Palm Springs History

When you think about Palm Springs, you may think 60s style and colorful atmosphere. But, as a NYC Licensed tour guide and a sucker for history and “old days” I had to find out more of the history of Palm Springs.

Downtown Palm Springs, on South Palm Canyon Drive at the Village Green, you’ll find the historical society and the two museums they manage and some other buildings worth visiting as well. The two buildings that now serves as museums are the oldest ones standing in Palm Springs today.


There’s the McCallum Adobe house from 1884, and the Cornelia White house from 1893. Both have free entrances but please consider donating. The McCallum Adobe house is featuring exhibitions of the colorful life of Palm Springs, focused on the film industry.

The Cornelia White house is the home of the pioneer Cornelia White and stands like a home would have by the turn of the century. It was once a part of Palm Springs’ first hotel.


The historical society offers walking tours – and if there’s something I always recommend tourists to do: it’s to take a walking tour! (p.s. says the tour guide offering walking tours in NYC)


Next to the two buildings are Ruddy’s General Store museum which does charge an admission – of a humble 95c. And yes, you’ll get change for a dollar. This general store has about 6000 unopened, unused grocery items mainly from the 1930s and 40s and was a personal collection from Jim Ruddy. It was so much fun, even though I didn’t grow up in the USA I still recognized several brands.

And, Markus my little baby enjoyed the sights of all the houses so much that he eventually fell a sleep in his K’Tan carrier!


Walking back and forth on Palm Canyon Drive you’ll see many buildings and houses with small plaques on it – I recommend you to stop and read them. Get to know more about the heritage and history of this wonderful city of Palm Springs before AND after you enjoy its foods and shopping.


For more information, and please book a tour guide:
www.pshistoricalsociety.org – The historical society.
http://pswalkwithme.com/ – I was recommended booking a tour with Jade. I’m looking forward to my first tour. I always want to support local guides who made it their career to entertain and enlighten tourists.

Palm Springs Village Fest

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Every Thursday, downtown Palm Springs turns into a “street fair featuring arts, crafts, foods and entertainment” – and it’s so much fun! I’ve experienced it a couple of times before so obviously we went again.

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Walking through the streets along with the many, many other locals and visitors alike looking at interesting displays with locally grown foods, handmade jewelry, arts and clothing. Listening to local musicians. Buying snacks and making small talk with different sellers. Also – most retailers as well as restaurants are open so you’ll have a chance to check that out too.

There’s a sense of “small-town” and you feel the community getting together. It’s really cozy and I definitely recommend it. Next time I’m heading back to Palm Springs, you know where to find me Thursday night.

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Even Markus enjoyed it. All the lights and sounds had him very curious in the beginning – and then he fell a sleep. Even when we got back home – he slept almost through the night!

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Check out the official website for more information: http://villagefest.org/

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Transferring money abroad – Transferwise

Let me start out by saying that, yes, this post has referral links and if you use them you’ll get your first transfer free! And yes, I will also get a little thank you for every 3 persons who sign up. But this is good – so continue reading!

 

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When I started my days as an international student in New York I used to transfer money from my Danish bank account to my American bank account every month. It was a little annoying because it would first of all take upwards 5 days, but most of all it was annoying because the fees were so stupid! Nordea, my Danish bank would charge me 50 DKK (equivalent to $7-9USD) and then Chase, my American bank would charge me a $15 international wire fee. On top of that, because I did not meet the minimum daily balance of $1500 or had qualifying monthly direct deposit of $500 I would be charged $12 service fee per month. Adding these numbers up that means I had an extra expense of just about $34-$36 per month.

I don’t like throwing money out of the window. But I did. For 2.5 years. Then I discovered Transferwise. What’s even cooler about not throwing money out the window is that Transferwise will give you an even better exchange rate that the banks will! So your savings will definitely stack up!

At first I was weary about sending money using this page but I had heard great stuff – and a friend of mine had used it. It also helped that the business was backed by a certain Sir Richard Branson and that one of the founders came from Skype.

The sign-up process is fairly easy. Prepare to show documentation for who you are. And, then find your correct account numbers. Once you’re ready to make a transfer – and after you’ve done it once – it’s as easy as scratching the back of your head.
You initiate the transfer utilizing Transferwise who will provide you with the account number in the country where you’re sending the money. In my case, that meant I was sending money from my danish bank account to their danish bank account = I wasn’t charged a foreign transfer fee. When you do this, you put in your unique customer code so that they know the money is coming from you. Once they receive it they make the currency exchange and then transfer the money to your foreign account. The transfer is registered by my American bank as a ‘Direct Deposit’, which means that as long as the transfer is over $500 (which is always is) I’m also saving the $12/monthly fee to have my account.
In the early days it did take 4-5 days but now it takes no more than 2 days.

I’ve done  just shy of 30 transfers since I started using Transferwise. All my transfers have been from Denmark to USA, no other countries or from the US to Denmark but I’ve had ZERO issues whatsoever! So yeah, I can vouch for and recommend using Transferwise when you’re transferring money abroad.

If you sign up, using my referral link you’ll get the first transfer for free (certain conditions apply, such as a limit on the amount you’re transferring. You’ll see them when you sign up): https://transferwise.com/u/b0366

 

Have you used Transferwise? What’s your experiences with them? Share in comment below.

 

UPDATE: 3/21/2017
Today I had to make a transfer of USD to an account in Denmark. At first, I thought I’d do it through my business account – but what was I thinking? They were going to charge me $45 from Bank of America. So, instead I turned to Transferwise. If I thought transferring from DKK to USD is easy – this is even easier. I entered the recipients details as I had them from my invoice, and I logged in to my BofA account via Transferwise and done! The money should be there tomorrow already.

JetBlueing as much as I can

During my childhood our travels took place by car and camping wagon, car and tent and sometimes trains and hotels & hostels. It was easy as I grew up in Denmark, and we traveled all over Europe. I don’t know the number of times I’ve been to Sweden, Germany and France. I think I went to Italy 7 times. It’s easy to travel by car in Europe.

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Me and my Opel Kadett somewhere in Europe.

So it wasn’t until I was 21 years old that I took my first flight. Which was transatlantic. Directly CPH-EWR with SAS. I’ll talk about my experiences with New York the first time in a later post. I flew back and forth thirteen times and once to LA. I flew many different airlines. My favorite was Icelandair with the stop-over in Keflavik in Iceland. Anyways …

When I finally had to start flying domestically I didn’t have a preference. I was going from JFK to LAX and of course I wanted an affordable ticket, but I also wanted a great miles system and not have to add a bunch of extra expenses. I like to chose my seat when I book the flight without seeing the total go up, you feel me?

After asking around and comparing prices for the desired dates I went with JetBlue. Some in my network advised me not to go with JetBlue… told me horrible experiences they had had with them.
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Well the price was right so August 2014 I took my first flight with JetBlue. I thought it was GREAT! From the people at the gate, the flight attendants and the amble space surrounding me on a regular seat (not a More Space seat), the free snacks and drinks to the Wi-Fi. Oh dear, I was really pleased!
You gotta understand, when you’re used to flying international the idea of domestic flying makes you feel like a second-class citizen.

The flight back from LAX was just as great and before I knew it – JetBlue.com was the only place I looked for tickets. From august 2014 to November of 2016 I have gathered enough TrueBlue Miles to get at least 3x r/t tickets JFK-LAX. I combined my several trips with the American Express card to get bonus miles (now the Barclay card), and I was able to also earn the ‘Lucky Seven’ and ‘Take 3’ in 2015 which all added a nice portion of miles.

I like their Fare calendar and the fact that I was able to get a one-way ticket to LAX on Oct 31 for $31 last year. I also like their social media group who answers my tweets. See below.

