Monthly Archives: January 2015

Travels of a broke grad student on interviews, part 5.

For those of you waiting on the edge of your seat, I did, in fact, dry off my entire body and hair with a hand towel this morning. It was a feat unto itself and now I am fully aware that I can do it. I also got a nice shot of the Long Island Sound as I made my way from West Haven to New Haven and I froze my face off rolling down my car window to capture it. I really am a sucker for water and sun shots (read: Pisces).

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So I attended interview #4 (loved it!) and midway through had a short break where I opted to explore beautiful downtown New Haven, Connecticut. I’d seen some of the area already when I traveled to Louis Lunch (see “Travels of a broke grad student on interviews, part 3” for details), but I took a somewhat more extensive vehicular tour since I had a full half an hour to kill. Turns out New Haven is quite pretty.

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Following the interview I found myself a local Starbucks (kudos to Dave for the protip on where to change on the fly) to preserve my interview outfit and get more comfy and then recalled the recommendation for clam pizza (I know, ew, right?) by a co-worker. He hadn’t given me a good location for it, but I recalled he said “white” and “clam.” I used TripAdvisor to guide me to the highest ranked pizza joint (turns out I should have gone with Pepe’s, the second-highest ranked pizza joint, but I was unaware of that recommendation at that time) and found myself at Modern Apizza, who apparently only sells pizza by the pie. Of course I had to purchase the small (12″) white pie, half clam, half broccoli (just in case I didn’t like the clam). Clam pizza is apparently served with lemon wedges and let me tell you if you have the opportunity to both (a) try clam pizza and (b) add lemon, DO BOTH.

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I can’t say with any distinct level of certainty that it was the particular pizzeria that produced such deliciousness, but I can say it was damn good. I ate half of my pie hot while on the road and stashed the other half in my new host’s refrigerator and ate it at 9pm cold. Better hot, but not half bad cold.

I rolled up to my latest adventure-in-staying-in-strangers’-homes around 4:45 p.m. somewhere in the hills of Baldwinville. Their post stated “surrounded by woods” and they were not kidding. My expected host, David, was called into work, but his wife, Linda, was ready and available to show me around and chat me up for a while in his stead. I tried to park atop their driveway after hearing that there was some expected snow, but Linda insisted I park in the driveway. I’m a little worried about getting out in the morning, especially with the forecast of some heavy snow beginning at 5 a.m. I didn’t plan to leave here until around 7:15, so it may be with the help of the David I haven’t yet met pushing me up the slight incline to depart their driveway.

Staying in their home was not expensive. In fact, it was about the same price I had spent the day before to stay in…well, a college dorm. Instead, I am currently snuggled up in a house built by the owners, who also spend their weekends at craft fairs selling etched rings. Linda showed me one of hers. It read Linda ❤ ❤ David 5-30-81. Apparently, these two have been together longer than I’ve been alive. It was actually a really nice ring and I wonder what they charge for those. I was half tempted to buy one off of her as a memento from my stay. I didn’t. (Remember the title? BROKE grad student.)

My room is nice. It’s small, reminds me a little of my grandmother’s house, but I think it’s just the older bed frame, recliner, and lamp. It has a mirror, which is a huge improvement from last night’s lodging. After being here an hour or two I started wondering if they ever put the heat on, as it was getting colder and colder. I took a nap–one, because I needed it desperately, but also because I was trying to stay warm–and only after I awoke did I recall Linda saying “you can turn the thermostat to whatever you want,” and glanced up to see that I had complete control over the room’s temperature. Oops. It’s now a balmy 65. I’m sleeping on a twin bed, which I haven’t done alone since I was…I dunno, 17? There was a short stint of cramming into my ex-boyfriend’s twin bed when we first met, but that changed relatively quickly. I assure you a 210 lb. man and myself don’t fit comfortably on a twin bed. I’m slightly concerned I might roll off of this one. It’s really high!

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So that’s my latest tale. I expect to have more to say after the expected 5 a.m. weather and a 5-hour ride back to Philly. I’ll probably stop for lunch in between the next interview and my departure. I haven’t spent more than gas & toll money and the $12 on the pizza I ate for lunch and dinner. I think I can splurge a few bucks for a sit-down meal, no?

You’re right, probably not. Stay tuned!

Obligatory post-interview Snapchat selfie! Screenshot_2015-01-09-00-31-26

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Travels of a broke grad student on interviews, part 4.

Greetings from the very cold depths of West Haven, CT where I am crashing for the evening in preparation for tomorrow’s exciting adventure in Interviewland. I am semi-settled in a FOAM mattress that sinks just about anywhere I place some pressure. I’m tempted to fill a glass with wine, place it on one half of the bed, and jump on the other because THAT INFOMERCIAL. “Does not transfer motion!”

Anyway, my travels tonight were not exciting; however, they were fast-paced. I ate some very exciting new buffalo chicken mac and cheese from Wawa for dinner and bought $2.08/gallon gas in Jersey. I was afraid I wouldn’t hear from my host, who I didn’t actually hear from until I was parked in what I hoped was the correct parking lot and knocking on what I hoped was the correct door. Turns out I was right, but it was a series of lucky events that led me there.

Dave was a huge help. He wished me safe travels while I was mid-travel and was kind of my support system/comic relief for the remainder of the trip. I kind of floated here; I dissociated for sure. I was in Philadelphia in one moment and in another I was turning off of I-95 in West Haven and circling the block because I initially had the address wrong and thought I was being scammed.

