Sunday, July 1, 2012

Could've Gone For a Dip

Yesterday, I went to Five Pointz and MoMA PS1, because I wanted to spend a day growing more culturally aware. Today, I went to Coney Island, because roller coasters are fun. 

At 11:00 AM, I met up with an Ra and six students to head down to the park. I didn't realize how far Coney Island is from upper Manhattan, until we were already on the train. It took about an hour to get down there. 

Coney Island was very fun, but I did have two major complaints. The first, was that it's very expensive. It cost between $5 and $10 to go on any ride. This kept the lines short, but it also meant that we were done with the amusement park area in less than an hour. The second complaint is on the Coney Island Logo. It's just so creepy.

After rapidly running out of ride credits, we headed down to the beech. Of course, on a hot day like this, it was packed. I didn't know that we would be going down to the shore, so I left my sandals and swim trunks in my room. Luckily, I was wearing shorts, so I could go to the edge of the sand bank and let the water lap my bare feet.

Don't worry, mom; I wore plenty of sun block.

When we were all tired of the sun beating down on us, we took the subway to Queens, where the RA showed us to a Dominican restaurant. The food was delicious and the portions were really generous. Although it was worth it, this detour meant that we couldn't get back to Columbia until 8:15 PM.

I dropped off my stuff in my room, and at around 9:00, I went to get some food with another student. Well, I didn't get food, but I got a drink, and talked with him while he ate. I might have nibbled on his fries here and there. When we were both full, we headed back to my dorm, where we hung out until he had to leave for curfew.

Afternoon at the Museum

Today turned out to be another exciting day full of trips and new sights! My day started with a nice brunch at Max’s CafĂ©, along with my RA, Andrea, and a few other girls on my floor. After brunch, I went down to the campus’ gazebo to wait for yet another RA trip. Adrianne’s RA, Kristen was organizing a trip to the American Museum of Natural History! When we first heard about the trip, Lucas, Adrianne, Aurea, Morvarid, Brittany, and I immediately signed up—not only because it was a once in a lifetime chance to visit the Museum , but also because as official Columbia students, we got a discount!

While at the Museum, we explored every section that we could.  Some of the exhibits we visited were the Fossil Halls, the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians, Biodiversity Halls, the Hall of Minerals, the Hall of Primates, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, the Hall of Human Origins, the Hall of Mexico and Central America. Personally, my favorite exhibits were the Hall of Minerals and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

While it may seem like a lot now, when you actually look at the map, you realize that even after hours of walking, we barely saw even a third of the museum! There was a lot of walking involved with this trip, but there was also a lot of. For example, did you know that the Texas horned lizard survives by collecting water in between its scales? I found the trip to be very informative and interesting, and I would really love to go back that someday.

When we finished touring the Museum, we decided to take the scenic way home through Central Park. We even had a little picnic on the grass!

My final RA trip was much later in the evening; Morvarid’s RA Efrat had agreed to take us out for dinner. We ended up eating at Ruby Foo’s, a Chinese restaurant in Times Square.

Even though I feel really tired right now, I’m really glad that I decided to go on so many trips today; each one of them was super fun and they only make me even more excited for what’s next! Now that my first week of being at Columbia is officially over, I’m more than ready for everything coming ahead and anything that my student ID can get me a discount on. 

Double pan fried rice!

Dumb Dumb Want Gum Gum?

It’s only been one week here at Columbia University but it feels like an eternity. I can’t imagine that just last week we were separating from Ms. L and the Beacon Hotel. Anyway let me tell you how I spent my second Sunday here.

After an eventful night of showering, talking, blogging, and sleeping- all in that order- I awoke at 10 AM. I called Morvarid and Adrianne to go have breakfast and after an hour we were off. We ate at Tom’s Restaurant, a quaint little place where the Seinfeld taped one of its episodes before. Apparently we were famished and the waiter made a few witty jokes about our appetites. It’s okay, we were all hungry in the first place.