But, newyawkerr, is there something you don’t like about JetBlue?
Well! I did have one horrible experience with them flying from Chicago last December. The flight attendants were beyond rude and lacking total clue. It was a completely full flight and I unfortunately only had an option of a middle seat. I usually prefer window seats but it is what it is. This time my middle seat was between two very tall and also heavy-set men. I’m not a small woman myself so obviously this was a little awkward but I joked about it as I was squeezing down between the two. Well, how can that be the flight attendants faults? It was … This was not the men’s seats. They had both purchased ‘More Space’ seats but the flight attendants refused to honor that for whatever reason. To make matters worse, one of the men had an injury to his leg so he was in pain sitting in a cramped space. He had tried to explain that to the flight attendant but yada yada we were still stuck all three of us together. The flight attendant gave us an attitude when the men were trying to explain that for legitimate reasons they needed those ‘More Space’ seats.
Anyways…I tweeted about it and the fact that they replied right away and that the flight attendants finally understood the situation and gave the guy with the injured leg an aisle seat made it almost forgivable. I mean we’re not all on our best behavior every single day on the job. Are we?

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I also like that JetBlue is New York based. Because I love everything NY. And for no other reason that that … here’s a picture I took flying from LAX to JFK with JetBlue last November.

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All in all, JetBlue has satisfied my flying needs and I’m excited to finally use some of my TrueBlue miles when my baby son and I are traveling to Palm Springs later this month. It’s going to be interesting to see if JetBlue is also measuring up when it comes to accommodating me flying with an infant.

Stay tuned … the blog is soon to turn into everything regarding #TravelingWithMarkus

Follow us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/travelingwithmarkus
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenewyawkerrontour

Disclaimer: I was not gifted a free flight, More Space or extra free snacks for this review. This review is solely based on my own personal experience and though I’m easily persuaded I was not. However, JetBlue, if you happen to read this review please consider giving me an empty seat next to me and my infant baby on flight 149 on November 14, 2016, going JFK-PSP and/or flight 150 PSP-JFK on December 2, 2016. Thank you!

Car seat & stroller on your vacation

With only 11 days until our departure to Palm Springs I’m getting a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do in regards to car seat and stroller for my little one (He’ll be 3 months when we leave). I had initially planned on just carrying him in my Baby K’tan through the airport and then buy an inexpensive stroller with reclined back when I came over there. But then it hit me that of course we also need a car seat!
Then I thought of bringing an umbrella stroller we were gifted but I’m not sure it’s ideal for him just yet. I will be spending my time in California with family members who rented a car through Alamo for three months so I inquired about renting a car seat through them. BUT, this was their response on the option of renting a car seat for the few weeks we’re there (vs. the three months my family is renting the car) I got this response:

“In relation to your inquiry … renting just a child seat would be a very rare occurrence, if possible at all.”

I have to call the Palm Springs location directly but haven’t gotten around to that yet. Then I googled car seat rental and found this place: http://www.coast2coastbabies.com/ where you can rent baby equipment at a low rate. Their infant car seats starts at $6/day which isn’t bad.

Either way I feel funny about renting an used car seat. And if I have to pay even as low as $6/day I may as well just buy a car seat from an online store and have it shipped to the destination. It may be cheaper or even a little more expensive depending on which brand I’ll go by. No matter what – safety comes first and before ANYTHING!

Then going back to the stroller… Is it wise to count on a new stroller we haven’t had experience with and he may not like?

Or should I just bite the bullet and bring along our Graco Fastaction Fold Click Connect Travel System, stroller and car seat and hope that gate-checking it doesn’t smash it up?

You see how confused I am?

What do you do in regards to stroller and car seat for your baby when traveling?

car seat on your trip

First vacation with baby

In 14 days, I’m going on my first flight since December 2015. This time only – it’s going to be a total different and way more challenging experience. It’s the first vacation with baby! And I’m traveling solo!

I found out I was pregnant at week 7 after flying (for work) New York – Boston – Seattle – NY – Chicago – NY – Washington – Boston – Orlando. And then Amtrakking it from Orlando to NY. And, again back on a plane from NY to Antigua and St. Maarten before I finally arrived back in JFK again. All of this within less than two weeks. I thought I was feeling nauseous because of all the flying. But no, it was little Baby Kerr in the making.

My son was born in August, and on November 14 just a couple of days past turning 3-months we’ll be JetBlueing it from JFK to Palm Springs, CA. I’ve been in Palm Springs a couple of times before, but usually flying via LAX and then driving. But, this time around I’ve been able to book an award flight for relatively cheap going straight to Palm Springs where we’ll be staying at an AirBnb. The total for the r/t was $203 but I spent 13.000 TrueBlue points instead.

Just flying alone makes me a little uneasy especially when there’s turbulence. The thought of flying with my precious little one isn’t making it easier. What if something happens? What if he gets a little fussy? I’m breastfeeding but will be pumping for the journey, but what if it’s not enough. How to use the restroom? What if my fellow travelers look at me funny, or with disapproval? What if, what if…
I AM excited about introducing him to traveling and the many sights he’ll be experiencing (though he won’t remember it) – but it’ll form him and make him ready for the real big adventures he’ll be facing when he grows up – you know, because he has a mommy who’s a tour guide

Until next time, you can be sure that I’ll try and read all of the other blogs on experiences and tips traveling with little kids.
Do you have any recommendations for me?

If you want to follow us on Instagram, @nycandtours is our handle (until I create a more appropriate one that’s not too related to my NYC business) … and #NewYawKerrOnTour our hashtag.

MarkusOnTour

#Mompreneur – It’s Hard work

My son is 10 weeks and 3 days old. I’m sitting with him on my lap, while I’m typing this. He’s staring curiously into the screen while he’s hiccuping and occasionally turning his head to see what’s surrounding him. He started holding his head and looking around several weeks ago. He’s strong. At our 2-months pediatric visit he was 14 lbs and 4 oz, measuring 23 inches. He got his shots – cried, and was good moments after I held him.

I came to the U.S to study. I finalized my studies and wanted to focus 110% on my business after becoming a permanent resident. Well, there’s nothing like focusing 110% on your business without also doing a few things on the side to make it work. It’s a hustle.

Now, being a stay-at-home-mom because there’s no way I’ll put him in day-care this early – and trying to manage my business at the same time is rough. I am an entrepreneur but I’m also a mother and while I didn’t plan on having those two things go hand in hand – it’s happening. I’m day-dreaming when nursing about the day that my business has grown enough to support us financially and everyone will ask: “How did you do it?” And I’ll answer: “It was tough, but I did it all because of my son!” I wanted to grow my business before even having him but now it’s more important than ever. I love living in New York and it was a dream I worked hard to achieve. I did it. I wanted my education. I got it. I wanted to become a NYC Licensed tour guide. I studied hard and got a great score. I wanted to participate in the entrepreneurship incubator last year, and I got a chance to. I wanted my pregnancy to turn into a  healthy little boy. And he was.  Now, what stands between me and a successful business … nothing?

I’m a mompreneur … with a great business idea and super clients! And a sweet little baby son that’s gonna grow up and know mommy’s place isn’t just in the kitchen!

Want to support my business while having a great time in New York City? If you speak Danish; click here: www.turistinewyork.dk
The english website is having a do-over while I’m writing this but can be found here:
www.nycandtours.com

Also, on Instagram:
www.instagram.com/nycandtours

And Facebook:
www.facebook.com/nycandtours – the English one
www.facebook.com/turistinewyork – the Danish one

Peggy Sue’s Diner

I’ve visited Peggy Sue’s Diner a couple of times driving from the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas. It’s roughly a 2 hr drive from LAX, and another 2 hr drive from Las Vegas. It’s located just right off I-15, shortly after Barstow (if you’re coming from LA)

It’s exciting every time! You may not know but I have a thing for American diners. The retro look, the atmosphere .. it’s like diving into a 50s movie. And diner food is just comforting. Granted, not all diners are worth a visit. And I did not have the opportunity to eat at Peggy Sue’s yet – but even if you’re just stopping on your ride, to stretch your leg and maybe buy some souvenirs and some candy – it’ll be worth it! The diner first opened up in 1954, and today still functions as a in-door diner but its store and the Dinersaur park in the back is also very popular.

