New content, new purpose .. what you’ve been up to?

Danish Tour Guide New York
In 2007 I bought this domain, iloveny.dk after having traveled to New York City the year before. The domain and blog was supposed to be a diary of sort which it was for a long time. Then it stopped. More than 300 posts are currently private, as they’re in Danish and will need to get translated and also; well they’re private. They’re of the kind of blogs that you’d find on MySpace or Arto.dk or Lunarstorm.dk (that’s where you’d find me back in my teenager-years).
So they’re slightly embarrising and oh, so not relevant!

 

But the domain name is cool! And every year since 2007 the renewal of the domain has been on Auto-Pay. I did post a little about moving to NYC, becoming an international student and life after having my baby.

During these years I also had a travel site – newyawkerr.com – which I also kind of neglected updating as much as I wanted to. Alongside my business site turistinewyork.dk and being a mother I just … just haven’t had the time or energy.

 

Well, things about to change. I decided not to keep the travel site, but instead import the posts from there to this domain. They will need a little adjusting as most of the media is still on the newyawkerr.com domain which will expire in October. But for now it’s good.

Danish Tour Guide USA

I will focus on my 3 sites as follows:
1) turistinewyork.dk – to Danish tourists traveling to New York City. This is all you need. Follow along here: Facebook and Instagram

2) danishtourguide.com – in English for both Danish and other tourists traveling to USA. It’ll be primarly as I start off about sightseeing and “What To Do” in New York City, Washington DC and Las Vegas. Follow along here: Facebook and Instagram – same as above

3) iloveny.dk – will be in English and will be about the life I created making the move to New York in 2011. It’ll be about being a Danish mom in the USA, being an entrepreneur, and just about my past and future travel experiences. Follow along here: Facebook and Instagram

Flying Norwegian Airlines with kids

It’s time to make an updated review of Norwegian Airlines. In the winter time I was having a difficult time booking Markus a seat without all the extras – and it did cause me a little bit of a headache that Norwegian didn’t have a better system in place. Well, that’s water under the bridge now.
This last trip to Denmark was also with Norwegian and I must say I’m very happy with them. (Following is a lengthy and several slightly boring paragraphs about the trip. You can skip to the bottom for the recap! ;))

It made me feel so good leading up to the day of departure that I would have that seat for him!

On the day of departure, I got my “get-up” to the airport. I had bought a ‘Traveling with Toddler’ thing-y that strapped his car seat to my carry-on and it really was a breeze taking him through airport like that. I’ll write about that another time.

Upon checking in, I could not use the check-in monitors as it appeared that I was traveling with two children named Markus. Though I had gotten a refund for the infant part of my own ticket, they had not removed it from the ticket. So, upon scanning our passports – well, let’s just say we’re ONLY two but the system insisted that we were three traveling.
I thought I had been smart only traveling with carry-on, but I still had to get in the long queue in JFK to get us checked in and our boarding passes printed.

The lady at the desk was having some issues with the above problem, but nothing a supervisor couldn’t fix and before I knew it we were on our way.
I had expected the same problem to occur when leaving Copenhagen, but nope – there was absolutely no issues what so ever, and in fact the Norwegian personnel, Joseph, was absolutely amazingly sweet while caring for our check-in in Copenhagen. but that’s a whole other story.

Going through security was a mess but that’s obviously not on Norwegian.

I waited on the Premium line, though we were not premium ticket holders. However, we were a solo mother with a toddler sitting in one of the rows at the end of the plane. Naturally we should rightly be some of the first people onboard.


The flight attendants helped me with my carry-on luggage and I installed the car seat upon finding our row.
Markus was in a good mood, and the music playing before take-off on the Dreamliner was cozy.

There was many available seats so though we did initally have a person sitting on the aisle seat – those persons were moved and we got the row for ourselves both going and coming back. When traveling with a car seat you will always get the window seat – so I didn’t feel the need to “pay” for the services of selecting my own seat. It was a given – car seat goes by the window, and mommy goes right not to the car seat with baby.

The flight to Denmark was nice. Markus didn’t make too much of a hassle for me. Flight was on time. I had not booked a ticket with food but since the flight was 11PM it wasn’t needed. I did buy myself a muffin and coffee from their in-flight “minibar” on the screen. It was surprisingly good.

Going back from Copenhagen to New York was a different story. Check-in in Copenhagen Airport was great. Thanks, Joseph.
Security a breeze. Extra passport control and questioning not an issue.


