The Grievances of My Feet: Part II

Right when we moved to New York, I had this thought process I’d fall into: Why am I doing laundry at the laundromat? Why am I hauling 40 lbs of groceries up 100 stairs? Without fail, every time I starting falling into this pity party, I’d see someone with some sort of broken limb, broken neck, crutches… you name it—perspective slapped me in the face.

It’s always been a fear of mine to have a broken bone here. I mean seriously. Could there be a more inconvenient place for that to happen? In my head, no.

But oh yes, it happened.

So… what happened? How’d you do it? 

I don’t know.

I mean, there must have been some sort of moment, right? That you felt it break? 

Uhh… nope.

Were you running?? Did you trip or kick something? 

No really. I have no idea.

I’ve had this conversation about 37 times in the past week, which is wildly entertaining. On an unrelated note, I’m currently taking entries for a more riveting story to tell.

The real story, is that about a month ago, the top of my left foot started hurting. I figured I just pulled something and ignored it. It started hurting more and more, and in that last week it was painful to walk down the stairs and walk period. A small fact to ignore when you have no car and walk everywhere. So my husband made me go see a podiatrist and the verdict was in: STRESS FRACTURE.

But… how’d you do it?!?

NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL PHOTO OF MY FOOT.   photo credit: teamdoctorsblog.com

NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL PHOTO OF MY FOOT.
photo credit: teamdoctorsblog.com

I have no idea. REALLY. It apparently happens from repeated pressure in the same place over time. Leave it to me to break something walking. My second metatarsal has a stress fracture, and apparently this particular bone is especially susceptible for me because it’s irregularly longer than most people’s. I feel so special.

So the adventure didn’t stop there. After I was diagnosed with the stress fracture, the Manhattan podiatrist told me that they were out of the walking boot I needed, and I’d have to stop by the Brooklyn office to pick it up.

Let me get this straight… you want me to WALK to go pick up the boot for my broken foot. Okay. Got it.

Long story short, they gave me the wrong boot (one intended for people using crutches), which I realized after a day and a half of am-I-seriously-supposed-to-walk-in-this!? agony. When I went back, they still didn’t have the right boot, so I wore a surgical shoe for two days, and then FINALLY I got the right boot. Not too painful, not too loose, but justttt right. This must be what goldilocks felt like.

photo

So that’s the story. I’m apparently in this lovely boot for 4-6 weeks, but I’ve already gotten pretty speedy at my new wobble.

Humor aside, I am grateful and humbled that I’ve felt God actively preparing me for this. He has really been chipping away at the idols of comfort/predictability in my life. This definitely is not comfortable or something I could predict or control, but I can choose to have joy amidst it with his grace.

James 1:2-4  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

One thing to definitely be joyful about is all of the free subway seats for the next 4-6 weeks!!!

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The Anxious Person’s Guide to Flying

I am a recovering flying avoider. I used to plan my life around drivable distances and my familiar mix CDs, always appropriately titled by the month or occasion: April Showers, March Madness, God Mix 3… you know the drill.

I’m not sure when my flying anxiety started. Maybe it was post-9/11, or maybe it was just growing in my control issues. Or both.

Costa Rica in March 2009: my first solo flight. I survived.

Costa Rica in March 2009: my first solo flight. I survived.

I was able to avoid flying except when things came up that (gasp!) trumped my fear. Okay… I guess I can handle a flight for a week in Costa Rica visiting my Peace Corps (the “s” is silent, FYI) friend. Okay… I guess I should make an appearance at the Minnesota family reunion.

And then the unthinkable happened: I married a man from Nebraska (translation: 24-hour drive/my dad would never let me do that/not the most effective use of time).

July 2011: Selfie on my first trip out to Nebraska. Second solo flight ever. Feeling confident.

July 2011: Selfie on my first trip out to Nebraska. Second solo flight ever. Feeling confident.

