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Thursday, June 30, 2011

My sincerest apologies to anyone who feels neglected by my lack of recent blogs. I'm pretty sure that's only my mom, but her continuous prodding has lead me to believe that nearly all of the 7.1 Billion people on this Earth are dying to hear about my puny little summer adventure. I'm not sure how the primative tribes in East Asia are able to read it without computers or knowledge of the English language, but Kathy insists, so I will do my best to regulate my updates to prevent additional world suffering.

It has definitely been an interesting week.

I said goodbye to LA Digital on Friday with promises to stop by for lunch in the future. The weekend was pleasant, mainly because I got to sleep in, which was really nice. I went for a run around the pond in Central Park. I had my first run-in with a laundromat in the city (I got a month's worth of laundry done for $8 with a little bit of stuffing... I was proud). I've officially decided that Trader Joe's is every bit worth subway commute because it only costs about half what most grocery stores charge around here. The commute really isn't even so bad when I think of how long it took to drive to Walmart while I was in Montevallo. Everything is relative here. In the past few days I've been within 4 feet of Eva Mendes, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Hugh Jackman. I also started my new job at Dylan's Candy Bar.

BUT that's not the point of this blog...

Many seem to be curious about the new church I have so quickly come to love. Through subleasing from Shelly, I was encouraged to audition and fill-in for her at the Central Presbyterian choir. I was hired on the spot and attended choir practice that evening. While the choir is small (only about 12 people when we're all present - apparently there are a few more during the school year too) the people are incredible, and very passionate about worshiping God through singing. The choir has practice Wednesday nights, then again Sunday mornings. I love Sunday mornings because when we arrive, we start with Bible verses that have meant something to us that week, we pray and get our hearts prepared for worship, and we practice. THEN, we have a time of choir fellowship with scones (more to come on scones), and a devotional time lead by one of the sunday school teachers. At the end of the devotion we begin the service. After the service is over, there is a "coffee hour" for fellowship with others in the church. I love coffee hour - not only do they feed us, we just get to sit and enjoy each other's company. I've met some wonderful people with incredible stories at Central's coffee hour.

I've basically jumped in with both feet because the congragation is so welcoming. I attend a "Names of God" study on Sunday afternoons, which has really resonated with me this summer as I see different aspects of God's character revealed in various ways. I also attend a Women's Fellowship Group. I love the ladies of this church! There are a lot of older women, but then there are a lot of young families, and 20-30-somethings. It's a very diverse congregation. The only gap in the group is the "youth" age. I think that's mainly because the church is in a transition period, and these young families will grow and build the youth group in a few more years.

All in all Central is incredible. God is SO GOOD! And I have to go get ready for work!

More to come soon-ish, I promise ;)

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Friday, June 24, 2011

Real World: NYC

Workin 9-5, what a way to make a livin'...

I have a big-girl job this week. I feel like such an adult!

Well, actually right now I'm working 9AM to 6PM, and I eat lunch by the phones. Three days ago, I would have told you that while I was thankful for the opportunity, being a receptionist is the most miserable job in the world.

Today, I admit that a job is simply what you make of it.

For the past week, I have been the temporary receptionist for the company formerly known as LA Digital Post. (currently Butterfields, or Epic Post, or LA Digital, or [as I say when answering the phones] 'New York Post Facilities']). The company is in a transition period in many ways.

From what I can tell, there's been some type of merger, but that's not really a big deal. The big deal is that they just moved into an office building in the West Village a week before I got here. It's definitely been amusing to watch people scurry around, frantically digging through boxes to find office supplies or other essentials. At least, that's the way things were going at the beginning of the week. Today is Friday and most of the edit rooms are up and running, the boxes have been mostly unpacked, the kitchens are beautiful (and well stocked), the walls have been painted, and the windows have been cleaned and tinted.

