Do you hear the people sing? (NYC Days 3, 4, and 5)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hello again.  It is so nice to be blogging nearly every day, but, alas, spring break is nearly over.  I'm most definitely not ready to go back to the stress of school.  It actually shouldn't be too bad though, as I'm only going back for three days before getting on another plane to Colombia for a family reunion.  For now, though, here is the conclusion of my wonderful trip to New York.

The third day was reserved for college visits (yikes!)  We toured Columbia University and Barnard College, both of which I really liked.  It was a little nerve-wracking, though, to begin the whole college process.  It's always something I'd thought about, but it seemed so far in the future, and it feels crazy to think that in just two years I'll be getting ready to begin my life away from home.  I feel ready in some senses and woefully unprepared in others.  Luckily, I've still got a bit of time to figure everything out.

All Les Miserables photos from

Later that day, as my dad and brother peeled off to go to a Yankees game, my mom and I went to see Les Miserables.  All I can say is it was wonderful and amazing and fabulous and beautiful and heartbreaking and exciting and a whole bunch of other positive adjectives that I can't think of right now.  Needless to say, I loved it.  Les Miz is probably my all-time favorite musical, so I basically jumped for joy when we were able to get tickets a mere 3 hours before showtime.  I may or may not have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat since that night...and I may or may not be listening to it right now...when I like something I might have a tendency to get a tad obsessed okay?  But in all honesty, I was so happy we were able to see it.

The next day, it was surprisingly warm and sunny, which really made it feel like spring.  We went to the Frick Collection, which is the late Henry Clay Frick's art collection housed in his Upper East Side mansion.  Everything was beautiful and the museum was impeccably curated.  Lots of the rooms were designed in 18th century French style, which, naturally, I loved because it made me feel like I was in Marie Antoinette.  

After that, we picked up some food at the Plaza Hotel food hall (I got a salad, hooray for health!) and then headed into Central Park for a picnic.  We sat on rocks and lounged there for about an hour, soaking up the sun.  It was so nice, and I almost forgot I was in such a densely populated city, everything was so tranquil and spacious.  

Once we'd had our fill of sunshine, we did a bit of shopping, and then walked over to Serendipity for some frozen treats.  I had a fudge brownie sundae that was absolutely massive, and massively delicious.  I thought my dad, brother, and I had made a deal to split it, but then they each got their own desserts, so I was sort of left to tackle the thing on my own.  It was worth it, though, it was so good.

On the morning of our last day, I met up with my friend, Jen, who lives in a suburb of the city, for breakfast.  I met her on a summer program at Cambridge University in England last year, and it was so great to catch up after not seeing each other for eight months.  Once we finished breakfast, we wandered around the city for about an hour, which was lovely.  We walked to Central Park, but neither of us trusted our navigational abilities in such a large area, so we didn't go inside.  We then set out to find her favorite bookstore, got slightly lost, finally located it, and discovered that it was closed for renovations.  Just our luck.  I didn't mind much, though, it was perfectly alright just to walk and talk in such a beautiful city with such a beautiful friend.

Well, that's it for this trip.  I'll try to take lots of pictures in Colombia, so hopefully those will make an appearance on this here blog sometime in the near future.  I hope you'll all have a great (or at least tolerable) week ahead.


There's a whole lot of people out there and they're all running free (NYC Days 1 and 2)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hi there.  I've just gotten back from New York, and I'm in a state of slight withdrawal.  It was one of those trips that I didn't ever want to come home from; I think I'd be perfectly happy to stay in New York City forever.

The first day, after getting off the train and getting settled a little bit, we went to Grand Central Station to meet one of my parents' friends from business school who works in New York.  It was crazy inside the station, but I kind of loved it.  Everything was moving at such a rapid pace, and it felt like the entire room was buzzing with electric energy.  It was also really cool to actually be there inside the main terminal, where so many famous scenes from movies and TV shows have taken place.  I have to say the first one I thought of was Gossip Girl, sorry, I can be a stereotypical teenage girl sometimes, but it's actually a really good show.  I promise.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos there, I think if I'd stopped to take a picture I may have been run over by the masses of people.