Of course, becoming betrothed to said Nebraskan man required many flights to meet the family and friends. And then eternal (til death due us part) flights to aforementioned plains state.
And then the even more unthinkable happened: we moved to New York without a car (translation: driving is not an option). Needless to say, I have gotten VERY used to flying. I am currently on flight #17 since April. I am what you may call, a flying professional. Okay, maybe not. However, I have developed many coping techniques for flying:

1. Never, ever drink fluids prior to or on a flight. This is important because you’d never want to risk STANDING during a flight, let alone, walking to the back of the plane. You may risk dehydration and stomach issues for a few days, but it’s totally worth the safety of keeping your seatbelt securely fastened 100% of the flight.*

(*I do realize that this point limits lengthy flights, but I have managed to forgo liquids or bathroom use for 6.5 consecutive hours. Proud, not proud.)

2. Always choose a window seat. You will feel much more secure if you can see the ground during turbulence. It’s like when you’re a ballerina and you keep looking at the same point to keep from getting dizzy.

3. If the window seat is taken, sit in the center seat and then awkwardly lean and gaze past the person in the window seat making them super uncomfortable the whole time. This is happening as I type this. Sorry, denim-clad sir, but I’m a ballerina and I need to see my point.

4. Find other distractions.

Oh my gosh, the people in row 16 had a kitten that looked exactly like Peaches. I wonder what she would do on a flight? I wonder what she’s doing right now?

I wonder what those 8-year-old boys in first class do for a living. It must be lucrative.

5. During turbulence, remember that there are pot holes in the sky. This was the best advice I’ve ever received. Just sit back and remember that the great highway in the sky isn’t supposed to be completely smooth. It’s like riding on a crappy road! I feel so much better already.

6. Never notify others of the particular aspects of flying that scare you. Otherwise, that person (translation: husband) might perpetuate the fear during take off by looking anxiously out the window, saying “Eek!! Eek!!! I hope we make it!!”

I hope that these tips will help other flying-averse folks out there. I’m hoping to expand my skill set even more and one day maybe even cross an ocean.

Why was this less scary than flying in a plane?

Why was this less scary than flying in a plane?

NOTE: I’m hoping to also come up with The Anxious Person’s Guide to the Subway, but I’ve developed very little coping techniques for my daily commute into midtown Manhattan. Stay tuned.

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One Year in New York

This day last year, we said goodbye to life as we knew it in North Carolina and landed in New York. We’d only been married 8 days, and I’d never even stepped foot in Brooklyn before.

A question I get a lot is, “So… do you like living in New York?” and my answer is usually something like, “…Yeah! Well, it really depends on the day.” I heard it when I moved here, and it couldn’t be more true: when you live here, you end up having a love-hate relationship with this city.

New York is seeing downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on the first day.

New York is not leaving our Downtown Brooklyn hotel room for an entire day and still being proud of not having a freak out.

New York is buying a notebook to write down subway instructions since you don’t have a smart phone.

New York is being surrounded by people but knowing no one.

New York is changing your perspective so that it seems like a “good deal” even when your rent is 2.5x your old rent.

New York is diversity. It’s being the only person who looks like you on your subway car.

New York is thinking you’d have a lot more friends at 6 weeks and praying for one.

New York is your jeans getting soaked up to the knees on a rainy day.

New York is history.

New York is meeting your new neighbors on the roof.

New York is waiting in a grocery line that wraps around the store and then carrying 45 pounds of groceries home.

New York is not being “new” anymore after 3 months, because there are always newer people moving here.

New York is the beauty of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.

New York is the small satisfaction of mastering the subway system.

New York is walking. Every day. Any weather. Carrying any load.

New York is being crammed into a subway car with 150 people and everyone pretending that no one else exists.

New York is a new adventure and new stories everyday.

New York challenges what you thought you knew. It pushes you and grows you.

New York is having every option of cuisine available and still not being able to make a decision.

New York is having an awesome view of the city from your office, but being too busy to look out and see it.

New York is having Broadway shows 30 minutes away on the subway and the flexibility to get cheap day-of seats.

New York is people flocking to Prospect Park on a chilly, 58-degree day in shorts because … winter is over.

photo (6)The past year has been one of the hardest I’ve had, but also one of the most rich times of growth. My life in Raleigh was defined by busyness, and it’s ironic that I had to move to “The City That Never Sleeps” to, well, sleep. I’ve been forced to slow down a little bit and be okay with being alone. As much as people thought we were crazy for lumping new jobs, a new marriage, and a new city into one transition, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think moving right when we got married was the best thing we could have done because it forced us to truly rely on each other and God in every sense of what that means.

