Where have you been? Such an excellent question that needs and deserves an answer after leaving you for a month with nothing to look forward to…that shall change now! And, to answer your question, I’ve been to New York and back.
From the top, here is a run down of the last few weeks.
I departed Illinois in June about one week prior to my first day of culinary school. My plan was to drive the entire 15 hours to New York in one day, which for the most part was a success. My drive was uneventful until Pennsylvania. Driving through Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful! The mountains and forest were breathtakingly gorgeous. The sunset fell behind me as I continued east into the evening. Around 11:30pm east coast time, I decided to stop at a gourmet fast-food restaurant to grab dinner and continue driving, but instead found my “camp grounds” for the evening. It came in the form of a Walmart parking lot! This parking lot with great amenities provided a bathroom, food and bottled water. My plan was to spend the night in my car and this was exactly what I was looking for. Most importantly I wasn’t alone! There were several RVs, small campers and another SUV already parked. At this point I was still in Pennsylvania, about 10-15 minutes from the Pennsylvania/New York border.
Here’s the “bed” in my car. Instead of hauling a mattress, box springs and bed frame that wouldn’t fit in my car, I took the cushion and 2 pillows from our chaise lounge for my bed. For sleeping purposes, I moved 4 boxes to the front of my car, climbed in the back and slept on the chaise cushion. Yes, it was more comfortable than you may think and actually very comforting, which you can’t put a price on.
Tuesday, Day 2
This is one view out of my car window. The sun beckoned me to get up and continue east towards New York.
Tuesday’s plan was to view apartments all day. I made appointments before I arrived and had phone numbers of other landlords for backup. I was certain I’d find an apartment on the first day, move in that week or by the weekend and be ready to start school on Monday. Well, life doesn’t always go as planned and neither did the following week, which by the way started off with a ticket. A CELL PHONE TICKET! Seriously! I was in New York for less than one hour and got pulled over. I will confess my speeding tendencies and my need to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, but a cell phone ticket! LESSON 1: New York is a completely hands free state. I happened to be talking on the phone with my first apartment appointment when I got busted. Apparently the rude, sarcastic officer didn’t notice my Illinois driver’s license, Illinois license plates and New York maps laying out. Anyway, I carried on with my day and viewing apartments. The day ended without an apartment or even one I slightly liked. It was exhausting and I retreated back to my “camp grounds” in another Walmart parking lot but in New York.
Wednesday, Day 3
On Wednesday I spent some time regrouping, making phone calls, seeing apartments and continuing my online apartment search. I still ended the day without an apartment or the hope of one. I decided to look for hotels, the cheaper the better, and turn in early for a good night of rest. Oh, and, if you haven’t calculated it by now, my last shower was on Monday morning! I found a $60 a night motel that actually made me uncomfortable to take off my shoes, which makes it really hard to take a shower! The funny part was that I didn’t think it had a shower. Upon first inspection of my room I couldn’t find the shower. I thought, “Aha! That’s how they can charge $60. You have to go out and use the pool as your “shower” or “bathtub”.” Needless to say, I found the tiny, built-into-the-wall shower and convinced myself to get in.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Days 4-7
These days can all be clumped into one. On Thursday I accepted that school was fast approaching and I still didn’t have a place to live. Don’t be fooled! I only accepted this fact to a certain extent because I continued wearing the same pair of jeans and shirt…for 6 days! I think it was the part of me that refused to accept my current living conditions. If I changed clothes, if I opened a box and grabbed a change of clothes that meant I was accepting my current arrangements. Therefore, I wore the same pair of jeans and black sleeveless shirt from Tuesday through Sunday.
Speaking of my living arrangements, I ended up staying with a family for 8 days (Thursday through the following Friday). I found this family when I was looking and calling on apartments while still in Illinois. They had an apartment for rent but ended up renting it out before I arrived in New York. However, they also rent out the second floor of their 2 story home to college students. They offered to charge me $17 per day until I found an apartment. I accepted their offer and moved in some boxes on Thursday afternoon.
My week ended with one apartment appointment on Sunday. It happened to be the only appointment I needed. After one week of negotiating the lease (yes, I used to be a real estate agent!), I took possession of a beautiful 2 bedroom (1 for us and 1 for you!) with 1 full bathroom apartment. It’s full of charm, character and natural light! See below…
Our Skeleton Key