My responsibilities include mainly answering/transferring the phones, cleaning/stocking the kitchen, signing for mail and packages, washing dishes when clients just leave them in the sink, copying, scanning, faxing, and Fedex-ing various document, ordering bagels on Friday, and ordering meals for clients other days during the week. It was a little overwhelming at the beginning, but I've settled into the routine quite nicely.

Because the headset isn't hooked up yet, I've been generally confined to the front desk. I thought I was going to go crazy on Monday! Since then, I've discovered all kinds of productive things to do on the computer. I've been catching up on all of the "happenings" in the industry on various Broadway and entertainment websites, sending out tons of headshots and resumes, noting interesting places and events to explore around the city, and of course, checking email, facebook, and twitter. My nook has also proven rather handy. I'm on page 290+ of Pride and Prejudice.

That's the boring part, for those of you who have been asking about my job. Here's the fun stuff:

The walls are turquoise and gold. There a green trees and other plants, and there are posters currently being put up on the finished walls. There's a painting crew touching up as I type. :)

Every morning I transfer to the 1 train, get off at Christopher Street, and explore a little bit of the infamous West Village. I've been trying to walk a different way each day to make the most of the few minutes I have out of the office. There seem to be a million little boutiques and restaurants around here, and even more apartments. Most of the buildings only go up to about 5 floors until you get down to Morton, then the high-rises start again.

Apparently, this week is Gay Pride Week in NYC, and the West Village is all a-flutter with rainbow flags and signs promoting specials at restaurants. Needless to say, it's a pretty colorful area.

I thought this area was generally nice: cute and quaint with small walk-ups lining most of the streets. That was, until I was told that many of those walk-ups are single-family homes! HOLY MOLY!! They're gorgeous!! And apparently ridiculously expensive.

I love the people I work with. I'm not exactly sure who my "boss" is. From what I can tell, there are three, maybe four, "bosses" in charge of the company, and then a "boss" for each group of clients. It doesn't really matter - they're all wonderful! We all eat lunch in the lounge (with the phone sitting next to me) and laugh and chat. They wear jeans! It's fantastic! I've gone back and forth between jeans and dresses, but it's nice to not have to worry about looking completely "corporate professional" every day.

We had preliminary "fire-safety" day a few days ago. At lunch, Jim (one of the bosses) came in and announced that we had to have elections for each EAP position that the building required for our floor. Basically, individuals had to be bribed with various goodies to accept a role in each Emergency Action Plan. By the end of the day, Jim and Kristin were wearing red EAP Warden and Deputy Warden baseball caps, Kevin - one of the techs- had on a school crossing-guard vest, and Julie- another tech- got to carry around the First Aid Kit for the whole afternoon. It was hysterical! I almost wish I could be here for the fire drill.

Our main in-house client at the Morton Street studio is MTV's 10 on Top. I think I'm allowed to tell you that. Either way, it's fun to walk past the edit rooms and peek in on everyone cutting and splicing and fixing celebrities and music videos. While it's not exactly my field of study, it's definitely been fun to observe and work in an "industry job".

I'm realizing today, because it's my last day, how much I'm actually going to miss this place. Kristin, one of the "bosses" told me yesterday, "I can't believe you're leaving after tomorrow. You just fit in so well here. It's like you're actually one of us. We're going to miss you." That made me feel wonderful! This is definitely a great crew of people, so if you ever find yourself in need of some editing space or tech help, I absolutely recommend Epic Post New York (or Butterfields, LA Digital Post, Post Facilities New York, etc). They'll take care of you.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Metro Transit Authority

I love the Metro system. Is that weird? By this point I've had plenty of practice on buses and trains, and I feel fairly competent in my navigation skills. Google Maps helps, too. There are random oddities I witness on my commute each day that I thought you might find amusing, and if you don't, well, they amuse me, and on a morning commute, that's important.