This morning, Logan and I congratulated each other on our first year here.

I’m so glad we’re on this end of it.

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Freezer Cooking: This is the [NYC] Remix

Hello everyone! The Meiers have reached a new low as far as lack of groceries and lack of food. I haven’t cooked in almost two weeks, woops. I’m realizing that it’s just not super practical to prepare/cook last minute with the new schedule. The last thing I feel like doing when I get off the subway at 6:30 is stop by the store and try to think of something to cook for dinner. But we love eating at home and love leftovers!! And love not spending astronomical amounts of money on eating out.

Counter space? Who needs counter space?

Counter space? Who needs counter space?

So I decided to try my first attempt at freezer cooking! The upcoming month is CRAZY with travels and other things, so I thought it would be great to cook ahead. My sister is a master freezer cooker, so you should check out the four posts about it on her blog. The idea is that you take one day and prepare TONS of meals, so then you can just pull stuff out of the freezer. Yes, please.

10:00 AM: After scouring my sister’s blog posts and my own recipes, I’ve settled on preparing:

• Chili (2 batches, thanks Brittany for the recipe!)
• Stuffed green peppers (2 meals worth)
• Chicken pot pie (3 pies)
• Twice-baked potatoes
• BBQ

Now that that is out of the way, it’s time to prepare the grocery list. This is a little tricky, because I buy fresh food (meats/produce) at Trader Joes, and canned/processed foods at Target or Key Food. Two different lists. I also have to keep in mind the weight of both lists because I’ll be making separate trips on foot both stores this morning before I can even get started on my cooking.

10:44am: My two lists are ready and I’m ready to hit Trader Joe’s.

freezer

This totally screams: SPACE FOR MEALS FOR A MONTH!!!

Things to ponder: 
• Tiny freezer: I’m ignoring this at this point. We will see how everything fits later. One word: Denial.
• Tiny kitchen: I barely have enough counter space to prepare one meal, let alone 10. This should be interesting. 

At this point, I actually stopped noting my exact times because things got CRAZY, but I know the general idea.

I got my trusty roller bag and hopped the subway to go to Trader Joe’s.  I gathered all of my fresh food and hopped back on the subway. I felt bad for myself having to carry this…                            until I saw this…

subway

TJs

Over 100 stairs later… I arrived back home with this load:

TJs load

After a quick unload, it’s time to gear up for grocery trip #2 to Key Foods. I return with this load:

Key food load

It’s 2:00 by this time, and I have to shower up for my 3:00 haircut. Pause from the freezer cooking day. On the walk home from my haircut, I decide to stop again (yes, third grocery trip of the day) to buy ingredients for a nice Easter dinner.

I officially started cooking right around 4:00. It’s all a blur really. If you want to read about the first three items (BBQ, Twice Baked Potatoes, Chicken Pot Pie), you can read the instructions on my sister’s blog. Let me just say that… she must chop veggies a LOT faster than I do… because it took me quite a bit longer.

I think I finished round one of freezer cooking around 8:30 or 9:00, and then had to make garlic cheddar biscuits and oreo brownie cupcakes for Easter potluck, and THEN made the chili and finalized the BBQ. The stuffed peppers were a casualty of the process.

Pictures don’t really do it justice, but here are a few amidst the chaos.

pies

 

IMG_3975

 

after

 

IMG_3985

I finally finished up and went to bed at 12:30am with a sore arm from chopping (not kidding) and sore feet from standing all day long. And had a mini meltdown the next day from fatigue.

…BUT… I came home tonight (Monday) to dinner with ZERO prep. Totally worth it.

Reflections on freezer cooking:
1) Don’t let a tiny kitchen or tiny freezer keep you from doing this. It is possible (although, I did have my doubts right around 10:15pm when this thought entered my mind: Freezer cooking requires a FREEZER!!!)
2) Next time, I probably won’t plan, shop, and cook all in the same day. It’s way too much for one day.
3) I probably also won’t take this on the day before a holiday where I’m already planning on a nice dinner and lunch potluck items. I need to narrow my focus. Rome wasn’t built in a day, people.

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Bringing Home the Bacon

In honor of my very first payday at my new job, I thought I’d share a little bit about being a working girl in the big apple.

