birthday photoshoot.

February 11th, 2011

On my last day as a teenager, a friend of mine and I took pictures in Brooklyn! We went by the Prommenade, the Brooklyn Bridge and the rocky beach area in DUMBO. (Pardon me for the lateness, I’m going to be writing more often.) All I can say when I see these photos is, what a great 20 years I’ve had in life so far.

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city snow!

This is kind of late, but I was waiting to see if there would be another snow storm before I was going to post this. But, there hasn’t been a serious one for a while now.

I love snow and I love everything about snowstorms. So, I was very excited to hear about this major snowstorm heading up the Northeast and hitting New York along the way. I couldn’t wait and I was especially happy when Pace University closed the school early on Wednesday afternoon. My macroeconomics class was canceled due to this and I met up with some friends of mine to explore Lower Manhattan in the snow! We walked to City Hall Park, Wall Street, Battery Park and down Broadway to see the aftermath of the first phase of the storm.

After spending a few hours at Borders, we went back to the dorms and watched ‘Despicable Me.’ And after the movie was over, we saw that the second part of the storm had arrived. It was the more fierce and stronger phase of the snowstorm. The snow was coming down heavily and it was beautiful up against the skyscrapers. The sidewalks got nasty, but it was quite a sight to see.

Sam and I went down to the Pace courtyard at midnight when the snow was at its strongest. It was dumping 1-3 inches per hour and it was amazing. We ran around in the snow, made and threw snowballs, we also made a half snowman because the head broke off and my gloves were soaked. We took some pretty amazing pictures so it was worth the time going out at midnight. I also stayed up until two in the morning watching the chaos ensue on the Brooklyn Bridge as many people were backed up in traffic due to people stuck in the snow. It was crazy but hilariously entertaining to watch!

Later in the week, we also went sledding in Central Park! Sam and I (ahem, excuse us) stole trays from the cafeteria and used them as sleds on this crazy fast hill on the Central Park corner closest to The Plaza. It was crowded but we got some sledding down. Some people there let us use our sleds and we left the cafeteria trays there as donations to those who don’t have sleds but want to!

We also found this incredibly delicious waffle stand, Waffels and Dinges – so good. I got a waffle with strawberries and syrup – to die for.

I absolutely loved all of it and the snow in the city is definitely a different experience than at home. It is incredibly beautiful.

 

2010, a year of change

Looking back on the past year, I remember in the beginning of it all, I wrote on a post-it pad by my bedside in big letters, “2010: A YEAR OF CHANGE.”

And it was one, indeed.

I mean, it was a big year for myself personally. I graduated from high school and I experienced my first semester of college. Those two events were pretty big for me as a growing person. I usually write a little something like a blog about the past year when New Year’s Eve comes around but this time, it was just hard for me to assess the past year of 2010. It’s almost like I don’t even remember what happened. It felt like it was two years instead of a single year. It felt like this because I genuinely think that I enjoyed every moment of every day. I appreciated everything that happened to me and everything that I was a part of last year.

2010 was a year of growth, milestones and change. I don’t remember another year that was as big as 2010. Maybe 2006, when I left Clarke and went onto high school, but this is on a whole other level. During the first half of the year, I was able to enjoy my last semester of high school at The MacDuffie School. I had the time to look back on my amazing high school years and on my own personal past. I also thought about what I really wanted for the future and what I wanted out of myself and my life. It was emotionally difficult to leave MacDuffie and I’ll never forget the four years I spent there. Then, I had a somewhat busy summer home and in the second half of the year, I headed off to New York City, the city of my dreams, for college. It was even more so emotional than I thought it’d be. It was very hard to leave home, high school and my family and friends to head off to a brand new place. I have discovered so much more about myself and I’ve learned how to live in the moment while maintaining a sense of ambition for the future.

In overall, I had quite an exciting year. I remember having a great and memorable 19th birthday with friends in February. I’ll never forget getting all those college acceptances and stressing out about the big decision. March break brought the amazing trip to a high school dance festival in Miami. The last two months of senior year went by quickly and they were jam-packed with unforgettable memories. The summer brought the AG Bell convention to Orlando; that was a great experience with friends and a presentation. I also worked at the Clarke Summer Camp and went to Maine for a family vacation. The last few weeks of the summer included packing for school. The first month of college was quite crazy, but both memorable and a time of independence. October and November were busy and I was able to settle into a college-like lifestyle. December was a special month of spending the holidays in New York and making it home in time for Christmas and the last string of holidays. I rang in the new year with high school friends. I did indeed enjoy 2010, maybe more than any other year I lived.

