The story of two career women who separately moved to Omaha from New York a decade ago starts with a humorous misunderstanding.
Carrie Braxdale, who worked in finance on Wall Street, arrived first. She bought an eighth-floor condominium at the former Paxton Hotel downtown.
She soon received a note from the condo’s developer that “a doctor from New York” was moving in next door.
Excited, Carrie sensed something special. Having focused on her career, she was 38 and single and thought maybe she would meet her male soul mate — and they could start by sharing stories of Manhattan.
Then she read the rest of the note about the doctor from New York: “Her name is Karin.”
She laughs retelling that story. The two did become soul mates, though not in a romantic sense.
“Carrie was my first friend here,” said Dr. Karin Trujillo, a thoracic surgeon at the Nebraska Medical Center. “I love her. I’m a bit of an introvert, perfectly happy staying home. She is warm and gregarious and gets me out and about.”
“I love everything about Karin,” said Carrie. “And I like it that in most regards, we are total opposites.”
They did have some things in common. Both had lived through 9/11 and its aftermath, and both stayed in New York for seven years afterward.
And both, though initially reluctant to move to Omaha, came to love the Big O as much as the Big Apple.
When being recruited to the med center by Dr. Rudy Lackner, Dr. Trujillo at first said no way.
“I said, ‘Rudy, I’m a 37-year-old single woman from New York City. I’m not moving to Omaha, Nebraska. That’s crazy.’ He said, ‘You should just come out and see it.’ ”
She did, was impressed at the opportunity for “high-level, very interesting and advanced surgeries,” and accepted.
She likes it that Nebraska Medicine “recruits people from all over the world, which is a benefit to patients and to doctors.”
Carrie grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and majored in psychology at private Baker University in Kansas. She got into the financial securities profession, she said, “because there is nothing I can do to help people more than to help them be financially independent.”
She worked in Kansas City, Atlanta and Los Angeles before accepting a New York job in 1999.
On Sept. 11, 2001, she was at 100 Wall Street, in view of the twin towers, several blocks away, when terrorists attacked. After the first tower fell, her building was evacuated, and she walked down 29 flights.
“As I came out the front door,” she said, “it was like the worst blizzard ever in my life.”
She walked more than six miles north to her apartment near 63rd Street and York Avenue, alongside the East River.
Karin was a second-year resident at a hospital on Long Island, starting an ICU rotation. She recalls the sadness of later going into Manhattan and seeing thousands of posters with photos of people missing from the towers.
She grew up in Manhattan, the daughter of a psychiatrist and a pediatrician, both from Spain. The future surgeon — whose first language was Spanish and who still visits relatives in Spain each year — attended private Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and graduated from the New York University School of Medicine.
Once she looked around Omaha and saw what it had to offer besides great medical facilities, she said, “I knew that as long as it was bigger than Middlebury (population 8,500), I would be fine.”
Shortly after arriving, she says, she attended a cocktail party and had a conversation with a kind man named Bruce, who asked about her job. When she asked about his, he replied simply, “I work in banking.”
Only later, she said, did she find out that Bruce Lauritzen was chairman of First National Bank of Omaha, the nation’s largest privately owned bank, and served on the board of the medical center where she worked.
“To me, that is Omaha,” Dr. Trujillo said. “I love it here — the people, the town. And it has everything big cities have to offer. There’s an art scene, a music scene, the symphony, theaters, and the restaurants are fabulous.”
On Sunday nights, she and friend Carrie sometimes have met at the Chop house restaurant at the Paxton to talk about their jobs and their lives.
Karin, who often operates on cancer patients, sometimes at the VA hospital, recently completed an 11-hour surgery. Carrie, who has traveled a lot on business, has served on the board of Nebraska Special Olympics.
They have shared a lot since the night Karin arrived and saw a welcoming note on her door from Carrie. Though Karin later moved up one floor, they have remained friends, more than just neighbors.
But now Carrie is leaving for Delaware.
Formerly the manager of investor services for TD Ameritrade in Omaha, she has accepted a position with JP Morgan Chase.
