Thursday, July 28, 2011

[baffled] In The City!

After just seven weeks in the city, I am back in Florida for my bridal shower!

In preparation for my trip, I reserved a car to pick me up from our building at 5:45 a.m. I like to pretend that I know where we are going, but since we don’t drive and it is not very often that we are above ground when we are commuting, I tend to get turned around. After completely convincing myself that my driver was taking me to LGA and not JFK, we arrived at the correct airport. What would I have done?! After making my way through security and refusing to pay for a bagel with a long hair on top, I hopped on my flight headed to Orlando.

Upon boarding the plane, I headed down the aisle toward my row, climbed into the window seat and assessed the passengers around me. I consider flying to be quite relaxing and I look forward to early morning/late evening flights so that I can just close my eyes and disconnect for a while. I began falling asleep when I heard the little kid in front of me start to make funny noises. I opened my eyes just in time for him to pull his cellphone out of its “harness”, cock it back and begin to use it as a “gun”. He pointed the cellphone toward the window and began picking off targets one by one. “Boom,” he said as he shot. The first target was the airplane at the next gate, the second target was the folks packing the luggage and the third target was a plane taking off in the distance.

I turned my head to see if his parents noticed what he was doing. Totally immersed in their conversation, they had not heard a thing. Now, I get it – he is a little kid and probably doesn’t understand the severity of the situation, but come on!  I turned back to look at the kid who, not even 30 seconds prior was on a killing spree, and he had put on a Disney hat and snuggled into the window like nothing happened. Oh boy.  

It was really difficult to leave Ruben in the final days before he takes the NAPLEX, but I am confident that he will do well! While I am here, I will be meeting with some potential wedding vendors, spending mucho time with my family and getting a refill on my Diet Coke everywhere I go J I’m so excited to share the details from my weekend in my next post.  Until then!

Monday, July 25, 2011

[fireworks] In The City!

It is not a secret – two of the things that I love most in life are the United States and fireworks. Combine two of my favorite things with hot dogs and Diet Coke and you have my second favorite holiday – the 4th of July! I knew that this year would be different and to tell you the truth, I really wasn’t looking forward to it. To me, the 4th of July means cook-outs, sparklers, the beach and amazing fireworks; however, I was pleasantly surprised with how we celebrated this year.

One of the coolest things about The Brooklyner is the ridiculous views from the roof deck. Apparently this was the first year that the roof deck was open for the 4th of July (since the building is so new) and we, like many of our neighbors, decided to stay home and try our luck at getting a peak of some fireworks. Boy, were we surprised! We had a front row seat to Macy’s Fireworks over the Hudson and it was absolutely awesome!

 If the fireworks for the 4th were this good, I can't wait until New Years!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

[surprised] In The City!

On June 28, Ruben gave me the most amazing birthday gift ever – my sister! After months of planning, Ruben put her on a plane and sent her to New York. Upon arriving, she hopped into a taxi and made her way toward Brooklyn. Our doorman called me downstairs to distract me, while Ruben snuck Michele up to our studio through another elevator. After telling me that the car that I don’t have was being towed, I went back upstairs and discovered my present. Boy was I excited!

After a completely necessary trip to Lombardi’s, we used that evening to plan our busy week. “Michele and Kelley Take New York” we called it – we were definitely ambitious, but successful! In three and a half days, we:
  • Got a bagel at Montague Street Bagels
  •  Struck a pose with Lady Liberty and did cartwheels at her base
  •  Talked with a real New York police officer who had a thick mustache and used words like “yonder”
  • Visited Baby Boutiques in SoHo
  • Ate at Noodle Pudding
  • Picked up a cupcake from Crumbs
  • Visited the Today Show
  • Took a million photos around Rockefeller Center
  • Violated wax figures at Madame Tussauds
  •  Took a picture in front of Radio City Music Hall
  •  Played with dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Picked up a cookie from Levain’s Bakery
  • Peaked into Central Park
  •  Got our Robot on at FAO Schwarz
  • Dined with Justin Timerlake at Southern Hospitality
  • Got on a Jumbotron in Times Square – twice
  • and ate ourselves stupid at Juniors – “Real NY Cheesecake, folks!”

I never in a million years thought that Michele and I would have the opportunity to explore a new city together. A huge thanks to my amazing love for pulling off the best birthday surprise ever!

Friday, July 22, 2011

[new] In The City!