Disclaimer: very little of this will have to do with my actual work. If you’d like details about my actual job, please ask!

photo (1)

This is not my office. This is the view from our break room.

THE OFFICE: I work on the 37th floor of a building on Park Avenue. That puts me about four floors above the tallest building in my hometown, Raleigh. From our office, you can see the East River, Hudson River, downtown, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building. I love the view!!!! Can’t wait for some clearer skies.

With working so far up comes my normal paranoia about disasters. I check my water glass at least five times a day to see if the water is shaking from an earthquake. What would we do if the power went out?? What if a plane hit a nearby building?? These are all normal, healthy thoughts… right?

CO-WORKERS: Everyone is nice and welcoming, but my favorite new coworker would have to be Sammy, the golden retriever. Don’t tell Peaches. Maybe I can convince them to have cats in the office, too?

THE COMMUTE: I now spend about an hour underground everyday. No cell phone service. No internet. Just me and the other 175 people crammed into the subway car. I spent the first week’s commute being super productive and playing solitaire. This week, I’ve started reading a chapter of a book each morning on my Kindle (aka, Kindle app on my iPhone). Sometimes it’s too crammed to actually hold on and read, so then you just try to find a space without a person to stare into.

Screen shot 2013-03-12 at 10.30.37 PMOh, and for anyone that’s a nerd like me and cares, I take the 2/3 to the 4/5 to the 6. At least the multiple transfers keep things exciting. The second two legs of my journey are on the busiest subway line in the city. The 4/5/6 Lexington Ave line is the most-used rapid transit system in the country and carries 1.3 million people daily! That is more than all of San Francisco and Chicago’s public transit combined (Thank you, Wikipedia). I guess I’ll be making a lot of new friends.

You can watch my little attempt at a Vine video here.

My absolute favorite part of my new commute is the first 8 minutes… walking with Logan until we have to part ways. So romantic.

Seamless Food DeliveryTEMPTATION: My office orders from Seamless every single day. This is a website where you can order food from nearby restaurants and have it delivered. DANGER ZONE. At least at my old job, you’d have to get over the hurdles of a) being too lazy to leave the office, or b) asking someone to bring you something back, dealing with the hassle of money, inconveniencing them, etc. With this, everyone orders/pays separately online, and it’s delivered together. For my waistline and wallet, I’ve opted to keep the ordering-in to once a week, but it’s oh so tempting. “Oh NO! I forgot my sandwich! What ever will I do?!”

Also, there is a Crumbs bakery RIGHT across the street from my building. Get behind me, Brownie Cupcakes.

THE ABANDONED ONE: Since I’m otherwise occupied during the day now, Peaches has gone rogue, branched off, and decided to have her own personal space on the world wide web. You can check out her tumblr account here.

I’m only eight days in, but I’m loving having more structure in my life and somewhere to be each day.

If I could change one thing, I wish I got paid on Fridays so I could sing that ‘N SYNC song,  “Thank God it’s Friday night and I ju…u….u…..stttttt got PAID!”

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Subway Immersion Therapy

If you know me, you know that I have a tiny pet peeve: loud chewing.

It all began in third grade when my teacher, Mrs. Anderson, told us that we weren’t allowed to chew our gum loudly during snack time. It was her pet peeve, and it suddenly opened me up to the world of loud chewing.

From that point on, it has plagued me. Classmates chewing during AP English. College classmates chewing chips during class. Coworkers chewing carrots. I. Can’t. Take. It.

My mom used to joke around that she was going to send me to therapy for this problem.

Anyway, I’ve usually been able to FLEE the loud chewers of America, but lately I’ve been totally and utterly trapped. TRAPPED.

You walk into the subway car. You sit down innocently. Wait… wait… WHAT is that noise!?!?!? Oh my gosh. It’s the guy RIGHT NEXT to me. He’s chewing his gum SO LOUDLY. My skin crawls. My blood boils. I keep looking over at him and hope he might get the signal, but it doesn’t work. It never does. I’m trapped next to this guy and his gum for the next 20 minutes. I can’t get up and move within the car because that’s awkward. I don’t want to get OFF the car because I might not make it in time. I’m forced to face it.