Read more about it on Peggy Sue’s Diner homepage and make sure to include it in your travel plans!

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Salton Sea

Salton Sea – California

After a long drive from Las Vegas (4.5 hrs) we arrived at the historic Salton Sea in southern California. It’s located just about 1.5 hour drive from Mexico and 2.5 hr drive from San Diego.

The history of Salton Sea is long and complex and what you see today is so very different, than the busy and festive days of the 50s where this was a popular spot for vacationing for many Hollywood stars.

Having a lake or sea in the middle of the desert is for obvious reasons a very interesting sight – though today it seems almost like visiting a ghost town. Due to the high level of salinity fish can not survive in the water. What appears to be white sand on the lake side, is in fact millions of fish bones!

Due to its proximity to many of the popular cities and the unique nature of Salton Sea, I definitely recommend a visit here.

Read more about Salton Sea and the surrounding attractions here:
Salton Sea Museum and Big Boy Travel – Salton Sea

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Silver Star – Amtrak

After flying east coast to west coast, and then north to south I had had enough of flying. And since the return ticket by air from Orlando to NY was expensive, I figured – why not pay that extra few dollars ($20) and experience the Amtrak ride that I had been daydreaming about for a long time.
So I booked a ticket with a private roomette in a sleeper car from Orlando to New York City, on the Silver Star – December 13, 2015. Total price was $375, $239 being the extra for the roomette.

LINXI took the LINX bus from Orlando (MCO) airport, to Downtown Orlando and walked the 10 minutes from the bus stop to the Amtrak Station. I arrived early, hoping I could find a restaurant or deli close by and stuck up on foods since the Silver Star for the time being doesn’t have a dining card in function. However, no such luck!

20151213_17054320151213_172010I sat at the waiting terminal for over an hour – was very fascinated with the old look and feel to it. The wooden benches and the old phone booths. It was really nice! A couple of hours of waiting while eaves dropped to the other people’s conversations. Nothing interesting, but it made time fly by fast.

20151213_17214520151213_17213820151213_190903Just 10-15 minutes before the arrival of the train we were asked to go outside an wait in line. I was first in line – super excited – and when the train rolled in at the station I felt like a kid in a candy store.

20151213_19112620151213_192417The attendant in my car, Doug, was very friendly and understood my excitement. After introducing me to the roomette and the amenities I was asked when I wanted the bed made. I told him in about half an hour. I enjoyed leaving the Orlando train station and off we went …. There wasn’t much to see out the windows as it was already dark, so I decided to call it an early night. 20151213_19261020151213_192621

It was hard to fall asleep. But eventually I did and sleep was relatively pleasant. I woke up a couple of times during the night to look out the windows but not seeing much. Early next morning I was up – ready to take in the sights! And also get some coffee – which was free!

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20151214_091346It was a nice way of traveling especially after flying so much for days! It was relaxing and the many beautiful sights that flew by gave me great incentive to travel more by train… Though it was December, and therefore relatively grey weather I still got a peek at some of the wonderful nature and small towns occupying the east coast.

20151214_084457 20151214_083051 20151214_072933 20151214_103052 20151214_090515 20151214_130945 20151214_135509We were able to get out of the train a couple of times to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Not that I felt like I really needed it but I did get out at Staples Mill Road station in Virginia, and again in Washington, DC.

20151214_084608 20151214_130704I ate a lot of the different “snacks” from the dining car which was a little costly and not very exciting but some well-known staples such as microwaveable cheeseburger and some cheese danishes, as well as a veggie tray with carrots and hummus.

Over all … I’d say that it was worth the price getting the roomette, it was a little dream come true and I can’t wait to ride the Southwest Chief one day …

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Travel The USA with Rail

I have an amtrak-itch! For the last couple of years I’ve been reading blogs, watching YouTube videos and tested routes and pricing. I really want to travel cross country with train. I really, really, really want to!
Yes – train travel is much more costly than flying. And yes, it will take many hours to get to your destination. But I like the idea of taking my time to travel and enjoy the trip itself. Sometimes that’s satisfying enough!

But where will I start and where will I go? Will I do coach seat, business or sleeper car?

My research has brought me to this conclusion:

The first route that I’d like to take is the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles in a Superliner Roomette. It’s the classic route and I think it’ll set the mood for any future Amtrak journeys should I continue to find the idea of it attractive. It’s a 45 hour ride so the idea of coach seems daunting! And I believe that the best way to truly enjoy the journey, would be from the comfort of my own little private space – e.g. the Superliner Roomette!

I’d have to pay at least $600+ but it would include three meals a day and the best views possible traveling cross country.

Follow along while I’m continuing to plan the trip, and when I finally carry it out … Go click “Like” on The Newyawkerr – On Tour!

Flying United Airlines

As you may know I decided to be a loyal JetBlue customer. I’ve had several trips cross-country with them – all of which have been pleasant! But this past week I had to make a quick, last-minute flight and JetBlue was simply too expensive. A R/T from JFK to LAX would have been close to $700.

So instead I got into search-mode and after several hours of trying to mix one-ways with Amtrak I finally came upon ebookers.ie and scored myself a $270 R/T with United Airlines. Which is a relatively unheard of price – especially the day after Thanksgiving!

Only but! Going there, I’d only have 32 minutes layover to change plans in Houston, Texas (IAH) which also included a change of terminal. Going back, I have approx. 8 hours layover in Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Oh … and I’d arrive in Newark, NJ (EWR) instead of New York, NY (JFK) which is my favorite airport in the City. Anyways … Ticket was good, and I didn’t want to spend more money than neccesary this time around.

Now – I’ve never flown United Airlines before but figured it couldn’t be that much of a difference from JetBlue. But it was! The level of service was much lower than what I get at JetBlue, and the seats are more narrow with lesser legroom. They don’t have complimentary WiFi, and the flight from Houston to Los Angeles did not have entertainment screens. Instead they were advertising their “Personal Device Entertainment” which didn’t work. They had complimentary soft drinks, but no complimentary snacks. And they only went through the plane with the cart once on both flights (LGA-IAH, and IAH-LAX).

Granted – we did have quite a bit of turbulence on the last leg of the trip, but I found it odd that there could be so many difference between two airlines. Especially since the latter could be perceived as a “better quality” airline.

(Looking forward to add my experiences flying LAX-LAS, and LAS-EWR tomorrow… Stay tuned)

Bottle Tree Ranch

After arriving in LAX and heading to Las Vegas in Nevada, we stopped in Oro Grande. Here you’ll find a very popular attraction. A man named Elmer collects bottles and glass have have done so for so many years that his collection – and the way he displays it – have drawn visitors from all over the world.

You’re welcome to walk in and walk around his private property. You can also bring a bottle or glass from your home town or country, and donate it in one of the boxes.

This is such a cool spot to play around with your camera and take amazing photos. I had just gotten my Nikon D3300 and I’m by no means a photographer but it was fun just to play and practice.

We also had the honor of actually meeting Elmer. He’s a cool dude.

So, yeah … pay a visit at Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch in Oro Grande, California. See some of the photos I took in our Facebook post. And go follow Facebook now that you’re there 🙂

En ualmindelig interessant stop på vej til Nevada

Posted by The Newyawkerr – On Tour on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Atlantic City, baby!

