Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stop 1: New York

My plane left Cleveland on Monday, January 5th. I then spent the night with a family friend, Jessie, at her place in Brooklyn, New York. After dinner we went downtown to Manhattan because I'd never been. New York was actually quite quiet that Monday night. The streets were easy to cross and there was a lack of bustle. It was almost surreal. The following is the blog I posted on IES's site about it:


Despite having looked at flight costs long before Thanksgiving, the chaos of classes delayed booking my flight until I was home. As a result the cheapest flight I could find had a layover of thirteen hours in New York City. Since I had heard over and over again about how expensive London was, I figured I could handle the thirteen hours of people-watching to save a few dollars. The layover resulted in an experience worth much more than the pocket change I was saving.

Over the winter break I told a friend who lives in Brooklyn about my layover. Jessie kindly encouraged me to visit her instead of staying overnight at the John F. Kennedy airport. I took her up on it. This initially burdensome layover quickly became much more fun. As I trudged the heaviness in my backpack, messenger bag, large suitcase and attached sleeping bag around New York City I became especially grateful that I did not pack another suitcase. I found the Air Tram and took it to Subway A and then to Subway C, and then after taking a shuttle and walking a block or two, I finally arrived. I dropped my bags (thank goodness) at her apartment and we went out to eat at a delicious Mexican restaurant. Upon hearing that I had never been to New York City, Jessie suggested we go downtown rather than lounge around in Brooklyn. As we rode the subway past the Brooklyn Bridge it occurred to me, I am in New York! I am going to see the sights.

Then it really hit me… tomorrow I am going to London. This is only the beginning of “the sights”. After exploring Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and other usual downtown New York attractions, I was exhausted. As we rode the subway back, Jessie woke me up to tell me it was time to get off, we were back in Brooklyn.

That leaves me here, writing before crawling in bed for a short sleep. In six hours I will face a long airplane ride and then a city, a new home, at least for the next four months. I am grateful for having the chance to do a speed tour through New York. Traveling through the subways alone and staring up at the large skyscrapers served as a good wake-up call to what awaits me “on the other side of the pond”.

Surely I will still encounter many things for which I am not prepared. I am uncertain of how tipping or crossing the road works. I am worried about making friends and balancing them with everything else there is to do. I do not even know how to hail a taxi correctly.

Still, there are many things I am sure about. I can maintain confidence in my maps and my ability to ask questions.

Yes, now that I have experienced one truly international city. I am ready for the next.

So, it is goodnight to you, farewell Ohio and good day London."

Pictures from New York are on facebook.
3 can be seen on my IES blog on this site.

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