Tonight, as I was commuting home from work, I found myself crammed within strangers on the 4 train. To my horror, the guy I’m facing is totally, TOTALLY smacking on gum. I can see it sloshing around in his mouth. Does gum really require so much movement?? I try to handle it for a little while, but I can’t handle the visual plus the sound, so I turn around. OH MY GOSH. Another guy chewing his gum equally as obnoxiously. The thought actually crosses my mind that gum should be banned on the subway.

I know I have issues. I know that this is my own issue. What if the subway is immersion therapy?? Trap me underground and surround me with my pet peeves.

Mom, that therapy you’ve always mentioned… I think it’s happening.

… Or I could just buy a pair of head phones.

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Comparison

I’ve been thinking a lot about comparison lately, and even though it’s not a very romantic topic for Valentine’s Day, it’s pretty timely.

ImageThe Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy” has really resonated with me this year, and even though I know that it’s the truth, it’s so hard to identify in myself and fight.

Look at that person… she gets to spend every night and weekend with her husband.

Look at that person… she has three bedrooms, a yard, and a washer/dryer.

Look at all of my friends who are moving forward into “real” adult lives.

The comparison game was very alive back when I was single. Seeing people meet their spouses and get married years before I met Logan. Wondering if there was something wrong with me that I rarely dated. Wondering why certain girls were the apple of every guy’s eye or why certain girls got married so young.

I thought it would go away in marriage, but it just looks different now. Comparison is still wildly present in my spirit. I realized it after I found myself walking home envious of someone else’s tiny apartment that seemed just a tad bit nicer than our tiny apartment.

Social media is such a great way to share and keep in touch with people, but boy does it create the perfect climate for this dynamic.

Look at that person who just bought a house.

Look at that person who got to spend the holidays with their family. 

Look at that person who makes perfect meals every night.

Look at that person who just had a baby and is still 20 pounds skinnier than me. 

Amidst an insecure moment this morning, my husband was kind enough to point out that I probably have the same effect on people without intending to. That some of the things I post might just trigger similar feelings in people.

Why does she always post about her life in NYC and husband?

Why does she post so many obnoxious cat pictures?

Does she even have a job??? What does she do all day?

It’s interesting how simply by sharing seemingly innocent details of our lives, we can subconsciously stir up comparison in each other. As a friend told me, comparing in itself isn’t bad, because it can also push us toward evaluating ourselves, but it turns bad when envy and judgement follow on its heels.

I just wanted to be candid this morning and say, for every cute cat photo, there is another moment where she is destroying something in our home.

Although I may post sweet date nights on social media, there were four months that we barely saw each other.

Although I may post cool NYC moments, there are times where I traipse through the rain soaked or want to kick my laundry cart to the curb.

Although I love being clever and funny, I also have my moments where I feel super down and can’t seem to shake it.

Today, as we all compare flowers to no flowers, fancy dates to no dates, loneliness to companionship, let us stop for a second and examine our hearts. Is my irritation just envy because I lack what someone else has?? Am I stirring up feelings in other people by subconsciously being boastful and only posting the highlight reel of my life?

Lord, give me the grace today to be content and grateful for where You have me. Let me rejoice with people in their strengths, even if they lie in my weaknesses. Let me be mindful of what I share and how it can impact others. 

I’m so grateful today to be blessed with a loving and amazing husband. And I’m so grateful for God’s love displayed through Jesus. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Philippians 4:11-13

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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Nine Months & Random Musings

Tricky title, eh? You thought I was pregnant, didn’t you?

Day 1... and 274 days ago.

274 days ago on our first day in Brooklyn. Married eight days. Brand new to NYC and clueless.

I’m not pregnant (sorry Mom!), but it IS February 4th, which means we are quickly approaching the nine-month mark of living in NYC. How did that happen?

One of my dear friends, Kim, told me (when I was wallowing at month three) that it always takes her nine months before she really feels settled somewhere.  I can say that’s pretty true. I think it might have happened a little sooner actually, but I can say that this feels normal now.

I don’t have a super specific reason for this post, but just a few random thoughts I’ve had as of late.

1) Brooklyn is a black hole for country music. My husband definitely disagrees with this statement and blasts country as often as possible, but I just can’t do it. I remember our first week here, working on freelance and trying to listen to Lady Antebellum, and I had to turn it off because it made me so sad. Here’s the thing… to me, country music is what I listen to in my car with the windows down. Driving down to the beach. Driving home from work. It’s just not the same here. I have no car. I have no windows to put down. And no country lyrics apply to my life here. It’s terrible. Out of all of the events at the arena where Logan works, not a single one is country. I mean, can we please get some Sugarland? Lady A? Taylor?

