I woke up at 7 AM and got out of bed at 7:15. My body felt heavy because I didn’t want to leave Brown University. At the same time, I was anxious to leave Rhode Island and to enter New York. I’ve always imagined New York as a place with tall buildings and red carpets. But just like California is not all about San Francisco, I wasn’t expecting New York to be like Times Square. Before I talk about my journey to New York, I have to describe all about of my busy morning.
As soon as I got out of my bed, I neatly folded my bed sheets and pillow cover into the suitcase that I wasn’t bringing to New York, my check-in bag. At 8 AM, Jenny came to Perkin Hall with a taxi driver to drop off our check-in luggage at Hotel Providence so that we wouldn’t have to take it during our three days in New York. Afterwards, Stephanie and I, a friend in my Women and Leadership class, went to breakfast together because NEMOW didn’t want to get breakfast with me again. My day isn’t right unless I have a delicious meal in the morning.
|I miss Isabella.|
|Selfie with Isabella|
In class, we did an exercise where we passed a ball of yarn around in a circle and talked about our unforgettable moments at Brown University. Every time we talked, we pulled a part of the yarn and held onto that part. This exercise made me realize that I had a really good time at Brown. There was a vibe in the Women and Leadership class that made me want to keep on learning all the time. Dean Almandrez, my classmates, and Isabella all taught me to think outside the box and to be more aware of my surroundings. It was nice being around people from different places in the world, yet had some of the same opinions as mine. At the end of our discussion, each of us cut the yarn so that we have something to remind us of the things that we learned in this class this summer.
|Dean Almandrez and me|
Dean Almandrez gave each of us something so little but has so much meaning to it. Inside the Ziploc bag, there were Play-doh, tissue, and chocolate kisses. The Ziploc bag represents what you are feeling and thinking. Play-doh is a symbol for ourselves that can mold or change into a different shape, but we will still be the same person. The dean put the tissue in the bag to show that it’s okay to cry because you have to let feelings out. Lastly, the chocolate is specifically “hugs and kisses” because the teacher said that she would always be here for you and support is the best medicine. It’s one of the most meaningful gift that I’ve ever received in my life. Thank you Dean Almandrez.
|NEMOW in the process of getting our luggages on the opposite side of campus.|
After class, NEMOW dropped off our dorm keys and fans and took a taxi to the train station. Just like the first day of class, we looked super funny while carrying our luggage down the hill and across the campus. It was tiring but they are memories.
|Thao and I happy with our train tickets|
While NEMOW and our chaperone, Jenny waited for the train to come, we ate half a sandwich and saved the rest for lunch. Like always, Thao was talking to strangers like always I the train. The lady seemed interested in the Ivy League Connection and Thao was more than happy to explain every detail about how we got here for free. It’s crazy to think that we are here on a scholarship and every single thing is being paid for during our trip. Inside the train, Thao and I had some difficulty opening the bathroom door. It was definitely a funny struggle for us because it seemed something so simple, yet we didn’t know how to do it. Eventually, Thao figured out how to open it, but I still don’t know how the door works. Both of us took a good hour nap in the train but we were still tired throughout the day. My eyes were open, but it was like as if I was sleep walking.
|Busy New York Train Station|
As soon as we arrived in New York, we took the taxi to Hotel Beacon. My taxi driver was speeding and never turned his signals on. I felt like I was in a race car because the driver took every chance to speed up when there was no car in front of his car. Right away, I could tell the difference between CA and NY. The air, people, cars, buildings were all different from back home. The air was humid although the sky was cloudy. The people were frowning as they walked down the streets. Cars were always honking and I could hear sirens every ten minutes. Right now, I can already tell that I am not a city person. However the next couple of days might or might not change my opinions to not come to New York for college.
|Tall buildings of New York|
|Dinner at Isabella's|
When we got to the hotel, we only had several minutes to change clothes because we were late for our dinner with current Columbia students. My hotel-mate is Muang. I’m looking forward to the upcoming nights that we’ll stay up together because I feel like I haven’t gotten to know her as the other ILC cohorts of Women and Leadership. When we got dressed, we took the elevator to the lobby. Muang and I accidentally took the elevator that goes up, not down. So we spend around three minutes inside the elevator, waiting for it to finally go down. When everyone was at the lobby, we walked to Isabella’s which is the name of a fancy restaurant.
|Inside view of the restaurant|
I learned so many things during the time that I spent talking to current Columbia University students. One of the college students attended Middle College High School (JUST LIKE ME!) and was an ILCer back in 2005 at Columbia. She advised me to apply for scholarships, to finish my personal statement before school starts, and to look at colleges and what they have to offer. It was interesting to hear her stories about adjusting to New York because we come from the same neighborhood. I could picture myself feeling the same way she did if I came to New York for college. I was motivated to be as active as she was in high school after our dinner.
|Left to right (Bill, Maria, Izabel)|
The food at Isabella’s was too fancy for me. I’m pretty sure that it took over thirty minutes for them to give us our food. I had crab cake, steak, and creme brulee. I gave my crème brulee to Magaly because it was too sweet for me to eat. Just like our dinner at San Francisco a couple months ago, the steak sauce was delicious. The waiter was going around refilling our waters and he accidentally poured water into my glass of Sprite. I asked him if that was Sprite and he quickly left to get me a new drink. I felt bad for a mistake that he made but I know it was better than keeping it to myself.
When dinner was over, we came back to our hotel and worked on our blogs. Muang and I both unintentionally fell asleep while writing our blogs and woke up at 4 AM to finish it. Now it’s 5:23 AM and I hope Don doesn’t notice. I can’t wait to sleep tonight.