experiences. Thanks for reading, if you’ve stuck with me through all of this. More to come as I continue to explore!

Meh.

I hate it when my conscience tells me that now is not a good time to write. True, I do have a list from here to the floor (approximately two and a half feet… in case you were wondering. It’d be much more exciting if I were Santa Claus.) of things I need to get done. But I’m going to take a short break just to say hello for a minute.

So hi! Life this past weekend was pretty swell for me. Davis and I went home and explored the massive city I was raised in and found some delicious food along the way. It was great fun seeing my family and finding new things to do that weren’t so far away from home after all. We took an architecture tour, sat on a special bench, looked at handprints, saw a Bugatti (a real live Bugatti being driven around town!), ate a cookie ice cream sandwich and just wandered for a bit (among other things). It was so nice just having time together and not worrying about homework and projects and finals looming ahead of us. We really enjoyed each other’s company and headed back to school relaxed and happy.

But that brings me back to here. Since I was gone all weekend and refused to do any work (apart from making another batch of apple crisp for my Industrial Costs and Controls (aka accounting class) project) I’m sitting here with what feels like a monster behind me and very little courage to actually turn around and face it. So much to do, so little time… It will all be better once I’m done. And I made myself a paper chain countdown until the end too, because I thought (read: know) it will make things better.

Oh man, there’s so much to talk about. Like how I’ve now sworn off Facebook because it was making me depressed. No really, it was. Up until a little over a week ago, I’d waste countless hours of my life staring at this computer screen, waiting for *gasp* a new notification or an instant message or some sign of life, of someone out there on the other end doing the same thing I was doing. And then I’d proceed to beat myself up about it. I realized it was not only a time suck, but also a substantial problem, when I really wasn’t getting anything done because of it and then feeling like crap afterward. So I cut it out of my life completely. And you know what?

I feel so. much. better.

Still not a hundred percent, but there has definitely been a substantial amount of improvement to my mood. Though I must say, my room does feel a little like a prison sometimes, but hey, I’m working on that. Baby steps.

The one thing I do miss is the social updates, like if someone got engaged or if there’s a new Internet craze going on. People are a lot less likely to email things like that these days, and I’m sad that I’m not in the loop like I was. For instance, Davis read a friend’s post on how Lady Gaga’s new CD was only $0.99 on Amazon. Not an essential piece of knowledge, but something that I would have certainly jumped on except that I didn’t find out about it. Still, I’m not sure if it’s worth what it was doing to me.

Last week I also noticed a habit I have that’s been bothering me and could be contributing to a slightly sadder Sarah. My daily (or, well, nightly) routine goes like this: class, come home and do homework, sleep, wake up, do homework, go to class. On paper, it looks pretty symmetrical, but in reality, it isn’t so awesome. Why? Because there’s a minimal amount of relaxing going on in it. This really bothers me. I want to be able to have a little bit of down time before I jump right into sleeping and then repeating, but I have issues thinking of what to do. Any suggestions?

Sorry this post was kind of a downer… I did want to share it though. Be careful with Facebook – its powers might sneak up on you! – and I’ll write again soon!

Dreaming

I had the best dream last night.

I was in Italy.

For the first part of it, I was at this house that I was deciding if I could rent out. I feel like my parents were there with me, but I don’t remember seeing them, so maybe they were just on the phone. The house had belonged to a couple who had fallen in love years ago. The man really tried to win over his wife, who was significantly younger (and I want to say was a nurse). While the house was empty, it was still full of furniture and memories. It really felt lived in. I wandered through it, talking to my parents somehow as I did. We were trying to figure out if we could stay there for a few days before venturing on our tour. The house was really nice, and I remember liking it very much. It was three bedrooms though, and for the two of us, we really didn’t need all that room. The master bedroom was beautiful, and I distinctly remember telling my mom back home that I wouldn’t need to buy a book light because there was a lamp by the bed (the other two rooms were quite dark, although one of them had Christmas lights strung across the ceiling!).

Then I left the house and went shopping with some friends I’d just made, who were all native Italians. There were four of them: two girls and two boys (and two of them were a very cute couple!). We stopped at this shoe store that sold what looked like lace-up TOMS which were brightly colored. Then we ventured across the street to a bigger shopping mall so that one of my friends could show me a tour-giving group that I might want to sign my us up for. The mall was much like an American mall (this, I know, will be different in real life) but it was outside. It was brightly colored and had stores in it that I recognized. (I have a feeling I got this from my recent trip to Las Vegas…) We talked to the tour people, though they didn’t have any tours immediately. But for whatever reason, I was okay with that. I was okay with figuring out how to explore Europe on my own. Because I wanted to. Really badly.

Two minor details I left out: I saw a nun wearing a name tag at the very end, which looked like it said she was from the town I’m from in America, but when I stopped her I saw that it actually said something else, and I was sorry for bothering her and sort of sad that she wasn’t a connection to home. Also, I remember purposefully leaving my cell phone at home because I couldn’t use it there anyway, but instead I carried my hairbrush around with me… why, I’m not sure.

I woke up feeling so invigorated about actually going to Italy this summer. I realize a lot of what I saw in my mind doesn’t actually exist, but I did feel the confidence I had there, and I’m hoping I can at least take that to the real place. I was skipping around everywhere in my dream, so excited  beyond all belief that I was actually there. I don’t think a smile left my face.

I don’t know what I want to “do” with my life right now, in terms of my career. A few nights ago I was floundering at this thought, questioning my major and what I was doing just because I didn’t see direction in my life. But now I realize that my dream for now doesn’t have to do with my major or career. My dream is to go to Italy, explore the world, learn and see new things. And one of the most exciting parts of that is that it’s actually going to come true.