A Week of Short Stories and Thoughts

This is a week of short stories.

On Monday I missed my stop on the train.  I had begun to think that I had some kind of ‘internal organ’ that told me when I was close to my stop.  I thought this because sometimes when I’m on a train for a while I think to myself, “I have 4 stops left,” and then discover I am right.  But on Monday I stayed on the train an extra 2 stops without realizing it and had to walk an extra 7 blocks to my house.  This is pathetic considering my stop leaves me only 1 block to walk.

Well, maybe that was a fluke.  I was looking at pinterest and got distracted.  But on Friday I did it again.  This time I realized as the train pulled out of the station that that station was mine!  So I only had to walk 3 extra blocks that time.  Friday’s mistake was due to my weariness but still left me disappointed that I, in fact, do not have an internal train clock.

Which leads me to my next short story.

Friday.  I was on the train before the sun.  (Walking to the train, in the dark, in the morning, is kind of creepy.  Mornings are so calm and very untypical to New York.  I don’t know what to think of them.)  But needless to say, I was tired.  But I didn’t let that get in the way of my day.

More about Friday. 🙂

Friday I did hearing screens on kindergarteners in Harlem for 5 hours.  It mostly involves a lot of smiling and encouraging and making listening to beeps and letting me stick things in their ears sound as fun as possible.  But sometimes we have to wait and we are allowed some time to chat, which is always fun.  But the funniest thing I heard from a kid on Friday was actually DURING a screen.  This was a little girl with some severe attention problems (which, as you can imagine, is a pretty big problem when I want you to sit still and listen to tiny sounds in a quite room) and at one point during the screen she turned around to me and said, “Hey! Turn it up!! I can barely hear it!”  Hilarious. (It just occurred to me that maybe this is only funny to me- because of my field. If so, you can just laugh at my humor instead of my story.)

I also met my fair share of girls with great braids and boys with cute dimples on Friday.  Makes me even more excited about getting a job.

Also about Friday.  This screening event was the first time I’ve really been in Harlem.  Kinda.  My school is in Harlem, but not the ‘real’ Harlem, just the location of Harlem.  But this kindergarten was in ‘real’ Harlem, next to THE projects.  The Projects is a term used to define government housing.  These areas, and therefore Harlem, are stereotyped as being very ‘unsafe.’  Well, I must be pretty use to the ‘hood’ in Brooklyn because I just laughed to myself when the girl I was walking with said, ‘You might want to put your phone away.’  Something about this interaction makes me feel like I belong here.

Also this week, I had my final two midterms for the month.  (I say, ‘for the month,’ because I have 2 more in November and then finals in December.  But for now, I have a little break. 🙂 )

*Insert midterm story here* Before my midterm on Thursday the class was interrupted by the largest bug I’ve ever seen.  In my life.  That I can remember.  It was called a cockroach by some of the girls (who were screaming and standing on the tables) but I’ve never seen one an inch thick like this one before.  And I lived in Central America. That said, the bug was killed and our pretest anxieties were released in the process.

To celebrate surviving my month of midterms (and cockroaches) I found my favorite food truck: Wafels & Dinges

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Needless to say, it was delicious.

And one final thought.  Sometimes people ask me if I like it here in NY.  And I do.  I really, really do.  And I think it’s because I feel God’s grace so much more here, if that’s possible.  But at home it seems easy to be ‘luke-warm’ and safe and independent from God.  It’s just so easy to be comfortable and do what we need to do.  Thoughtless in action.  It’s something about living in a Christian culture that makes Christianity culturally appropriate and therefore, easy.  But here I feel so much more dependent on God.  Before I moved here I thought I would be scared more often.  I mean, NY is scary right?  But I haven’t been scared very much at all, in fact, almost never.  Before I moved here I thought I’d probably be lonely.  I mean, NY is far from a lot of people I love.  But I haven’t even been that homesick yet.  On the flip side, some things have occurred that I wasn’t anticipating.  Mainly these things are related to me being challenged to choose to live consciously.  Like my roommate said one time, here in the city I’m forced to be more proactive about choosing God, because there are so many things here that can easily suck me in.  The culture is not as accommodating to luckwarmness.  Here I must consciously choose, sometimes daily, to think, respond, and even relax differently than the culture around me.  But I don’t think these things are coincidences.  In fact, I know they aren’t.  I know that it is God who is making feel safe and not alone.  It is God who is working out the growth I need daily to survive here.  And I just wanted to give him credit for that.

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.” C.S. Lewis

If a picture says 1000 words

Today I don’t feel like using words.  So this is a photo- montage of my weekend with 2 of my dear siblings all the way from Indiana.  Enjoy. (Sorry about some of the quality, these were all taken on my phone.)