As of now, I don’t know what 2011 will bring or what it should be for myself. I want to do big things. I want to put myself out there. And I’m going to make that happen. I know I’m in the perfect place in the world, I’ve met great people, I have had incredible experiences so far. I want to continue that no matter what. The only thing I have to do is make it happen, make my dreams happen. It will take many years, but I’m in college and I’m ready to go. 2011 is the beginning.

happy holidays from new york!

After leaving home from Thanksgiving Break and getting my first whiff of the holiday spirit by seeing a Christmas tree in the New Haven train station, I headed back to school the Monday after Thanksgiving for my first holiday season in the city!

When I got back, I started celebrating right away – I guess I didn’t want to wait a minute! I grabbed a friend of mine, Michelle, and headed to Columbus Circle for the Winter’s Eve celebration! The trees were lit up around the Circle and in front of the Times Warner building. There were tents set up by holiday shops and high-end restaurants selling holiday novelties and cheap eats. It was crowded with people radiating their own form of holiday spirit. Michelle and I walked into the mall, and walked up Broadway towards Lincoln Center and Lincoln Square. Lincoln Square was where there were more tents set up and they had holiday music playing around a decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the Square. It was beautiful and it was a great start to the season!

And I didn’t stop. The very next day, I planned to skip my computers class at 5:30 and instead go to Rockefeller Center for the famous tree lighting at the Plaza. I left early with another friend, Casmir, and we got there around 4 PM. We had to get there early because it was increasingly getting crowded by the minute. We walked around and found a spot but you couldn’t see the tree as it was being blocked by other trees! So, we quickly walked to the other side of the plaza and we found a really good spot – it was close, I could see the television screen and, best of all, I could see the tree clearly. It was a beautiful tree. (Honestly, not the best I’ve seen compared to years’ past.)

But it was, nonetheless, an amazing experience. I have watched the tree lighting for, I don’t know, maybe three or four years on television and I was finally there. I was finally a part of the crowd in the greatest city in the world. No, I was in a crowd of five hundred thousand people – half a million people – in New York City. I was beyond happy. I couldn’t have been any happier. I stood there for five hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. The music, the people, the pictures, the show, and the tree. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope to make it a yearly tradition.

Another night included making mini gingerbread houses a night after my family made theirs back at home! It was a nice surprise from my friends. They knew that I missed the tradition of making a gingerbread house with my family and a bunch of my floormates and other friends bought supplies to make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, frosting and candy. It was a fun night and I appreciated all of it. It definitely lifted my spirit.

I also decorated my dorm room with some cheap holiday garland, stockings and Santa hats! I had Christmas cups, bowls and even a holiday paper towel roll to use. I used a “Merry Christmas” mug for my coffee almost every single day. My roommate used some of my garland and bows to hang on his side – it was a great way to keep up the spirit throughout the weeks of December. I also had my own miniature lit Christmas tree decorated with my own ornaments from home! It was on all the time.

I went to Olive Garden with Sam and Crystal; to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, walked around Prospect Park and Brooklyn with Amanda; to the Met with my RA; saw a gingerbread festival; witnessed the first few flurries in the city; and saw decorations all throughout New York. I also saw caroling at the South Street Seaport; did Secret Santa with some floormates; saw the 5th Avenue decorations; had my family over for a day and experienced the lunar eclipse in New York City.

The first few weeks of December away from home were hard because I was used to celebrating this special and beautiful time at home. But, they knew I loved New York and it was time for me to be an independent person. So, it was time for me to enjoy my time in the city and I knew that they wouldn’t have wanted anything else other than myself enjoying the city. Therefore, I’ll say, I had an amazing first holiday season in New York City with my friends from college…

I hope your holiday season was just as great!

I’ll leave you with some more pictures:

 

family in the city!

This past Saturday, I got a treat and my family visited me in the city! I was so happy because I was able to see them and show them around. Also, it was the holiday season, so I especially missed them and I showed them some of the holiday sights here in New York.

We met at the Grand Central Terminal at 12 noon, and just awed at the sight of each other. After doing so, we left and grabbed a quick lunch at Bravo Pizza! Then, we walked down 5th to Rockefeller Center. Before getting there, we saw the holiday decorations across Radio Music City Hall. And before getting to the tree, we dealt with some of the New York Christmas chaos! I loved it. Then, we attempted to take Christmas pictures in front of the tree, just like a million other people there did as well.

We went to the NBC Store and hung out there for a bit to relax and we took the subway down to Pace University. I had my family meet some of my friends and we spent some time in my dorm room before departing to a Little Italy restaurant. We went and had our dinner in the middle of Little Italy with all their holiday decorations! It was a great day and I’ll never forget it. I enjoyed having them come over and see what I’m used to living with! Love them to death.

heartbroken, but no memories are lost

Last week, I found out that my high school was sold to a for-profit organization, which meant a change in campus and such. I was taken aback from the announcement through email, and I first heard about it through friends on Facebook. It was definitely overwhelming and upsetting at first.

