Monday, February 28, 2011

New York City


The big apple, New Amsterdam, the city that never sleeps- all names that are associated with this great city. Once the capital of America, it is a regular on top 10 lists and an obvious tourist magnet. Besides possessing  iconic buildings like the Empire State and Chrysler building, it is home to a diverse range of cultures, food, art, street fairs and parks. There are also loads of fun facts about it. One of my favorite neighborhoods, Battery Park City, is entirely man made using a a process called land reclamation because Manhattan needed more land!

A typical tourist itinerary includes a visit to the Times Square, Empire State, Rockefeller Center, the Financial District, site of the Twin Towers, Statue of Liberty, the Met, the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. And that is all just Manhattan! But there are so many other gems that we New Yorkers are still discovering and so it makes it nearly impossible to see NYC in a week let alone a weekend.


I wanted to highlight some not so obvious sights that I have come across while discovering my city. When I tried to say goodbye to New York before heading to the UK, Z and I planned a tourist day and this was our first stop. There is a piece of Berlin wall hidden away in the midtown and the graffiti is def worth a second look. Although, it isn’t worth a special trip, it is a cool find and can be enjoyed with a plate of lamb and rice from the nearby award winning cart guy.


During another outing, we decided to finally visit Ellis Island and absolutely loved it and everything inside. It was amazing to be there and to know that this was the first place immigrants use to pass thru before entering the Island. They have an archive there that allows you to search for your own ancestors and thus making the experience more personal. There also rooms filled with things people came with and it was interesting to see what were considered prized possessions at the time.  


There are also many activities that can just be enjoyed like the High line, movie nights under the stars and Shakespeare in the park. Then there are other treasures like Williamsburg, MoMa, and the Tenement museum. And of course food here deserves its very own list!  I try to make an effort to continue to see new things and know the list will never run out!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reflection

My 26th birthday is fast approaching and it has made me think about how fantastic my 25th year has been to me. Traveling wise, it was definitely a record year as I was able to travel to 13 countries and 45 cities, some old and some new. And I can officially say that I now need a break from visiting castles. I know. I had at least one trip planned for each month of the year and that is a stark difference from this year. I got nothing.

Besides exploring, I graduated and earned a Master's in something I am very passionate about- International Development. Development brings out the fire in me and am glad I decided impulsively to go back to school to further educate myself on the field. Not only did I learn more but I also gained an international family of friends. I miss them daily and am looking forward to the reunions.

I am impatiently waiting for the next phase to start since I am not known to be one that sits still. I hope becoming part of the 26-30 bracket brings me at least half the experiences and adventures of the last one. I am nervous!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I have been meaning to start this blog for a while now and after encouragement from a few persistent people, I finally got around to it today. At first I thought I would just showcase my travels but now have decided to expand the horizons a bit and speak to you all about other things that come to mind as well.

As soon as February rolled around, some of my friends had either been looking forward to Valentine's day or wishing it would come and go as quickly as this short month.  I have never really been an avid supporter or hater of this day of love but this year I have been pushed to declare my allegiance.

Honestly, I would never subject a significant other into conforming to all the hype and purchase flowers and the whole nine for me. And do not think this day is necessary to showcase your love for someone else. But after reading something today that made me smile, I can say that this day is ok in my books. The quote was- "On this Valentine's day I challenge us to not only say I love you to the ones who mean the most but to spread it to someone who needs it most..tell the annoying co-worker you appreciate all they do...tell the shy girl in the back of the class she is beautiful..smile at your bus drive or the person looking aimlessly at the floor in the subway..you never know what hope and joy you might bring."

Though, we really should be doing these things on a daily basis. Some of us forget. The hectic schedule of life takes over and everyone gets embroiled with their daily to do lists and do not realize they can also impact someone's life with a small gesture. Maybe silly but I'll jump on the bandwagon..