We went to a cafe and visited with my parents' friend before seeing an off-Broadway show called Newsical the Musical.  It was a sketch comedy show about current events, a bit like Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show combined, and it was very funny.

The next day, we went to the World Trade Center Memorial, which was very well done.  It is these two gigantic pools in the spaces where the Twin Towers used to stand, with waterfalls on the sides that seem to go down to infinity.  The names of all the victims are inscribed along the sides.  There is also a museum portion that we went to, which was interesting to see especially because I don't remember 9/11 very well as I was only about 4 when it happened.  There was a video portion about the rescue efforts, and I was surprised by the number of civilians who volunteered.  It restored my faith in humanity a bit, to know that people will come together and potentially risk their lives in times of need in order to provide even the slightest bit of comfort to others in times of need.

After that, we went down to the Village, which was wonderful.  There are so many lovely little side streets with super cool townhouses.  I would love to live there someday.

For lunch, we went to a cute restaurant that specializes in cheeses, and I had the best grilled cheese I'd ever had in my life (at least so far.)  There was an independent bookshop next door, and I'm a sucker for bookshops, so naturally we had to go in.  I bought a book about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is one of my all-time favorite movies so I was nearly ecstatic when I saw it.  Next, we went to Bleecker Street Records, which was also amazing, especially because there aren't many good record stores near my house.  It was huge, and there was SO much music to look at, I probably could have spent a year in there.  I'm so excited to listen to the records I bought, I'm actually listening to the Mountain Goats one right now, and it's fantastic.

Later that day, we went to the original Magnolia Bakery, which I'd been wanting to go to for a long time.  There was a a line snaking all throughout the tiny store, and at first I didn't understand why people would wait so long for some cakes, but I most definitely do now.  I opted for a classic cupcake, vanilla with vanilla frosting, and let me tell you, that frosting is magical.  In other words, it was delicious.  We ate our treats in a park overlooking a playground with lots of children in it, and it all just made me feel so happy.

Anyway, that's all for now.  I hope you are all enjoying the warm weather (if it's indeed warm where you are, but if it's warm in Chicago, it's probably safe to bet that it's warm most other places, it's been so cold here.)  Have a great rest of your weekend!


Every now and then I fall a bit behind (Philadelphia Day 2 and 3)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hey everyone!  Welcome to "Spring Break Adventures, Episode Two."  This is the last part of our trip to Philadelphia, before we boarded the train to New York City.  Hope you enjoy!

We were walking down the street when we came across a gorgeous collection of buildings from the 1700s, at the height of colonial times.  This is the first post office in the United States.


 We went exploring in this alley and stumbled upon Benjamin Franklin's printing press and shop.  It was really interesting to see how books were printed during colonial times, it was a lengthy process and they even had to line up the letters one by one in order to form sentences.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get any decent pictures of the printing press itself, but below are some from inside the shop.

Later, we went to Independence Hall, which is where lots of government debates and meeting happened before and during the American Revolution.  It wasn't actually called Independence Hall until much later, supposedly one person referred to it as such, and the name spread by word of mouth, and it clearly stuck.

My dad took this picture while we were waiting in line to get into Independence Hall, and I actually look somewhat decent, so, um, here's my face I guess.

The view from the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  My dad and I climbed them because he wanted to take a picture like Rocky, which was what most of the people on the steps were doing, in fact.  One person even started singing "Gonna Fly Now", the song that plays when Rocky is running up these steps during the movie, which was pretty funny.  This whole museum campus was modeled after the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

 Rocky has become such a symbol of Philadelphia, there's even a statue of him in front of the art museum.

Later that day, we went to see the Liberty Bell.  It has been a symbol for so many different movements throughout the years, from the American Revolution to the abolition of slavery to the women's suffrage movement, which is how it got its name.

Anyway, that is all I have for today.  I apologize for the skimpiness on the photos, some days I was a bit obsessive with the camera and others I practically forgot to take pictures altogether.  I've got more from New York, I promise.  I hope you have all had a good week!

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