The two friends will stay in touch, and Carrie says she will visit Omaha, as well as relatives in the Kansas City area.
In Omaha, the former New Yorkers each found a niche.
“It’s a right-size city for really good connections, and I’ve never seen a more philanthropic city,” Carrie said. “I’m excited about what’s next, but I know I have lifelong friends here. And I’m only a plane ride away.”
1 of 90
Rain clouds and a bit of a rainbow roll over the sky in the Millard area of Omaha on Aug. 16, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun sets behind a center pivot located north of Red Cloud, Nebraska, on July 27, 2006. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Storm clouds hide the sun as it sets over Nebraska's Sandhills on July 7, 2009, near Thedford, Nebraska. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A summer storm passes north of Rose, Nebraska, on June 10, 2007. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
A rainbow forms over U.S. Highway 12, just east of Valentine, Nebraska, as storms roll over the area on July 25, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun sets behind an approaching storm as a car heads west on U.S. Highway 34 near Union, Nebraska, on April 24, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Icicles form on vines in downtown Omaha as winter weather returns to the area on Feb. 24, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Railroad tracks are illuminated by the setting sun on May 3, 2017, east of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sunsets behind Chimney Rock National Historic Site on May 3, 2017, east of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Members of the Boats, Bikes, Boots & Brews group head to shore as the sun sets after an evening out on Lake Zorinsky in Omaha on April 22, 2015. The group came together through the meetup.com website. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD
Icicles hang from the horse carriage parking sign in the Old Market shopping district as an ice storm moves into the Omaha area on Jan. 15, 2017. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Wheat, ready for the combine, is silhouetted by the setting sun as the wheat harvest on the Lagler farm near Grant, Nebraska, was in full swing on July 7, 2005. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
A layer of fog covers the Missouri River near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on Feb. 5, 2015, in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A setting sun creates a pink haze on a windmill and the Sand Hills on a late summer day southwest of Rushville, Nebraska, on Sept. 22, 2007. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Pigeons scatter at sunset as the St. John's steeple is silhouetted against the Woodmen Tower in downtown Omaha on Oct. 3, 2014. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun bursts behind the clouds over the North Platte River east of Bridgeport, Nebraska, on July 26, 2006. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Steve Jobman, a farmer south of Minatare, Nebraska, cuts alfalfa after sunset on June 2, 2004. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Wheat waves in the wind in a field west of Dalton, Nebraska, on July 18, 2001. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The snow moon rises over the northern cross of the St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha on Feb. 10, 2017. On this night, there was a full moon, a lunar eclipse and comet 45P passed by the earth. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
As the wind speed picks up a woman holds onto her hood while crossing 16th Street along Dodge Street in Omaha on Feb. 24, 2017. BRENDAN SULLIVAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
From left: Melody Borcherding, Kseniya Burgoon and Michael Beltz scoop out a vehicle on Jan. 23, 2018, in Norfolk, Nebraska. A blizzard pounded Norfolk with high winds and heavy, wet snow. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Jeff Bachman harvests soybeans and prepares to transfer them as the sun sets on a field near Ayr, Nebraska, on Oct. 19, 2008.
As the sun sets, sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the Platte River at the Rowe Sanctuary & Iain Nicholson Audubon Center south of Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 12, 2008. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A pair of sandhill cranes pass in front of the moon shortly after sunrise at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. Sandhill cranes, which mate for life, can live between 20 and 40 years.