I’ll tell you why. I went to the MacDuffie School because of the campus. That was one of my major deciding factors, as well as the high level of education, strong performing arts program and the people. The campus was special to me. I wanted the experience of walking to a different school building for a class in my high school years. So, I got that. But, it meant more than that. I learned that in my four years of school there. The campus meant so much more than just a piece of land with historic houses and school buildings spread apart. It scared people away because it was in the middle of Springfield, Massachusetts, a city that was falling apart. (No offense, Springfield, I still support you and your attempts of climbing back to success.) The city’s violence and danger scared people away from MacDuffie’s beautiful campus. MacDuffie proved people wrong. It could still create a sense of belonging and make you feel like you were home, right in the middle of a violence ridden city. On my way to school, I saw the bad parts of Springfield, but when I put my foot onto MacDuffie’s property, every single day, none of Springfield’s dangers crossed my mind as I ran to catch up with my friends and stress out about my studies.

The campus meant more than that too. It had history. That’s where MacDuffie was founded. 120 years! And all those incredible historic buildings with its beautiful architecture. And special traditions were performed here. Remember Candlelight? Candlelight is a ceremony where the entire school goes out to one of the fields on campus and everyone forms a circle around a bonfire while holding an unlit candle. There’s an outer circle of students and faculty who have been there for the previous year, and there’s an inner circle composing of those who are new. Then, administration and student government light the candles of the outer circle and then speeches are made. Then, the inner circle joins the outer circle and gets their candles lit. They are no longer known as “new kids.” They are a part of the community. We then all line up and make a small half circle around the circle on the campus and sing the school song.

There are so many special things on campus that make it special. The magnolia trees. The athletic field that used to be just dust. Tanning on the tennis courts. Those extremely steep stairs down to South Hall and how they used to get so flooded in torrential rain storms. The circle, where a motto was made and traditions were done. That tiny stage for our extravagantly done shows. The first snow on campus. The senior murals. The locker room, as well as the senior cubby room. Dancing on the field in the spring. No other school had that. The school was extremely unique. It was run down, people would visit the school and not view it as a college prep private school, because it didn’t look like one. It was beat up and, honestly, people who wanted to go to MacDuffie for school, didn’t go because of how run down it looked. But, the people – the students, faculty and administration – made it all not matter. We made the school special by creating a tight-knit community of intelligence, creativity and love. MacDuffie was really special.

There are some other issues relating the new campus in Granby, such as, students leaving because of how far it is, transportation issues, a new headmaster, the whole change to for-profit, the possibility of the mission changing and all. I was upset about a few of these things, but I’m not going to comment on those issues. I’m going to just stand behind the point that campus was incredibly special and that’s one of the reasons MacDuffie will stay in my heart forever. The only thing I’ll say about the new campus and to all the people moving over there is: Along with all the changes, please, please, don’t change your mission and turn into another one of those snooty, obnoxious prep schools, because that’s not who you truly are.

After talking all about the campus and how it was special to the school… it is the people who made it great. So, I hope that the people who are there right now, stay true to themselves and to the school; and bring all of that heart and spirit to Granby. I wish MacDuffie the best of luck, and I’ll still visit!

an adventure at the met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art made an appearance on the freshman dorm calendar of activities, and I thought I’d take advantage of a Saturday afternoon and go to the famous city museum!

I ended up being the only one to go with my RA, but it was still worthwhile my time. It was only $12 dollars for a student rate and we spent three hours walking through most of the museum. I thought it was a great deal and I was kind of lacking some artistic inspiration after a full semester without any serious theater or dance experiences.

We walked through the majority of the first floor of the Met. We saw Egyptian art, the Temple of Dendur and some American art classics before my RA had to go to the cafeteria in order to satisfy his hunger. We also saw that the Temple of Dendur was where Will Smith shot a short scene in ‘I am Legend’. (The movie was actually on the night after my trip there, and I saw the scene!) After chatting while he ate, we saw some interesting modern art. I’ll say that the modern art section was my favorite, but the rest was as equally fascinating. I really liked how fresh and new modern art looked compared to the detailed ancient art sections I walked through beforehand. Then, in order to exit the museum, we had to walk through the Greek and Roman art section and it reminded me of my high school Latin classes!

It was quite the experience and I really enjoyed it. I’m already planning a trip back next semester as I missed so much in the museum – you can’t possibly do it all in one day!

wouldn’t want it any other way

Honestly, I’ve missed blogging.

