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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lesson Number 4

So here I am! Have you missed me?

Once you read today's blog entry you'll realize why last weekend was just way too taxing for me to put together my thoughts for you to read. However, this weekend has been full of ... a lot of nothing, leaving me plenty of time to share yet another lesson I've learned, landlocked in Indiana.

I know I've been talking about my lesson in obesity, but the fact is everyday I find something else about the fat people here that is shocking. So I'm giving it another week to keep track of all of the factors that go into being a fat person in the mid-west. I kid you not, I heard a 2 year old say McDonalds at Target the other day. She said it 5 times, I was NOT hearing things.

So instead of my lesson in how to avoid entering the 30% of people in Indiana that are overweight (stats as of 2009, congrats NJ...only 22% of us are tipping the scales) I will share with you a lesson I learned last weekend.

After another exhausting week of interning (it's kick ass by the way...I am LOVING every bit of it!) I was feeling a little down. I was missing friends, pouting over the fact that 2 of my best friends are backpacking through Europe and 1 is on the sunny beaches in Jamaica offering Music therapy services to small villages, and overall just being a Debbie Downer.

I read through a great book, called "Walking Backwards in High Heels", which I highly recommend to any ladies out there looking for a new perspective on things, and then got the urge. About a 5 minute walk from my house is a place called yogulatte. It is incredible. The frozen yogurt is the best I've ever tasted and they make the most delicious oatmeal and shakes with fresh fruits! (They also sell gift cards, if anyone wants to send them my way!) So, yes around 10:00pm, the urge hits and I try and stop it. But while I've moped around all day, I tell myself that if I eat the frozen yogurt I need to perk up. I then convinced myself that I had to make sure everything was clean before I left. Well, that lasted all of five minutes but I had at least compromised and tied up the garbage to take out.

This is where the trouble starts.

I live in a 15 or so story building, which is actually one of the tallest buildings in Indianapolis and I can spot it from work!! On each floor, by the elevator, is a "rubbish room". I am quite fond of the name. There is a "rubbish shoot" in which you can place tied up garbage bags that "shoots" somewhere or another into the depths of the building or leave boxes and such in the closet.

Lesson Number 4, don't hold your keys in the same hand as your garbage.

Yup. There went the keys right down the "rubbish shoot". I stopped for a moment in disbelief. Could this have REALLY happened? No. It couldn't have. There must have been something in my trash that just sounded like keys...right? Wrong. I checked my purse and lo and behold no keys.

So now what. Thoroughly embarrassed, I arrived at the front desk knowing full well they would give me a spare set of keys to my apartment. But I could feel my face heating up as I started to say the next question "So, uh, do you know where the rubbish shoot leads to?" Only a blank stare met me in return. Then after what felt like an eternity "Um, no, I just started here last week."


Let me also share another background only spare car key is in Succasunna, NJ. And for the record, that trick where you can unlock a car door through a cell phone, does NOT work halfway across the country.

The way the story ends is that I actually follow my nose into a creepy stairway in the basement of my building with a friend of mine and convince the doorman to give us a key to let us in to said unmarked smelly door. Then my friend proceeded to search all of the garbage from my building until...yes...we found the keys. Dirty, next to a chicken bone, and greasy as all get out. However, if you ever need to wash your keys, know that the clicker will still work even after you wash them, clorox wipe them down, wash them again and anti bacterial them.

Remember this friends. Put your keys somewhere else before you throw away the garbage.

P.S. I never got the frozen yogurt. So I treated myself on Friday after another successful week of interning and a 10 hour shift :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Week One in the Real World

Well, thank GOODNESS for the weekend. I've never had a normal weekly schedule. My classes were always at odd times, the weekends usually meant some random rehearsal or work, and Friday was just like any other day. But man oh man, after this week I truly understand the meaning of TGIF.

Other than adjusting to the schedule, I am in love with my internship. It's been 5 days and I want to work there for the rest of my life. I want to be at work right now. I can't stop thinking about the kids and what we'll do next. But, instead of turning this into a Music Therapy blog, I'll try and remain on task with what I've learned out here in the mid-west.

