Friday, September 26, 2008

wake me up when september ends...

... but that won't be necessary this year because i'm trying to figure out where september went! it seriously flew by! i can not believe it's almost october and fall has officially begun already, not that it's hard what with the change in weather and fall decorations already bordering business windows. i can already tell a major difference between texas season and the northeast and i absolutely love it! of course i didn't realize i'd need my sweaters and scarves yet, but mom can mail them!

another way i can tell it's fall is that the flying has dramatically decreased. i probably won't even make my guarantee this month, which isn't horrible because i still get paid for it, but have gotten used to my summer paychecks! i still haven't made an international trip, but this past week i did get my french visa so that increases my chances. i even sat international airport alert last night. (airport alert - AAA - is when you sit in the crew room for four hours with your suitcase ready to go in case they need someone on really short notice. if they don't need you then you just go home.)

last weekend i was in boston with a 22 hour layover. unlike last time when i ordered room service and slept the whole time due to exhaustion, i actually explored the city and enjoyed my time there. one of my very good friends, madision presenza, moved just outside the city in august for a teaching internship. she took the train into town to meet me and we toured the town with her friend grant who was also in just for a few hours. we had a great time and took some fun pictures! although we decided to "blaze our own trail" we did catch glimpses of the red freedom trail along the way, to which we yelled, "freedom!" and "they can take our lives... but they'll never. take. our freedom!!" we ran into a huge concert-rally for legalization of marijuana, stopped for pastries at mike's, and watched various performing artists on the streets and sidewalks. of course we couldn't miss taking our picture in front of cheers and sitting on the ducks in the gardens. we strolled through quincy market and down newbury street, said hi to sam adams, visited the old north church, and ate dinner at the famed legal seafoods. all in all it was a great day in a great city with a really great friend! i always knew i'd love boston but now it's definitely on my list of places to live.

in other news... i moved my days off around this month so i could have a week off to throw my best friend from high school, carin, a baby shower. after the shower i was going to be meeting the g-parents in florida for a little vacay. however, ike decided to throw a "little" temper-tantrum causing IAH was closed down for a few days so i couldn't make the trip. the up-side is that i got to spend some more time with the fam and with emily.

next month i have the same schedule as a lot of my friends so hopefully we can get trips together. emily is coming for her birthday and i'm going to try to make it to college station for the tech game to meet up with my pledge class.... i'll be keeping y'all updated!

Friday, September 5, 2008

i want to be a part of it... new york, new york

new york has always been a fascisation of mine and is probably my second favorite city, next to paris of course! so on most of my days off i stay with resalin and explore the city...

one afternoon, sunny and simply gorgeous outside, i decided to take the staten island ferry to get a closer view of lady liberty. why the staten island ferry? because it's a free ride that goes right by liberty herself and then comes back!

(the staten island ferry, view of the city from the ferry, view of lady liberty from the ferry)

after this little excursion i took a walk through battery park, which is one of my favorite parks in nyc. i fell in love with it back in 2000 when kathy and i took a harbor cruise tour and walked all through the park. the light shines through the trees just right to make playful shadows on the ground. the park is located at the very tip of manhattan and encompasses 25 acres. there are many statues and memorials throughout the park, some of which i have pictures of below. the sphere was a sculpture that was located in the area between the twin towers. it was recovered from the rubble, but did suffer some damage. the sphere was placed in battery park along with the eternal flame, which was lit 9/11/2002 as a tribute to all 9/11 victims. the eagle statue is part of the world war ii memorial in the park.

(the sphere and eternal flame 9/11 memorial, park fountains and harbor view, wwii memorial)

earlier this same day i was exploring resalin's new neighborhood, the financial district. i found bowling green park, the alexander hamilton u.s. custom house, and best of all, the charging bull! the park is circular with benches, a fountain, and beautiful flowers. it right in the middle of whitehall and state, the two streets formed by the splitting of broadway. the park actually has free wi-fi and a lot of people eat lunch there on their breaks. the alexander hamilton custom house is a beautiful building at the south end of the park, currently housing the national museum of the american indian and the ny bankruptcy court. the charging bull is found at the north end of the park and is iconic of the financial district. according to wikipedia, the bull symblizes aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. it is said that rubbing it's nose, horns, and testicles brings good luck. if you notice in the picture, the testicles are rather shiny... hmm

(bowling green park fountain, alexander hamilton custom house, me by the charging bull)

another sight i really enjoyed visiting was the united nations building. i didn't actually go inside, but i did get a great view of the secretariat building from the park across the street. i love the reflection of the city in the buildings windows and the flags lining the street. i randomly found the quotes below as i was exploring the turtle bay neighborhood. the stone in the ground is in memory of ralph johnson bunche, an american politican scientist and diplomat active in planning for the un, which says, "peace, to have meaning for many who have only known suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health and education, as well as freedom and human dignity." the large stone wall presents a quote from isaiah 2:4, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." someday i hope to work for the un or to someway be affiliated with the organization.

(secretariat building, ralph bunche quote, isaiah quote)

as i left the turtle bay area, looking for the new york public library, i found goodburger. first of all i didn't even know these existed anymore, and second, this neighborhood was the last place i would expect to see one. too bad i wasn't hungry because it would have been a first in a lifetime experience for me!

after some wrong turns, i found the ny public library. i sat out front of the massive building, enjoying the beautiful day and talking to keely on the phone. she was a little curious as to why i was spending my day going to the library, which is odd because she too loves the library... but i didn't go there for books. i really just wanted to admire the architecture both outside and in. once inside, i didn't have much time to explore the building because i found a temporary photography exhibit entitled "eminent domain." the works of various artists were featured to highlight contemporary photography and new york city. to read more about the exhibit go to this link: my favorite piece was by reiner leist, "window/eleven septembers." leist took a picture of the ny skyline from his apartment window everyday he was in the city. the piece included the photos from september 1995 - september 2005. on the days he was not in his apartment there is a blank slide. it is eerie to see the differences of the city from the same view both before and after 9/11.

(view of the ny public library from across 5th avenue, map division, cross view of the entrance, entrance to the public catalog room, rose main reading room)

these last two photos were taken on different days from my cell phone. i'm really surprised at the quality, and even though they aren't from this same day i wanted to include them in this entry.

this is a view of new york from sophie's queens apartment at night. for those of you who don't know, sophie is now one of resalin's roommates in the wall street apartment. she's from the uk and is absolutely amazing! i'm so glad resalin has made friends like sophie because i get to be friends with her too :)

this photo is from the strawberry fields memorial area of central park, a tribute to john lennon. even though i've been to central park many times, i never knew about this area. i was shopping and walking the city with ryan's mom and sister when they were in town and we stopped by the memorial before dinner. the mosaic is always covered in fresh flowers or candles, left by john lennon fans. around this area there are benches donated by various people, trees, and shrubs. it is a really peaceful area and i hope to make it back on john lennon's birthday or death anniversary so i can experience the tribute paid to him.

so that's all for now... i'll have more updates soon. i hope you enjoy this little piece of new york at least almost as much as i did. it's much better in person!

PS - you can click on the photos for a larger view!