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So basically, we spent the whole day on Saturday just chillin in the city.  We explored on the Columbia Campus (yup- I made them visit my school), visited Grand Central Station, Central Park, and Washington Square Park.  We watched people for hours.  We rode the longest carousel ride ever, had my first Haagen-Daz, and about walked 35 miles, probably, it seemed like.  By the end (actually, by the middle) we were tired but we loved it!  Nothing better than exploring the city with people I love!

A New Normal

Life here in NYC is very normal.

I know it’s normal because I do it every day and it almost never changes.

On Sundays I go to church.  Our service starts at 10(ish) and ends (after Sunday school) at 1:00(ish).  Here we are not afraid to ‘run over’ on time.  Something people in the midwest could learn from….

On Mondays I do laundry in the morning.  The laundromat is down 2 flights of stairs (as I live on the 3rd floor) and about a block east of me.  The owners are Chinese and always look tired when I arrive (usually) at 9 am.  They probably work too much.  The washing machine takes a 1/2 hour.  I can run my whites and darks at the same time since they have so many washers.  Isn’t that handy? The dryer take a 1/2 hour as well.  The rest of my day (until class) I spend doing my reading for the week.  Now that I’m in grad school I feel pressure to read my text books.  Well, I used to feel pressure.  But I got over it, now I just skim them.
Then I go to school.  I observe therapy at 3:45 on Mondays.  Train traffic (and people traffic) is very weird on Mondays.  It took me a little to get used to.  It’s weird b/c depending on the time and where I am at in the city I may be 1 of 7 people in my car, or 1 of 200, if I’m lucky enough to squeeze in.  After observation I stay for Articulation Disorders.  I’m auditing the class b/c I had it in my undergrad.  Which is nice because I get to learn for free.  But I don’t get home till after 8.

Tuesdays vary more.  I always have Stuttering and e-group (the group that meets to talk about what we observed this week in therapy).  Sometimes I have practicum (the group that meets to talk about what we need to do to get through therapy when we have it).

Wednesday are my least favorite.  They start out with lab methods. Which is painful.  We are measuring sound waves and comparing them w/ logs and all kinds of math things I have to look to wikipedia for help with.  After lab I have a 5 hour break. Which is also painful. 5 hours is a long time to do anything, especially sit in a library and study, even if I am with friends.  I end the day with Language Disorders in Children, which I love but always have a headache in, and get home after 8, again.

Thursdays are my favorite.  I only have one class.  It’s from 11:10-12:40.  I don’t like the class.  But when it’s over I’m free until 3:45 on Monday.  And I like that. But free is a relative term since I do homework every day of the weekend.  Turns out grad school is actually a lot of work.

Fridays are nice.  I used to have a 6 hour hearing measurements class, but that ended a week ago.  The next 2 weeks I get to take my learning from that class to do hearing screens at a local school, which I’m looking forward to.  I guess Fridays aren’t that normal yet since I don’t have a routine for them.

Saturdays are hopeful.  I usually do homework in the morning and try to do something fun in the afternoon/evening. This week my younger siblings (Troy and Vanessa) are coming to see me.  They will proceed to rip my normal from me and steal all my homework time (which is only kind of a problem since I have 2 midterms and a project due next week) but I’m looking forward to it.  I’ve been itching for an adventure day in the city.  Plus, all this normal stuff is overrated.

(In case you were wondering, yes, I’m settled in.)

Tourists

My view of tourists is evolving.  Mostly I think they are cute.  Like a lost child.  Not a desperately lost child.  Just a confused lost child.

I have decided that tourists have an air about them.  Their very being resonates with, “I’m not from here.”

Here are some basic ways to tell if someone is a tourist:

1. There is one obvious leader- with a map. + 5 points

2. They are part of a group.  Typically couples with (or without) teenage children.  + 3 points

3. Wearing a good pair of walking shoes. (They’re here for the day) + 2 points

4. Wearing their backpack backwards (in front of them). + 10 points (I’m sorry, but this is something a local NEVER does.)

5. They have nothing to do on the train and instead opt to talk loudly with their traveling companions or people watch. + 4 points

6. Wide eyes. They are taking in their surroundings because they are not typical. + 3 points

7. They are white and in Brooklyn. + 5 points

8. And they have their luggage with them. +3 points

9. They speak to each other in another language, preserving privacy and distance from their surroundings. + 3 points

10. They have a camera. In their hands. Ready to shoot. + 6 points

11. They are riding a tourist bus. (and therefore labeling themselves as tourists) + 6 points

12. They walk slowly when everyone is walking quickly. Blocking pedestrian traffic is a sure sign of experiencing novelty (or old age). + 4 points

Totals-

0- 29 – MIGHT not be a tourist

30- 54 – A tourist

So…. funny story. This week a couple got on the train.  They were white and in Brooklyn.  They were together. And they were carrying a mesh bag that contained jackets and umbrellas.  And they just SEEMED like they didn’t belong.