Just a stone throw away from New York City is the next best thing after Las Vegas – Atlantic City. Sure, it can’t really compare with Las Vegas, but if you only have $20 on your pocket and feel like getting away for the day Atlantic City is the place to go. You can catch one of the many buses that go to and from AC daily from NYC – without  spending a night there. Or you can choose to spend a little money and book a hotel. I recommend a hotel near the Boardwalk.

I don’t gamble. And I don’t party (a lot) but I do like the lights, the glamour and the atmosphere – pair that with access to the beach. It’s a done deal!

I’ve been to Atlantic City pre-Sandy and I heard a lot of negativity regarding AC now, so surely it was a little nerve-wrecking planning the first get-a-way with my husband to this specific destination BUT we had a blast!

Check out some photos from our 2-night trip that ended up costing us roughly $400 including gas, tolls, accommodation, food, drinks and fun. And feel free to shoot your comments in the comment box below or on Facebook.

Read more about Atlantic City, what you can see and do at: Atlantic City, NJ Official Website

A two-day getaway to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Posted by The Newyawkerr – On Tour on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big Bus Tours Las Vegas

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I gotta say that when it comes to sightseeing I’m a little biased. Being a NYC Licensed tour guide and everything. Even more so when I went on the double decker bus with Big Bus Tours Las Vegas!

I went to Vegas for the second time in March 2015. At the time, I was working as a tour guide with Big Bus New York and had gotten the “friends & family discount” (read: free tickets) so I was excited to see the Strip and Downtown Freemont Street from the bus rather than walking or trying to attempt to drive around. 2015-03-13 19.59.05

I’ve been in Las Vegas about 4-5 months earlier but didn’t do much sightseeing that time.

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This is my review (taken directly from my TripAdvisor):

“We first did The Strip tour which was really fun; easy way to see the many sights the strip has to offer without the hassle of walking or driving around. Our tour guide was really cool, informative and had a great personality. And when she told me she just started working for the company; I was amazed! Big applause for Jillian!

Later, we took The Downtown tour which is very different from The Strip tour – however, it offered an insight to the “real” Las Vegas plus many nice sights such as the pawn shop from Pawn Stars as well as a multitude of wedding chapels. Our tour guide, Brian aka Marc was F-U-N-N-Y! Perfect engagement with customers, great knowledge and still super professional. Jose was the driver on that tour, and he did a great job! Always good to appreciate the professional driver’s capabilities to take us around town in a safe and smooth ride. Thumps up!

The buses were a little on the older side, but they were surprisingly clean. It’s live tour guide, with speakers and it was not a problem hearing them at all.”

2015-03-13 19.16.29 I had the pleasure to speak with both Jillian and Brian after the tour, comparing notes between Big Bus LV and Big Bus NY. After the conversations I felt a little jealous and even to this day (1.5 years later) the possibility of relocating to Las Vegas for a while and applying for a position with Big Bus Tours is still very much growing.
For now though, we’re staying put here in NY.

If you ever travel to Las Vegas and are considering utilizing Big Bus Tours then I’d say go for it. As with any hop on/hop off sightseeing company – if your guide is less than brilliant – jump off and get back on the next bus. We were blessed with two funny, intelligent guides and if they ever were to read this blog – say hi!

Of course I took a bunch of photos – because when do I not? You can click in below if you want to:

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Through my professional line of work as the founder of NYC & Tours I can actually now sell you tickets to Big Bus Tours in New York – so if you ever come to NY, email me: [email protected] and mention ‘newyawkerr’ for 10% off. The above review have nothing to do with that … it was written long before I became a vendor 😉

Rancho Palos Verdes

We went to the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, only an about 45 minute drive from LAX. It was a beautiful experience, looking at the Pacific Ocean and enjoying the dry heat.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Though they were taking with my foolish little cell phone camera. Definitely have to go back – if nothing else, then for better photos 😉 …

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Green Card

Do I need to tell y’all how awfully difficult it is to fill out the applications for a Green Card? Yes, I am here on a F-1 visa, and yes I’m positively still ‘in-status’. I’ve not violated the terms of my visa and it’s still valid until sometime in 2017 I believe.

But I married my boyfriend and with that comes certain bonuses that I actually refused to receive years ago. See, I am a stubborn lady. I am also very independent. The dream of living in New York was mine, and I wanted to earn the right to achieve it. I didn’t want to be handed to me easily. I wanted to work for it! ….. But then, I met him. In 2010. Long time ago. And it also took a long time before we came to the conclusion that it would be silliness beyond silliness to carry on like this. He didn’t want to see me go back to Denmark and I didn’t want to lose him. So what do you do? You accept when the man proposes. And with that comes: I-485, I-130, I-765, I-313, and a whole bunch of other I’s = The application for permanent residency and employment authorization. Aka. Green Card. Though they should call it Gold Card because it cost a lot of money!!!

Any-who … The application have now been sent. I filed it out myself, with the occasional help from hubby whenever his fill-out-skills was necessary. Let’s see how long it takes…

 

Can’t believe it – Husband, NY, Greencard. What did I do to deserve this?

I’m alive.

My little blog, how I’ve neglected you. Life is hard, you know? Life in New York is nothing like what you see in the TV. There’s blood, tears and hustling involved. Unless you have wealthy parents or have been extremely good at saving – moving to the Big City doesn’t guarantee more happiness in your life. It doesn’t even guarantee that you’ll find yourself, or your long lost dreams or purpose in your life. The only revelation that might hit you is that you shouldn’t have moved to New York to begin with.

Thankfully, the latter is not true for me. I’ve never for a split second regretted making the move. Throwing away a life in Denmark and all the security that came with it. I should have done it differently had I had different tools but “it is what it is” (a new saying that I picked up here in NYC)

I’m hustling. Paying my bills. My rent. My tuition. Keeping up with all the responsibility that comes when you live in a country where you don’t have any security or safety net protecting you – just in case something were to happen.

I love it.

Now, I’m at my 5th and second to last semester as an international student. I have absolutely no clue how time passed by so extremely fast. I feel like it was yesterday that I wen through JFK’s doors with my visa freshly stamped .

When the semester is over in less than two months, I have another 3 months summer holiday and then my last semester. During the summer I hope to travel a little bit and I hope to start my search for a job during my OPT. I really hope that my education, my knowledge and my passion for the city will help me land the job that eventually can sponsor me for a work permit so that I can stay here.

I promise to talk a lot more about that later, because I’m not planning on neglecting the blog much longer. Until then, let me get back to this midterm about financing new ventures … (my entrepreneurship plan class, yay!)

Jobinterviewing in the city

I have never been interviewed for a job. Hold your horses! — It’s not entirely true. I was interviewed for a position at Bauhaus (an European pendant to The Home Depot) and for a office assistant at a start-up of a magazine that is no more. Not jobs I was really interested in, but I was young and desperate to “get something on my resume”

The other day I met with my DSO (Designated School Official) at City Tech. She’s the one that deals with anything “international-student” related. But let me just say: She’s mad cool! It’s so refreshing having someone at the school who knows you and will do their best to help you out. All I needed was a signature to keep my study grant from Denmark, but we ended up discussing the international student situation at City Tech. I told her I think it’s a shame that CUNY doesn’t get more recognition in Denmark. Anyways … The point I’m trying to make is; She asked me if I felt Americanized? – And I do. I’m a new yorker now.

So when this new yorker gets an email from a fancy hotel in the city, asking if I would be interested in meeting for an interview as a concierge, the girl says “Yes, why thank you!”

The interview was really nice, relaxed and I felt like I did a good job. He said that I would make a great addition to the team.
Situation is unfortunately so that I’m not legally allowed to work off-campus as F-1 student unless I get permission to do so. And even in that case, I can not work more than 20 hours a week. The position I was interviewing for was full-time. Sad face.

