This is a very exciting post. I asked for, and was granted, permission to talk about THE MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER.
I could probably drag this all out and make it totally the most SUSPENSEFUL, right? That’s what a real writer would do.
I’ve never purported myself to be a real writer, yo.
What’s one of the saddest sadnesses in my life? Anyone? ANYONEEEEEE?
If you guessed “my internet people who I love more than pudding – MORE! THAN! PUDDING! – are so far away and it makes me sad that I’m so close to them yet I might never meet them in real life,” you are CORRECT.
(None of you guessed that, did you. Shame on you. Shaaaaaaaame.)
So, here’s me cutting to the chase, because I don’t know how to build up suspense.
Three days ago, in the midst of emailing about a billion other things, as we do, I got this sentence in an email from my beloved Andreas:
In other news, I might be able to go to New York for a few days as they hold a Web developer conference there end of February. Emphasis on ‘might’, mind you; nothing is decided yet.
I think you can imagine, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, what my response to this was. There were a lot of all-caps. And a lot of exclamation points. A LOT of them. A lot of both. Even though I KNOW not to count chickens. I attempted not to be excited. That worked out…well, not at all. I was so excited, you guys.
Andreas has never been to the States. Not even once. This would be his first time. And he would be coming to my favorite city in the whole wide world. Which, in a fortuitous turn of events, is only about two and a half hours away from my home.
I attempted not to bounce all around in my chair with excitement. It was not successful.
DO NOT COUNT CHICKENS, AMY!
So the ORIGINAL plan was that Andreas was coming to attend a three-day conference in the city (and can we just give a cheer that Andreas works for such a kickass company that they FLY EMPLOYEES FROM FINLAND TO THE STATES FOR CONFERENCES? Good gracious! I’m used to working places that drag their feet reimbursing you for trips across TOWN, although I’m pretty sure where I work now would totally send you wherever, because they are the most awesome) and I would only get to see him for a few hours, because there were only so many seminars at the conference he could skip out on, since his employer was, after all, flying him across the WORLD to attend the damn thing. I didn’t care. I have a job with time off, I have money to travel now, and the idea of seeing Andreas for even a few hours in really real life made me not ONLY bop all around in my chair with happy excitement, it also made me a little teary. Good teary, don’t get all worried about my mental stability.
So we talked and talked all day about the possibility of this trip but of course it wasn’t sure. Then the next day I got this:
I talked to one of my colleagues. If – and I still haven’t had the trip confirmed – I am to go to New York, we would be staying all of Saturday as well, and fly back on Sunday. So I’d be sitting there with nothing to do all day. Unless you wouldn’t mind coming down to New York for the Saturday? Then I’d ditch my colleagues and spend the day with you instead. I’m guessing most of New York is open even on Saturdays? Hopefully I’ll know more by tomorrow.
WHAT? A whole DAY with Andreas? Well! THIS WAS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER!!! Also, I like how this whole paragraph is like a little trick. “Oh, I mean, unless YOU might want to come down for the day to YOUR FAVORITE CITY EVER and meet ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE IN ALL THE WORLD, otherwise I’ll just be SO SO BORED *sob*.”
(Also, don’t worry, I assured Andreas that New York City was open for business on Saturdays. Except maybe office buildings. And I can’t imagine we would want to go to many of those, anyway.)
So you think I was excited at the possibility of a few HOURS with Andreas? Imagine what my reaction was to A WHOLE DAY OF ADVENTURE WITH MY FAVORITE FINN!
But still: no chicken-counting. We were still waiting to hear from his boss to hear if he could come at all. And you all KNOW I am not the most patient.
*drumming fingers impatiently*
YESTERDAY I GOT THIS EMAIL YOU GUYS!!!!
Just got it confirmed that I can go to New York. Tickets will be booked tomorrow, and I’ll sort out a more up to date passport and an ESTA form tomorrow as well.
So unless something extraordinary happens I should be all set to go. *gulp*
(The ESTA form is a form Andreas has to fill out in order to come to Merka. It asks such questions as – and I am not even kidding, Andreas told me and he’s not even the least bit liary – “do you have leprosy?” and “are you now or were you ever a member of Hitler’s Third Reich?” and “are you now or were you ever involved in espionage?” When I told my dad that last one, he laughed SO HARD. “Well, your Finnish spy friend’s going to have to lie about that one,” he said. Also, who’s going to say “yes” to any of those questions if they really want to come to Merka, I ask you? I don’t think criminals are that foolish, to be honest. At least not the GOOD criminals.)
I don’t think this post would be complete if you didn’t get to see my real-time response to the reveal that Andreas was really, Eddie-Murphy-style, coming to America. It’s…well, it’s what you’d expect from me. (I was told last week “you text and email just like you talk.” I took much pride in that statement. Because it’s true. I totally do. I like that I don’t compromise.)
I’m totally going to get to meet you in really real life!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m bouncing all over my chair right now. I’m not even kidding. I scared the cat.
So, Saturday, March 2. I will ask for that day off from my part-time job when I go to work on Saturday and buy train tickets as soon as I know your plane tickets are booked and you are staying those couple of extra days for sure.
SO EXCITED AAAHHHHHH! That’s only about a month and a half away! YOU’RE COMING TO MERKA!!!!!! Not ONLY to Merka, but to the best city in ALL of Merka!!!!
This is the best news ever ever EVER! I love your job. You tell your job I love them. Wait, probably don’t, that’d be weird.
YAY YAY YAY! I’m am grinning HUGE right now!
Yep. I email like I blog like I talk, you guys, it’s not even an urban legend, it’s true facts.
First we thought his hotel would be near Chinatown. I told him he could have all the delicious foodstuffs. And that I would come find him so he didn’t have to come all the way to the train station to meet me. He was pleased with both of these developments and told me that once he ate chicken-foot soup. That had a real chicken-foot in it. Andreas is a very adventurous eater, yo.