But I did, in fact, arrive, and I took some snaps to prove it…and maybe make me feel a little less alone in a stranger’s home, again. I definitely feel less welcome here, but I think it’s more a function of a cheaper place in a less nice neighborhood by a host that is sonewhat culturally different from myself. I’m okay with it all, but the thing I thought she might have for me was a towel, and all she appeared to lay out for me was a hand towel. I may be in for an interesting shower adventure in the morning.

The heat makes A LOT of noise, but it just sounds like my mother’s house. I’m happy to have found an inexpensive place to crash only 10 minutes from New Haven. I will still be sleeping with my knife and mace, but I don’t feel I will need either. Again, I really hope I remember to take them with me!

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While driving, somewhere between NJ and CT (so…NY?) I realized quite suddenly that I had packed everything I needed except something to wear in between my feet and my shoes with my heels (so socks wouldn’t cut it). I remembered socks; socks weren’t a problem. Stockings or knee-highs, however, are greatly lacking. I also managed to forget my melatonin, which is why I’m writing this post at 2 a.m.

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The good news is that I’ve located a local Rite Aid that will hopefully have something to wear so I don’t have to lose a foot to the 8-degree weather tomorrow. In light of the Cold, So Very Very Cold (CSVVC)…I was just enlightened to a Facebook post that I was unaware had occurred. It brought a reminiscent smile to my face and warm fuzzies (lord knows I’ll take any form of warmth at this point) from a former life from which I had just #tbt’ed a business card on IG. In a world…where each of us controlled our own country…yeah, it doesn’t make much sense. But it was a fun way to get through the workday at that time and it’s actually quite entertaining to look back on and giggle. My nickname was Duh. I’m going to pretend it was ironically because I’m not stupid, but in reality it’s because it’s the second syllable of my name and somehow that stuck.

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Duhbouti’s kind of responsible for all of the bad in the world (except the CSVVC). I don’t know how that happened, but it’s definitely some Freudian repressed shit going on in there that I have long since had to deal with. Speaking of, it is now officially January 8th and I’d like to send a huge DIAF to my father, whose birthday it also just happens to be. Cheers!

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Travels of a broke grad student on interviews, part 3.

Parts 1 and 2 were not uneventful,  they just weren’t after the new year, wherein I decided with my awful memory it may be best to return to chronicling some of my experiences. Since I’ve started this new year traveling across four states, and getting back to sleep in a stranger’s Airbnb bed is unlikely at this juncture, hello there.

Part 1 consisted of a journey all of an hour outside of my home and included fun food and drinks such as a big girl Red Bull and half of a Wawa turkey sausage, egg white, and cheese (on a bagel, which just defeats the purpose of all of the healthier components to that sandwich).

Part 2 was much more fun and interesting. I stayed in Boston (okay, in Randolph) with one of my besties and got to hang out with her the night before, drove about an hour and a half the next morning in Massachusetts for my interview, and then napped while I waited for my friend to get home. Then I had the opportunity to have dinner with a friend I had made at my last externship in 2013-2014 (and meet her husband and roll around on the floor with her dog) and have a beer in the bar that was the original inspiration for Cheers with the bestie.

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I was lucky enough to sleep in the next day and leave at my leisure,  which allowed me to finally see what this Louis Lunch place was all about.

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I never thought I could enjoy a medium rare burger served only with the option of tomatoes and/or onions on white toast but I completely and totally did. Their potato salad was also ridiculously delicious.

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I met two lovely guys out front while I took my picture of the building, though it was supposed to be a selfie, who had disagreeing opinions on the deliciousness of the fare. They were from New Haven, so maybe I’ll see them again when I return next week for part 4, though it won’t be at Louis Lunch since they’re closed through the month.

Part 3 has certainly been beautiful. I intentionally drove through VT for the simple reason that I never had. I stopped in Brattleboro at a Korean/Japanese spot that not only came recommended but was also open on New Years Day. Amazing sushi though there was a bit of a wait for it. When I left, I ran into a man and his son(?) on the street who asked me if anything was open nearby to eat. I pointed and described the sushi joint. They seemed excited. Already a “local” and I haven’t even interviewed yet.

The drive through New Hampshire was one of the most gorgeous drives I’ve ever taken. I took 20 pictures but none of them do it any justice. It wasn’t until I came to a lake just after sunset that I absolutely had to get out and take a few photos.

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This is only about 2 miles from the place I’m staying, which, incidentally, is my first Airbnb experience alone. Yes, I’m sleeping with the door locked and a knife under my pillow..fortunately, I feel safe here. I think I’ve actually been spoiled and the 2 places I’m staying next week will not be as beautiful as this place. It’s an old meeting house renovated new but with some of the old structure still exposed. The house is kept kind of cold, but the blankets are heavy and amazing. My host recommended some dinner places, so I wound up “ironically” drinking a Curious Traveler at The Common Man.

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I stopped at CVS on my way back because I had clearly forgotten shampoo and conditioner (and hair doesn’t stay this red using sulfate-ridden shapmpoo). I came so close to buying one of my favorite (screw top) wines at CVS just because I could.

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I imagine the interview would be very different had I made that purchase.

And now, at 5:30 a.m. and after only 5 hours of sleep, I have hopefully distracted myself enough from the sad event that woke me so thoroughly an hour ago when I accidentally dropped my phone down the side of the bed.  That’s what I get for sleeping with my phone though. I told myself I wouldn’t have any communication with anyone (I have an emotional connection to) who couldn’t understand or effectively communicate with me, but I broke that vow tonight. At least it wasn’t with the one who shat on my Christmas Eve. I’ve thankfully kept my silence there with a little help from a Manhattan and the company of good people. But that’s another story.

I shall now attempt another hour of sleep, so that I might remain awake through tomorrow’s four hours of interview and 5-6 hour drive back to the Isle of Long.

Happy New Year, all! XOXO

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