The only little ray of sunshine I’ve seen in this area is The Lone Bellow‘s new CD. This is a Brooklyn band that just released their first album and is about about to go on tour.  Thank goodness for a country(ish) song with the lyrics, “We are broke in New York City, the F train takes us home.” At last, a little bit of country that makes sense in my world!

 

Pretty snow from our bedroom window.

Pretty snow from our bedroom window.

2) I like snow. I know, this is shocking. I loathed snow in North Carolina. It was pretty for maybe 2.5 hours, but after that, it just ruined plans, schedules, and safety. My hatred might have had something to do with the fact that I spun off the road on black ice once and could have died, but… that’s a story for another day.

It’s totally different here. Snow doesn’t stop society. I can finally appreciate its beauty instead of being irritated by the inconvenience. The best part is that I never have to worry about driving on it! But, I do have to worry about walking on it, which I haven’t quite gotten the hang of. Yesterday, there was snow on the ground, so I tied up my snow boots for church, and Logan wore normal shoes.

Check out these beauties.

Check out these beauties.

Logan: You know, those don’t have much more traction than your other boots.
Emily: I think they do, look!

Stopped to make him look at my tread even though we were already late to church.

 
Logan: Oh, okay.
Emily: Aren’t you worried about slipping??
Logan: No, I just walk gingerly.

Later, after church and the snow had completely melted, I’m the only idiot in town wearing snow boots on the dry sidewalks.

Emily: So… how do you determine whether or not to wear snow boots?
Logan: It’s more about the depth of the snow. If it’s only deep enough to touch the sole of my shoe, I wear normal shoes. I only wear snow boots if it’s deep enough that my feet would get wet. It’s more about warmth and staying dry.
Emily: Oh! That makes sense.
Emily: … Can we walk slower? These things are heavy.

I’m glad that my Nebraskan husband can enlighten me on this lifestyle.

photo-46

3) I’m really glad that Logan works at Barclays Center and not the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Logan is in charge of lights, video, sound, and all things event presentation at the arena where he works. When I go to events, I live in a tiny bit of fear that a) something is going to go wrong technologically, and b) Logan is going to put me on the big screen (which he did once, and I was way too involved in a conversation to even notice. Woops!).  I can’t imagine sitting at an event with the lights going off for 34 minutes and freaking out about what was going on upstairs in the control room. Yikes. I hope that guy has his job today!

20130203_super-bowl-power-outage_33

Well, Mama Bucci is arriving in a few hours, and I haven’t showered or cleaned. She forbid me from cleaning for her visit.

Moms are the best.

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Top 8 Things You’ll Never Hear a New Yorker Say

As I was riding the subway today, I was suddenly tickled (er,  ever so slightly irritated) by how different the culture and lifestyle is here.

This inspired a little Friday afternoon list of things you will never hear a New Yorker say:

  1. “Oh here, ma’am… you take my seat!” Living in NYC has convinced me that chivalry really might be dead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those girls that expects to always have doors opened and stuff, but… in what other scenario would six (SIX!!!!) men be sitting down and five women standing up!? The only exception to this rule is if you’re pregnant. My sister visited when she was pregnant, and people gave her their seats left and right.
  2. “You really get a lot of bang for your buck paying rent here.” Not at all. It’s more like, “What!? My friends bought a 3-bedroom house with 5x the square footage and their mortgage is less than half of our rent.”
  3. “Closing my eyes and wearing headphones while I’m on the subway really does make me feel like I’m alone on a tropical island.” I know this is people’s way of having personal space, but I really prefer to look around and people watch. And repeatedly make eye contact with the same person. Awkward.
  4. “My body temperature is always so consistent.” Braving the elements, combined with half-mile walks and hot/cold (based on the season) subway platforms, there is really no way to regulate your temperature. I’m constantly taking off or adding layers. My husband apparently does have perfect temperature regulation because he never seems to adjust his layers. By the time we get home, my coat, hat, scarf, and gloves are all off… and he’s perfectly fine in his three layers and coat. Interesting.
  5. “I’m so sick of seeing the same people all of the time. I wish I could see some new faces every once in awhile.” I’m actually taken aback when I do see the same person more than once. It’s almost unsettling.
  6. photo-43“Gosh, I really wish the wind would pick up a little.” It is so unbelievably windy. Every time I round a corner I hold my breath and wait for the gust to hit me. I should have known it was bad when my new hairdresser blew my hair the opposite way after she cut it “just to make sure it looks okay in the wind.”
  7. “Hey… want to go hang out in Times Square??” The crowds are to be avoided at all costs, unless you’re on your way somewhere and it’s absolutely necessary to cut through.
  8. “I’m so glad that my neighbors named their unruly cat after a fruit and yell its name all day, every day,” …said my next-door neighbor.