I've almost mastered the proper subway stance. Sitting: make yourself as small as possible, trying to touch no-one, with a blank stare into nothingness. Standing: make yourself as small as possible, trying to touch no-one, with a blank stare into nothingness, while shifting your weight to keep balance. I'm still working on the blank stare part. I have this eager curiosity to take in the scenery around me. There are always new faces on the train, each with a story. So far it seems perfectly acceptable to glance, but it is definitely a faux pas to be caught staring. I've discovered that my nook is actually a nice companion on long subway or bus rides, it keeps me interested without offending anyone, and I can peek over or around it to catch glimpses of the people on the bus going up and down, up and down, up and down. :)

There is a shuttle train running from Grand Central Station to Times Square (extremely convenient, always crowded). Last week I noticed said S train had been given a bit of a face-lift. I found myself riding in the midst of a massive Lady Gaga advertisement. This "Gaga-Mobile," if you will, is shrink-wrapped on the outside with Lady Gaga's face, decorated on the inside with promotional posters, and fitted with tiny televisions that loop clips from her most recent music videos. It was a little overwhelming. It was incredibly amusing, and the reactions of the commuters around me were even more hysterical.There were many explicit exclamations that in essence all expressed the same sentiment: "What is this?" Thank you Gaga for adding a little flavor to my commute.

There is almost always some form of musical performance in the large subway stations. People are just trying to make a little money doing what they love to do. If you have your ipod blaring in your ears, you can generally tune them out, but why? Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of hearing "Sweet Home Alabama" performed by a windpipe/bucket drum duet with synthesized accompaniment. I had to suppress the strong urge to yell "Roll Tide, Roll!" It's just a little habit I've developed over the past three years. Don't judge me.

Of course, you always have your break-dancers, your karaoke stars, and your guitar heroes. It's often quite impressive. Then again, often, not. So, while many of you enjoy your xm radio or ipod plug-ins on your way to work, I am serenaded by an endless array of interesting individuals. Be jealous.Well, don't actually, but you are welcome to be amused with me.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Monday, June 20, 2011

Culture Shock!

Most cities in the United States of America have some artistic outlet where an individual can hear live music, see a show, or watch a performance. Many cities actually have multiple entertainment venues. The difference between the rest of those cities and New York City, is that NYC is simply bigger and better in almost every way imaginable.

In the past three weeks, I have been exposed to an abundance of artistic culture that many people don't have the opportunity to see in a lifetime. Not only is it readily available, it is top-quality, world-renowned talent... Again, only in New York.

As you may know, shortly after I arrived in the city, I got a student ticket for the new musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. While my opinion of the show as a whole may be low, I don't know that I've ever seen such incredible special effects on a live stage. While the music quality is questionable and the book is weak, there is no denying the aesthetic pleasure of this Broadway show (FINALLY we can actually call it a Broadway show... good grief that was a long run of previews).


A few weeks ago, my mom's cousin and her husband were in New York for a business trip, and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a morning of art. That place is a massive maze of beauty. Had we had more than a few hours to pick our favorite exhibits before meeting Doug for lunch, we might have gotten lost among the modern, contemporary, African, Renaissance, and hundreds of other rooms filled with priceless masterpieces. We had to choose carefully, and I think for the amount of time we had, we made wonderful choices.
We started on the rooftop garden, covered in sculptures and overlooking the Manhattan skyline and central park.We then made our way downstairs to a night-photography exhibit where I got to practice my chiaroscuro identification (thank you Art 100 at UM). We actually then stumbled upon the Alexander McQueen Exhibition.
GASP!
Good gracious. I'd never really viewed fashion as art until we went in. It was bizarre and beautiful and powerful. If you've been living under a rock and have never heard of Alexander McQueen, please, for your own sake, look up his designs or watch bits of his fashion shows on youtube. His work is just unreal.
We passed through some modern art on our way to see the masterpieces of Monet, Degas, Picasso, Van Gogh, and other artists that my wonderful mother introduced me to at a very early age. It's just incredible to see, firsthand, artwork that you've read about for years. That's the best way I can think to describe it: incredible.

Side note, I didn't realize until the other day how often I use the word "incredible," so as of right now, that's the most important word in my vocabulary. That should help emphasize how much I appreciated it.

