I mean, I have stopped and started this thing so often that I can’t really promise anything. But my first sort-of tour starts today (sort-of = training, so I’m not conducting the tour), and from what I understand I will have a little bit of time each evening, so we’ll see how it goes.
So, I’m in New York right now. I took Amtrak up from DC after a sleepless night and a stressful morning (my family is dealing with something scary and difficult right now, but I have to go back and figure out how private this thing is before I feel like I can go into any of that). Being that this is my first job, I have not yet learned how to pack properly, and so have a large suitcase, a medium suitcase, a shoulder bag, and a purse, all of which I had to schlep on and off the train and then, pulling both suitcases, barrel-ass my way down Eighth Avenue from Penn Station to my hotel on 29th Street. I must have looked ridiculous but everyone got out of my way, so apparently I can be quite the New Yorker when I want to be!
Fortunately the hotel had a room ready for me even though it was only 12:30, so I collapsed on the bed but didn’t really sleep, alternating between flailing about whether I can do this job and worrying about my family. Finally around 2:00 I got up, walked up to the subway at Penn Station, took the 3 to the 7 to the 6 uptown to the new Laduree at 71st and Madison, and bought six macarons. I ate three of them on a bench by Central Park. It’s amazing what macarons and a bench on Park Avenue can do for your mood.
I took a New York City bus for the first time back downtown and got in touch with my two fellow trainees, who told me that they had found our trainer, and were meeting for dinner at 6. As I was leaving my room, the door right next to mine opened, and she said “Are you Elizabeth?” and I said yes and she introduced herself as the trainer (Georgina) and I liked her immediately. You know how sometimes you can like someone absolutely instantly? I did, and it made me feel so much better about how the training tour was going to go. She’s probably in her mid-60′s, one of those women who just exudes positive energy and makes you want to ask her to take you home and cook you pot roast.
Then you know how you can meet someone and not like them immediately? We went downstairs and found one of my fellow trainees outside smoking. I mean, I didn’t dislike her immediately because of the smoking, I disliked her immediately because she just started talking to the trainer without acknowledging me at all, even though I know she knew who I was and we had talked on the phone earlier to make these plans, but still, a simple introduction is always nice. Finally I said “Hi, I’m Elizabeth,” and she said “I figured. I’m Karen,” and I thought, okay, well, we won’t be besties but that’s fine.
The other trainee is Josie and she seems okay except that she let us call her Mary (her actual first name and the name the company had given us when they told everyone who they’d be training with) for about four hours before saying she preferred Josie, and I thought that was weird, why not say it the first time you introduce yourself?
Anyway, the four of us went to dinner and Karen continued to be kind of annoying, the kind of person who has to either disagree with everything you say or be sarcastic about everything or one-up you about everything, and then she was talking about teen pregnancy rates in San Antonio (where she is from) and used the phrase “colored cultures” (that’s right) and about nine other randomly offensive things and I thought, right, from now on you get my totally fake polite face and otherwise I shall try not to talk to you at all.
The jury is still out on Josie-Mary, she is kind of soft-spoken and sometimes I feel like a steamroller around soft-spoken people. Both Karen and Josie-Mary are in their 50′s, and as much as I would have liked someone else a bit closer to my age to train with, I’m sort of fine if they bond with each other and leave me to pay as much attention to Georgina as I can.
Anyway, today is our first official day of work. We set up in the lobby at 1:00 and greet passengers as they arrive from the airport, give them maps and some introductory information and luggage tags and such. They’re all British and coming in from overnight flights, so we get them checked in and then let them know where they can go if they want to wander New York for a couple of hours in the evening.
I am mostly excited, but also still nervous. Obviously I’m going to feel much better once the training tour is over and I’ve had an opportunity to watch someone who is clearly awesome and encouraging.
I will try to write at least a little bit every night! Says Chicken Little. But I will!
(P.S. In case you missed it before, I have turned off comments on here because the Russian spam was completely out of control. When I get back I’ll figure out how to fix it, or maybe move the whole thing to Typepad, or something.)