As I write this I've been on New York City concrete for 24 hours.
I had a lot of travel blunders yesterday, the first being missing my flight in Omaha. Yes, I'm from Omaha. Yes, it's an extremely small airport. Upon arrival to Eppley Airport my flight was delayed about 30 minutes. My mom and I decided to go get a quick bite to eat. After eating, I checked the boards to see that the delay was reduced and I needed to get to my gate ASAP. When I got to my gate, they had just shut the door and wouldn't let me on. It was extremely frustrating to see my plane right outside the window and they wouldn't let me on.
Two hours later I was flying to Minneapolis instead of Detroit. After four hours in Minneapolis (not a shabby airport), we took off for La Guardia. New York City was having a bad rainstorm and we had to hover for about 30-40 minutes before landing. Once we landed we were boxed in by two planes and couldn't "park" at our gate for 10 minutes. Luckily, I quickly found my baggage in the "unclaimed luggage land." (It was much larger than I expected, at least 25 pieces of luggage.) Finally, at about 11 p.m. I entered the I House with Elder Howell one of the people I will be working with at my internship at the public affairs office for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I quickly found some vending machines, ate and got started on settling in. I then made a quick little video blog or "vlog" on my experiences thus far and a tour of my room. (Unfortunately, it's not uploading. I'll try again another time, but here's a picture from the door)
Today we had I House orientation at 10 a.m. Thankfully, it didn't last very long. It appears that everyone that I've talked to had bad travel experiences yesterday, with a few exceptions and mine was not the worst of it. After the orientation, Brian (from Divine Comedy, advertising) and I went to Fairview grocery store to get some things. I got some shelf stable foods and laundry detergent. Funny story, rather two funny stories:
First, Brian and I couldn't figure out where the customer entrance was. We easily found the loading area for the suppliers, but couldn't find the customer entrance. Finally I decided to go through the customer exit, as I walk through I am staring at a New York Fire Fighter. He stares at me. I think he's going to reprimand me for entering through the exit, but then looked away.
Second funny story, (these are more "oh funny" stories, not laugh out loud stories), so I'm from Omaha, Nebr. and I go to school in Provo, Utah, both places are relatively cheap price-wise. I'm expecting to see a price hike on things, even groceries. At Fairway, I go to get some granola bars and on the price labels on the shelves had an orange section in the left corner of the tag which stated they were $7.89. "Holy CRAP," I thought to myself almost 8 bucks for a box of granola bars, no way. I walk away and see more ridiculous prices in the orange section of the tag. Finally, baffled by the ridiculous prices, I look at the tags closer. When to my pleasant surprise the orange section of the tag is the price per pint, pound, etc. The individual price is to the right in unflashy white. I go back to the chocolate peanut butter granola bars, which is actually $3.19 per box. I can handle $3.19.
At 3 p.m. the Comms group met up again for a scavenger hunt of NYC, for cash. Tour NYC with the possibility of getting some money, I'm down. I set out with Emily Peterson (formerly Bylund), her hubby Richard, Adam and Adam's wife Rebecca. We went all over the place! We saw Tom's Diner (the Seinfield diner), St. John's Cathedral, Central Park, specifically Strawberry Fields, Trump Towers, the Manhattan Temple (aka the LDS Public Affairs office), Times Square, Adam's internship office off of Prince Street, and Emily's internship office off of 51st and Madison. I think we went on at least 15 subway trips. I go from subway virgin, to well seasoned Metro commuter, okay that's a little much, but I feel pretty comfortable on the subway. Unfortunately, we didn't have the most points and we were 45 minutes late returning to the I House.
It's safe to say that as for the first 24 hours I'm a fan of New York City. I also really like the International House. Everyone is so friendly, I've already met someone from Pakistan getting his Master of Public Administration at Columbia and had a good chat with him. I've also met a guy originally from California who is working on his doctorate in Decision Making, which has to do with a synthesis of psychology and economics. This place is awesome!
In not New York news, as some of you may know and some may not have known, I'm planning on serving a mission after my internship. My availability date is Sept. 1, and originally I thought I would have to wait a bit longer to have them officially submitted, but the stake clerk seemed to think turning them in early would be fine. I submitted my mission papers on the 20th of April, so I was expecting some time next week. But I just got an e-mail telling me that my stake at BYU is going to hold them until the 24th of May, so I have to wait some more.
Friends, please give me suggestions as to places I should go in New York City, I live on the Upper West side so close things are good, but please don't limit your responses.