Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 1: The Flight

I woke up knowing it was going to be a great day. 

I packed up my remaining items and made my way to the airport. One thing I really love about airports is that everyone in there is so diverse and unique. While waiting to be checked in, I met this Indian man in line. I commented on how I admired his Jordan duffel bag and I learned that he came for an interview with Apple all the way from Canada. I'm assuming his Blackberry job he mentioned wasn't cutting it for him LOL. After an hour, I boarded on with United Airlines to land at LAX. I sat next to a man named David who tells me he has traveled almost everywhere. It was quite facinating to hear his experiences because I want to one day be that guy telling stories to random teenagers on airplanes about a crazy life I had been living. From LAX, I was planning to land at the JFK airport in NYC. I bought a $12 sandwich at a nearby shop because United Airlines doesn't offer free meals, and for some reason I never trusted Airline food.. (Even though I never tried it) I ended up sitting in the last row of the airplane next to Abraham and Andrew. Abraham was from Bakersfield coming back to his hometown for his brother's wedding and Andrew was from LA who worked for a restaurant supply company and wanted to attend a show back in New York. What's cool about meeting these different people is that you never know if you'll ever see them again but if you do, it'll be so cool to say hi and memorize their name. Talk about an expanded network. Luckily, there were TV's so I ended up watching Safe Haven, This is The End, and finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie which was an incredibly beautiful novel. 

I arrived at the JFK airport on time at around 9:30 E.T. and was greeted by Nat's cousin waving her arms out of the sunroof of their silver Mini Cooper. I was surprised with some New York milk tea with vermicelli noodles inside which complimented the taste extremely well. I have to give props to Natalie because I think I would have cried and peed my pants twice driving in New York traffic. At one point, 5 crowded lanes were forced into one because of construction (At 10pm.. Come on now) and imagine a mob of angry taxi cabs and other cars cutting each other off to squeeze into this one far right lane. I mean, does anyone not realize how dangerous this madness is? If there was one accident in the middle, all the lanes would be backed up for at least an hour. How would an ambulance even get through? But driving and seeing all of the lights, cars, and people was such a treat. It brought back so many memories from my NY trip two years ago, and it was great to be back. 

I arrived at Nat's Aunt's apartment and met everyone:her two aunts, Nikki and Tami, and Tami's boyfriend, John. It turns out they ironically knew about AIESEC before because of their trip to Europe. Tami obtained AIESEC cards there for a discounted price to get them into the museums and other attractions for cheap/free LOL. After small talk, Natalie, her cousin JJ and I made our way to visit Times Square. 

The view was absolutely amazing. 

New York gives off a totally different vibe from California. The busy streets, the rush of people, the bright lights all made this experience so memorable. I was here, in arguably the greatest city in America. They asked me if I wanted to go anywhere but I really had no destination. I just wanted to be in this atmosphere again, and observe everything around me. On our way back, we stopped by and bought some chicken over rice from a neighboring cart. We sat on the steps in front of Madison Square Garden to devour this delicious food. 
Around us, there were many people who had multiple bags on them and looked like they needed food. I saw a man holding a Choco taco which looked like his dinner, and it just perplexed me because it was at least 50 degrees outside. I took one last bite and offered the rest of my meal to a man named Mike. He was ironically from Sunnyvale looking for a job in the Finance field. He looked and smelled horrible, but he went on to talk about his story and his religion. I really believe the only thing that these guys need besides food, water and shelter is someone to interact with them. On the walk back home, Natalie was telling me how in Washington Park (I believe) somebody sets up chairs so that anyone can sit down to share their story and start a conversation with people there. I would love to give up a day of work or school to be able to meet new people and simply listen to their experiences. Maybe one day. 
We arrived back at the apartment and it was so hard for me to sink in that fact that I'm sleeping in New York tonight. I  had to get work done with some emails and future homework so I didn't have to worry about it throughout my trip. Before I knew it, the clock ticked 2 am and I knew that I really needed energy for the days following. 

It felt really great to be back :-) 


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