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Carrie in the City

August 20, 2012 - Carrie Olson
New York City has a distinct smell — it’s a mixture of the food carts, people, sewer systems with the added heat of the subway. Others may call it nauseating (and it times, it can be), but I find it thrilling. It is just one of flavors of this city that I’m beginning to discover. I have been here for more than a week, and I am just starting to open my eyes to what this place has to offer.

It was an exciting adventure, Nate and I in our U-Haul, towing my little black Nissan Versa. From Iowa, we drove through Chicago, the state of Ohio and then into the Appalachian Mountains. That is where the weather gods decided to pour down rain, making it a treacherous experience (my hands were clenched into the seat of my chair, bracing for impact.) But alas, we made it out well, and straight into the East Coast driving we had been dreading. After paying toll upon toll, we were thrust into heavy traffic, while we chugged along at the 50 miles per hour allotted to us by our tow dolly. We talked in depth about our newfound sympathies with semi-truck drivers.

Bridge after bridge, we finally made it to our destination, Jersey City. Yes, I don’t live exactly in NYC, just across the Hudson River (my view of the Twin Towers from my apartment is definitely better than most that live smack-dab in the city.) Driving that contraption with the car attached through the skinny streets of our new town was not exactly easy. But we managed to unload our stuff and return the truck in record time (our clothes completely drenched in sweat, of course.)

While getting our apartment set up, we have ventured across the river a couple of times, to walk through Central Park, meet up with old friends, and participate in the quintessential NYC custom of brunch (but more on that in a later column.) We have marveled at all of the dinosaur bones and “Lucy” at the Museum of Natural History, and dined on dollar hot dogs while watching canines frolicking at a large dog park.

It seems the more that I experience this city, the more I have become enthralled with it. There is so much to explore, so much I will never see in the time allotted on this leg of my journey. There have been setbacks, as any story involving moving always does.

One, we did not have Internet for an entire week (Gasp! I know.) Unfortunately, we have found out the hard way that very few places in the area carry free Wi-Fi, so the job search had been halted to a grind until just a few days ago. Now, that we have that ability and cable (I can finally catch up on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” but again, another column), I can breath a sigh of relief.

Two — subways, trains and buses. Not so easy to get used to. We must use the PATH Train to get to and from Jersey City to NYC, and Jersey City to Newark where Nate is going to school at Rutgers University. But the schedules, the directions, it drives me bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S, as Gwen Stefani would say.) I am horrible with directions; my parents and boyfriend will vouch for this. Learning north and south, I would rather do an hour of calculus. Yet, I have the train system down, and am just learning the NYC subway system.

And three. The dreaded three. MONEY. I’m watching as my bank account slowly dwindles, with fares, food and bills. This is an expensive place. When I have to pay $6.50 for a 12-pack of cola, I want to throw up. It is an exciting place to be, but a cash-swallowing one as well.

But in any case, I am enjoying my experience so far. Reuniting with my East Coast friends and family, exploring places I have never been and being able to share it in this forum.

I look forward to writing about it here for the Daily Freeman-Journal and on I will be writing a weekly blog on Mondays for the DFJ and on Friday for my website. So, please tune in — otherwise I’m just writing for myself, and that would be narcissistic? Pathetic? Eh, I’ll think of a better word use later.


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