Once we had our fill, we made our way to the gazebo at 12 PM to meet the group going to the Natural History Museum. Then we departed via subway and walked a few blocks until our destination. The walk was really nice; we got to see parts of Central Park and the heat wasn’t that brutal yet.

When we arrived at the museum, we bought our tickets and started our adventure through the exhibits. We went through multiple exhibitions, from African mammals to fossils of dinosaurs. I was in awe at all the astounding displays, especially those of Mexico and Central America. The ancient Incan and Mayan ruins have always fascinated me, so after seeing pottery and maps from different cultures I was left amazed. Morvarid and I even had a meeting with a few Native Americans. I saw the full cast from my childhood movie, “The Land Before Time.” Yup yup yup. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of Lucas doing the monkey face with the primate exhibition. It’s okay, the astronaut ice cream Morvarid and I made the day better.

So after wandering around the museum for hours, we decided to grab some much needed food. We decided on a hot dog truck right outside of the museum and we walked to Central Park for a small picnic. After relaxing for a few minutes, we headed back to the subway but not without enjoying Central Park. We took the longer route to see more of what Central Park had to offer; we even have plans to go rowing one day!

Once we finished our sight-seeing at Central Park, we traveled back to Columbia University via subway. After refreshing and napping, we left campus to eat dinner as a group with an RA. We ate at a dim sum and sushi restaurant called Ruby Foo’s. I don’t think anyone can understand my excitement at having Asian food after not having it for a few weeks. So after a filling dinner of dim sum and fried rice, we made our way back to campus after a beautiful night.

Soak Up The Sun

Today Aurea, Jake, Lucas, Tomi, Adrianne, Brittany, Jim, and I visited the Museum of Natural History. It was a wonderful experience to visit a site of such historical significance after seeing it over and over again in pictures and movies as a child. Even in "Night At The Museum," almost the entire film was shot in that location so it felt so magical to be there. It felt like you in the movie and that as soon as you leave, the things will come to life when it gets dark. Everything looked exactly the same as in the movie, it was amazing.

Afterwards, we all bought hotdogs at one of the nearby stands and walked right across the street to Central Park and sat on the lush, green grass to enjoy our warm meals. Right when we were done with our food, we got up and slowly made our way back to our dorms. However, we definitely will return to central park because we did not have the time to actually look around and enjoy the environment, we only had a sneak peak as we made our way back home.

By the time we came back, it was slowly approaching dinner time and my RA agreed to come with us to a restaurant called "Ruby Foo's." The food was actually delicious and I definitely enjoyed our dinner. So overall, I really had a wonderful day today but I can't wait to go back to class again tomorrow! I absolutely LOVE Columbia University, my course, my professor, the subject, everything! Hopefully one day my dreams can come true and I will have the opportunity to enjoy my school and my life like this for at least four entire years at Columbia University.

Big Dinosaurs and Beautiful Grass

Today was the day I truly slept in - I woke up at 11 am! After getting dressed and getting breakfast, I went with Aurea, Morvarid, Tomi, Lucas, and Brittany on an RA trip to the American Museum of Natural History. The museum was absolutely fascinating - every exhibit had fossils and explanations of different vertebrae, mammals in continents such as Asia and Africa, and of native peoples. I had a great time there. After spending time at the museum, the six of us had a small picnic in Central Park and then went back home. For dinner, Brittany, Tomi, Aurea, Morvarid, one of Morvarid's TAs, and I went to Ruby Foo's, an Asian restaurant. It's been a fun weekend, but I'm excited to go back to class tomorrow and discuss more political science.

Outside of the museum
Statue of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt's quote about Manhood

Cheetahs in the jungle!
Space exhibit
...Someone isn't happy
Anatomy of frogs
One of the carnivore dinosaurs
An absolutely huge dinosaur!

This fossil is 4 million years old! We were able to touch it

Human skeleton
Central Park!
American Indians