But Norwegian was delayed. And Markus got a fit. And the flight was more delayed and I started to have a headache. We didn’t leave until more than an hour after our initial departure time and we didn’t save any time flying, and upon arriving in JFK there was not available gate for us.

Markus did not want to sleep. He must have fallen a sleep 3-4 times but kept waking up again and crying, and just feeling uncomfortable. I was having a major headache and nothing I tried to do helped the poor baby.

I had bought a ticket going back to NY that included luggage and meal remembering how nice I thought the meals were the last time we flew Norwegian I was OVERLY disappointed. I rarely complain about plane food – but that’s what it was: PLAIN FOOD. And the “morning” sandwich was wet. Nasty.

So though we had the entire row for ourselves the delays and poor in-flight meals just made the trip almost unbearable. Not entirely on Norwegian … but if only they didn’t have those delays I guess my migraine-like headache and my sleepy toddler would have maybe felt a little better.

Recap:
Will I fly Norwegian again? Yes. I loved how easy it was to call and make the changes to my initial ticket and purchase a child ticket without all the extra. I liked the total price I had to pay for a some-what last minute ticket (well, three weeks in advance ticket)
Did I like the delays, that often happens to Norwegian? No. Did I like the fact that I got a whole row to myself both of the flights? Yes. Will I ever pay for their food again? No.

Thanks for being cool about the cranky baby from CPH-JFK though.

Planning a trip with a toddler

(This blog was first posted on my personal blog, iloveny.dk)

Can you believe it? This Danish woman who didn’t travel to Denmark for over 5 years after she moved to NYC is now going to travel to Denmark for the 2nd time within 8 months!!???

As you may be aware – I took my son to Denmark back in March. Then back to NYC in May to take care of business … but am now heading back to Denmark on November 30th!

I’m excited – though I ended up spending more money on the ticket that what I though I was going to. See, what happened was I had been looking for a cheap ticket for a long time. I remember the days of paying a minimum of 3500 DKK (about $560) for “a cheap ticket” but often more than 4000 DKK (equivalent to $640). That would be tix with a stop-over somewhere.
Now with low-budget airlines such as Norwegian I know I can get something for less than $500 and that’s what I was looking for. So when I finally found a ticket just below the 500 mark I didn’t even think twice. I bought it. It included the fare for my son, who is still under the age of 2 and therefor travel at about 10% of the base fare of an adult ticket.
I decided not to bring luggage TO Denmark, but I wanted to be able to bring a suitcase of clothes that I left in Denmark on my way back to NYC. Ergo, one regular LowFare – and one LowFare+ coming back. Just under $500. (We should all book via the norwegian.no website as it’ll get us the cheapest fare!)

Now …. the next morning I felt guilty! I literally woke up panicking – what had I done? Bought a ticket with seat for myself and expected my 15-month old son to be super cool with being on my lap during the 8 hour flight? NO!!! — So I called Norwegian customer service and they were awesome! I said: “I have to get a seat for my son. How much? …. <<hold on one moment, miss>> …. 2600 NOK …. Me: Yes, okay here’s my credit card number. Make it happen! <clickity-click> … Yes, mam, your confirmation number is … blah blah bla!”

Big sigh… I had done what I was suppose to do. Secure my son a seat, and give myself some peace of mind. I know traveling with a lap child is a hectic job with the ultimate risk of hurting your child in the case of heavy turbulence. But, my son is also a big boy already (81 cm (32″) 12.3 kg (27lbs)) and I was just picturing the nightmare it could eventually become. But safety first. Then ‘mommy sanity’! I felt proud – this will be his 8th and 9th flight, all with a seat except that one time flying home from Palm Springs last year.

Now … you’d think it would all be over right? Well. Then I started thinking about car seat when I come to Denmark, and how to make sure that my son will be secure in this seat during flight. And how should I transport him through the airport as I will not bring our stroller (there’s one in DK for us). Long story short …. after much researching — I bought the super duper lightweight Cosco Scenera Next off jet.com at around $40. I used the ibotta app and got some cash back through there. I already have a great – but heavy car seat – so this was somewhat of a necessity. At the current moment in time I am trying to determine whether I should get a car seat transporter cart or try a car seat travel buckle accessory.

Anyways … I love to travel, and though traveling with a toddler is more expensive and will cost me 2-3 extra headaches it’s definitely worth it. Because in two weeks time we get to see ‘mormor’ and ‘moster’ (grandma and aunties) and there’s no way you can add a price tag to that …

Follow our travel Instagram: www.instagram.com/travelingwithmarkus

Markus enjoying his new Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat

 

Traveling to Denmark – with toddler!