Nevertheless – I will always be able to contact him again, once I have the permision to work and I really look forward to it.
I would love to work as a concierge – see, I don’t dream of a long career at the top but I want a job that I have passion for, where I feel that I make a difference in the tourist’s life. I think it’s good to provide a service for others, and be able to go home and be the most important person to your friends and family.

So even though I did not get the job – I feel like a got a valuable lesson in job-interviewing and once again I was confirmed that I am in the right industry. The tourism industry. The-being-there-for-others-industry. Plus. Concierges get mad perks. Say Broadway tickets. Say invitations to events and restaurants. Say – tips!!

Next year when I graduate, I hope that I will find a position like that again and that time around I will be able to accept!

Seven years as a New Yorker by heart

They say it takes living 10 years in the City before you officially can call yourself a New Yorker. I say; “I’ve been a New Yorker since the day I sat foot on 42nd street!”.

Sure – What I fell in love with back then, is not what I love about the city today. Much like when you first fall in love with a person — 20 years later it’s not his six-pack or the way she walks down the street in her 6-inch heels. It’s something deeper, way less superficial.

When I came to New York I entered a fairy tale much like what I had seen on TV. I needed a break from my reality in Denmark and the new scenery welcomed me into a unrealistic bubble of joy. Today my life is very real and 90% of the time is super stressful, demanding and tough. It’s a roller-coaster emotionally, a ride I most likely shouldn’t have gotten on.
Am I regretting making the ‘big move’ to New York? Am I regretting following my dreams? Not at all.

I have an apartment that I recently re-signed for a third year. I picture myself staying in this apartment and be like my “old-lady-neighbor” 20 years from now. Most likely I will also have a cat (or three like her) even though the building doesn’t allow it.
I love that I have everything I need around me: The Subway (trains), a subway (sandwiches), Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Chinese Food, Healthy asian food, Peruvian food, Mexican food (like in the “the chinese-people-are-making-the-mexican-food” places) Italian food, pizza, Jewish restaurants (I don’t think I’m allowed to go in. They have no windows, or the windows they have are covered in heavy curtains) Pharmacies, CVS, Knish Knosh (look it up), several banks (not like any of them want to give me a loan or a no-fee account), Super markets and farmers green market. Oh, and my gym. I keep forgetting. Yes. All of that within 3 minutes walk. We also just got a 99cent store called Youtube.

My commute to school is on average an hour. I don’t mind. I have an iPad and I’m really good at being cool like the rest of the New Yorkers who commute hours daily. Like, I will form the words of the songs with my lips and try not to make a sound. Yes. And I will push you to the side when I need to get out if you don’t understand you have to. I don’t care. I still get up for the pregnant and the elderly though.

I can’t believe I’m at my 4th semester at CUNY. I’m still studying hospitality management but my heart is in tourism. I hope that when I graduate next year, I will get a job that can sponsor me so I don’t have to go back to Denmark. Yes, there I said it: I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back. I can’t possibly leave my home …

Read my 5th year anniversary blog: http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/09/26/five-year-anniversary/

7 years has passed by. I still [heart] New York 2006-2013!

 

MY first picture from 42nd street
MY first picture from 42nd street

Empanadas Cafe, Corona Queens

Empanadas Cafe corona caféSunday afternoon I had sudden cravings. It doesn’t happen too often but when it happens nothing – not even drizzling rain could keep me from it. I wanted my empanadas! There’s this small place on 108 street and Van Doren, called Empanadas Cafe – I’ve been there with friends a long time ago and once in a while my friend have brought me some empanadas.
The place is small, with only seating for 6 people inside and two three tables outside. I like the managements vision; being conscious of the environment and aiming to make food with the best ingredients. Granted, fried food will never be healthy – but it better be made out of good fresh ingredients!!

Reasonable pricesl $1.50-$2.50 a piece. I ordered a chicken, a pesto and spinach ricotta. The latter being absolutely AMAZING!! I also got a traditional colombian soda. Expected it to be overly sweeten but it was just really good!

If you’re danish and you wanna take a walk with me in Queens and maybe stop by this place – go to my tourism website and contact me: —> http://turistinewyork.dk/kom-til-queens-ny/

 

 

3. semester start and update

Yes, you haven’t heard from me since last summer. Most of you probably thought I completely forgot about y’all! I didn’t. I can’t explain what happened, but all of a sudden 6 months went by without a single blogpost. Now, we’re in 2013 and I started my 3. semester at City Tech in Brooklyn. A few months ago I got my credits from Denmark transferred, and I now know that I’ll be graduating in Dec ’14 with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality management.
Eventhough there’s still almost 4 semesters to go, I know it’ll go by super fast and before I know it I’ll be looking for a job in the hospitality field here in NYC. As some of you know, after a F-1 visa holder finishes his/hers studies they’ll allowed to work full-time 12 months (so-called OPT) in the field of which they have been studying.
I don’t want to go back to Denmark, so I hope that the OPT will open some doors and give me some opportunities to apply for a work permit and eventually a Greencard.

Last semester was really, really tough. I went through some personal challenges and focusing on school was difficult. But I managed and with a little help from my professors (They’re the best, seriously) I got through. My GPA is now 3.2, and I think that’s pretty good considering all the facts …

This semester I’m taking 4 classes. I would love to take one more, but can’t afford it. International students pay per credit, one class is normally 3 credits. I need a minimum of 12 and that’s $6000 right there my friends. Still no scholarships .. Still carrying the load myself.
But, I’m taking one class in particular that I’m really excited about: “Urban Tourism” First of all, the professor (Phillip) is amazing. I took one of her classes last year too. Second, the subject is what I’m all about … So, hopefully I’ll gain a lot of knowledge and tools to use on my project “Turist i New York” (www.turistinewyork.dk) Lately there’s been a lot of support and the Facebook Page has gotten almost 400 likes!! I’m ecstatic and really hope that I can one day support myself financially while doing what I love; Helping people getting the best NYC-experience possible.

Until you hear from me again …

6 months later

The story of a transformed Dane

I’ve been a visa-holder in the USA for 6 months now. There’s nothing ‘big deal’ about it, because of all my previous travels I have already spend a tremendous amount of time in the States.
But I feel at home. Like I said I would. I don’t feel homesick, there’s nothing about living in Denmark that I miss. My family, yes! I miss my family a GREAT deal! I hate missing out on my sisters graduations and their lives. I hate that I can’t see my mom when I know she wants to see me. But, besides from that loss – I lost nothing by moving here.

I’m about to renew my lease on my apartment. It’s already been a year since I got it. Still don’t have enough money to completely furnish it, but my super keeps an eye out for me and that way I got a free (and well-maintained) IKEA couch.
I also finally got a real bed after about 9 months of sleeping on an air mattress. I got a good deal on it, from one of the Danish folks over here that had to go back to DK.

It’s been super tough the first six month but I’ve found a way to keep up the good mood and continue my school work. That’s why I’m here after all.

 

I’m continuing …. That’s the purpose. Keep fighting for your dreams…… even if people shake their heads and say: Naaah, little missy, you won’t make it!

License to … Drive, Tour.

I finished my 1. semester with a 3.7 something GPA and I’m happy.

With that said: I got 3 months of summer holidays before my next semester begins. What to do?

I’ve been planning forever on getting my New York City Tour Guide License so that when I’m legally allowed, I can start giving tours. It’ll cost me $50, and a lot of prep. But I think it’s about time.

I have also been contemplating getting a driver’s license, since it’s way cheaper over here than in DK. Problem is, I’ve never driven a car and I’m afraid I need a bunch of lessons – which could add to the expenses since I don’t really know of any good friends with cars, that could teach me. Hmm.