On the same day I got to experience the MET, I won tickets to Shakespeare in the Park's production of Measure for Measure. For those who don't know, the Public Theatre has been hosting free performances for the public for years at the Delacorte Theatre in the middle of Central Park. The Delacorte is a large, open, outdoor theatre that backs up to a small pond/lake in front of a miniature castle-esque building. I have a confession to make. I don't understand Shakespeare unless I read the synopsis, but fortunately there was a synopsis printed in the program, and the show was beautiful! I mean WOW there were some talented performers on that stage, and it was FREE!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to see Norbert Leo Butz and Aaron Tveit in the new musical Catch Me if You Can. Aaron Tveit's voice is pure deliciousness, yes, but Norbert Leo Butz absolutely stole the show. There are a lot of talented people in the world, but there are very few who can truly caputure an audience the way he did. I literally did not want to watch anything or anyone but him - not in a distracting way. He never really upstaged anyone. He wasn't over-the-top. He was simply captivating. The essence of stage presence. It is a rare treat to see that kind of performance live.

On Saturday night, I was invited to the American Ballet Theatre's performance of Copellia at the MET in Lincoln Center. If the ballet had been lame, it wouldn't have mattered. The opera house was phenomenal! The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling were exquisite, massive, and just plain sparkly. The gold walls and ceiling only made the lush red chairs and carpet seem that much more elegant.There were patrons in the audience with fur stoles. The whole atmosphere was exhilarating. Then, the lighthearted ballet was just breath-taking, fun, and, well, incredible.The standing ovation at the end lasted at least fifteen minutes. I've never applauded that long in my entire life. The prima ballerina ended up with so many bouquets of flowers that she had to set them on the stage. What a night!

Finally, last night I attended the Broadway Inspirational Voices concert: Wondrous Grace. The BIV is a choir of diverse Broadway performers who perform gospel and praise songs across the city to raise money and awareness for different philanthropic causes. The concert was hosted by Central Presbyterian Church- my "home away from home church." The president of the choir, Phylicia Rashad was among the powerful voices performing last night. The music was fantastic, don't get me wrong, but the coolest part of the night for me was that Phylicia (Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show) was singing in the EXACT SAME SPOT that I stood to sing earlier that morning as a part of Central's choir. Clair Huxtable was singing in my church!!! OH I loved it! And again, the music was ridiculously powerful.

Three weeks... whew, it's been crazy! And as expensive as everything is here, I didn't have to pay more than $30 for any of these performances! Most were actually less. Granted, for a college student paying rent for the first time, 30 is still a decent amount of money, but each of these experiences was worth every penny and so much more!

That being said, I don't have to be the only one experiencing art this summer. Like I said, every city has SOME kind of wonderful performance just waiting for you. So, get out and go see a show, visit a museum, or listen to a concert! Support the arts, because art is beauty, and everyone needs a little beauty in his or her life.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrity Sightings

Only in New York (and maybe LA) can you walk down the street and see a celebrity either giving a concert, stopping for pictures, or even playing games.

In the two weeks that I've been here, I've seen more "celebs" than I have in, well, let's just say a very long time. So, for those of you who follow the tabloids and can't get enough of the media mayhem, here's your blog...

I was walking down 5th Avenue the other day, just minding my own business, looking for a blouse to wear my first day at my new job, when I noticed a massive crowd clumped around a tiny little stage. I decided to stop and see what the commotion was all about. Mainly, I stopped because I had nothing else important to do because when you're unemployed in New York City, you've got to find all of the free entertainment you possibly can. There was a man onstage trying to pump up the crowd becasue "Jennifer will be out here in just a few moments!" Well, there are a lot of Jennifers in the world, but I was intreagued, so I stayed. I ended up watching CBS film their Early Summer Concert Series with Jennifer Hudson. She sang 3-4 songs, had a few dancers and some fun lights, and that was that. I moved on and so did everyone else. You don't get that in Biloxi, MS.

