As we embarked on our seven-week winter break, I was most excited about a 10-day trip to New York City to visit friends. New York has always been at the top of my list for favorite places, and I figured that 10 days would be enough to cover everything I wanted to see. Obviously, I was mistaken. I had an entire list of places I wasn’t able to cover, but here are five highlights from what I did do…
1) My best friend and I spent a day in Brooklyn. We met up with a guy from K, and he showed us around his neighborhood. We also visited his mom at work in an artisan foods store. I had only been to Brooklyn once before, and it wasn’t the best experience, but a beautiful Saturday at a 1930s-style diner, a walk around Prospect Park, and dinner in Williamsburg all changed my mind. If I were going to move to New York, I’d consider Brooklyn a viable option.
2) The friend I stayed the most while in NYC had interning at the UNF and in December this led to a number of incredible holiday parties… which I got to attend. Just being associated with some of the other interns and people who worked at the UN was mind-blowing for me. Some things sound neat on paper, but in real life leave a lot to be desired. This lived up to how it sounds. One of the parties was hosted in a museum in DC. Another was at a prestigious address near Central Park. Everyone I met immediately made me feel at home, despite being so far outside my comfort zone.
3) My brother used to live in New Jersey, so despite the bad rap it gets, I have always had a certain fondness for the Garden State. One day during fall quarter, I was walking across campus with Alex, who happens to be from NJ, and we realized that I would be out east long enough to visit him at home. One of my favorite things is seeing friends from K or study abroad in their natural environments. I think it lends a lot of perspective into who they are, so now when I see Alex on campus I know about his house and his dog and that his parents have read my blogs from Beijing. And I have to mention that we went to a diner. I love diners.
4) When I decided I should join up with my other host in NYC, Alex and I went into the city together and got tickets to see “Once” on Broadway. He had seen it before, and everyone in line had only good things to say. It was a small show, and the music was (as one might expect) fantastic. Before the show we got dinner with three first-years we know from K. It was refreshing to see familiar faces around the halfway point of both my trip to NYC and of winter break.
5) Finally, just a few days before leaving, we decided to go to Connecticut to visit one of my best friends from study abroad. It was finals week at Connecticut College, but study abroad friends are the best thing since sliced bread, so Becky didn’t mind coming to pick us up at the train station and driving us back to her campus. (It’s a lot farther than from K’s campus to the Kalamazoo train station.) I hadn’t been on a new college campus since I was in high school, and to see Becky in her ‘natural environment’ and get a tour of an east coast liberal arts college was really interesting. I also got to meet her twin sister, which was great because people always confuse Becky and me, then joke that we’re twins – but Becky already has a twin! And I look nothing like her! After an evening at Conn, we happily headed back to the city and I got ready to go back home for the holidays.