So – my plans for this summer is: Get $$$ (I’ll be the one digging for treasures on Jones beach) and try and get my licenses. Get a good tan (and I’m not taking about the tan-line on my feet because of my sandals, please) Have delicious smoothies, meals, cold beers, great laughs (I didn’t buy those Comedy Club tickets from that guy at Times Sq for nothin’) and … Well, try and breath and let time slowly pass by.

Subway stories

I do ‘people-watching’. I pretend I don’t look. But I do. I check out your outfit, your shoes, your bags, your nails. You sit next to me and you read your kindle or your newspaper – and I read too. I’m cool about it.

Sometimes I see people in nice business attire, looking like they got the success and the game. Then I look in their eyes and I see a tear or something else. It’s hard to describe but its as real as a tear running down the cheek would be.

I wonder why that pain. I wonder what happened, why you sad? Did someone break your heart?

Or I see couples holding hands but with a distance between them. A distance that we all know eventually will break up the love that once were. Why break each others heart?

Or, a overweight girl sitting in her skin tight leggings and her fake eyelashes going some place just ‘to have fun’ but I see her, there in the light and I know she already settled for less. Girl, you know they’re heart-breakers….

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And once in a while I notice a guy sitting across from me, looking at me and I wonder what he’s thinking ….

My new dream

I’m so excited that I finished first semester with great outcome. I definitely showed more dedication – the whole ‘mandatory class attendance’ works really well for me (fyi, dk-college not so much)
Still missing one grade (I wonder what’s keeping him) but I got two A’s and one B+ (the professor is a tough grader and doesn’t easily give out A’s) Continue reading

Student in New York

January 30th, 2012 was the first day in my life as a student in New York. I was super excited and not really nervous. I entered the school with the attitude “Do You know who I am?”

At first glance of my class room I was shocked. With all due respect to the public school system in New York I thought to myself: “This is so baaaad…!” It was a culture shock!

I’ll wait and tell you what I thought of my professors and their teaching until the end of this semester 😉 Haha, but no, I enjoy my professors. They are very helpful and its obvious that they care about their students! Some of them are even graduates from NYU and Columbia which means that the quality of my education gets better – for cheaper money! That’s what I call a bargain!

So far I haven’t had any problems keeping up with the work,  and I think this education was the right decision for me! 🙂

Next week I have my first test and I’m a little bit nervous but my professor told me I’ll do better than I think.

I’m still looking for employment on-campus (only thing allowed for F-1 students, and I’m not planning on breaking any laws and risk being deported!) but so far nothing seems to come up. I even applied to Cleaning gigs but nope …

I’m doing good though, and I have a very nice and sweet roommate which makes everything a little easier! (Yes, apparently I’ve become ‘that’ person … the person having roommates!)

Until next time … For the danes; take a look at my newly updated website (Tourist in New York) www.turistinewyork.dk

Empire State Building

Would you believe that it took me 14 trips before I visited the Empire State Building? – But isn’t the Empire one of the ‘must-see’s in New York? Yes. So why did I chose not to?
Well, I’ve always traveled on a budget. Said no to museums, Broadway shows, concerts etc and instead focused on being able to afford the next plane ticket.

BUT! I got a chance to visit it more or less for free – so I did. It was a late Friday night, crystal clear night. There wasn’t a lot of people and the employers paid a lot of attention to each individual – or just me? Don’t know. But I had some really nice conversations with a few of them. It adds to the experience. Tourists, never let go of an opportunity to talk to a New Yorker!

I took some pictures with my LG Prime’s not-so-prime cam – So I’ll just spare you some time and just upload one … I want you to put yourself in my shoes; The City I love – this is my home! Well, a little to the right is my home. Queens, baby!

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Cauliflower Pizza

I’m not much of a cook, meaning I don’t enjoy cooking  just for myself. But I know that for financial and health reasons I should cook more often. So going through a whole bunch of recipes I fell across this one: Cauliflower Crust Pizza If there’s one thing I love it’s italian food. Pizza and pasta, wine, olives … you name it. So I bought the ingredients and I prepared the cauliflower, the ‘dough’, the toppings and while I was at it I also did the dishes so the second the pizza was done, my kitchen looked flawless. – THAT I’m proud of!

At first glance it looks exactly like regular pizza. It taste delicious but next time I probably add more spices. I like my spicy food. Maybe jalapeños would be a welcomed ingredients.

Here’s the pictures to show the progress. I steamed the cauliflower and chopped it with a knife instead of using the grater. It was too messy. I added fresh garlic in the ‘dough’ and didn’t add onion salt. The toppings was green peppers, pizza sauce (only half a glass) tomatoes and fine chopped onions plus some chili powder, basil and black pepper. It took a little longer to bake the crust, since I doubled the serving (it was a huge ‘half’ cauliflower) Approx. 25 min baking and another 15-20 minutes of broiling with the toppings. Bon appetite!

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I’m actually pretty impressed by my own skills. Remember, I was also the one that messed up a shake & bake!
It tastes great, and I know what I’ll be serving at my first dinner party for my friends in a few months.

It was relatively easy, didn’t take much work. Affordable as well, and the cleaning was done while waiting for the crust to bake and the toppings to broil.

I’ll give MYSELF 5 stars out of 6 … Reason I can’t give myself the last star is because I should have trusted my instinct and bought jalapeños! Ay, what to do ….

P.s. My roomie gave me ‘Thumps up’!

POE and other anecdotes

This is my tale about my POE (Port of Entry) into the United States of America:

So after finishing up my business in Denmark it was time to gather my stuff and get on that plane back ‘home’!

I got a one-way ticket with Icelandair for $500 on cheapoair.com which was a pretty good deal at the time. They ran for about the double on other sites.
– I packed two huge suitcases and got a ride to the airport.
At the airport I was the first one in line, but I had a few lbs excess baggage and the lady “kindly” asked me to unpack or pay.
So I went to the side, removed three books from one bag and a sweater from another (seriously, we’re talking 4-5 lbs too much) I thought it would be okay for me to go back to check-in my luggage afterwards, considering I had been waiting 45 minutes before they even opened check-in (actually, I was checked in just needed to drop my bags) but as always the Danes are not very considering despite they all starred at me while I repacked my bags. – In other words, I got a last taste of the danish attitude and had to go back to the end of the line, and wait another hour.
My bags got checked-in and I took my books and sweater with me in as hand-luggage. (Cause who ever weighs your hand luggage at the gate?)

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Last view of Copenhagen, goodbye!
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On my way to Terminal 1, CPH
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Terminal 1, CPH
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Last view of Copenhagen, goodbye!

The trip to Iceland was AWEFUL! At take-off I started crying, being overly emotional with the thought of actually leaving my family for .. I don’t know how long. The flight attendant saw me and asked if I was okay. I was. At least for a while.
Normally I have pretty decent buddies to sit next to, but this time I was sitting next to a very tall young man that had his legs irresponsibly spread (why does guys always do that?) and his arms were taking up more space than just the armrests. Need I say, personal space? He would at times look at me and he just moved around a lot. And at one point he fell asleep and his head fell on my shoulder.
The second we landed in Iceland he took his seatbelt off, and when we were at the gate he almost crawled over me to get his bag from the overhead bin. I was so upset that I told him to cool it. Nobody else stood up yet, not even the flight attendant. My bag and jacket was in front of his in the overhead bin, and he started pushing my bag to the side to get his out .. I was getting really annoyed and I told him again: “YOU HAVE TO RELAX!” with a loud voice. I wasn’t being unfair. The dude was acting weird. Besides, I had the aisle seat. That means; I stand up first – I take my stuff … and then you’re free to do the same. Don’t crawl over my legs and don’t violently push my stuff the side, moron! (Edit: Looking back, I’m afraid he might have had some mental problems)

Anyways….. I love Keflavik airport. I did a little ‘looking around’ and got a yogurt and juice. Then about an hour after I was on my way to New York. I had my window seat and a spare seat between me and the guy sitting by the aisle. Made up for the trip to Iceland.