A few days before that, I was meeing my friend Chris at Washington Square. Chris and I did community theatre together back home, and he's now a student in New York. It took awhile to find Chris because I got so distracted by the sight of Mike Meyers playing beer pong in the middle of Washington Square! Who knows what he was doing!?!? Not me. There were a few cameras around, so they may have been filming something, or he may have just been killing some time, kickin' it in the square.

For those of you theatre buffs out there, you'll appreciate this one. If you've never cared about Broadway, you might as well skip this paragraph. I was walking back to my apartment after a relaxing picnic in Central Park when I saw Cheyenne Jackson driving down Park Avenue in a Range Rover! I almost passed out in the middle of the sidewalk. That may not be as exciting as meeting Cheyenne Jackson in person, like I did a few years ago at the stage door of Damn Yankees, but you definitely don't see that kind of thing in Montevallo.

Let's see. Who else is on the list...

OH, two more theatre names: Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz! I saw "Catch Me if You Can" last weekend and was floored by those two performers. Aaron's voice is beyond beautiful, and Norbert, well, he's Norbert flipping Leo Butz. I'll have a "show critique" blog soon, so you'll hear my whole opinion of the show.

I went to the filming of the Today Show's summer concert series at Rockefeller Center last Friday Morning and saw Matt Lauer. The Script performed that morning, and even though the lead singer had laryngitis, it was fun to watch the show.

THIS WAS MY FAVORITE! I was exploring Downtown Manhattan about a week ago (Battery Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Wallstreet, etc), because I've never been down there. I was wandering around Battery Park when I was redirected by an individual with a sign explaining that there was a television filming in process. I was nosy, and asked about the show. They were filming Damages, my mom's favorite show - with good reason (Damages has probably the best acting on television right now). Glenn Close was on set that day, right in front of the Statue of Liberty! I sat and watched for about an hour. I was close enough to hear some of the dialogue, and I got a couple of decent pictures before getting called in to sign some forms for my Temp Agency.

It's incredible what kinds of things you can see and do in the city if you just get out and go. I had no idea most of these were happening, I was just in the right place at the right time. I've realized that in life, those are some of the best moments: the stumble upons. So, here's to hoping for more stumble-upons, and more exciting adventures in New York City.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's a Small World After All!

Every year, NYC hosts a Mississippi Picnic in Central Park. Mississippians who have relocated to New York and surrounding areas, Mississippi residents who want to spread MS hospitality and recruit/raise awareness, and New Yorkers who stumble across the blues music and smell of catfish all meet together to celebrate everything the Hospitality State has to offer. This year the theme was a celebration of 100 years of Tennessee Williams and other MS artists.

First, there was Blues music. Then there were plates of catfish, hushpuppies, french fries, and watermelon slices. Then, I noticed the free McAlister's sweet tea and brownies... SCORE! After visiting the local artist and author tents, and picking up a box of free cheese straws (SCORE AGAIN!), I stopped by the booths for the Universities. It was so fun to tell the representatives at Mississippi College's table about where my parents met and chat with the Mississippi State alumni about my the future bulldog in my family. I also met a sweet family whose son is going to be an Engineering major at State next year. He was adorable. I hope he meets my sister ; ) ... just kidding... kind of.

After listening to Haley Barbour welcome the crowd and thanking everyone for coming (despite the dreary weather), I started to walk back to my apartment, thinking that I had done and seen everything. All of a sudden, I heard my name!

Now I want you to understand, hearing someone call out your name in New York City is very rare and almost strange. Hearing someone call out your name and turn to find out they are really talking to you is incredibly bizarre! I turned to find an Ole Miss southern belle smiling at me. It took me a minute to process the whole situation, but I soon recognized the face as an old friend from my days competing in the Mississippi's Junior Miss Scholarship Program! Marianna and I had gotten to know each other pretty well during our week in Meridian back in high school, and we both had made Top 10 at the state level. We've kept in touch sporadically over the years through facebook, but I never really expected to see her again. We chatted for the longest time, just catching up and talking about summer plans. She's working on an internship in DC and their whole crew just decided to come up to NYC for the picnic! I told her about my summer plans (or what little I know- I'm still basically playing everything by ear). Turns out she wants to live in the city in the future, and I may have just found myself a Phi Mu roommate. (Did I mention we're sorority sisters? Because we are!)

