Monday, January 25, 2010

Soccer, Football, Hockey and everything in between.

Oh haiiii!

10 days ago, I was exploring the far ends of the city. Since then, I can say I am becoming more and more like a New Yorker, minus my Californian personality =). I finally got my New York Public library card, because yes I like to read, and yes I like gaining knowledge, and yes it is sexy to have a brain. Although, the last book I read was for a 6th grader. Haha. Since "The Lightning Thief" has been made into a movie, and the story's setting takes place RIGHT OUTSIDE MY WINDOW (empire state building), I felt the need to read it. I'm sad to say that this book will never reach the hype of Harry Potter, but I have been so enthralled by its adventures that I have decided to read the second book of the five-book series. The trailers look lame, but I'll probably still watch the movie. This book has also opened my interest into Greek mythology, as my name (full name) is from Greek mythology, and means "destroyer of man" or "she who entangles men". Bahaha! Thanks Mom!

Olympus is the "600th" floor of the Empire State Building... (This still is from the movie)

My fellowship ended last Friday, and I couldn't be more crestfallen. As I left, the students kept giving me hugs and pulling me back into the class whining, "Miss Cassandra, please visit us soon, okay? You promise?" and "Can I have your e-mail, facebook and phone number?". I was sent off with a little book they made for me, full of thanks, praise and hand-drawn pictures of them holding my hand. Too cute.

Friday night, I went to Hillary Flower's fashion show at Club Amnesia. As New York works, everything starts late. So the fashion show started at 1:30AM and only lasted like 10 minutes...but I made a new friend who is from Shanghai! She works in the fashion industry and plans to head back to SH when I'm there! New York is by far the best place to meet people. There are people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds and nationalities.

Too much tequila that night...

Saturday was my first day playing soccer, EVER! I was really surprised how well I did, so were the people I played against. I was able to score during my first game too! Of course, I'm sore like none other and can still barely walk. I did not realize how different the hockey muscles and soccer muscles were. Now I know! I woke up early Sunday morning to go play soccer with another group and they too were really shocked that I'm a complete noob. I guess it helps that I have hockey experience. I played defense most of the time on Sunday and loved it! I had the same mentality as though I were playing hockey defense...Maybe the only problem was that I was running backwards, which doesn't work as well as skating backwards...

After the game, I met up with my cousin, Ryan, who just returned to Columbia for the second semester. We went to K-town to buy some korean food to make at my apt, garlic breath all the way. Afterward, I headed to the Upper East Side to meet another friend so that we could go to a bar to watch the Jets vs. Colts game. Just my luck, the Jets lost. :( I think I am a jinx to all New York teams...I'll explain later.

Today was my first day of the event planning internship. Man, do I love living 10 seconds away from work. Since I'm still umbrella-less, I got drenched from the pouring rain today, but at lunch I went home put some PJs on and popped my pants in the dryer for an hour. Then, headed back to work. I can't speak too soon, but I absolutely loved work today. Time flew by so fast, and it has such a relaxed atmosphere! I kept asking for work because I was working too fast, and my three new managers actually argued amongst themselves about who would get my time and effort the most, in front of me! It was hilarious. As weird as it sounds, I can't wait until it gets stressful! I love event planning and with this company I get to network with so many people! I will be meeting Microsoft's ad president, Stephen Kim, folks from Millward Brown, Facebook, Ogilvy & Mather, and international advertisers. I am so excited for the event, apparently I get a hotel room during the convention too! Yay!

Whats a better way to end a great day than to be invited by an old friend to the Rangers vs. Penguins game. FINALLY I got to see Crosby!! I don't care what you guys say or think. He is still sexy as long as I don't have to hear him whine. When he mm. Well that was my 2nd Rangers game, and they lost again. Sorry Jake, I guess I AM bad least to the Rangers, and every other NY team :P

Well. That's all for now. Gotta rest up for my second day of work =)
Don't really know what I'll be doing since two of my managers are going to Cali tomorrow, for a week... Sigh. I love my life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lamb Kebabs.

After two weeks at Shuan Wen ("bilingual", in Chinese) public school, I can honestly say that I do not think I am cut out for teaching elementary school. For those of you who don't know. I have been participating in a teaching fellowship, the Urban Education Fellowship, for students interested in pursuing careers as educators. While I may not have planned on being a teacher, I applied and surprisingly out of 160 Smith applicants, was one of the 30 chosen to be a part of this intense inner-city immersion. I was placed in a Pre-K to 8th grade Chinese immersion school in the Lower East side, and have been so blessed to be assisting in a 3rd grade classroom, with a three-degree of separation with the teacher! What a small world.

These third graders are so talented and it has been such an honor helping them with their academic challenges. I took it upon myself this week to learn about each students family background and history, whether asking the teacher or the students themselves. I was forewarned that this experience would be "life-changing", and I must admit, what these children have endured in their 9 years of existence have been mind-boggling. I cry inside when I hear about their families and parents, or lack-thereof. Parents who are illiterate in both English and Chinese and unable to understand their child's assignments. This experience has been so eye-opening and has helped me realize how blessed I am to have a healthy family, with parents who are always there to support me.

