07.03.13First New York-versary!

One year ago today, I flew to NYC’s JFK airport from Charlotte with 4 suitcases, a fiancé surprising me at the airport, an exciting new job awaiting me, and an eagerness bursting inside of me.

I started out in the Lower East Side subletting an apartment until my August lease began with a couple amazing roomies on the Upper East Side. This first apartment wasn’t exactly the “welcome home!” I was hoping for, but I survived and even gained some street cred in those grungy, graffiti-ridden parts of Manhattan.

In August I moved in with Whitney and Fallon, who introduced me to a world of NYC wonders… Topping the list: our closest group of friends through Apostles Church, and stove-cooked popcorn. I’m forever thankful for their friendship and the way they excitedly invited me (and Rob) into their incredible community.

The fall (my very favorite time of year!) was spent exploring with Rob, hosting friends and family, and really growing in love with the city. We loved seeing the trees change colors and checking out the farmer’s markets around town. We even got to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Christmastime was magical – I’ve never seen a city celebrate Christmas and the holidays like NYC does. Yes, it’s commercialized a bit, but it’s also so spirited, festive, and happy! Everyone has a little more cheer during the holidays here.

Winter was long… and I fell in love with my knee-length puffer coat that kept me cozy. But we did get the beautiful blizzard when over a foot of snow was dumped on NYC over a Friday night. Nothing like waking up to a sunny, blue-skied Saturday with picture perfect snow piled up just waiting to be played in. Central Park was at – one of – its finest that day. (Central Park is always so beautiful, it’s hard to pick its very finest!). We also enjoyed some amazing Broadway and off-Broadway shows during those cold months… Probably my very favorite form of entertainment. I love watching a story literally come to life in front of me!

During the winter, we also had the opportunity to do pre-marital counseling with our church… something that surprised us with how tangibly helpful it was. As we approached our wedding day, it was encouraging to have the guidance and support of our leaders during such an important time in our life. They positioned us well as we firmly oriented our marriage to God’s purpose.

Spring was long-awaited and oh, so beautiful. We got to catch some Knicks and Nets basketball games, and I felt my excitement for the NBA rekindle from my childhood. I loved my training runs outside and even survived my first half-marathon in Central Park! We celebrated my birthday with an awesome sailing ride around the Hudson and explored more of Queens and the Bronx. Our day-long bike ride along the west side of Manhattan will always be stored away as one of my favorite memories.

Now we’re finally married and the real fun has begun. We’re excited to be spending our second 4th of July in NYC – this time with a huge group of friends at a rooftop BBQ! We’ll catch the fireworks at the same spot we went to last year, at Battery Park City on the Hudson, and I simply can’t wait. If Rob and I do the same thing 2 years in a row, I already consider it a tradition ;-).

I’m so thankful for the past year. I came not knowing what it would hold, but I feel so blessed by all the excitement and challenges. I’ve grown more in the past year than in any other year of my life (mentally, emotionally, spiritually). When I moved here last summer, I never felt surer about such a leap of faith. It’s amazing who God plants in your life at certain times. The people we’ve met here are exactly the people I need during this time in my life – and I hope who need me. God is also using this city to teach me about understanding socio-economics, the importance of patience, loving strangers, building community, sharing space, valuing hard work, distinguishing needs and wants, appreciating diversity at the most intense level… among hundreds of other things.

Cheers to a whole year’s worth of adventures!

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