Can you believe it? This Danish woman who didn’t travel to Denmark for over 5 years after she moved to NYC is now going to travel to Denmark for the 2nd time within 8 months!!???

As you may be aware – I took my son to Denmark back in March. Then back to NYC in May to take care of business … but am now heading back to Denmark on November 30th!

I’m excited – though I ended up spending more money on the ticket that what I though I was going to. See, what happened was I had been looking for a cheap ticket for a long time. I remember the days of paying a minimum of 3500 DKK (about $560) for “a cheap ticket” but often more than 4000 DKK (equivalent to $640). That would be tix with a stop-over somewhere.
Now with low-budget airlines such as Norwegian I know I can get something for less than $500 and that’s what I was looking for. So when I finally found a ticket just below the 500 mark I didn’t even think twice. I bought it. It included the fare for my son, who is still under the age of 2 and therefor travel at about 10% of the base fare of an adult ticket.
I decided not to bring luggage TO Denmark, but I wanted to be able to bring a suitcase of clothes that I left in Denmark on my way back to NYC. Ergo, one regular LowFare – and one LowFare+ coming back. Just under $500. (We should all book via the norwegian.no website as it’ll get us the cheapest fare!)

Now …. the next morning I felt guilty! I literally woke up panicking – what had I done? Bought a ticket with seat for myself and expected my 15-month old son to be super cool with being on my lap during the 8 hour flight? NO!!!  — So I called Norwegian customer service and they were awesome! I said: “I have to get a seat for my son. How much? …. <<hold on one moment, miss>> …. 2600 NOK …. Me: Yes, okay here’s my credit card number. Make it happen! <clickity-click> … Yes, mam, your confirmation number is … blah blah bla!”

Big sigh… I had done what I was suppose to do. Secure my son a seat, and give myself some peace of mind. I know traveling with a lap child is a hectic job  with the ultimate risk of hurting your child in the case of heavy turbulence. But, my son is also a big boy already (81 cm (32″) 12.3 kg (27lbs)) and I was just picturing the nightmare it could eventually become. But safety first. Then ‘mommy sanity’! I felt proud  – this will be his 8th and 9th flight, all with a seat except that one time flying home from Palm Springs last year.

Now … you’d think it would all be over right? Well. Then I started thinking about car seat when I come to Denmark, and how to make sure that my son will be secure in this seat during flight. And how should I transport him through the airport as I will not bring our stroller (there’s one in DK for us). Long story short …. after much researching — I bought the super duper lightweight Cosco Scenera Next off jet.com at around $40. I used the ibotta app and got some cash back through there. I already have a great – but heavy car seat – so this was somewhat of a necessity. At the current moment in time I am trying to determine whether I should get a car seat transporter cart or try a car seat travel buckle accessory.

Anyways … I love to travel, and though traveling with a toddler is more expensive and will cost me 2-3 extra headaches it’s definitely worth it. Because in two weeks time we get to see ‘mormor’ and ‘moster’ (grandma and aunties) and there’s no way you can add a price tag to that …

Follow our travel Instagram: www.instagram.com/travelingwithmarkus

Markus enjoying his new Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat

 

Evalutate the City: Mr. Bing – Beijing Street Food

Yesterday I was walking from Penn Station to Herald Square to catch the subway back to Queens. Incidentally I walked through UrbanSpace: Broadway Bites and a nice gentleman, outside of the Mr. Bing food stand offered me a sample of food.
The scent had already reached my nostrils and I was intrigued.
Due to good conversation with the staff regarding my background as a tour guide, and a Dane I stayed a little longer than one would usually do after being offered a sample of food.
While I ordered a ‘bing’, a Chinese street crepe/filled pancake; the Classic Vegetarian, I uploaded a cute little ‘staged’ video clip of being offered the sample, to Instagram Stories.

Thus – I asked who managed their social media accounts. Coincidentally, at the same moment Mr. Brian Goldberg, the founder of Mr. Bing came riding on a Citibike and I was able to introduce myself to him. We had a wonderful chat about his stay in Asia, 14 years, being fluent in Chinese as well as his travels to Scandinavia and my work as a freelance tour guide and entrepreneur, founder of NYC & Tours (Turist i New York, in Denmark)

The chat was wonderful, and I was so pleased to meet Brian. I pitched him the idea of my ‘Winter’ walking tours which will incorporate a visit to Bryant Park and thus offer my clients to get the ‘heat’ from traditional Chinese street food rather than maybe a warm apple cider, or hot chocolate. We exchanged cards and you can keep posted on NYC & Tours FB page for the launch of the tour.

