If you’ve known me for any amount of time you know that I love adventure days. They are pretty much my favorite thing of all time. If you didn’t know- I sincerely question how well you know me. But. You don’t have to know me. (Though I would question then – why are you reading my blog?!? But don’t worry. I won’t judge.)
So. A good adventure day is typically a designated day where I do something that I deem “adventurous.” Usually with people (which is how I prefer it) but they are not required. What is required is that I like what I’m doing and that what I’m doing is something I’ve never done before. I could have done something similar. Or even done part of it. But not exactly. For it to be a legitimate adventure day at least part of the adventure has to be unfamiliar.
Those are my rules. And upon review I discovered that this week at least part of every single weekday had an adventure.
Monday. On Monday I wore a t-shirt. To school. In Manhattan. One week after Fashion week. I’ve never felt like such a dork in all my life. (Well. That might be exaggerated since I don’t remember every time I’ve felt like a dork in my life. But. Exaggeration is a key element to a good story. And I felt pretty dramatic this week. So. It could have been true.) But let me explain. I wore a navy “Columbia” t-shirt with a plaid skirt (not denim. just to be clear. my dorkiness did NOT extend to a denim skirt.)
Now. Since I am from Indiana I have observed that people in New York do not dress like people in Indiana. Here in NYC people are meant to be individuals. One way they show this is by dressing well. And uniquely. Which means virtually NO “name brand” or team specific or school specific clothing. Unlike the Midwest. Where identity means being part of something NOT standing apart from something. Hence the plethora of Notre Dame shirts spread across Indiana. It is even deemed to be appropriate “going out” apparel. This is a source of comedy for New Yorkers as they never “go out” in a regular unisex t-shirt. That would be pretty lame. So lame in fact that the people who wear t-shirts here can be listed as: 1. homeless 2. tourists 3. people who need to do their laundry 4. people from the Midwest. (In my perception at least.)
So. I wore a t-shirt. (b/c I qualified for numbers 3 and 4 listed above.) A Columbia University t-shirt. and since I live in the ghetto. (kinda) I had this ridiculous feeling that I was more likely to be jumped now that my whole neighborhood knows how much I’m paying for school and where I go every day. (A little melodramatic. I know.)
I was mostly okay wearing my t-shirt on campus. Since I was, you know, at Columbia and all. But I was pretty embarrassed to be wearing a t-shirt for my group meeting with my clinic supervisor. Since we have a dress code in the clinic that explicitly says ‘no t-shirts.’ Granted. The clinic isn’t open yet. But I was pretty proud of my supervisor for not looking right at me when she read that regulation.
And on the way home. I counted (at one point) 3 white people within eye-shot of me on my train. And 0 other people wearing regular t-shirts.
So. Monday was an adventure in being lame and breaking cultural norms.
Tuesday. On Tuesday I had an adventure finding a place to get my PPD (or TB) test. Long story short, I ended up in Midtown. Now. If you don’t know NYC very well you don’t know what I mean by Midtown. That’s fair. So. Let me explain. Midtown is just south of Central Park but north of all the villages (West, Greenwich, and East) and “lower Manhattan.” It encompasses regions you may be more familiar with- like Times Square, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, and the Flat Iron Building. Well. I got out at Grand Central and walked to Madison Avenue to find a walk-in clinic. Then I walked in and took the elevator and waited on a leather chair for a Doctor with the last name Fuzayloff (which sounds like Fuz-ol-off. I thought perhaps he was related to Dr. Seuss.) And this was the first time I’ve been somewhere in The City that was not related to tourism or food but actual events of daily living. (yes. I have gone to my campus clinic. and I have been to some elementary schools in Harlem. But that hardly counts as The City.) Anyways. It is a funny feeling to feel like a real New Yorker. To actually feel like I live here. That I have a right to these experiences. It’s a funny feeling. but it’s a feeling I like.
Here’s a picture I took of Grand Central while I was there (just because I feel like a New Yorker doesn’t mean I never take pictures like a tourist.)