A windmill is dwarfed by storm clouds near Crawford, Nebraska, on May 3, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
An early November storm system rolls through the Great Plains, but Omaha only receives rain, which collected on freshly fallen leaves on Nov. 11, 2015, in Omaha. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Cattle head up to a well to get a drink at the end of the day near Sparks, Nebraska, on Aug. 21, 2015. Smoke from the wildfires in the western states created a haze. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The moon rises above the corn as farmers harvest the last of their fields in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on Nov. 5, 2014. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Two riders help round up part of the 750 head of cattle branded at the Lute Family Ranch, located south of Hyannis, Nebraska, on May 12, 2005. Mick Knott, who runs the ranch, owns about half the cattle, and the Lute Foundation owns the rest. The work started about dawn and finished about noon. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The rising sun illuminates a tree and a windmill in a snow- covered field along U.S. Highway 20 between Rushville and Chadron, Nebraska, on March 1, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The College Home Run Derby was held at TD Ameritrade Park and was highlighted by The World-Herald's annual independence day fireworks display on July 2, 2015. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Fog rises from the Missouri River and covers the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on Jan. 5, 2010. Temperatures were close to 20 degrees below zero as the area remains in the middle of a cold snap. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD HERALD
The weekend's perfect weather colored the clouds at sunset south of Wymore, Nebraska, on Oct. 23, 2004. CRAIG CHANDLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Deer chill out at Chalco Hills Recreation Area on Feb. 22, 2018, in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A leaf is covered in a dusting of snow near 138th and Hickory Streets on Dec. 18, 2014, in Millard. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A runner emerges from the edge of the rising sun on Sept. 11, 2015, at Zorinsky Lake Park and Recreation Area in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nearly 45 minutes after sunset an orange and blue glow is seen setting behind the Omaha skyline flanked between trees in Council Bluffs on Jan. 11, 2018. BRENDAN SULLIVAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Raindrops collect on a flower following early showers on May 10, 2017, in Millard. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The promise of rain is fleeting for the seven windmills on the Watson Ranch north of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on U.S. 71 on May 16, 2004. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A crescent moon sets behind the UNO bell tower in Omaha on Nov. 6, 2013. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Ralph Remmert is depicted in the mural "Fertile Ground" near 13th and Mike Fahey Streets in north downtown Omaha on June 19, 2017. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Ralph Kohler, 94, keeps his eyes to the sky for ducks and geese as the sun rises over his hunting pond east of Tekamah, Nebraska, on Nov. 30, 2011. Kohler has been a professional guide for most of his life, and he is preparing for the spring season. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun rises over St. Paul Lutheran Church, located three miles north of Republican City, Nebraska, in March 2004. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Geese are silhouetted in the color and clouds as the sun sets at Zorinsky Lake in Omaha on Feb. 21, 2016. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun rises on Chimney Rock on Feb. 19, 2014, near McGrew, Nebraska. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Cranes walk through the shallow water of the Platte River shortly before sunset near The Crane Trust, which is close to Wood River, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. The river provides cranes with a safe place from predators for rest at night. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD
A bespangled vest awaits a rider during Nebraska's Big Rodeo on July 25, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD
Horses stand in the snow on Feb. 22, 2018, in Omaha. SARAH HOFFMAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Residents of the Nebraska Panhandle enjoyed unseasonably mild temperatures and cloud cover on Aug. 12, 2004. This photograph of Interstate 80 was taken near Sidney, Nebraska. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association hold their hats as 2013 Miss Burwell Rodeo Olivia Hunsperger passes by during the opening ceremonies on July 27, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. "This may be a small town, but it's got a big rodeo, and it's got a really big heart," Hunsperger said. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD
A break in the clouds highlights downtown Omaha as seen from Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs as severe storms passed through the Omaha area on June 5, 2014. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
John Wanief waits for the bus in a shelter at 120th Street and West Center Road as cold rain pours down in Millard on Nov. 11, 2015. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Flocks of waterfowl fill the sky as the sun rises over Ponca State Park in Ponca, Nebraska, on March 3, 2018. The park led "Marsh Madness" tours at sunrise and sunset to view migrating waterfowl. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD
A red tail hawk perches on a light stanchion backed by the moon and overlooking the property near the Indian Creek development in Omaha on Feb. 27, 2018. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
A woman walks with two dogs in Memorial Park near Dodge Street as many sledders go down the hill in Omaha, Nebraska, on Feb. 2, 2016. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun sets on June 2, 2015, in Sidney, Nebraska. SARAH HOFFMAN/OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
The rising sun shines on a snow covered hill located north of Chadron, Nebraska, on March 1, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Storm clouds are illuminated by the setting sun as people exit the Hawks Championship Center after a football camp in Lincoln on June 16, 2017. MATT DIXON/THE WORLD-HERALD