Thoughts about Finishing my Second Year of University

I’m finally finished with my second year of university. After many hours writing papers on my computer and having Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN on repeat, I’m halfway through with finishing my bachelor’s degree. My sophomore year at Point Loma Nazarene University has been crazy. From studying abroad in London in the fall of 2016 to leading volunteers for homeless ministries in San Diego and even travelling to New York City by myself. I’m pretty thankful for the experiences I’ve had within the last 8 months of school. I’ve become much more comfortable being outside my comfort zone. I’ve come to the point where I’ve become less dependent on others and dependent on God on what I want to do with my life. I’m really excited for my junior year of university because I’ll be living off-campus in a house. I personally felt tired of living on campus and being trapped within the “Loma Bubble.” I like to describe the Loma Bubble as the view that everything has to be perfect in order to please others. Stereotypically, students would make sure to look good and trendy on their social media accounts, almost as if their life is perfect. I find it ironic when I’m scrolling down my Facebook feed and I see people who “appear” awesome because they’re laughing, smiling, and having fun in their pictures yet when I meet them in person they come off as completely different. I’m not saying that they’re personalities are a complete 180 of their perceived personas, but that their personalities don’t match the way the portray themselves on social media. Another reason about why I’m excited to live off-campus is because I’ll finally own a car and I’ll be able to drive on my own. I felt trapped at Point Loma and now I feel that I can finally explore the rest of San Diego. I also didn’t give surfing too much of a chance while I was in San Diego, but now that I have a car, one of my goals is to pick it up along with hiking. There are some awesome hiking trails and deserts I want to explore. Those of which include Joshua Tree and hopefully the Grand Canyon. I’ve never hiked until I went to Point Loma where some of my upperclassmen friends invited me to some hikes. I think this is one of the few things I appreciate about the culture at Point Loma, where it sparks a sense of adventure. I think the culture at Point Loma is similar to other colleges where if you want to be considered a “Point Loman,” it (an admissions brochure had it) gives you a bunch of requirements/standards on what it means to be Loman. Such requirements/standards include: owning a Hydroflask bottle, wearing Patagonia brand clothing, being a surfer. One of my professors noted how ironic it was that this college tells you how to be Loman, yet wants to promote diversity among its students. I don’t fit much into the standards, so would I be considered as someone who is a “Point Loman?” What I do appreciate about it is the sense of fostering growth, adventure, and openness with someone who is used to being in his or her comfort zone. Despite these complaints, I’m grateful for all the relationships I’ve built there and all the experiences that developed my character at Point Loma Nazarene University.

 

 

My experience in Brooklyn

I slept a good eleven hours that day and my friend and I visited Brooklyn. We took the subway there and coming out of it was such a huge contrast to Manhattan. My first impression of Brooklyn is that it seemed to be such an average city. The buildings didn’t tower over us and there were tons of graffiti found on street walls. It felt average and I enjoyed it because it was average.  My friend attested to that by saying students dream of living in Brooklyn because it’s the perfect escape from the hasty city life.

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The first mural I see

We stayed at a coffee shop called Devacion. Devacion is a Colombian based coffee shop and my first time waling in had such a relaxing and chill ambience. It was here that I’ve tried the best-tasting coffee I’ve ever tasted. It simply was rich in the coffee flavour and bitterless. My friend stayed at Devacion to study while I explored the rest of Brooklyn. I was warned by my friend to not make eye contact with people on the street because people in Brooklyn are protective of their culture. Looking at them was like an invasion of privacy. I’ve also confirmed this norm with other friends in Manhattan. My goal was to reach DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and back. I walked down along the Williamsburg bridge and to my surprise, walked through an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. It was like walking back in time seeing men dressed in long black coats and black top hats and donning their distinguished bushy beards and curly side hair. I observed many of the men were walking fast and had a cellphone next to their ear and most women were walking with their baby strollers.

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A cool house I passed by

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I always thought this was a stereotype of Brooklyn

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In the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood

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In the Orthodox Jewish Neighborhood

I reached DUMBO after an hour of walking and it wasn’t too much at all of what I thought it was. It was simply a small area beneath Manhattan Bridge. Downtown Brooklyn was nearby and I explored that. I found an awesome Halal cart and sat down on a bench and listened to the sounds that the city had to offer. I proceeded to take a different route back. I ended up in a residential area where I was in awe over the similarity of the buildings to the images I had in my head. I then stumbled upon a park. It was distinct because there was a huge stairway in the middle of it. As I walked up the steps, There was a huge pillar protruding up the park. It was a memorial.

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Downtown Brooklyn

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DUMBO

I enjoyed my time in Brooklyn. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Brooklyn because of shows like NCIS: New York and Blue Bloods. Small things like chain-linked-fenced-in basketball courts and tall apartment structures just please me because I’ve just never seen them in person before. I loved seeing the murals and graffiti on the walls because it simply screams Brooklyn.

First Day in New York City

It was my first time travelling alone. I knew two friends in New York City, one of which I met whilst I was abroad in London and the other I knew growing and was staying with. I stayed at my friend’s apartment in the Chelsea area of New York. It was right in the middle of Manhattan and close to a subway stop. When I first arrived, it was 15 degrees, the coldest I’ve been so far in my twenty years of life. Never had I put on 5 layers of clothing to keep myself insulated in such frigid temperatures. I didn’t own gloves and my hands became so ashy, they started bleeding.

I began my exploration of New York City by taking a walk on the high line, an abandoned railway now turned into a garden. I came at the absolute worst time because all the plants shrivelled and withered. After such a disappointed walk, I made my way down to Battery Park, which is on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, because I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. I walked along the Hudson River and eventually reached the park. Battery Park was the closest I can come to the Statue of Liberty without paying for the ferry to Ellis Island. I then made my way north to visit all the sites that I missed by taking the Hudson River route.

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Battery Park

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The view as I walked to Battery Park

I first wound up at Wall Street. I saw the infamous Charging Bull statue (Unfortunately I wasn’t in New York the day that there was a statue of a little girl facing the bull). It was here that I tried Halal food for the first time and my goodness, it was one of the best tasting dishes I’ve had in my life. I visited a local church and sat down in a bench and ate it. While eating it, I overheard a woman walking out saying “I couldn’t buy a ticket to see his show, so I ended up seeing his grave.” My mind instantly went ‘oh shoot! Alexander Hamilton is buried here!’ And I got to see his grave!

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His grave

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Halal Food!

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Charging Bull Statue

I explored the rest of Wall Street and enjoyed what it had to offer. Because of what happens inside the banks make Wall Street exciting, I just took a picture of George Washington and left. My next destination was Ground Zero. Along the way, I got distracted by the random sculptures found around each corner and stopped and took pictures. Ground Zero was interesting. The atmosphere felt solemn. Its waterfall memorial is breathtaking. After that, I made my way toward the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. It was a long walk from Ground Zero, but the view was amazing. I hit what I wanted to hit that day and tried to make my back to Chelsea. I wound up in Chinatown and explored bits and pieces of it. Throughout my walk, it was interesting to see many small things that I’ve seen in movies and TV shows like chain-linked fenced basketball courts.

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Random Street Art

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Ground Zero

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Arc De Triomphe Maybe?

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The Flatiron Building

Thanks for reading through this blog post. I’ll post my second day in New York in a few days!