The conference in Manhattan was quite a gem, something that will have a great impact on my team and the work I am doing in the future, I hope! The total New York, New York experience was just kind of 'ok' for me. Growing up in Bucks County, PA, I had the beautiful convenience of living close enough to the Big Apple that I knew it was there if I wanted it. If Ellis Island had a loyalty card, I would have earned a free trip to the top of Lady Liberty at least twice! Travelling into the city for fun things like the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall at Christmas, or a trip to the MOMA or Guggenheim with my art classes are experiences I will never forget. I also will never forget how incredibly relieving it felt to LEAVE THE CITY. In for a day by train/ferry/car/bus, out the same day and headed home on the Jersey turnpike.
New York is busy, crowded, and in constant motion. Which some people can only take in small doses. Apparently, I am one of them. I realized this as my second evening in the city was coming to a close and I stopped dead in my tracks to watch the sun set over the Hudson River through a little crack in the buildings. It was a small reminder that life outside of the concrete and skyscrapers really did exist. Thank you, God!
I have realized, while I am part-city-girl, I should probably change that to say I am part-mid-size-city-girl. Places like Minneapolis, St. Paul, Denver....they are big enough to help me feel connected to culture and diversity, but small enough that I am not overwhelmed by them. I can drive around them with ease, I can walk around them with relative safety, and I still don't seem to exhaust my list of 'favorite places' since there is always something new to try. And, cheeseburgers don't cost $20.
I started my journey home by purchasing a $20 shuttle ride to La Guardia from the hotel. I was waiting in the driveway of the hotel for a 15 passenger van to pull up with the words 'Air Link to La Guardia' on the side. Instead, I was approached by a guido wearing a thick gold chain and an accent like the Godfather, telling me to hop in his Chevy Surburban. The 'Oprah' inside of me was .2 seconds away for asking for his ID to prove he was not kidnapping me. Then I saw another passenger in the van and his luggage and figured this must be ok...right? I'm still a little unnerved about how this all went down. After taking 30 minutes to go two blocks through Times Square to the next hotel and pick up the last two passengers, we were speeding through the city at 20 mphs (that's fast for midtown traffic, I'm guessing). I hopped out of the SUV at the LGA and waded my way through security, wishing to high heaven I was not wearing 3 inch heels.
Everything with the flight seemed to be on time, which I was grateful for since LGA comes across as nothing more than a glorified bus stop. It's dirty, small, and I'm honestly not sure if they even have AC. Here's how my flight unfolded:
1. Plane arriving for the 5:15 flight didn't arrive and de-plane until 5:45.
1.5. The plane was crowded and I thought I'd do myself and others a favor by gate-checking my carry-on suitcase.
2. We missed our departure slot with Air Traffic Control because of #1, and sat on the runway for a good hour and a half.
3. Because we missed our original departure and bad weather was on the radar, we were re-routed over Canada.
4. Because we were re-routed over Canada, we had to stop for gas in Kansas City.
5. Because we had to stop for gas in Kansas City, we didn't arrive in Denver until 11.(Original ETA: 7:47)
6. My carry-on suitcase was not at the gate in Denver, it was checked with the other baggage so I had to wait at the baggage claim.
7. The.home.werker, wobbling along in painful heels re-unites with Jake and Lexi at DIA, and falls into bed around midnight.
I made it, but I'm not quite sure that the free cable TV on the flight really covers the extent of inconvenience we went through on that flight. A free flight voucher would have been nice, but hey, I got home in one piece! However, I do know a lot more about The Real Housewives of NJ and Gene Simmons than I ever thought I would. It's good we don't have cable.