Not long after, I bumped into a fellow Coastie, Emily. We both looked at each other with the "wait, don't I know you?" expression. It was a little while before we placed our mutual coastal connections, but then the laughter of recognition and old stories ensued. I absolutely couldn't believe I was hanging out with people I had known from back home and meeting all of their other Mississippi friends. It really did feel like a little bit of home in the big city.

After a long afternoon of blues music, lots of laughter, a little networking, sweet tea, and even a "Stella" contest (Thank you Tennessee Williams), I headed back to the apartment, thankful to call Mississippi home and New York a home-away-from-home.

Just goes to show, even in the Big Apple, it's really just a small world we live in.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Friday, June 10, 2011

Alone in the world was a little CatDog

My family has never owned cats. I've never spent much time with any felines, really, but the ones with which I have been acquainted have never seemed to like me, and I must admit, I liked them even less.

I now live with two cats...

Kiarra is a black and white cat that weighs much more than she should. Kiarra hates me. She looks at me like she wants to claw my eyes out every time I walk into the room she is in. She avoids me at all costs, and will not let me touch her... I don't try anymore. I didn't like being bitten.

Nermal on the other hand is a very interesting kitty. I think the reason I can tolerate Nermal is because she thinks she is a dog. No kidding. And she acts more like a dog than any cat I've ever observed. Nermal likes being scratched on the belly. Nermal follows me around the apartment, everywhere! She even tries to sneak into my bedroom (she's not allowed, but it's so cute to see her little head poke up under the curtain). She growls at Kiarra when they are sharing food, and she plays fetch.

YES THE CAT PLAYS FETCH!

Well, sort of. Nermal has this awesome little trick where she sits on top of the toilet seat (closed, of course) and will catch a tossed q-tip between her paws, tuck it into her mouth, hop down, and drop it at your feet before climbing back onto the toilet to catch again. It is hysterical... I assure you, a video of this epic trick will be on youtube soon.

My roommate works a lot, and because I'm still looking for a job, I spend a good deal of my time at the apartment (which isn't a lot of time, but still) talking to Nermal. I guess that's one thing about the city I'm still not used to. At home and at school, I always have someone to talk to nearby. Here in New York, people don't really chat as much as they could, so unless I'm at church, at an interview, or catching lunch with a friend, I'm either talking to myself or to the cat. So, today, I thank God for Nermal for keeping me company in the big city. I would thank Him for Kiarra too, but I don't like that cat. Period.

I promise, my next blog will be about New York City, not cats, but I thought you should know about my roommates other than Kellie.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Week Anniversary

Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it.

HAPPY ONE WEEK ANNIVERSARY! I've officially been here for a week. I still can't believe it. On one hand, it feels like I just stepped off the plane yesterday. On the other hand it feels as though I've spent a month exploring and networking. Today I thought it would be fun to recount my favorite memories of this week, some you've read about, some you haven't. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite parts of New York thus far.

1) A quiet rock in Central Park where I can sit and read Pride and Prejudice on my Nook while overlooking the city

2) A street fair I randomly stumbled upon on my way to Central Park to read my Nook that sold the most incredible red velvet cake double layer cookie i've ever tasted

3) Watching Glenn Close film a scene from Damages at Battery Park when all I really intended to do was see the Statue of Liberty

4) Being called to Mid-town from Battery Park to sign a confidentiality agreement for my FIRST TEMP JOB! I would love to tell you more, but I signed a confidentiality agreement ;)

5) The Metropolitan Museum of Art Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exibit with my (2nd?/1st once removed?) Cousin

6) Realizing (at the MET) while looking at Monet's Water Lillies that at this time last year I was looking at the same artwork in Giverny, France at Monet's gardens.