Lesson number 3 comes as less of a lesson and more of a pleasant surprise. As I was rushing around last week trying to get things together before I started being an adult (with a pager...I have a pager at work), I had two encounters. Some might say this is chance, others might say it's my good looks and charm, I however blame it on the mid-west. In both of these encounters, I ended up with a free item. Now, I'm not talking about "encounters" as I'm walking down the street and my free item is a pamphlet saying "Sorry we messed up, but the world IS ending soon....Don't stone us, even though that's what the bible says to do to false prophets". Although this did happen, and I obviously didn't stone them...mainly because stoning in this day and age serves little to no purpose. I'm talking about incidents in which I walked away with items of significant value.

Fist encounter. While driving to orientation, I spotted a Starbucks. Not only was it a Starbucks, but a Drive-Through Starbucks. You can read more on this later in the week in Lesson number 4, obesity epidemic. I had to stop. It might just be me but I've never come across a drive-through Starbucks before. Seeing that it has been 98 degrees here and I felt like I needed to walk into orientation with an iced coffee to help solidify the image of the girl from New Jersey, I decided to test my drive through skills. I also stopped because I have no idea how long it takes me to get anywhere in this city and I would have been about a half hour early. For the record, ordering a venti hazelnut iced with skim and two splenda doesn't sound any less pretentious over a drive through window. As I pulled around to the window to pick up my order, I was thrilled. An iced coffee before a 4 hour orientation? Yes please! Then the minutes began to pass. Two minutes turned into five minutes, then seven minutes and before I knew it I began to sweat. HOW COULD THIS BE? Just moments ago I was going to be a half hour early and now I'll probably be sprinting to the auditorium. I didn't even know where the auditorium was! Was I even wearing appropriate attire? I think it was then that I began to feverishly check my phone for alternate routes to the hospital. I looked behind me to see several cars lined up. Then I started to get mad...IT'S JUST AN ICED COFFEE, IT SHOULDN'T BE THAT HARD TO MAKE! The people behind me would now think I ordered 14 specialty drinks just to piss them off. "Great, look at that car from new jerrrseyy holding everything up...doesn't she know I'm a neurosurgeron and I NEED to get to the hospital!?" The shame, the embarrassment, and it wasn't even my fault. What were you doing in there starbucks baristas?!

Then it happened, the windows opened and she said "Um, my computer isn't working...have a good day" and handed me an iced coffee.

Confused, I grabbed the coffee, looked at my hand holding three singles and said "But I didn't..." and she said "Have a nice day" before very politely closing the window in my face.

One free iced coffee for Sam.

The next encounter occurred just a few days later as I rushed to meet deadlines for my online class. I thought I could use the fax machine in my building to fax all of my assignments to the instructor, but as it turns out it only makes local faxes. So I found a FedEx that did faxing and rushed to get there before it closed. As I ran inside (with 10 minutes to spare) to the copier, I read that each long distance fax would cost me 3 dollars. This just wouldn't do. I had at least 10 pages to fax. So I asked the guy behind the counter if there was a way to use the scanner. After giving me the run around, telling me it would cost 99 cents to scan each page then 90 cents a minute on the computer, I felt defeated. The thought *I can just take the class next summer* popped into my head. That's when I knew things were bad. As I started to weigh the options, failing the class VS a 30 dollar charge at FedEx that would most likely wipe out my debit card, he spoke. "Hold on, I think I have an idea". He pulled out a flash drive and said "I'll just scan them on this scanner back here on to the flashdrive..then you'll just have to pay for the time it takes you to email it out." Genius. Genius and thrifty. This was going to work out quite well. Finally all the documents were scanned and I entered my credit card into the computer. I raced to gmail like never before and sent off those assignments into cyberspace. For all I know I had emailed them to my grandmother. I didn't care, I just wanted to get off the computer ASAP. As I got up to leave, I walked up to the counter where my new found best friend was helping another kind mid-westerner who was stressed about getting her presentation laminated before she presented it at the conference being held at the hotel. I said "Thanks so much, here's your flash drive." To which he responded "Oh keep it, someone left it here a few weeks ago and there is nothing on it so we can't give it back to's yours".

A free flash drive. Thanks, Indiana.

Now you might question his intentions in giving me the free flash drive. However, what I left out was that we bonded over color guard. He used to be a music student and is now teaching color guard at a local high school. He was most definitely a friend of Dorothy.

Lesson Number 3: Free means free in Indiana

Speaking of friends of Dorothy, today is Pride Parade and from my window I can hear the marching bands. I'm about to head over to Mass Ave and share some support. My week has been awfully busy but there is so much that I want to share. Hopefully I'll find time to manage the cR@zI333 social life I have here, work, and blogging. Stay tuned for Lesson 4: Obesity Epidemic.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Jersey Girl in the Medium Sized City

So here I am.