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Keflavik
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Keflavik
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Keflavik
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Eh, what now?
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Art in Keflavik
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Learn Icelandic; Konur = Women
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Blue Lagoon store in Keflavik
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Learn Icelandic
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With Hengill to New York
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Leaving Iceland

At JFK I feared a huge line at the border/immigration but – almost miraculously – the line was short and I only had to wait 5-10 minutes. Then I feared that the immigration would deny me. Though you have a visa, it’s still immigration that determines whether or not to let you in. And giving the fact that I’ve been traveling on visa waiver a million times I had this idea that now would be the time I got denied – but I didn’t! He asked me what I was going to study, and for how long. And then, he stamped my papers! I’m telling you, RELIEF! – Didn’t have to wait for my bags either, they came out right after each other after 2 minutes. And I got a cab after only waiting a few minutes. So despite the cruel wait in Copenhagen, having to unpack and the annoying dude next to me from Copenhagen to Iceland – the last half (and most important) part of my trip was painless and when I arrived at my building the doorman came and helped me with my bags!
At home, beautiful roses awaited me again. My friend is just the sweetest!

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If roses could talk, I know what these would say...

So to sum it up;

After 26 times of crossing the Atlantic the 27th time proved to have some of the worst and the best experiences of traveling. I experienced the worst seating companion of all times – and the shortest line at immigration at JFK, and shortest wait for luggage ever! And now, being home with no intention of going back to Denmark for the next 5-6 years I’m finally starting to breath again 😀 … at least until my next blog, where I’ll tell you how it feels like when the study grant you’re entitled to as a danish citizen proves to be hard to get approved and it leaves you with the fear of being without income for the first semester of school!

Glimpse of my City

Going through my massive amount of New York City pictures … To make it a little fun, there’s 1 interesting mistake in ONE of the pictures. Which one?

Columbus Circle Trum Tower
Columbus Circle, Trump Tower ’09
Hailing a Cab UES
Hailing a cab on the Upper East side ’09
Radio City Music hall
Radio City Music Hall ’08
Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle ’09
Autumn Central Park
Autumn in Central Park ’09
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty ’08
Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock ’09

2011, the upside down year!

I don’t believe in making new years resolutions – neither do I make a big deal out of New Years Eve. The only thing special about Dec 31, is that after 24 hours it enters into yet another month called January. I understand the whole idea of new beginnings but honestly. Every Monday is a new beginning for me (joking!)

With that said, I have made it a tradition to write an epilogue by the end of every year. It’s a way for me to sum up the year to never forget that I’m actually living a life! 🙂

Normally I have a very personal one but this year I’ve decided to spare you the tears! 😉

The greatest thing in 2011, has to be the fact that I spend half the year in New York City. Oops. The year had 365 days of which I was on American soil for 185 days. That sounds insane but the beauty of it is that I was 110% LEGAL! (besides the times that I jaywalked – and for that I’m truly sorry…)

A lot of people ask me whether or not I actually don’t work while I’m in New York, how I can afford it etc. Well, what can I say. It’s New York, it’s expensive and tempting to work illegally because the chances of getting caught, if you’re smart, are limited.
I personally know of several people that have worked off the books! They do it for a couple of months and then they return to whatever country they’re from. For me, it’s never been an option. I have far too much respect for the authorities and for myself to ever jeopardize a good standing relationship with America. Besides, I have self-control and I know how to manage my money. I work, I go to school and I save when I’m in Denmark. That way I can enjoy, relax and spend time with my loved ones in NY when I’m there. Of course you absolutely have to be careful how you spend your money, but I’ve been spending so much time in NY that for me, it’s not a matter of spending money anymore. The mere thought of walking down Queens Blvd, while sipping a home-brewed cup of coffee is far more exciting than a night out on the town!

I graduated a 2-year college program! I’m now an Academy Profession graduate in International hospitality and tourism management! (It credits more than an American associate degree – hence why I also wrote a 50-page final thesis – dissertation if you like)

I moved out of my Copenhagen apartment and into a New York apartment. Moving is never easy but this move ended up costing, besides a lot of money, most of the belongings I’ve gathering the past 8 years. Though my rent almost doubled, I’m not regretting getting it. It was kinda love at first sight thing, and though it definitely has its flaws I know that it’s gonna be my home for many years to come.

I met some really interesting people during ’11 and I had to say goodbye to a few too. Life takes its twist and turns and if we don’t pay attention we end up losing the grip and are tossed away.

Though I made my fair share of bad decisions I also know that I’m even more determined now to live my life according to what I know is the truth and in a way .. all of this … is worth going through – exactly because I’m on the road to ‘recovery’. Determination is my power!!!

2012 is gonna be a complete continuance of 2011 and the year before that and all the years I’ve lived and breathed since I was born in 1985. I only have one purpose with my life, the only thing new years give is another year to do what I find best! No resolutions.

Goodbye ol’ tears.

My F-1 Visa interview

I wasn’t able to sleep last night. I was “over thinking” my F-1 visa interview, completely convinced that they were going to deny me. For what reason you might ask? – For spending too much time in the U.S the last couple of years.

I arrived at the embassy too early. My appointment time was 10.10 am, but because I was afraid of getting lost (it was so easy to find!) I left home early and was in front of the embassy at 9.30. Since it’s not allowed to queue up before appointment time I decided to walk around the streets. I noticed a nicely dressed young man coming out of embassy, talking on his phone and saying something about ‘lack of paper’. This added to my insecurity, because how can such a nicely dressed man be turned away because he didn’t have proper papers.

30 minutes later I arrived and I did see a small line of people outside. Two dark dressed security guys checked our passports and gave us instructions regarding the security check. No phone, cords or any electronic devices are allowed into the embassy.

I started conversing with another man, who was there for a business visa interview due to a conference in California. I was surprised that he too had to get a visa despite it not being ‘work’ and only for a 6 days stay. Proves to show how important it is, always to be aware of rules and regulations and your purpose of travel – so you don’t end up getting denied at border/customs.

After handing your phone etc. to some other security guards and yourself and your bag have been checked (like in the airport) you’re let inside a relatively small waiting room. Inside there was about 15 people waiting. You get a number and you wait for your name to be called. It took a very long time! —- Once it was my turn to get ‘checked-in’ I asked the woman, what time it was, only to find out that I’ve been waiting for 1 hour 20 minutes. During your check-in, you’re asked for your SEVIS fee and MRV fee receipts, your passport, your confirmation of visa application, your I-20 plus any other documents relating your financial situation. Also remember a medium-sized envelope already stamped. The woman asked me how I was going to pay for my stay, and a few questions regarding my visa application (change of my name when I was teenager, plus my experiences with my previous work) Then she told me that all the papers were going to be handed to the consul, who would be the one making the decision of my visa.

At this point I was really nervous. But then, my new friend (the guy with the business visa for 6 days) pointed out that Henrik Qvortrup was there applying for a visa. He’s probably not very known to Americans but in Denmark everybody knows and have an opinion about his work as a editor-in-chief at one of our colorful tabloids, his skills (or lack of) as a journalist etc. I thought it was interesting when I saw that he was turned away and came back 15 minutes later. Apparently he didn’t have all his papers in order either. I heard him say to the woman behind the counter(with his broken danish/english accent): “Yes, I am a journalist. But I do not know if I am famous!” … That made me giggle out loud. Really, Qvortrup?
Anyways, side track …

After my check-in it took approximately another 10 minutes when my name was called. She asked me what my purpose of the trip to the United States is, how I was going to financially support myself and after I nervously answered her questions she said: “You have been approved. You will get your visa in 2-4 days!” and handed me my documents.