Disclaimer: I know there are always exceptions to these, so don’t hate on me, NY gentlemen (like my husband). 

I’d love to hear any additions you have! Happy New Year!

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A Less-Than-Ideal Christmas

Let me be honest: looking forward to Christmas this year has been a huge struggle for me. Not slight, not moderate, but a huge struggle. My husband would tell you that I woke up the morning after Thanksgiving and cried because of Christmas. True story.

It’s just been a tough pill to swallow: our first married Christmas, my first Christmas away from my family, and we will be in Brooklyn … alone, with Logan working on Christmas Day (can we all please boycott sporting events on holidays?? Thank you.). Even thinking about how to plan for Christmas has just depressed me. How can I plan Christmas Eve when Christmas Eve has always meant church and appetizers and presents with my family?? How can I plan a Christmas morning that consists of me and a cat?? As I told Logan tearfully, as he sweetly, patiently looked up fun Christmas activities for us to do… I just have no framework for this! 

In all reality… I’ve been having a big fat Italian pity party. A gigantic pity party. Yes, I know that we’ve been blessed beyond imagination. Yes, I know that there are tons of people out there with way WAYYYY worse scenarios. But for some reason, I’ve been really unable to get past these entitled, sad feelings.

A huge thing I’m leaving out is those all-important first six letters of Christmas and totally neglecting to consider the meaning of this holiday. It might as well be called Emilymas for the way I’ve been moping around like a martyr.

Today I finally decided to drag myself off the couch and actually pray about this and read the Bible. The praying just turned into crying and entitlement, so I stopped praying and turned to the Bible and started reading the stories of Christ’s birth. I mean, that’s a good way to prepare for Christmas, right??

I read the account in Matthew… and Mark…and finally turned to Luke. Luke has a much more detailed account of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth, including Mary finding out she was going to have a baby. As I read her story and her joyful response to this news, it hit me that this really was not ideal for Mary. Not ideal at all. She’s engaged to be married and she gets pregnant!? Does God really want her to go through that embarrassment!?

Then as the story goes onto Jesus’ birth, he has to be born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough. Now that is really not ideal. Can you imagine a pregnant woman today giving birth in a pig pen and then setting her baby in a feeding trough?? And being joyful about it??

This is the thought that then hit me: God used less-than-ideal circumstances for His perfect plan. He used a less-than-ideal situation and chain of events to bring his story of redemption into the world.

If that is the case, where do these holiday pressures come from?? Why are the holidays filled with so many expectations?? Why do I think that I need to have the perfect Christmas, go to exactly 3.5  Christmas parties with my husband on my arm, have the very perfect Christmas morning huddled around the tree sipping cocoa and wearing festive pajamas? Not only is God bigger than the less-than-ideal circumstances, but he does his best work within them. What a humbling thought.

Friends have encouraged me to find some good distractions this Christmas to focus on something outside of myself… crafting, baking, volunteering. I think all of those things are great, but before I can do any of those things, I need to come to accept things for how they are and find joy instead of putting a band-aid on.

I am so grateful to know a God that works in less-than-ideal circumstances.

I’m so grateful that God sent his son to cover my sin and my entitlement, selfishness, and whiney days like today.

I’m so grateful that God doesn’t require my life to be picture perfect to work in and through me.

My prayer this Christmas is that God would grow me closer to Him through these less-than-ideal circumstances and grow in me a faith like Mary’s.

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”

 Luke 2:49 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

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