Sitting in my apartment, on the floor, eating an icepop and staring at 16 & Pregnant. I just got cable/internet and I can feel my productivity reducing rapidly. However, that hasn't been the case since I've arrived. But let's start at the beginning shall we.

In November, I accepted a great internship opportunity at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. I hate that it's called an internship when it literally determines the large majority of my undergraduate career. This "internship" comes after countless hours of undergrad work, more hours of applications and interviews, followed by even more stressful hours of waiting. Then for six months we work at our chosen location before sitting for the board exam.

Six months. No stipend (at my location at least). Full-time Monday through Friday. Hardly deserves the title of internship to me.

But regardless, here I am in Indiana.

On Thursday I packed nearly my entire life into my (little) car and drove west. Several pandora stations, our first trip to KFC, and about three hundred miles on route 80 later, we were nearing Cleveland. After stopping for the night at DoubleTree (free cookies!) we got up early for the free breakfast and to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Talk about inspiration. I've never wanted to be a rock star more than that morning....good thing I'm moving to Indiana? Standing next to the jacket from the Thriller video was a little much for me...but that's a story for another day.

Then it was back on the road and even more driving west. By Friday evening we were in Indianapolis. After we moved in furniture, ate pizza, and took a 1 am trip to Meijers (pronounced meyers for all you East Coasters) for pillows it was time for bed.

I woke up only to find a Indy 500 parade....standard Saturday in Indianapolis? Not so much. When I say parade, I mean parade. I mean, the little sister of the Thanksgiving Day parade. I've seen a lot of parades in my day (oddly enough) and this was a great one. Mostly because the people are so nice and move out of your way so you can see. But what a cool weekend to explore. After walking downtown, finding some lunch and seeing some celebs in the parade (hellllllo Silver Fox), we checked out the Zoo and the canal area of Indy.

Big day, huge day I guess. Another run to Target and some "bloset" (my bathroom/closet) organizing ended the day at 2 am....before Amy's 5:20 am flight.

As I drove home at 5:30 am through a city (that does indeed sleep, unlike NYC) that was new and unfamiliar, I noticed a tinge of excitement run through my blood. Here I am, on my own.

So here's where I'll start the point of this whole blog

Lessons from Landlocked America
(An East Coast girl meets the Mid-West)

From the point that I left Amy at security on I've been here, learning about the city and myself. I've read a book and a half. I've got a sunburn, I've learned that walking to the mall at 10:30 when its 70 degrees is a good idea but walking home at 12:30 when its 95 is a bad idea. I've donated to Indianapolis' own homeless, I've also learned how to avoid them.

But I've learned, above all, that people in this part of the county LOVE to talk. I think I'll fit right in..

No matter where I've been, or what interactions I've had....everyone wants to talk...about nothing and everything. About "the race", about my sunburn, about the price of corn, about the temperature, about the holiday, about the parking meters (oh the parking meters). There is nothing too mundane to have a 30 minute conversation about, trust me.

The Parking Meters deserves it's own explanation, as I've spoken to three different people about the meters and I've only lived here 6 days. The city of Indianapolis is switching to parking meters that you pay at those boxes instead of putting in coins...just like NYC...just like MSU's campus...just like...well, a LOT of places. But it is causing an UPROAR here in the midwest. People. Are. Mad. (as hell, And they aren't going to take it anymore)

The first person I heard talking about this was a rather large woman and her daugher (oh another thing, the obesity epidemic is HERE with a vengeance, more on that later). They were walking to the parade in front of Amy, Emily and I complaining about the change to the new meters.

The next time I heard about the meters was at my (new) local grocery store, Marsh. And yes, I did just have to go find my little key ring card to remember the name. The woman at the register asked me if I wanted help carrying my (2) bags to the car. I explained that I had walked 5 minutes from my apartment to which she responded "Well, at least you don't have to park at those stupid metered spots then".


The last time was this morning when my comedy/cable troupe of dumb and dumber came in to install my internet and cable. The first people I've met that didn't want to talk but seeing that my studio apartment has no where else for me to go, I had to make conversation. I talked about going down to the mall without realizing where this conversation would go. Yup, the meters. Note to self, ever need a conversation starter...ask their opinion on the meters.

So, lesson number 1, people love to talk.
Lesson number 2, the parking meters are a HUGE deal.