A year ago today, I showed up in Astoria with my life in a U-haul.  Also in tow was my cat – Morgan – who was coming out of sedation.  That was an experience in itself; poor Morgan.

I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  I’ve had some of the coolest, most memorable, exciting experiences of my 23 years so far.  I moved here barely knowing anyone, and now I have people in my life I can’t imagine life without.

But like I said at my 6 month mark, I’m going to post fun experiences, things I’ve learned, random encounters, etc. etc. every so often so I can watch how life evolves.  And so anyone interested enough in my time here with my ogre of a cat can keep up with what’s been going on.

I feel like the first year mark is a pretty nice milestone, and I wanted to make sure I did it justice. So here goes:

1. I still love Pizza Lunchables, even at age 23.

2. Seeing the Empire State Building lit up in blue and gold for the WVU bowl game was a pretty fantastic sight.

3. I will call Mayor Bloomberg and leave multiple messages if it means trying to save my favorite dance studio in the city. (Shout-out to DNA)

4. Auditioning for Taylor after waiting to do so for 5 years is pretty cool, especially when a callback is involved.

5. My mother is still usually right.

6. I feel like I flip a lifestyle switch when I go back and forth between NYC and WV.

7. Babysitting Australian children may be one of the most adorable jobs ever.

8. One of the most entertaining things to watch is a group of dancers warming themselves up for an audition.

9. I think the subway conductors have a personal issue with me when they see me sprinting for the train and close the door in my face anyway.

10. Tandem bike riding is hard.  It’s also hilarious.

11. Watching scary Dateline shows at night when home alone is not my greatest of ideas.

12. Morgan can’t fit into a small dog bed.

13. I know the best place for a $7 mani.

14. Don’t tell your parents if you don’t feel like going to the grocery store and eat rice and vanilla wafers for dinner.  They won’t be pleased.

15. Life throws curve balls; roll with the punches; be adaptive.

16. Keeping a dance journal is extremely helpful. I know I’m usually harder on myself about class and auditions than I am kind, so I started making myself find at least 3 things I felt fantastic about during every class/audition.  I think that’s important.

17. My favorite subway performers are the old men who sing Down By The Boardwalk a capella.

18. No, I don’t want to give E News an interview about my thoughts on Lindsay Lohan.

19. Hearing Country Roads in NYC – whether in a bar, sung by a new friend who just learned it, or by a strange Chinese instrument – will never get old.

20. Tourists can drive you crazy, but they can also remind you of how exciting this city is – especially when you can tell they are seeing it for the first time.

21. The sun setting behind the skyline is a sight that will never grow old.

22. The growth I see in myself as a dancer from these past 12 months is quite encouraging.

23. I had to get a frequent flyer card.

24. The family-owned Italian restaurant down the street knows my order right when I walk in.

25. I thoroughly enjoy planning trips for people to come visit the city. (Come visit me!)

26. I’ve met the coolest people. Seriously.

27. NYC can get really, really, really hot.

28. Making a list of short-term goals and long-term objectives for my dance career keeps me inspired.

29. If you put Almond Milk in your potatoes, they’ll taste like cake.

30. Random letters from Dad can turn any day into a good day.

31. Having a dance teacher tell you that your leg is lopsided can make you laugh.  But it’ll also jump start you into doing what you need to work with it. (Thanks for making life complicated, left leg)

32. I don’t mind getting testy with grumpy people on the subway.

33. Meeting and seeing a performance by a childhood dance inspiration will forever go down as one of my coolest experiences.

34. Being with friends who also have a passion for the arts keeps me inspired; watching them work fills me with happiness.

35. I experienced my first hurricane with only a few sticks falling and a bit of wind blowing.  But when I rode the bus from Manhattan to Queens (since the subways were still down), the sight of upper Manhattan lit vs lower Manhattan blacked out was something so strange and almost creepy.  But this city knows how to bounce back.  Quickly.

36. When cat-sitting a French cat, the only way to talk to it is with Google translate.

37. The Kermit balloon rounding the corner was the perfect first-sight for my first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

38. Being invited to go belly dancing with a cab driver …

39. Heels aren’t part of my wardrobe anymore.

40. A pilot with a sense of humor can make a 6am flight more enjoyable.  “Is this anyone’s first time flying? No – just me? OK..”

41. Being part of a proposal in Central Park for random tourists makes me more nervous than the guy who’s proposing.  He calmed me down before getting on one knee, and all I had to do was take pictures.

42. Having the ability to see any show any time. Yes.

43. Working at the world’s biggest candy store for a few months is kind of cool when you get to sell candy to Denise Richards and her little pup.

44. Things that happened months ago, or even years ago, that might not have made any sense at the time are slowly starting to show the reasons why they occurred.

45. Having a bed with drawers under it makes for nice storage.  It also makes for a fun hiding place for Morgan that scares the dickens out of me.

46. I see you doing yoga on your rooftop.  Yes everyone can see you.  Please put on a shirt.

47. Instead of waking up to birds chirping, I wake up to someone practicing the violin (very well, I might add).

48. Astoria is the perfect place to live: short commute to the city, lots of character, tons of yummy restaurants, and the best little beer garden.

49. There’s still a strong comfort and a sense of home that comes from being in a dance studio; it may be stronger now than it ever has been before.

50. I’m determined to live a life with no regrets.

Here’s to you, New York.  You can drive me nuts, lift me up, and be a whirlwind of excitement.  You are one of my favorite relationships I’ve ever been in.  We won’t be separating any time soon.

Happy one year.

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