We are simple people. Give us an open field and a football, a sandy beach or a slightly damp towel by the pool and we’re content. Living only 5 minutes away from the beach turned us into a spoiled kind of folk – two people who spent nearly every weekend spitting salt water out of our mouths and brushing piles out sand out of our cars. Did we ever think that we would trade our little slice of paradise for an overcrowded, 24/7, brightly lit, concrete jungle of sorts – no. But did we? Yes.

The last week in May was one of the hardest and most rewarding weeks that I’ve ever experienced. After nine years in school (five undergrad and 4 professional), my love graduated with his Doctorate in Pharmacy. His graduation marked the closure of a chapter – one heck of a chapter at that – and the beginning of what has already become the craziest thing we’ve ever experienced.

Back to the beginning: we both grew up in Orlando, Florida. Orlando is where we met and fell in love. After graduating from UCF, Ruben’s studies took him to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and after I graduated from UCF, I joined him down south. Our lives were beautiful. Our apartment was perfect– it’s kind of funny because we always referred to it as “our little apartment” – little did we know. We had so many amazing memories in ‘Kelley’s No Fun Zone, OK?!” (thanks, Gustavo).

It was there where I discovered that I could cook, save for the time that I nearly poisoned us with raw BBQ chicken. We would dance in the living room; take turns scaring the bejesus out of one another (“Come here, WHITE GIRL!”) and laugh until the wee hours of the morning. Apartment 318 is where Ruben proposed amongst piles of dirty clothes, where we would deck the halls with a 13’ Christmas tree every year and where we called ‘home’.

On June 2, we gathered what was left in our apartment. We spent the entire morning going up and down the three flights of stairs, cramming every last bit of our junk into Ruben’s black beauty. We showered one last time and then threw the rest of our toiletries away – there was absolutely nothing left in our place. We paused for a moment to take it all in. The large dark stain on the living room carpet was in full display and for the first time, I didn’t care. I grabbed my camera and we snapped a photo – one that is still hard for me to look at.

After a quick lunch with two of our best friends (who are also going through the residency experience), we started the three hour journey north. With my knees pressed firmly against the glove compartment, (which btw, why is it called that!?), I sipped on an iced latte and bawled my eyes out. Ruben was sad too, but true to his nature, he kept finding ways to make me laugh. We reminisced about the memories from the past three years and began talking about the new chapter in our lives. We referred to ourselves as nomads and gypsies – for the first time in three years, we would be staying with our parents for longer than three days. Though brief, the stay marked the beginning of this new chapter and was not nearly as relaxing as we had hoped.  
Fast forward through giving up our cars, very difficult good-byes and sore backs and shoulders – we finally made it. Hello, Brooklyn.

We walked into the lobby of our new apartment building. The building itself is taller than any other building that I've ever seen and our doorman Peter, affectionately now referred to as “Peta”, gave us the keys to our spacious, no bedroom, one bathroom studio with ‘views’. I kid, but really, setting up our new apartment required some very careful planning and a quick tetris lesson or two. We retrieved our boxes from the package room (how else were we supposed to move?) and headed upstairs. One shattered flat screen TV (yep!) and many unpacked boxes later, we finally stopped moving and turned in for our first night in Brooklyn.

For the first time ever, we have had to cook with gas (a huge thanks to Gustavo who showed us how to do this!), go downstairs to do our laundry and rely on public transportation to get everywhere. We've learned very quickly that it is nearly impossible to go grocery shopping and now prefer to order our groceries online. Going to Target is no longer fun and buying things in bulk takes a lot of planning.

In the four weeks that we’ve been here, we’ve discovered some quaint eateries and were ecstatic when we realized that we have a CHIPOTLE! I often joke that I’m not sure if I’m more excited to go to Chipotle for the delish burrito bowls or for another luxury that has been completely ripped away from me: COKE ZERO REFILLS! For a diet coke/coke zero addict, there are only three places that we’ve found that offer free refills:  Five Guys, Junior’s and Chipotle. Needless to say, I find myself begging for the latter two quite often.  

Before Ruben began his residency, we would use the evenings and the weekends to venture into NYC. At first, riding the trains was intimidating, but with the help of Google Maps on our phones, we’ve turned into seasoned pros. We’ve seen exotic foods in China Town and tasted so many different kinds of pizza, all of which, even the “crappy” places, put Florida pizza to shame. We’ve been poured on in SoHo and drenched as we walked along the Hudson in Brooklyn. We’ve stared at the Statue of Liberty from afar and admired the Brooklyn Bridge up close.  Ruben has punted a rat, no literally, punted a rat on the sidewalk and I screamed with perfect strangers while it happened.

New York has definitely been a learning experience so far and one that I’m excited to continue to share.