So much has happened in the classroom. My third graders have been writing persuasive essays about any subject, working on fractions and decimals, practicing cursive, reading biographies on Sacagawea, Pocahantas, MLK, Rosa Parks, JFK and other historical leaders. On top of all of this, these amazing students have 2 hours of Chinese EVERY day. They are in school from 8am to 5:30pm. I understand their impatience and rowdiness, but overall these kids are just darling!

I have so much more to say about them, but I am already so overwhelmed with their daily interactions and the amount of blogging I have to do for the program, that I will leave it to some other time (if that ever happens).

Just yesterday, I received notice from Teach for America that I have been invited to skip the entire first half of the interview process and go straight to the final interview. As much as I cherish this opportunity, since only 8% of the 10,000 applicants become Corps members, I know that if I want to be an educator in my future, I can always follow that dream. As for the Expo in Shanghai, that will only come once in my this age at least. Each time, I hate withdrawing my application, for the Peace Corps, and for this. I guess I can just feel "special" that I have gotten so close in both programs, and it was at my discretion to close the door.

Outside of the classroom, I have been enjoying my apartment and working out. This past Wednesday, I went to a 20's networking launch party and was able to meet some really awesome young New Yorkers, whether they're new to the city like myself or born and raised in this jungle. I guess the tweeners too, been here a couple years. Made some tentative plans for this weekend with some of them. Definitely a night out! and also a visit to the MOMA for Tim Burton's exhibit. I got 2 free passes today from the 3rd grade teacher, good for up to 10 people! Family time!

Made a trip to Flushing last Sunday. Finally! A place with more authentic Chinese food!
I also found 羊肉串 and 麻辣汤 AND 油条! (lamb kebabs and sichuan style soup AND fried dough)


Wow. I don't even know what I'm writing about now. It's time to zone out in front of the TV. I'll try and update more often.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year Resolutions

It hasn't been long since I last posted, but I just realized that a lot has happened in the past few days. It was so great to have had friends over the first three days of moving in and tonight is my first night alone!

My first night in the city, I was lucky enough to be invited by Jake to the Rangers vs Flyers game with seats 3 rows from the ice. Unfortunately for the Rangers fans, they didn't do so hot that game: Flyers 6, Rangers 0.

For NYE, Margaret and Anika took a short train ride from the suburbs into the city and we met up to go down to East Village and spend our night barhopping. To our surprise, East Village bars were all half empty! The last bar we found, 15 minutes before "New Year", was packed and we rushed in. I was surprised to find that every bar had Chambord! :)

Grace finally made it into the city on New Year's day afternoon, and we found a cheap supermarket in K-town! Yay! Yesterday, we woke up pretty late (noon?) and went straight to Brick Lane Curry House (as seen on Man vs. Food!) for the spiciest curry in the country! I decided to take the "Phaal challenge" which comprised of finishing the entire bowl of time limit. Upon completion, rewards included a free pitcher of beer, which I swapped out for mango lassi, a certificate about my "dubious judgement" to take the challenge, and a photo on their website's Phaal of fame! I almost felt like dying after the first bite, but a challenge is a challenge and Grace helped quite a bit (shh!). This without a doubt gave us both upset stomachs and a run for Pepto was in order.

After being lazy for several HOURS, settling the pain and sear of the curry, we finally decided to go shopping at 9PM... for concert outfits! After spending 30 minutes and not finding anything, we got home, changed and then headed out to the Benny Benassi concert at the Pacha!

I vowed never to go through the Pacha general admission line ever again, after the David Guetta experience. So, Grace and I bought pre-paid tickets...and of course, we end up waiting in a line longer than general admissions. Pacha has horrible horrible? Let me explain to you. I get to the front of the building, stand in what was the pre-paid ticket line during the Guetta concert...make it into the building within 5 minutes get to the 2nd floor...THEN get turned around and told that I have to go all the way around to the back of the building in the advanced ticket line, where Grace and I waited for an hour in 8 degree weather plus windchill. First off, when did they ever have a back entrance. Second, I was already in the building, and bought my ticket why couldn't you just let me through the door and go DANCE!? Pacha, you suck. Until you better your line management, you're out of my partying schedule.

Benny was AWESOME! Even though the club was extremely packed and I probably stepped on a dozen toes and broke a few of them, oops. One thing I gotta say about clubs...Yes, there are cute guys there, but DON'T COME UP AND FEEL UP THE LADIES, IT'S DISGUSTING! No matter how good looking you are, you automatically will have creeper status in our book!
Anyway, I really enjoyed dancing the night away to Benassi's mixes, and would love to see him in concert again!

Grace and Maxx left this morning before I could figure out what was going on. Haha. My teaching fellowship (of 3 weeks) begins tomorrow. I was supposed to visit the school today to familiarize myself with direction but it was SO cold outside, I figure that I'll leave early tomorrow and wing it! I can't believe my life of independence and reality begins now...

Tomorrow, a bubble bath is most definitely in order!

New Year Resolutions: Kick the drinking. :)
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