But, back to the food! I would never have bothered to spend time chatting with the staff if the food wasn’t ‘original’, ‘delicious’ and ‘affordable’.

Fresh, and with vegetarian option – it’s a recommended go-to option for anyone looking to try something new, different or reminisce over their stay in China.

Read more about Mr. Bing, the story behind the ‘brand’ aka. Brian Goldberg etc., and the history of ‘jianbing’, the traditional Northern Chinese Street crepes: https://www.mr-bing.com/

And make sure to visit one of their locations, in either the pop-up location at Broadway Cites, Herald Square, or Vanderbilt Food Hall, East Village, Flatiron or Chelsea (coming soon!)!

Thank you, Mr. Bing for the treat!

Evaluate the City

Since 2006 I’ve been a mystery shopper – on and off, for several different companies. Hundreds of shops have been conducted in Denmark, USA, St. Martin and Antigua by me. Tons of free products, thousands of dollars earned. – But that’s not even the best of it; it’s made me so! service oriented that it influences me on a day-t0-day level – in my own business and in my private life! I totally will judge businesses and services on so many more levels than the casual shopper might.

 

With that in mind;

 

I’ve been considering how to bring this domain; iloveny.dk to life more. I used to blog a lot about the life of a danish girl whose big dream was to live in New York. Well, now this Danish girl is a grown woman and mother, a small-business owner and a permanent resident in U. S. of A.

New businesses, so-called start-ups talks big words about ‘elevating’ something to the next level. Well – I like speaking my mind and I’m merely a licensed tour guide showing people around New York City so – let me evaluate your City!

Now since I’m located in New York City for the most part – I’ll be evaluating shops, businesses, apps and services you can find in NYC (or maybe other places, as well!).

Follow along if you care – or if you have time!

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Contemplating a trip again

Alright, so it’s been some months since we went to Denmark. And Germany. And no blog posts yet. It’s not cool – but I did Instagram our trip on @travelingwithmarkus account.

Now, back in New York City to resolve some things before planning the next trip. As an travel entrepreneur you really CAN get it both ways.

I’ve never been on a cruise. Unless you’ll count the DFDS Seaways Cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo, Norway when I was a kid.

That’s an option.

I also been dreaming about doing it the Amtrak way, for a long time. Before Markus was born. He turned 1 this past Thursday, is it time yet?

I’m so eager to get back on my traveling game. But how do you travel with a toddler? Is cruise a good idea? Is it too soon to cross country with train? Or should I just fly to Paris and get it over with?

What do you think?

6 years living in New York City

July 1, 2011 I had my three bags packed and dropped the key to my apartment in the mailbox, closing the door behind me. I had lived in the studio apartment in Amager, Copenhagen for the past two years. Moved there to do a 2-year degree in Hospitality Management knowing that it would just be step on my to fulfulling my dream of living in New York. December 2010, I had applied to college and got accepted. I kind of already knew that my odds were good – and since it was either finding another apartment (limitations on the sublet) or moving back home – I decided to move to NY – on the ESTA! You can’t really do that – and I guess I was fortunate I wasn’t turned away at the customs giving the fact that I had traveled A LOT to NYC.
Anyways – today marks my 6th years of ‘MOVING TO NEW YORK CITY’ and I can’t believe it! It’s been a bumpy ride!

I’m gonna celebrate by taking a walk and enjoying the Queens that I’ve made home ….

Norwegian – Making it a little harder to bring your kid

Dear Norwegian Airlines,

I’ve decided to write this blog post as a letter to you. I hope you find it well-meaning but also encouraging to make changes. As a traveling mother and tourism entrepreneur I have needs that I’d like to be met when purchasing my airfare and you almost lost me as a customer.

I’ve flown twice cross-country with my infant, Markus, utilizing the services of Jetblue. They’re my favorite for various reasons but they don’t fly to Europe. And I was planning a trip to Denmark, after more than 5 years away. I’m adamant about getting a seat for my child after experiencing one horrible plane ride with him as a lap child.