Just like that! It’s been 5 years, 3 months and one week since I came to the United States the first time. 13 trips back and forth over the atlantic ocean and now I’m going to have a visa that allows me to stay and study until Dec, 31 2017!

I think THAT calls for a celebration!

(To all of you going through college application and visa application, please feel free to send me an email if you have doubts or are unsure of all the rules and things to be aware of. I wished I had a guide that would have helped me. It is tough and hard work – and it’s not cheap either. I started my college application in Dec, 2010. Since then I spend about $900-$1000 on fees. There’s a lot of paperwork and a lot of waiting. But now I can finally start enjoying my efforts! If you want help, again, feel free to email me at [email protected])

Thank you Embassy of the United States of America! 🙂

Status on NY dream no. 5

I’ve been talking about the different attempts and the progress in the ‘reaching of my dream’ over the course of a few blogs, Status on NY dream vol. 1-4*. Now it’s time for an update.

I realized I had to get a Form I-20 from the university before even being able to apply for a visa. This caused med a bit of anxiety and stress, but finally I have the paper! Got it – along with a message that I need to get an Assessment test before being able to register for classes.

I took the Assessment test (CAT) this past Thursday. It’s a reading, writing and math test. I wasn’t too nervous about the reading and writing part (that I believe I did pretty well) but the math part really freaked me  out. What will happen if I fail it? I’m not even sure. And the stupidest thing is I got the best grades in math just a few years ago. Guess it has to do with the fact that I wasn’t allowed any help besides a calculator and some of the questions, I simply didn’t understand!

On Dec 21, I’m going to get the results and I’ll be able to register for classes as well. As a part of this, I have to give proof of having being immunized for measles, mumps and rubella (which I have, and my doctor in DK is working on a translated version of my documents) I also have to pay a $100 commitment fee (is that subtracted from my tuition? I hope so!)

After I got my Form I-20, I did my DS-160 visa application, along with paying the SEVIS fee of $200. Booked my interview at the embassy in Denmark for Jan 3. ’12. (When I return to DK there’s another fee for the interview of about $150 I have to pay)

At the moment I’m trying to figure out how many scholarships there are available in Denmark for us ‘free-movers’ who are planning/responsible for all parts of our education. Most of the scholarships I’ve found is only available for master/ph.d ‘student’s and not for bachelors like myself. Also, the fact that I’m not enrolled in any Danish colleges/universities causes problems. One would think that WE that plan our own education abroad would be ‘favored equally’ with any other danish students – but no!

But you know what, it’s taken a long time to get here and now I’m most likely going to be back in NYC with a VISA in under a month – so who cares about the little things! I’ll figure a way to make it work, like I always do!

To be continued ….

ALSO:
* read previous chapters here:

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/04/19/status-on-ny-dream/

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/05/10/status-on-ny-dream-vol-2/

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/06/17/status-on-ny-dream-vol-3/

http://www.iloveny.dk/2011/06/21/status-on-ny-dream-vol-4/


You’ve got a friend

Today I was looking through some of the videos I’ve taken in NY, found one of a squirrel and posted it on youtube. I always loved the squirrels in New York and I call them ‘my little friends’.

Anyways, listening to ‘You’ve got a friend’ made me think of the good ol’ days when my sister and I was playing. I was around 10, she 8. We were some very imaginative young children and had made our own Indian (like in, the one’s with feathers and tepee’s) camp out of paper and crayons. We spent hours and hours playing out the lives of our Indians, obviously since I’m the big sister I had the chief! Anyways .. it was good times and we were listening to cassettes with music my mom had recorded, I guess back in the 80s.

The one song that always catches my ears and ALWAYS reminds me of my sister and I playing is that song: You’ve got a friend … and in this version:

I love you sis!

Black Friday – the aftermath

Sorry readers,

I was busy sleeping so didn’t have time to update you all on MY black friday adventure.
I went to Queens Center, a large mall in my neighborhood. I was there 10 minutes after they opened at midnight and it was crazy. They call the event: ‘Midnight Madness’ for a reason!
There was a line formed from the subway station into the mall more or less. Continue reading

Black Friday

Black Friday is the day where the official sale for Christmas starts. Since it’s the day after thanksgiving, it also means that it’s this upcoming Friday. I never really understood what the dealio was but now I do!

I love a good sale, and I get a kick out of buying things and paying less than 50% for it and then getting compliments.

Like when I bought my DKNY red coat from Daffy’s. I get compliments all the time, from the makeup artist at MAC, that made my day by saying: “Girl you look fierce in that jacket. I love it!” — In situations like that, I’m trying to say ‘Thank You’, instead of bragging about how little I paid for it (But here goes: It was $360 … I paid $70)

Anyways .. So I thought Black Friday was like a trip to Daffy’s, TJMaxx and Century 21 all combined.

But apparently the Americans are going C-R-A-Z-Y with the sales. All retails stores have their sales going on, some even beginning midnight and going through the weekend. I know I’m gonna be high on caffeine starting from 11.45PM Thursday night, just before hitting my mall that has lots of activities and great sales throughout the night. And H&M handing out gift cards for the first 100 visitors, with a value of $10-$300. I need one of those.

Also, most of the sales I’m looking to get my hands on is up till noon whereafter the savings will drop (From like 50% to 25% on average on the entire store) So I’m gonna be tired Friday afternoon! BUT then there’s the ONLINE sales as well…

I’m trying not to be stressed out about it, but the thing is I don’t have a lot of money (you know, visa situation blah blah blah) but I have to get some things for my apartment and I would love to be able to save!

I’m already making lists of things I should get, and things I might get and things I’m not allowed to buy! I have to be responsible …

Also, IKEA is having a sale on some furniture I wanted to buy last week but this weekend it’s half off.

Ay ay ay!

Imma keep y’all posted …

blogging

This weekend I’ve been doing a lot of surfing online, in lack of better things to do. Such as the important things. But I. I’m a procrastinator … and now, I’m thinking that maybe I should have spent 30 minutes on doing my laundry, so I have clothes to wear tomorrow.

So be it.

I’ve been looking at some blogs about New York. We’re a lot of bloggers that wants attention. Or is it just me. Begging for some kind of recognition. Some kind of. I know I’m all over the place at times when I’m writing. And I also know that a lot of my blogs are just ‘bleh’ .. ugh!

But I love to hit the keys on my macbook pro and I’ve loved it ever since it was a pen and a notebook, and I was 7 or 8 and I wrote about what I did in school. Back then it was a journal. A diary. A place where my thoughts eventually developed into these huge secrets.

Anyways, so I’m saying. I’m a blogger. And I’m envious of some bloggers that do it so well.

But. I don’t like blogs that are lacking personality and uniqueness. I want to know right away, why I should read it.
So often I just see fancy pictures of pretty outfits and a few lines describing what’s on the picture. I think they call them fashion blogs.
I rather spend $3.99 and pick up the newest edition of Marie Claire.
I admit. Few of my posts are like that. Like blah! – So that’s why I started thinking to myself, that I need to re-vamp my site. Very soon it’ll be different. Plus. I wanna focus on some of my past posts. There’s some great ones in between.

’nuff.

I did come across a few blogs this weekend that I actually took some time and read: (no particular order):

Edge of the City – “Where urban meets suburban…”
I loved New York – “the observations of an old, new yorker on the new, new york.”
Scandinavian Femme– “A Femme Mix of Recipes, Fitness, Fashion, and all that Jazz”
Cecilie NYC – A danish girl blogs about her life in New York. (in danish)

Take a look …