So I asked… “Are you from here?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “oh.”

“I just moved here and I’m still trying to figure things out.”

I figured that sounded better than- “Oh, I thought you were a tourist and wanted to know how you like New York.”

She said, “I’ve lived here 60 years.”

ehh heh heh. funny.

But in all fairness, they don’t usually take the train.  They were kinda new to the train.

And I guess it doesn’t matter because we chatted all the way to the city.  Turns out her granddaughter goes to Queens College for speech therapy.  Small world.

And FYI: even though people who live NOT in New York City think that I moved to New York City, they are wrong.  I moved to Brooklyn.  I live in Brooklyn. But I do go to school in THE city. And then I come back home to Brooklyn.  While Brooklyn is still bigger than any city in Indiana (probably) it is not the city.  There is only one the city around here and that is- Manhattan.  Just to be clear.

 


And this video?  Just for your enjoyment.  It’s a stunt.  But when slow-walking tourists make me miss my train, I think it’s a great idea.

10 Things Worth Stumbling Into

New York is a great place to stumble upon great things.  Here’s a list of my top 10 favorite things I’ve found so far.

10. Children

Seeing children is a treat to me since I don’t live with any but am learning so much about their development in school.  However, they rank lowest on my list because sometimes they are not nice.  I prefer interactive and obedient ones.  Ones that smile.  Or chatter to each other in languages I don’t know.  I prefer not to hear screaming.  What I hate most about seeing children misbehaving is the consistent example of bad parenting that I often see with it.  Slapping, glaring, and threatening make me scared, and I’m not even the one they are talking to.  These are not fun situations to stumble upon.

9. Rush Hour

You think this is full?

No. THIS is fuller.

And this is what I see every day, minus the coats.  In fact, I waited 6 minutes for a train today, only to wait another 4 minutes because the train was too full to possibly squeeze myself in there.  (Meaning, fuller than the above picture- because in that picture at least 3 more people could fit in the doorway.) Lesson learned- I need to be a more proactive rush hour rider.  So, I don’t like to be in trains like this.  But I love to see them, especially as I sit in my train across the platform.  Those squished people just look so silly.

8. Tourists

I usually love to see tourists as well (unless they make me miss my train like they did today because they are walking soooooo slow.  It’s like following a lady going the speed limit when you’re late for work.)  But what I love about tourists is the atmosphere they bring with them.  Something about their ‘innocence’ and wonder makes me smile and want to ask, “Are you lost?” and “How do you like the city?”

Some tourists are easy to spot and are found mostly near big attractions:

others are no soooo obvious but one of them always has a map:

7. Monuments

I love to stumble upon monuments.  They are usually recognizable from movies (this one can be seen in August Rush) and speak of times gone by.  It’s ALMOST like being connected to history.  Especially the one by my school that commemorates George Washington’s Battle in Harlem.

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6. Urban Art

These things usually surprise me, as I’m not expecting them, and they always make my day.

This is Alice from Alice in Wonderland trying to exit the 50th street train station:

More from The Way Out by Liliana Porter at the 50th Street 1 train subway station. Alice even looks behind the tiles at the train station, cause you know, she’s curious like that. Maybe she’s trying to find her unlimited metrocard?<br /> Photography by Ruddy Harootian

 

And I was happy to find this randomly because.. Image

Once upon a time when my friend Steph and I visited Philly last year we purposely visited “love fountain” because it is a tourist attraction.  We were disappointed to find out how small it is.  Hence, my pride in discovering NY has a better Love sign than the city of brotherly love.

The sign in Philly:

5. Performing Artists

My favorite so far- a tango dancer in Washington Square.  My least favorite- old men in the subway singing songs I don’t know off key while shaking their tip jar.

4. Street Fairs

We found this one in Little Italy.  Pizza and canolis on the street?  Yes, please.

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3. Waffle Stands

If you ever see this truck anywhere, buy something from them.  They have the BEST fresh waffles.  I had mine with.. ice cream and hot fudge. ❤

2. City Views

I’m not saying I’ll NEVER get tired of seeing the skyline or tall buildings of the city, but I haven’t so far.

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1. Languages

When you live in a city that represents the majority of the world’s population, you are bound to hear some pretty magical stuff.  Music to my ears.

Does that make you want to visit me?  I hope so. 🙂

** Yes, some of these pictures are from the internet and not original with me.  I’m sorry if they are yours.  I just needed a picture to make my blog more interesting and yours was better than mine.**