Your website is fine – but when entering my child’s age it doesn’t allow me to choose if I want to purchase a seat for him, or keep him as a lap child. I reached out to your social media team on Facebook who told me to book the ticket for Markus, as if he was over the age of 2, write in a fictive birth date, then contact you to have you change back his age. A little bit of a hassle but OK.
I wanted to upgrade my own ticket to a Low Fare+, to be able to get a suit case with me. I didn’t care too much about the food and the choice of seat but it is what it is.
However, I do not see a reason to get a 6 month old baby a meal, suitcase and choice of seat as he would just have to sit next to me in his car seat. But, your website does not allow of the purchase of one Low Fare, and one Low Fare+. So I reached out to your social media team again and they informed me that I would have to purchase my own ticket online, and then call customer service to purchase the other ticket for him. I  called before I booked my own  – thankfully!
I was told that I would be charged 300 kroner to book over the phone. I told them, it wasn’t by choice but necessity: I wasn’t able to book a regular Low Fare separately for my child online.  And then the connection broke. Surely, my bad?!
Frustrated I just went ahead and purchased two Low Fare+ tickets online and called it a day.

But wait – I did still have to call back, and ask you to change the birth date of my child.

Too much of a hassle, Norwegian! I know you’re cheap, and you did provide excellent service on board but c’mon! I can’t possible be the only parent who just want a seat without all the extras for my infant?

Sincerely,
a mother-who’s-going-to-go-through-it-all-again-in-a-month.

Denmark, are you ready for me?

On January 14, 2012 I left Denmark with my visa in hand. I had already unofficially moved to New York City July 1, 2011.

It wasn’t that I decided to spent the next five years without going back to Denmark. It just kind of happened. Besides, once you make a mature decision of moving somewhere else you can’t keep rushing back and forth if you’re trying to “make it there”. At least that’s what I kept telling myself. Besides, being an international student in New York City is very, very expensive. I don’t even understand how I made it!

Anyway, it’s time for my son to go see his great-grandfather and for me to go back for a while. My son is automatically American citizen by birth and since I’m a Danish citizen, that makes him a dual-citizen of America and Denmark. Pretty cool. I have to wait another 6 months before I can start the application to become an American citizen (but that’s a whole other talk).
Markus’ middle name is John, named after his paternal grandfather and his maternal great-grandfather. I know my grandfather is eager to see him – his first, and likely only, great-grandchild. I’m also looking forward to seeing him again after almost six years. You shouldn’t take family for granted and it does feel a little selfish at times, knowing I turned my back and moved to NY.

I’ll also be taking care of business. My online concierge & sightseeing business, NYC & Tours – known on the Danish market as Turist i New York, isn’t going to sell itself to the Danish travel agencies – so I’ll be doing my best to kick-open some doors and let them know we exist. I’ll be participating in the USA Travel Show on March 6, and hopefully generate some valuable business connections. It’s going to be a wonderful feeling representing New York City in my birth-country.

And then I’ll be working … Life threw me a curveball and I need to get back on my feet. I’m actually excited about the possibility of maybe learning a new industry though I definitely wouldn’t mind finding a job in tourism and hospitality.

I am originally from Zealand but will be living with family in Southern Jutland – just 5 min. from the German border.

I guess all in all – it’ll be a CULTURAL SHOCK to be on the country side of Denmark, coming from the bustling metropolis of New York City but I’ll welcome it as an opportunity to start fresh, grow my business and care for the people who are the most important in my life. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be a travel blogger and a total amateur photographer …. it’ll give me some new material!

 

Dude, my passport expired!

When I turned my nose towards USA with my F-1 visa back in January 2012, I didn’t think I’d stay in New York without ever returning back to DK for visits. Well, years passed by and last summer my Danish passport expired. But I was pregnant and had other things to deal with so … now it’s really expired. I tried to get a new state ID with my married name but because my passport was expired DMV didn’t want to make one for me.

We traveled to Palm Springs, California twice on my old State ID with my maiden name and obviously no ID was needed for Markus as the flight was domestic and he’s under 2.

But now, we’re traveling international baby … and passports are required for both mommy and baby.

My son is automatically an American Citizen so making a passport for him was simple. I googled to find a Passport acceptance facility that also offered photo services. I do have a couple of thousand photos of Markus, but I figured I’d let them deal with taking one that fullfills the requirements. We went to Arlington Branch library in Brooklyn.
I’m beating myself up about not taking any photos of this building – it was amazing! Anywho …

In order to make a passport for a minor, both parents’s signatures are needed. Preferably be present at the same time when passport application is made, or have a notarized statement from the missing parent.