7) A fabulous Monday night Bible Study with some fantastic women from Central Presbyterian

8) Spiderman: Turn off the Dark - Act 2... Act 1 was miserable. Act 2 blew my mind... and I only had to pay $30 to see it

9) Successfully conquering the Bus system after the "Queens Incident"

10) MTV Movie Awards/Teen Wolf preview with my neighbor Kathryn as we watched her gorgeous face light up the screen for at least 6 seconds (she was an extra in Teen Wolf... We screamed)

11) Dylan's Candy Bar interview

12) Disney Store in Times Square

13) Pretending to be a Juilliard student and getting a library card at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts

14) 10 floors of Bloomingdales

15) Walking around and simply looking up.

I'm sure there are some things I have forgotten, and I hope to cover them in more detail in the next few days. I've been so blessed this week with so many answered prayers and opportunites. As you probably know, I like to keep busy, and New York has definitely proven to have plenty of ways to keep me on my toes.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Saturday, June 4, 2011

City Wisdom Round 1

The first in what may or may not be a series of blogs about what I've learned:

Don't get on a bus if you don't know where it's going.

Proverbs 16:18 says "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Well, it's true...

Somewhere between Tuesday and Friday I convinced myself that I was officially a city-girl, able to navigate the subway with ease, quickly zip in and out of tourists as I walk, and decode the grid that is Manhattan. I was invincible. In the spirit of exploration, I decided to forego the subway once again and catch a bus back to my apartment from my first few job interviews. (Remember, you can see more of the city when you ride the bus...Blog 2) Kathryn had explained to me that busses generally go along each street and avenue in a straight line, and you can transfer horizontally or vertically at just about any stop... At least, that's what I though she had explained.

I hopped on a bus somewhere near 45th and 6th, thinking that if I could just get to the East Side, I could transfer uptown and be good to go. The bus was nicer than the others I had been on. The seats were cushioned, so I thought I had gotten pretty lucky with a new upgraded vehicle. I saw that my supposed stop was coming up, so I collected my things and started to get up. Then the bus turned...

We got on a bridge. A bridge that left the island. A bridge that took me out of Manhattan. A bridge that I had never seen before. A bridge that was tucked in between some buildings SO CLOSE to what should have been my stop! I started to panic and asked the girl in front of me where we were going. She laughed a little and explained we were on an express bus to the absolute other side of Queens.

OH CRUD!

During the next 45 minutes we were riding into the middle of nowhere, my new friend explained that she had moved to the city from Ohio, and didn't use the busses for the first 2 years because they were so confusing. That made me feel a little better. I also got to see a part of New York I'd never seen before. That would have made me feel better if it wasn't so terrifying. By the time we FINALLY stopped, I was in the middle of a full-blown conversation with all five of the New Yorkers around me. They were incredibly helpful, explaining all of the different ways I could get back. I ended up having to get off the bus at the end of Queens Blvd, catch a bus going in the opposite direction, get off that bus at the next subway station, and catch the E train back into Manhattan.

When I finally reached Grand Central Station again, I started crying because I was so thankful to be alive and in a familiar place again... I treated myself to McDonalds, a quick touch up at Sephora (shout out to Sephora for making me smell decent again. thank you!), and the new musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. My adventure was complete, and I climbed into my bed at the end of the night and slept harder than I have since I moved in.

No adventures for me today... I'm taking it easy... And it might be awhile before I get on another bus.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And thus it begins:

Blog 1 was easy... Blog 2...hhhmmm... I'm not even sure what to write. What do you want to know?

I've been in the city for two days and have already decided I never want to leave. It truly feels like I belong here (but then, when you know you're in the will of God, doesn't it usually feel like that?).
My apartment is fabulous. I have an incredible roommate with two cats. Now, we've never had cats because of allergies, so this is all rather new to me. One simply looks at me like I'm in his way all the time. The other follows me everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It may get old after awhile, but for now it's nice to have something to talk to when there's no one else around.