Wednesday. On Wednesday I had an ENTIRELY different experience than any other day this week. On Wednesday I went to the post office. Which. For some people is a dramatic enough experience alone because the lines are so long. Luckily for me, that was not the source of my drama. (I only waited about 30 minutes. Which I don’t constitute as being forever. IDK. Maybe you would.) But what was interesting about my post office is that 1. It’s almost a mile from my apartment. And I don’t have a car. And it’s not accessible by public transportation. Which made me feel very dramatic. Like I was in Africa and the only way to get to the supermarket is by walking. So walking I did. It was an incredibly HOT Wednesday but that only added to the fun I guess. 2. My post office is located south of Atlantic Avenue. Now. Atlantic Avenue (in my neighborhood) is the community understood line that divides the ‘good’ half of town from the ‘bad’ half of town. I live in the ‘good’ half. Just to be clear. But I had to walk to the ‘bad’ half. Now. It’s not so bad that I feared for my life or anything. But. I did get some weird looks. And I didn’t see a white person for an hour. 3. In light of the preceding sentence you may have gathered that I, the ethnically and genetically WHITE girl from Indiana, was perhaps outside of my culture on this specific September day. You are correct. Which. Put me at a great place for some interesting cultural observations. From what I gathered, most of the people at the post office were from Caribbean (black and Spanish) decent. Or they were culturally Black (African-American or whatever the trendy word is these days). Which means. They formed lines differently than I would have expected. That’s all. I picked up my package and walked home. Carrying my small box with pride. As if to say, “see. I have a reason for being here. I got mail!” Just another culturally interesting adventure.
Thursday. Thursday was least adventurous of all. I went to Midtown again to get my TB test read. But since I’d been there just 2 days before it hardly counted as an adventure. But I did get to use my new green umbrella. Which counts for something. Because it’s one of those big ones with a point on the end and a curved handle. When I moved here I wondered why people would want to carry around such big umbrellas. But. They have some many advantages. Like. They are bigger. And. You don’t have to hold them awkwardly away from your body when you get on the train to prevent getting wet from your umbrella because you can rest the point on the ground.
Anyways. I didn’t take a picture of my umbrella. Mostly because I was so annoyed that it didn’t rain until 8 pm and I suffered in madd humid weather (in my rain boots- lookin like a dork AGAIN) for most of the day up to that point. But I did take another picture in Midtown. Here you can see one building reflected in the windows of another.
Friday. Friday was my biggest adventure of all. On Friday I went for an interview for my placement this fall. I won’t know until next week how that turned out, so we will stick the the surface stuff of the situation. Which is- my interview was in the Financial District. I know these ‘districts’ mean nothing to you. But- to me- every neighborhood has a feel. Which is created by the people that fill it. And (I think) the feel comes from the fact that people are in different neighborhoods for different reasons. (I.e. eating, living, touristing, work) Anyways. The financial district as an interesting feeling to it. Especially when you are part of the living part of it rather than the looking part. Because it is full of a lot of tourists. But these tourists don’t go in these big tall buildings and sign in at the front desk and get a 9 digit pass code to a touch-screen keypad that makes the elevator fly you up a mere 3 floors to a private school. Like I said- the living part of living here is a bit surreal to me sometimes. And I was glad (for once) to have worn the appropriate attire (heels) and not looked like a dork.
Here are some pictures I took of this ‘everyday life’ adventure:
My view when I got off the train. From Broad Street. Onto Wall Street. That’s the Federal Building up ahead. I posted about it once on one of my sightseeing adventure days.
Here’s the view to the North outside my destination building. That’s the wall street bull to the right.
Here’s the view to the south outside my destination building. You can see the glass building that is home to all the Staten Island Ferry rides that soooo many tourists (and locals) take.
And here’s the sky from Broad Street. That’s it. Just straight up there. There is something comforting about having so many buildings close to you. It’s like an urban hug. (Although sometimes it may feel a bit like a hug that lasts too long.)
And to celebrate my adventure I marked something off my bucket list. A cupcake from Crumbs. It’s nice they have chairs and tables on the street. Makes for a great place to eat cupcakes.
To top off my adventure week we hosted 3 girls in our home who were here on a mission trip and attended our own church’s mission focus weekend. And that’s it. That was my week full of adventures in (another) lengthy blog.
And since I NEVER know how to end these things (it’s worse than trying to hang up the phone) I’m going to use a Zimmerman (phone) classic and say, “well. I’d better let you go.”
Happy September adventuring everyone. 🙂