So I left off last time with the story of my drive to Nyack. I arrived in Nyack around noon last Monday. The first thought I had when I pulled off Interstate 87 and into the city of Nyack was "crowded and dirty." As I would discover later, that's pretty much the theme of the area.
I drove straight to Nyack College when I arrived, even though I wasn't checking into my on-campus apartment until 4:30 that afternoon. I found the building where I now live and then drove in circles around the neighborhood, trying to decide what to do next. Food. That's what I needed. Easier said than done, my friends. I tried looking up restaurants on my phone and found a few Chinese places that sounded all right. After about 20 minutes of driving the wrong direction, I turned around and headed downtown. The streets were crowded and dirty and people were everywhere! At that point I was too exhausted to think about finding somewhere to park and tried to focus on getting out of downtown. I weaved my way out of the mess and back onto a main road, where I found a familiar sight: Walgreens. "Thank the Lord!" I breathed as I pulled into the parking place and promptly called my mother. "Mom," I said, "I want to come home." I was done. I wanted none of the hilly, crowded, dirty streets and strangers who seemed focused solely on their busy, fast-paced lives. Now if you know anything about me, you know that I must be pretty desperate and upset if I'm saying that I want to return to Oklahoma. My mother, in all her wisdom, was well aware of this fact and tried her best to reassure me as tears began streaming down my face. She pep-talked me the best she could and after ten minutes we had come up with a game plan: call ATS, figure out where the seminary campus was, ask for recommendations for lunch. Mom instructed me to follow through with the plan and call her back in an hour with all the details. I hung up the phone and called the ATS admissions office. A student answered the phone and was quite patient with me as I told her that I had just arrived in Nyack and was freaking out because I didn't know where anything was. It turns out the Walgreens where I had parked my car out of desperation was exactly in between the college campus (where I live) and the seminary campus on exactly the same road. After an hour, I was able to call my mother and tell her I had found the ATS campus, taken care of my financial aid, and made friends with the girl in admissions, who had offered to show me around Nyack the following evening. She even pointed me in the direction of a McDonald's, where I inhaled a Southwestern salad and then sat in the corner on my computer for the remainder of the afternoon.
I checked into my apartment at 4:30 that afternoon. It's a super cute corner apartment, which means I have a window in my kitchen! I had planned on moving my things in right then, but it began to rain so I decided to find Target and get a few groceries so I didn't have to live on McDonald's for the week. Also easier said than done. I found Target fine, thanks to my GPS Pam, but finding the parking lot was a bit tricky. The Target is in the four story Palisades Mall, which is surrounded by a giant one-way circle. I circled the entire mall three times before I finally found the Target entrance before I passed it. The good part was that by the time I parked my car it had stopped raining. I went into Target and proceeded to choose the loudest cart in the fleet. Something was wrong with the wheel and it made the a very loud thumping sound. So not only was I in a strange town in a strange Target surrounded by strange people, each strange person stared at me when I went past due to the stupid cart. It became increasingly apparent that I wasn't going to find everything I needed at Target, so I rushed through the store and ended up with a paring knife, two small baking dishes, and a few cleaning supplies. I had passed a grocery store called Stop n'Shop on the way to Target and decided to stop there for food supplies. By the time I got back to my apartment, I had been gone for 2.5 hours. I carried my groceries upstairs and then headed back out to find dinner. I went back downtown and thankfully found a parking spot close to Subway, where I quickly purchased a sandwich and hurried back "home." I then spent over an hour lugging one heavy item at a time from my car, up three flights of stairs, and into my apartment, shoving bites of sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich into my mouth between loads. I unpacked the bare minimum, aka my bedding and toothbrush, and collapsed into bed.
The next three days were much smoother. I unpacked my apartment, applied for numerous nursing positions, went back to Target with my new friend Leah, assembled a complicated lamp with sketchy instructions, discovered a better grocery store than the Stop n'Shop, found the dumpster, and got locked out of the apartment building because the lock is janky. Thursday evening, I crossed the Hudson River on the Tappan Zee Bridge to pick my cousin Ruth up from the train station in Tarrytown. We then made our way to my cousin Scott's house north of Albany, where we babysat his two daughters for the holiday weekend. So much more to come about my weekend with two and four year old girls - such an adventure!