We filled out the application there, had the photo taken and signed the papers. I wanted it to be expedited as the trip I’m planning is coming up on March 1, and American passports can take up to 6 weeks to get delivered. I paid $80 for the passport book, and $60 for the expedited service. I paid $25 in service fee, and $15 for the photo for a total of $40 to the library for their services. This was this pas Wednesday, February 1. I’m excited to see how long I’ll wait for the passport.

Now, my passport needed to be renewed at the consulate as I’m not an American citizen yet. Thankfully we live just a train ride away from the Danish Consulate in New York. I made an appointment by phone (earlier than what they had available online), and went Friday, Februar 3rd at 1PM. Filled out the forms, had a little bit of technical issues with the biometrics and paid the $144 in cash. I told them to expedite it as well but didn’t have to pay extra. They told me the danish passports are in fact made in Denmark and will come in with shipment once a week.

Now I’m patiently waiting to receive both of our passports so that I can book the ticket – and when the tickets are bought make the official announcement that …….. “WE’RE GOING TO DENMARK!” – (I’ll update this post once I receive the passports so you can know the timeline)

Update:
My danish passport was applied for February 2, 2017 at the Danish Consulate. I received a call Feb 14, that I could pick it up. I went and got it the day after. $144. Turnaround time: 12 days. No expedited fees. My passport will be valid for 10 years. My photo  looks horrible. But I guess, still a little better than my Green Card’s.

My son’s passport was applied for on February 1, 2017. With expedited service (2-3 weeks delivery). The check was cashed February 10. On February 14, I called to see how far the passport was. They said, they didn’t receive the application until February 9. I believe the library must have made a mistake and sent it out too late. I checked the online status on February 16. It said it would be shipped on or around February 20. I received his passport on February 17. $80 Turnaround time: 16 days. Expedited fee: $60 (total of $140) His passport is valid for 5 years. His photo is cute, but I’m sure he’s gonna look a lot different in a couple of years.

Want to read more about making American passports in Brooklyn libraries:
http://www.bklynlibrary.org/passport/

Want to know more about making or renewing your Danish passport in USA:
http://usa.um.dk/en/travel-and-residence/passport/danish-passport/passports-for-adults/

Want to check out my Instagram feed:
http://instragram.com/nycandtours

Want to send me $20 because you like what you read:
PayPal: [email protected] ….. seriously? Thank you!

Getting passport for baby + mommy

On Friday Markus turns 6 months old. He’s already been cross country twice in his life. Both trips to California. But now, it’s time for some international traveling with baby.

I’m a permanent resident (Green Card holder) in USA and a citizen of Denmark. My passport expired this summer – oops! My son is automatically a dual citizen so making a passport for him is easy. We just went to the nearest passport acceptance facility and 1-2-3 had the application filled out and they even took the photo of him.

I had to go to the Consulate of Denmark but thankfully that’s in New York so it was just a subway ride away. There I filled out the paperwork and they did the rest.

I was worried I wouldn’t get the passports in time to get to Denmark by March 6 where I’d participate in USA Travel Show, a B2B tradeshow for US tourism suppliers and Nordic travel agents etc. But, I did! Also in time for the prices to have went up but that’s what happens!

If you want to know more about the process head on over to my ILOVENY.dk blog: Dude, my passport expired! This is also where I blog about things NOT travel related.

P.S. Walk With Me – A walking tour in Palm Springs

Since my last post giving you a taste of the history in Palm Springs I went on a walking tour with a guide named Jade Nelson. He’s the owner of the walking tour business: www.pswalkwithme.com and I took contact with him after being recommended his tours. An early Saturday morning (8:50am), I met with him and 5 other guests in the courtyard of ‘The Corridor’ – (a must-hang-out-and-drink-a-coffee-spot)
The tour is called “The Legendary Las Palmas” tour and was the perfect choice since I hadn’t explored this part of town yet. Jade started the tour right away telling us about a nearby church. The tour went on for about 2.5 hrs – a little longer than usual due to wonderful chatting. The pace was great, and we saw so many different but beautiful and interesting houses. Each one with a cool or sad (yes, plane crashes did come up twice) story. Jade is very knowledgeable about architecture, culture and the history of Palm Springs.


