Learning the Hard Way

By Katie Donovan

Two months of a snowy, icy winter and I’m nearly used to the cold. I actually prefer the overcast days now and often find myself hardly ever missing the harsh Florida sunshine. I found ways to get used to the cold and walking through snow. It’s almost as if I’m walking through freezing sand at the beach; and I expect my leg muscles will be as strong as ever by the time spring rolls around.

I’m positive every time I approach the subway holes that I am on my way to my destination, without interruption and without failure. I still pull up directions on my “Google Maps” app and screenshot the route before entering the underground subways, though I am finding that I need the directions less and less as time goes on. While having a few people in my life visit and come to stay with me in Brooklyn, I feel as though my best learning experiences have come through trying to show them around.

I realized a week ago that I know much more about the subways and boroughs than maybe I’d thought prior to having to be the tour guide. I was not only impressed with my newly found sense of direction, but also with the information I’d retained about the city and sites over the last two months.

Countless times I found that I’d excitedly wait for the L or the A trains to come, only to find that I’d been waiting on the wrong side of the tracks. I’d exit and walk upstairs and around and recover as quickly as possible to get back on track with my directions. Those days are over now. I sit quietly at times, waiting for the subway and think back to laying in bed in Florida, watching the history channel shows on “The Men Who Built America,” and I feel so insignificant. The amount of time, engineering, and effort that was put into designing New York City and its transit systems is remarkable and breathtaking.

As I continue on my daily excursions and adventures, I feel confident in knowing that I’m learning my way through trial and error. Some days go as planned and other days I end up in the snow, wondering where the arts and crafts booths have gone and why vendors have not shown up as they usually do.

Although I am learning many things the hard way, I’m having to take less cabs now than I did when I first arrived and that alone makes me feel triumphant.

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