So, here I am, after over three months of college in the greatest city in the world. I’m back.

The first month was a jampacked month of exploration and excitement. It was my first time experiencing actual independence. It was scary, confusing, frustrating, exciting, incredible and fun. There were times where I had a huge mess all over my room and I’d be going to bed at 3 in the morning. Those times were when I longed for schedules and neat rooms. I learned so much more about myself. I learned that I am a very social person and I can’t stand being alone for too long. I found out that I can’t be bored for long either. And this is the place to be both social and busy.

September… wow. I remember feeling my heart beat rapidly on September 3rd, the day I moved in into my dorm. It was a chaotic, yet organized day, and it was very emotional for me. My father drove us down on that day and we pulled up to Pace University. Both my nightmare and dream came true. I couldn’t bear leaving my family and I couldn’t wait to be an independent college student in the big city. We moved all my stuff into my new room as we also met my roommate and his mother. After a mandatory security meeting, I met my family down at the South Street Seaport for a farewell dinner. It was bittersweet… I remember walking up to the Pace University Theater entrance and having tears run down my cheeks as I said goodbye to my family. I didn’t want them to leave, but it’s a part of life and it was my time to fly.

So, September brought trips to the South Street Seaport with multiple groups of friends, sleepless nights, walks on the Brooklyn Bridge, pictures, decorating and organizing my room, Convocation with Temple Grandin, New York City’s Fashion Night Out, September 11th at World Trade Center’s Ground Zero, West Side Story in Times Square, seeing a movie shooting, catching a glimpse of Jessica Simpson, getting a picture with the Rockettes, eating at Little Italy’s San Gennaro Festival, and going to Pace University’s Fall Fest. I ended the month of September with a weekend home. It was a great month. I remember spending my first night at Pace out in the city with a group of 10 friends walking and laughing at McDonalds at 2 in the morning. It was amazing. And then I remember being reunited with my family September and we just spent all our time together.

October came and went like a flash. In the first month here, I hung out with so many different friends, I didn’t belong to a certain group of friends. This was the month where I started to hang out with a small group of friends on my floor and it’s been great so far. We started to do things for each other. Like celebrate each other’s birthdays, go shopping, eat, and simply hang out together nightly. October included shopping on Broadway, my first clubbing experience, Battery Park, seeing ‘The Social Network’ captioned, a failed attempt to see the sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge, starting my new love for 16 Handles, ordering Dominos, a friend of mine – Mel’s – visit, and my computer breaking. That was only halfway into October. I had to head home to get my computer fixed and spend more time with my family! We went on our first corn maze! As for my computer – my dad had to send it to HP. I went back to Pace in time for the 17th floor “Penthouse Party”, Pace University’s Oktoberfest, friends friends’ visits, and catching up with a fellow high school alum!

I’m not done. October also brought Halloweekend! After weeks of being sick, I was finally able to pull through and get better for a jam-packed weekend. The day before Halloween, I woke up early to volunteer for a kids Halloween party in a residential area of Chinatown. It was fun! And then I met a friend of mine and all her friends and celebrated her birthday! We went out to eat, took pictures, and made a last minute decision to go watch ‘Paranormal Activity 2.’ It was the second best way to celebrate Halloween! The best way to celebrate was on Halloween – I went to the Halloween parade in Greenwich Village with the same friend! I came up with my Halloween costume the night before! I was a blue crayon! And the parade was an incredible experience itself. Just pure chaos, I loved it.

November, November, ah it went by faster than October did. The first weekend was when my friend from Rochester came to visit me in the city! It was great having her visit and us catch up! Other things that happened included a walk into Brooklyn Heights, the International Quidditch World Cup, seeing Rihanna in Times Square, then seeing Rihanna on ‘Good Morning America’ and getting on TV. Then, it was off home for a week for Thanksgiving! I spent a great week with family and some friends. I saw my sister perform in my high school’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and saw some fellow high school graduates. I spent quality time with family and my grandmother, went Black Friday shopping with my mother, and had some good food. It was a great time home, I’ll tell you.

Then, I came back to the city. Two days back, I was busy. The first night, I went to the Winter’s Eve celebration in Lincoln Square and Columbus Circle with a Pace friend. There was cheap high end restaraunt food, free samples, holiday decorations and Christmas music. It was beautiful. The next night, I went to the Rockefeller Center tree lighting with another friend and… it was incredible. I saw the television taping, the performers and the tree lighting itself while being in a crowd of half a million people in the greatest city in the world. It was simply amazing. I mean, that’s what I came here for. I came here to be surrounded by millions of people. I came here to experience amazing, almost unreal and memorable experiences. I came here for all this. I can tell all of you that I am so, so happy.