The lack of communication I have during the day is, well, it's weird. That's the only way I can think to describe it. It's not bad. It's not good. It's just new. I don't feel lonely, I just don't have anyone to talk to. Of course, being a true southerner I have started a few conversations at the bus stop, but generally I'm just doing my own thing and so is everyone else.

That being said, the evenings have been full of wonderful chatter. Yesterday evening, after pounding the pavement collecting job applications all morning/afternoon, I had a meeting/audition with the music director at Central Presbyterian about filling in for Shelly (my sublettor) in the choir. As a born-and-raised Southern Baptist, it blew my mind to hear that one could be paid to sing in a church choir; apparently it's pretty common here. After explaining how God had brought me to NYC for the summer, and after singing through a few scales and hymns, I was hired on the spot. At choir practice that evening, I was introduced to a small portion of my new church family. They are just incredible, talented individuals who are passionate about praising the Lord. One of my concerns about the city was finding a community of believers who would keep me accountable and encourage me through fellowship and God's Word. BUT, if I've learned nothing else, I've learned that God provides, and after an evening trip for gelatto with the other ladies in the choir, I quickly realized that God was obviously working in this community and they were ready and willing to pull me in with open arms. They've already even given me job recommendations and imparted a wealth of "city wisdom."

Ooh, city wisdom... that would be a good blog...

Today was rather similar in the fact that the day was fairly silent while the evening was full of laughter and conversations. I took the morning to fill out all of those many applications I had collected, and hit the city after lunch for what I deemed an adventure. I didn't know where I was going, and I didn't care. I hopped on the bus and rode down 2nd Ave until I felt like getting off. The subway is brilliant because it is so fast. The bus is pretty slow, but the advantage of the bus is that you actually get to see the city as you travel along! I ended up stopping at 42nd Street and took a walk down memory lane as I passed the Grand Hyatt,- the hotel where my show choir stayed on my first visit to NYC- the New York Public Library (GV to those who love the lion in the front as much as I do), and Times Square. After a subway ride to Lincoln Center, I decided to get a library card and spend a little bit of time doing research for Pippin at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts, conveniently located next to Julliard.

After my research was complete, I decided to check out the famous performing school. I walked in like I owned the place, and quickly turned around and walked right back out because I didn't have a student ID to get me through the turnstile. I wasn't bothered though, because when I walked out the front door, all of the other tourists looked at me with the excitement that only tourists have when they think they see something they've read about. For all intents and purposes, in that moment, I was not a student from Birmingham, I was leaving one of my summer classes in Rennaisance Play Analysis at The Julliard School. (Don't judge... I'm an actor... It's what we do) It was fun for about three seconds. Then I heard some kid on his cell phone yelling about needing his music equipment and needing it NOW, and I was so thankful for all of the nice people at Montevallo.

I had full intentions of moving on to Central Park to sit and read my Nook and enjoy the beautiful weather, but being the newbie that I am, I got completely turned around and just decided to get on another bus until I either saw Central Park, or ended up somewhere else that seemed interesting enough to explore. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long for a plan. Kathryn wanted me to meet her at the Apple store on 58th and 5th. I was already on one of the 60's and it didn't take long to figure out which way to go to find 5th. And then SURPRISE! There was Central Park as well. The night ended with sushi on the Upper West Side with another Samford graduate and a bus ride back "home."

Eventually I will know how to navigate the busses as well as I pretend to navigate the subways. I think learning Avenue names will be helpful, but I've got three months to figure it all out. The only even slightly negative thing I can think to report is the weather. I must have brought the heat and humidity with me on the plane because it was scorching and sticky when I first arrived on Tuesday. I probably wouldn't have minded so much if we had air conditioning in the apartment... The landlord is supposed to install that soon. Fortunately, though, today it was much cooler and pretty breezy.

Tomorrow I have an interview for a job and a Temp Agency, so if you think about it, please pray for me. I'm sure there are many adventures to come, so after a much longer blog than I intended, I am calling it a day.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea