I've returned from fantastic New York City, and the trip was phenomenal. And on the cheap. Really, looking back, I'm pretty impressed with my (and, really, my wonderful friend Erika's) planning skills. I came back to St. Joe with way more money than I anticipated having. To the point that I was able to "splurge" (I say it in quotes because it's sort of a necessity) on some new clothes for the coming school year.
Things I did in New York that were free/cheap:
-Go to the beach. Aside from the train ticket there, this was completely free. And amazing. I had never really just laid out on the beach before, and it was so relaxing! The temperature on this day was perfect also, making the whole experience just that much better. Erika and I took a nap on the beach, setting our alarm for 30 minutes before the train left to go back to the city. It was approximately a 10 minute walk back to the train station. After the alarm went off, we were so relaxed and lazy (in the best possible way), we missed the train. Oh well, another hour in Long Beach!
-Read in the park. I did this three different times, actually. I also read three books while in New York. They were all young adult books in my efforts to keep up with my students, but it was wonderful nonetheless. There was only one really excessively hot day, and the other days, under a shady tree, there was nothing more relaxing and wonderful I could have done in the big city.
-Free movie in Bryant Park. This was, aside from sitting on unforgiving ground for six/seven
straight hours causing seering back pain, a favorite on the trip. Aside from being completely free, we packed a cheap but classy picnic for dinner, saving on food costs as well. The movie that night was Rosemary's Baby. That movie is MESSED UP. Enjoyable, but screwy!
-Went to the American Museum of Natural History (a.k.a. that one museum from Night at the Museum). This was pretty cool, and seeing the space part was neat. I also really liked the collection of gems and other rocks. This museum had a suggested donation of $12 for students, which I did pay. I could have gone for free, but I definitely wanted to support the museum.
-Went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (a.k.a. The MET). This was amazing- there happened to be a Picasso exhibit while I was there, and it was pretty mind blowing. They had this little video room that showed how several of his paintings were actually painted over other paintings, and how in at least one painting he had repositioned the hand six times. And they could see all this with X-rays. We're living in the future, folks. They also had an amazing collection of sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome! This museum had a suggested donation of $10 for students, which, again, I paid. A small price for such an amazing experience.
-Caught the All Hearts Tour featuring Robyn and Kelis. Thanks to Erika's amazing connections, this show was completely free. And it would have been worth the admission price anyway. The show was sold out, otherwise I was prepared to pay for it! We didn't need tickets, however, because we were ON THE LIST. Okay, Erika was on the list, and I was on the list as "guest," but WHATEVER. The concert was huge fun (and hugely hot- free water bottles on the way out), and it was impossible to not be won over by Robyn's energy on stage. Been playing her new album on repeat in my car!
-Went to a Yankees game where A-Rod didn't hit his 600th homerun because he waited until the next day and then, just to rub salt in my wound, hit three homeruns against my beloved Royals yesterday. The game was fun, it was a beautiful night, and they Yankees lost which is good because I hate them. Also at the game I went to were Paul Simon and former President Bill Clinton. The tickets were $30, which is the most expensive thing I did in the city that wasn't Friday night karaoke (my "splurge" (again with those quotes) on the trip). The $30 cost was actually $10 below face value. Hooray for tickets on Craigslist!
This doesn't even begin to cover how much I did on the trip, and how much money I was able to save when the whole thing was tallied up. I was even able to still make my $100 monthly savings account deposit.
Also recently I had my first run in with a profoundly negative (to be polite) reaction from a person to my bankruptcy and post-bankruptcy behavior. I won't get into details because they're irrelevant, but I remember my pre-bankruptcy filing warned of this exact situation. I handled the situation as well as I could (basically by ignoring it), and I moved on. Really, I feel great. I should be getting my finalized papers from the bankruptcy in the next couple of weeks, and that will cement the end of this long process. But, as discussed with my brother-in-law before lunch today, those who have filed bankruptcy know it is not the end of the world. You don't stop your life because of it- and life certainly doesn't stop for you. I'm really happy about how things have turned out thusfar. I know, however, that my greatest challenges lie ahead in student loan payments. Oh man, that'll be fun.
On another quick note, I'm a teacher, and the first day of school is tomorrow. I'm excited, I'm nervous, and, I think, feeling the same emotions my students are before the first day. This might also mean I will get too busy to post. I'll try my best to avoid that.
OH! ALSO! So I need something like 15 more dollars to get my first ad payment from Google, so do not forget to click a link/ad/whatever when you visit my blog! I'll hug you when I see you if you do! Also, be a friend a "follow" my blog with your Google account or whatever it lets you follow me with. I love you guys :)