Even though the concept of getting as much sleep as possible before we left for New York City, I only got three hours of sleep (the 2nd best amount of sleep in the cohort, actually!). I was way too excited for this wonderful journey! After assembling my backpack and making sure I had everything in my luggage, my mom drove my sister and I to El Cerrito High School. The difference between this year and last year is that Don individually gave us our loaner items, so that shaved off some time. After weighing luggage, checking IDs and medical cards, a talk with the cohort and parents, and necessary group pictures, we were off to the airport. Saying goodbye to my mom and sister was hard - even though I did this program last year, it doesn't get any easier! I know they are with me, though, in spirits and hopes. As soon as the parents began to drift away, a limo pulled up - riding in style, like always!
|Limo ride to the airport!|
The ride to SFO wasn't too long, and after checking in our luggage and going through security, I got the best excitement of the day...THE WAYANS BROTHERS WERE IN SFO - IN THE SAME SECURITY LINE AS US. For those who do not know who the Wayans Brothers are, they are the two main characters in the absolutely hilarious film "White Chicks", which is one of my favorite films. After jumping up and down with excitement, I tried to calm down but got even more excited as we went into a small cafe to get breakfast and lunch....and the Wayans Brothers were sitting in the same cafe. To sum it up...it was a wonderful morning. A very, very wonderful morning.
After getting food and resisting to ask the Wayans Brothers for an autograph (I respect celebrities' wishes for privacy), we headed to the gate and boarded the plane soon after. I sat next to Tomi and Lenny for the flight. The flight was a bit bumpy at times but I did catch up on some sleep and watched some TV shows. Before we knew it, six hours had gone by and we were in New York City!
New York City is fascinating. As a driver was taking us to the city from the airport, I was in awe of my surroundings. Everything moved so quickly and everything also just seemed so much bigger. The rest of the cohort, Ms. L, the driver, and I made good conversation on the hour long trip to the city. The Columbia cohort will be staying in Hotel Beacon for the rest of the week. Tomi is my roommate, which I'm very happy about.
|Front of Hotel Beacon|
|New York City|
|Inside of my and Tomi's hotel room|
After doing a quick brief in the lobby and then resting in our hotel rooms, we all dressed up and went downstairs to get going to dinner. Ms. L brought us metro cards, showed us how to use them, and then we were off and using the subway. Even though it was dirty and we saw some rats scurrying around the tracks, it was not as scary as I thought it would be - it was very fast paced, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Since we had over half an hour before our dinner reservation, we acted as tourists and took lots of pictures. New York City is so exciting - everyone is rushing, there are so many yellow taxis and pizza joints on every corner, and it's just a huge bustle...I love it.
|Tomi and I|
|Dressed up and ready to go to dinner|
|Yellow Taxi Cabs...they're EVERYWHERE!|
|New York City - In Action|
Dinner was absolutely divine. We went to Keen's Steakhouse and had a fabulous meal. I ordered New York sirloin with a side of mashed potatoes, along with two Shirley Temple's and later a warm cup of herbal camomile tea. It was nice just relaxing with the cohort and having several debates, ranging from our favorite movies to who is our favorite president. It was a wonderful, relaxing evening. I love New York City already. It's all clicking; this is going to be great. Tomorrow we are going to see the University of Pennsylvania, which I did research on. I'm excited for what lays ahead!
|Where we had our lovely dinner|
|East Coast (found in Maine) and West Coast (found in Seattle) oysters that the table shared|
|My dinner - before I ate it (mashed potatoes hadn't arrived yet)|
|Lenny and his lobster bib (-:|
|My dinner - after I was completely full|
|Our lovely cohort|