SO, I got my house updated a little (projects that I have been meaning to do for how long now? Like fix the ceiling in my basement, paint, mount the tv on the wall, do brickwork on the patio, lay grass seed etc etc....) and then shipped out.
My amazing friends threw me a going away party for me that was so much fun and so sad too. I knew that I had amazing friends that I was going to be missing so much after I left. My mom and dad, Heaven bless them, loaded up all my belongings that I was going to bring (so, let's be honest...mostly shoes and clothes) into their minivan and we took the trek across the country.
We left on January 5th at around 5 in the evening and made the 24 hour drive to Indianapolis, IN. We stayed at my Great-Aunt Harriet's house in Indiana for the night and had a great time with her and her son Doug.
We left from there and made the 6(?) hour drive to Athens, OH where my sister and her husband live with their family. I got to have a 2 day "sleep over" in my nieces pink room (they were very excited about the color) and got to go to church with them. It was a lot of fun to spend time with the whole family. I heard many comments about how much my sister and I look alike. I've always been flattered by comments like that and it has been awhile since she and I have gone to the same ward together.
On Monday we shipped out and made the 6(?) hour drive to Grandpa Grapes' house in North Tonawanda, NY. We had a beautiful drive and had a gorgeous sunset. After getting to Grampy's house we helped get some information about his time with the Buffalo Bills Quartet to a man who is writing an article about him. The next day we met with Aunt Esther and had lunch at....you guessed it, Wendy's :) What a great family tradition. It was really great to spend some time, even if it was short, with all the family we got to visit coming across the country.
Early Wednesday morning we got up and set out for the Big Apple. We drove past Fairport and Palmyra,
through Scranton (didn't come across Michael Scott or even Jim Halpert...sad story)
and through New Jersey (this is my first view of the city),
the Holland Tunnel
and then straight across the Manhattan Bridge
over to my university for the orientation. We'll skip past the orientation details (pretty boring...) but just say that Mom and Dad were very impressed with the school and it was great to have the opportunity to tour and see where I'm going to be spending a lot of my time for the next few years.
From there we went straight to my apartment and unloaded the van. 5 flights of stairs, multiple times, carrying boxes...whew, I got in my workout for the day. Thanks again Dad for your help with the carrying of boxes and Mom for the unloading of boxes. Mom and Dad set out on their own to find their apartment (can I say, I'm a fan of GPS?) and I made my bed (top bunk...extra tall) and eventually got in.
The next day we capitalized on the fact that I had a car accessible to me and we went SHOPPING to Costco, Target and Home Depot (and continued our tour of the bridges, crossing the Williamsburg bridge and then coming back from Brooklyn (where Home Depot is) on the Brooklyn Bridge. More unpacking and arranging (to my roommates joy, the boxes that were taking up the entry and room were gradually disappearing)
(view of my room from the beds)
(view of the street from my window)
and then evenings with Mom and Dad.
(This is a view of my closet. Yes, it's really packed)
(This is a view of my kitchen)
(View of the living room from the entry)
(View of the kitchen from the living room)
On Saturday I was officially unpacked so Mom and Dad and I went out to see the city. We decided we wanted to explore the Museum of New York City and took the bus there (again, thank you to GPS for telling us what bus routes we needed to take there even! I think I'm converted to the idea of a smart phone finally :-S ). Unfortunately, we didn't know that the buses only took change or the Metro card. I had my Metro Card already but we were planning on paying for Mom and Dad. We didn't have the right change and were at a little bit of a loss what to do. Well, New Yorkers to the rescue! There were people that were opening up their wallets and trading us dollars for quarters...there were other people reaching into their pockets for the change that they had just to GIVE to us. My dad kept saying, and I agree with him, that the stereotype of the brusque, rude New Yorkers was not the experience we had any time we interacted with New Yorkers. So, we got enough change for our bus ride and for our return ride. :) Loved the museum (the architecture was A.MAZ.ING...I'll have to go back to take pictures to share) and we explored the "Conservatory" section of Central Park (Mom's first time in Central Park! Mom has the pictures) and just enjoyed the scenery (even though it was COLD). We met up with the Bartholomews (some family friends) who treated us to dinner from Amy Ruth's...who has some of the best soul food around, we were told. I haven't eaten much soul food before but what we got was GOOD. On Sunday morning it was beautiful and clear and COLD again. We went to church (I go to the Lincoln Center building, where the temple is) and had a great opportunity to get to know a bunch of fun new people. Musicians, producers, electrical engineers, public affairs, software engineers...what a fun and interesting variety. We went back to Mom and Dad's, packed up and said goodbye :`( A friend of mine who lives here in the city invited me over to dinner which ended up being not one, but two dinner parties. What an amazing distraction from the potential sadness I could've gotten caught up in. I will definitely miss my family every day that I am here, but I know I will also have amazing new opportunities and incredible adventures. I'm getting comfortable with the buses and subways (it will take some time, I know, but I'm getting it... though I did get off the subway last night and instead of walking east I ended up walking north...but just for a couple of blocks before I noticed... no real harm done, right? :)
So, I know this is just a travel blog and most of you are just going to want to see the pictures... but I thought I would let you know what I have been up to since leaving Utah and it helped me realize that I need to become more of a "photo journalist" and take pictures of times, places, people, and situations that I get to encounter. So, over time hopefully my photography will improve to reflect my experiences here rather than just the snapshots of where I am. :)