Two Worlds, One Day, Road Trip!

So a few weeks ago, I quit working as an associate at Panera in hopes to get some frivolous adventure time in before I start my long laborious hike to Nicaragua, which according to google maps will take about 1,055 hours (going an average of 4.9 km/hr) and therefore according to my calculations would take 150.7 days (hiking 7 hours/day)…

OK, I’m not really hiking to Nicaragua, at least not any time soon, maybe someday (never say never). It’s just that this sort of endeavor seems about as difficult in my mind, currently, as embarking on a journey through medical school, which is what I am ACTUALLY going to do here in just three little weeks from now!!!! … OK, so I wont be facing blistering desert winds and heats, wont have to figure out how to set up a tent in the wilderness and live off of dehydrated meals and a water filter for weeks and weeks and WEEKS and wont have to fend off tropical diseases and wild carnivorous animals..and I have no idea really what hiking to Nicaragua will be like – but I also have no idea what this medical school business will be about and they both seem kind of difficult, so, for story telling purposes,I figured the two are pretty much interchangeable. I …digress?

As I was saying, I wanted to take some time off to venture out and frolic before having to hike to Nicaragua. The very first thing I did … with my glorious free time, with my marvelous and suddenly abundant free time, time which is by FAR one of the world’s richest, most powerful, and dwindling resources … , was wake up, roll out of bed, go to church, have brunch with the fam during which I was half-zombied-out due to lack of sleep and missing my Mr. Darcy (aka, mwa fiance, James who went to UTAH?! … for work) , and then I spent the entire day building a website! I know that was really climatic, right!? Well, after I did that, I hopped in my car and drove 9 hours to visit my darling Kristen in Pennsylvania. HA! Now we’re talking! As I drove and through the first 6 hours of that drive, I couldn’t stop thinking how grand it was that I was doing it, I was seizing the adventure, breaking out of my comfort zone, bolting into new frontiers, one small step for man, but one giant leap…

Ok so I was sitting in an air conditioned Buick through a clear sunny summery day. But hey it was a 9 hour trek all on my own – I gave myself a little back-pat. By the time I got there it was late evening. I didn’t leave till around noon thirty: I kept finding things to do (as I so often do)! The rest of the trip was marvelous history, I had thoroughly transported myself to an entirely new world! I was immediately wooed by Pennsylvania, blanketed in misty mountains, thick green woods, and rolling open spaces. I drove up a narrow winding well paved road, about a third of the way up a mountainside to get to Kristen’s lovely cabin-esque home. Kristen and I, after a couple tight embraces, hurried words of excitement at our reunion, and a brief night’s sleep, took the early morning bus from Scranton to NYC – and we pranced all across town together like two unleashed hyperactive kiddlets at the zoo.

Couple of things we did still stand out in my memory:

The bus ride in was almost 2.5 hours long. During that time, of course, Kristen and I could do nothing but talk! After all, it had been a month or so since I watched her graduate and seven months since she watched me graduate – thus marking the ending of our glorious school attendance together! Thus, as we were chatting, we carried on in a perfectly blissful manor, oblivious to the world around us until we stopped to watch the bus driver turn around and send some words our way. He motioned with his hand to “lower” something – “the window shade?” we offered, unsure of his meaning. He shook his head, this time we could make out his words, “could you two quiet down?” OOoOOooOhhhh we both blushed a bit to ourselves, looked at each other, and with one look we lost it, both laughing at the ridiculousness of our situation! I haven’t been told to quiet down by a bus driver since…. high school? After some examination of the situation, we determined that it was the layout of the bus seats that allowed our voices to travel directly to the drivers ears, not the annoying, loud, and rambunctious nature of our conversation.

We hiked from Time Square to the Rockefeller Center – a tall fortified building in whose ground floor we found an amazing large DELICIOUS vanilla chocolate ganache filled macaroon. Next, we took ourselves over to The Ritz-Carlton, a most luxurious and elaborate hotel! We walked in up the front steps, totally incognito, with our slightly sweaty toristy tops, back-sacks, complete with hiking shorts and shoes. Not sure if what Kristen found by calling the hotel faculty was true, but according to her, just to get a tour of the place would have been several hundred dollars?! We found an exciting food court on the floor beneath all the fanciness. Artisan breads, gourmet cookie samples, and even Stumptown coffee (YAY Portland!) could be found! We ate the tuna fish that we packed on a whole grain role and mini olive loaf baguette! Of course I just haaaave to comment on the food!

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We toured around Central Park, where, to my delight, I found Balto and to our surprise, a bunch of really odd looking sheep.

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After getting only a little lost, we explored a little Italy – mamma mia, did I want to buy armfuls of scarves and earrings and my mouth watered for a taste of the three course meals advertised by both sign and the waiter-looking-gentlemen standing by them! Next: Chinatown-which was slightly sketchy feeling to me, comparatively… Next we took to ferry (fo freeeee!) to Stanton Island and NEXT we had dindin at this awesome little pub – where I got a delish grilled chicken Greek salad. It was just her and I – on our own, going according to our own fleeting fancies! I felt so free to run around and around and then… I was pooped.

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With tired legs, sweat-salty shirts and shorts, we finally resigned to depart from the bustling city. We thought we had left ourselves with more than enough time to get back to the bus station, but had trouble finding the right subway line to get there… This subline happened to be called the “one” line. I couldn’t help but pun it up, thinking to myself, oh how troublesome it can be to find THE ONE…especially the RIGHT ONE…he he he…everywhere we look, us girls just can’t find THE ONE! I nearly lost it when Kristen ran up to this random guy, “excuse me sir, we are really having trouble finding the one, do you think you could point us in the right direction?” One wantingly helpful gentleman pointed us towards what ended up being a closed entrance to the “one” – line. I snapped a quick pic of Kristen standing under the sign pointing, dismayed at our failure to get to the one, oh the pun, I just canNOT help myself!

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Well we finally did get to the one, which got us to our bus with only three minutes to spare! Still feeling pretty chatty, we sat closer towards the back of the bus on the ride home.

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