One reason being that he grew up here. Another, I guess he’s just one of those people who keeps in the know and is passionate about his work. Sort of like myself (a NYC Licensed tour guide) who may not have been raised in New York City but love that city so much, that my guests wouldn’t know I’m not an authentic NYer. Anyways, back to Jade … He made sure we had time to ask questions and he knew the answers. You can always judge the character of your tour guide by his encouragement of his guests asking questions.
There was some  ‘celebrity’ aspect to the tour – but it wasn’t the main focus. I did get a little excited when I saw the home a certain Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio owns. I didn’t see him though … or should I say, he didn’t see me! No one knows what I was doing later that day! 🙂

Overall – great pace, fun & interesting and very informative. I didn’t bring my baby Markus with me but I could have. The terrain was easily accessible for the stroller and I actually think Markus would have enjoyed the sights. He’s only 5 months old (today!!!) but he loves the outdoors. My TripAdvisor review is here: turistinewyork’s review

Price: $30/person.
Book now: www.pswalkwithme.com
Or get in contact with Jade, and arrange for a private tour: http://pswalkwithme.com/contact/

Jade telling with great passion about this particular home …

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!

 

transferwise logo
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.

Baby’s First Flight

After getting through the packing, getting to the airport, through security and onto the plane – the real worry started: How was baby gonna act during this long flight? The flight attendants had been beyond helpful and I was able to get the whole, left last row for myself and Markus. The car seat got buckled up in the window seat with him in it and I sat in the middle. Markus was curious! He has this cute sound he does, when he’s eager .. and he kept saying it while looking everywhere around him. That made mommy’s heart happy.

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The plane started taxiing and since it was around 7PM and therefor also Markus’ usual bedtime he started getting fussy. I gave him a little bit of the bottle (I had pumped, to make it easier during the trip) but he wasn’t having it. He started a full-blown fussy-attack so I had no other choice but to take him out of the car seat and rock him. He was doing his usual ‘I’m crying so loud because I’m tired’, during take-off but few seconds after he was a sleep. I tried “forcing” him to suck on the nipple of the bottle in order to help with his ears and he allowed it. But he was a sleep. I gently put him down in the car seat, buckled him up and wrapped his blanket around him. And I started holding my breath. The hours went by ….

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Twice he made a little sound like he was going to wake up but I comforted him and he slept again.

I kept holding my breath but 4 hour into the flight I realized that I had nothing to worry about. My child was a sleep and he was going to sleep through the flight. I was able to enjoy the flight myself, and got a little bit of a cat nap.

As always, the service onboard JetBlue is great. I got my free seltzer waters and plenty of free snacks.

Jetblue inflight services

About 40 minutes before arrival at Palm Springs, the flight attendant let me know so I could start giving Markus his bottle. The descent would be worse on his ears if he wasn’t sucking on something. He was a sleep and for the first time in his life I had to try and wake him up. Problem was, he didn’t want to. I literally had to force him to take his bottle … (ps. he doesn’t wanna take a pacifier. I had brought one anyways, but I ended up dropping it under the seat at take-off :-/)

Mommy + Markus in a plane
And then we landed … while he was still sleeping, quietly sucking on the bottle. Seconds after we hit ground he opened his eyes and looked around, and gave me one of his famous little smiles. This mommy was RELIEVED! First flight was over and had been so comfortable.  Flight attendant Laura helped me out of the plane with my carry-ons and helped get the stroller and car seat put together again.

Markus arriving in Palm Springs

I am thankful to the crew of JetBlue, and I’m thankful I got a seat for him. Now, I’m just awaiting our return on Flight 150 to NY on Dec 2.

Palm Springs Baggage Claim

On a side note … Palm Springs International Airport is so beautiful! Right after you get out of your gate, you walk outside amongst palm trees to get back into baggage claim. Everything is in a 60s style so you really feel like you’ve arrived! All in all, Markus’ first flight went so well that I’m excited to start planning the next trip. But first, let’s enjoy California!

Palm Springs International Airport

Palm Springs International Airport
Palm Springs International Airport

The Big Travel Day

The day has arrived. It’s now November 14, 2016 and it’s 6:15 AM. We’re traveling out of JFK, New York in about 12.5 hours and how much packing and preparing have I done? … I did laundry yesterday.

I’ve ALWAYS been like that. Always packed the night before, always run around last minute to get my tooth brush or passport. You know, the essentials. However, I never forgot anything and it was actually the best way for me to mentally get prepared. Because I was READY with adrenaline pumping at the airport. READY to TRAVEL!

Initially I’d assume that it’s not gonna work like that at all with an infant baby. And my intentions were to be completely done over the weekend. But things get in the way and before I knew it it was Sunday evening and baby fell a sleep while nursing, and then mommy fell a sleep too.

