Sunday, June 28, 2009

New York City at last!

Good evening everyone from Columbia!

Yesterday and today have been an extremely long day. To begin, I didn't sleep at all the night before the flight so that I would be able to sleep the entire flight going to JFK International Airport. My strategy was somewhat of a success; indeed, I did manage to sleep for probably five hours of the approximate six hour flight, but at the same time, that was all the sleep I received – five hours. This drained all of my energy for the day. The only thing pushing me to stay awake was the excitement of the journey that lied ahead of me.

When I first arrived at New York, the first thing I noticed was the complete weather change. To me, it was a bit depressing. That warm California Sun that I love to see every summer had disappeared and left a grey, overcast sky. The atmosphere was also a lot more humid than the dry, brisk, Californian weather, reminding me of the weather I would experience when I would return to the Philippines.

Then, the crew and I embarked on a drive to our hotel in Manhattan. Passing through New York neighborhoods, I also noticed a difference of architecture between the buildings of New York and the ones in the Bay Area. In New York, and likely in most parts of the East Coast, the buildings seemed to be old. The houses we passed had a rustic, vintage style compared to the suburban homes in the Bay Area.

As soon as we arrived to our hotel, the Marriot, it began to rain. The rain was quick, yet strong, leaving the city damp during our stroll to Times Square. Our walk around reminded me of my eighth grade trip to New York. Most of the sights we saw were things that I have seen before – only this time, I felt that I was more mature enough to appreciate my surroundings.

My stay at the Marriott Hotel was a real treat. Being the only guy in this trip had its perks; I got my own room at such a luxurious place. I was really glad. I have little time for myself back home, and my night alone in the room just allowed me to relax.

The next morning, I, along with everybody else, left the hotel and continued our venture around Manhattan. There, we visited and ate breakfast in the Trump Towers and saw the gorgeous fountain that Mrs. Lilhanand had talked about. While walkig down Fifth Avenue, one of us noticed the movable fences put up to close down the street. A man overheard our conversation and explained to us that the Pride Parade was to be held there at twelve o'clock noontime. Excited, the group and I quickly asked Mrs. Lilhanand if we could watch for a while, and as soon as we requested, she magically made altercations to our plan .

We only watched about a little less than a hour -- but what an hour it was. This was my first time watching one these parades, despite my relative location back home to what many people consider an area where many homosexuals live. The entire parade was filled with floats of motivation, occasional club promotions, various groups, etc., but what caught my eye the most were the number of political campaigns placed within the parade. These people are all about change; they marched in hopes of a more equal future -- and because of this, I supported them with my cheers. The whole atmostphere was incredible; thousands of people came to the celebration to show their support.

After, we got to business. We packed our bags and left the Marriott for Columbia. When we first arrived there, I did not even notice the school at all. The campus is small, yet very beautiful. The red-brick buildings are exemplary pieces of architecture. The moment I laid foot in the intimidating campus, I became nervous, full of timidity. I was afraid, afraid of the people I would meet, afraid of the class I would take -- afraid of everything. 

Once Mrs. Lilhanand bought us a gift from the Columbia store, she left us to be, all alone. From there, we went to our rooms. I got to meet some of the people who slept in the same floor as I do (John Jay, floor 5), specifically my group. These people were different people from different locations of the map. One was from Turkey, another from England, and others from other parts of the United States. I got to learn a lot about them just starting small conversation with them.

Now, I sit here in my small single dorm, typing this blog, getting ready to sleep before my first day of class. Columbia demanded that everyone be at the dining room by 7:00, meaning I don't get to have a long sleep. Wish me luck! 

1 comment:

Don Gosney said...


Nice posting.

I'm intrigued by the seemingly large number of suitemates from Turkey (two young women in one of the other posts). It's not that Turkey is all that small but I wouldn't have guessed that there'd be even three students from Turkey attending Columbia for these classes. It just goes to show that we shouldn't make snap judgments.

I wouldn't worry about any feelings of intimidation, Gabe. Just remember that there are only 12 million of them but there's still one of you. Sounds like fair odds to me.

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