When I told Mom and Dad Andreas was officially OFFICIALLY coming, they each had advice for him.
Dad: You two aren’t going to take the subway anywhere, are you? Don’t get close to the edge until the train is there. Stand way back near the wall THE WHOLE TIME until the train comes. Because if you don’t, someone will push you on the tracks and you will die. That’s like the national sport down there. YOU WILL DIE.
Mom: Well, if he’s never been here, he’s not going to know this. Tell him not to buy purses off the street. They’re not real purses. THEY ARE KNOCKOFFS. Also, tell him if someone in a store says “do you want to go in this little room in the back and see additional items?” that means they want you to do drugs back there so tell him to say no, or DRUG DEALERS!
My answers to this advice were, and I quote, “Um, Dad, I don’t think that’s a thing that happens that often” and “Mom, um…where exactly did you GO that time you and the church group went to New York City, anyway?”
So now that I’m a fancy working-lady (well, shit, that makes me sound like a whore) I thought, this time, I’m going to take AMTRAK to the city. Because usually I drive down to Poughkeepsie and take the Metro North train, which is much much cheaper. Also a little seedy. And by the time you’re done with your day of adventure in the city and you get back to your car you still have to drive like an hour and a half or something MORE and you’re so TIRED, argh. But the Amtrak is only twenty minutes away and it’s NICE and has free Wifi and then when you come home you only have to drive twenty MORE minutes to get to your BED.
But the Amtrak is spendy.
AMY! You have MOOLAH now! I said to myself. So I went to the Amtrak site.
Well! Come to find out, not only is Amtrak not as expensive as I remember (either I’m remembering wrong or the prices dropped because no one could afford the train, who knows) but I found a COUPON CODE!
(Listen, if you people online shop and see a box when you’re checking out for a coupon code and DON’T hit Google and search for available coupon codes, you are totally throwing your money down a hole and I have no pity for you. NONE NONE.)
So I found a 20% off coupon code that made the ALREADY-LOW PRICE go even LOWER so it ended up being $65 round-trip. Now, to drive to Poughkeepsie and take the train – the tickets alone are (I think, if I’m remembering correctly) $48. So it would only be an additional $17 to take a train RIGHT FROM MY OWN TOWN. A nicer train. That I don’t have to drive forever to get home from. And when I told Dad that, he said, “That’s the better choice, because you have to factor in the gas and wear-and-tear on your car. I raised you right, you know. That was a smart decision on your part.”
I officially have a round-trip ticket to New York City for March 2. It has been purchased. It is in my email ready to be printed. I will print it tomorrow and then hang it on my cabinet with a fun magnet where I can look at it over and over and OVER. And also grin. A lot. I also have written, in huge letters, on both my home and work calendar, on March 2, ***ANDREAS IN NEW YORK CITY!!!!!***
I finagled it so I arrive in the city at around 9:30am and leave around 9:30pm. Yessirree, that’s correct! I GET TWELVE WHOLE HOURS WITH ANDREAS! What will we do? I don’t even know. We could see some sights! We could eat delicious foodstuffs! We could walk all around! We can talk and talk and talk and TALK! In PERSON! With our FACES! As people who email a lot, talking in person will be kind of the best thing ever. Plus even though he said not to I’m totally bringing his adorable children and lovely fiancée presents. I want them to have awesome Merkan presents. Plus if you mail presents to Andreas it takes a billion years for them to get to him and the post office is all, “Did you spell this wrong? I don’t think the ‘Åland Islands’ are really a place. Stop trying to trick us. It won’t work. We’re hip to your jive, yo.”
The only sad thing about Amtrak vs. Metro North is that I will be coming into Penn Station vs. Grand Central Station and when you come into Grand Central Station you’re all “OOH AAAH I AM IN NEW YORK CITY!” and when you come into Penn Station you’re all “Meh, train station” but it all worked out for the best because Andreas found out his hotel is only 4 blocks from Penn Station after all, and not in Chinatown (and SUPER-SWANKY, so I’m so pleased for him) so it was like a New York City MIRACLE.
YOU GUYS. I’m going to meet Andreas. 37 days from now. In my favorite city ever. I was quite sure that someday I would meet Andreas. I was going to go to Finland. (Shh, I totally still am. My heart is set on seeing the land of the Finns in really real life. And also Andreas’ children before they grow up. And his lovely fiancée. Also? I want to pick mushrooms in Andreas’ forest. And then EAT those mushrooms. Yum. That totally sounded like a euphemism and was not intended to be. Sorry, world.)
I’m going to meet my Andreas. And talk to him. With my FACE.
But shh, don’t tell, before I even talk his ear off for 12 straight hours (yes, yes, I’ll let him talk, too, he has a lovely movie-star voice, I can’t wait to hear it in person) I’m giving him the biggest hug ever.
I GET TO MEET MY ANDREAS IN 37 DAYS.
If you could see me right now? One happy lady.
(And yes, don’t even worry, we’ve already discussed this. You all get to come, too. We’ll take photos. We’ll tweet. We’ll blog. We’re creatures of social media, after all. Does it really happen if we don’t do it online? Who knows. I don’t want to find out.)
We’re going to have such an adventure, Andreas. I hope you’re ready. New York City is not going to know what hit it. Not at all.
And because no New York City post would be complete without a New York City themed song…here’s my beloved Rufus Wainwright singing “14th Street” which is not at all cheery, but it came on my phone the other day when I was driving and I sang along to the top of my lungs and also I cried a little and it’s totally New York City related. So now you get to revel in the glory. “Why’d you have to break all my heart? Couldn’t you have saved just a little bit of it?” *sniff*