I got it … right?

To be …. continued …!

Traveling with baby
Updated: the following day…

Oh wow, so of course I had to run around and didn’t know how to finish packing in our carry-on bag. Things just didn’t wanna fit. So, I decided to get my large red four-wheel suitcase I’ve traveled with the past seven years out from the back of the closet – and I stuffed things in there. There was even room for the car seat base. Oh yeah, I decided after speaking with my flight attendant friend to bring my Graco Fastaction Click Connect travel system and just gate check it. More about that later …

We left our house in Queens a little too late, traffic getting into JFK was horrible. We made it by 1 hour and 40 minutes before departure. I had already checked-in online the day before but that was when I didn’t plan on bringing a checked bag.

I tried to maneuver from the curb into the check-in counter with my carry-ons, the stroller and the large bag. Thankfully a sweet woman, Karen, saw my frustration and came to help. She took the suitcase and walked me to the Help Desk (where I didn’t know I had to go, to get boarding pass for my baby) and checked my bag and got my boarding pass.

JetBlue Help Desk
We had a nice conversation, that comforted me. I was worried we had too little time. I was worried about the trip …  He was booked as a lap child which I kinda regretted the more I thought about it. Anyways. Karen was helpful, and so was the guy at Help Desk. 1-2-3 … and I had my boarding passes and now things were a little easier to maneuver.
In the line to security several people said: ‘Aww’, and ‘wow’ about my baby. Asking if it’s his first flight. Some people told me: “You got this girl!”. It was really encouraging.

Getting through security was a little bit of a hassle. Computer up, liquids up, stroller and car seat detached and up. Oh, and “please take your slippers off, we don’t care you don’t have socks on!”
Held my baby through the scanner and had my hands swiped. Getting my things together was HARD but a woman came to my rescue and put the stroller and car seat together so that I could put Markus down and gather the rest of my things. The bottles with breast-milk (2x 125 mls) were examined and off we went towards the gate.

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As always JetBlue let’s families board first and it was GREAT … I was able to take my car seat on-board and gate checked my stroller. That was simple. Getting to the end of the plane (our seat was in the back row 25) pushing my Samsonite carry-on, diaper bag and baby in the car seat was impossible. Now I know that but then the flight attendant came to my rescue and helped me to the back row. Since it was not a full flight and the flight attendants were super nice and helpful – I was able to get a seat for Markus! 😀

I’ll end the post now and make a separate one for Baby’s First Flight .. so follow along tomorrow!

Edited: Here’s the link to Markus’ first flight:
http://newyawkerr.com/babys-first-flight/

newyawkerr car seat in plane

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?

Jetblue tweets dec 2015
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.

JetBlue NYC
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

Congratulations, you’re a new yorker now!

 

You did it! You, freaking amazing woman! You did it!

10 years ago I arrived in New York City for the first time. I was merely 21 years old. Had never been outside of Europe. Never been on a plane. Continue reading Congratulations, you’re a new yorker now!

Danish-American Baby Boy

On August 10, 2016 just a few days overdue my water broke. It was early am around 7:20 I believe and I remember the feeling … “this is it” while desperately walking around the apartment trying to gather the stuff I should have already packed in my hospital bag. Continue reading Danish-American Baby Boy

Living in NYC – 5 year anniversary

Wow! So today, July 1st 2016 – just about 35 weeks pregnant with a little baby boy; I’m sitting on my POÄNG chair from IKEA, in my new apartment in Elmhurst, Queens – thinking back…. Continue reading Living in NYC – 5 year anniversary

Be your own hustler

Green Card in 2014. Graduation in ’15. ’16 life changing circumstances forces the inner hustler to break through.

I guess I’ve always had it but being raised in a different culture with a sense of shared stability and security never forced me to see it. Continue reading Be your own hustler

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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Baby in New York

2016 will bring …

What happened? My mom always told me that the 20s would be go somewhat fast but once you hit 30 – time would FLY. I turned 30 last year, and ’15 went by so fast I don’t even understand. Last year I graduated, incorporated my business and achieved to travel quite a bit. Continue reading Baby in New York

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

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?

Love in the City

So, dear readers – this is what happened: I got married!!
I could go into a great deal of details, as I know there’s a bunch of people who are standing shocked and surprised without a clue as to how that happened. But – details are for later when time’s right … Continue reading Love in the City

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 My new dream