Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NYC...There's Something About You!

So, here's the story of part two of my grand adventure to the East coast. Overview:

1. Rode the Bolt Bus to New York (best idea ever! $15 dollars for a bus that only had about 20 people on it. I stretched out across several seats and slept for an hour and a half).
2. Took my first subway ride (to Harlem, where we stayed). We didn't even get lost.
3. Met Jen and her roommates, who were so kind to us, and went to SLEEP! Below is a picture of their apartment. CUTE!

1. Went in the wrong subway entrance when trying to get to downtown. Ooops! Note to self, read the signs.
2. Took a guided open top bus tour around down town. It was a great deal because we could hop on and off as we pleased, and we didn't have to worry about how to get where we wanted to go.
3. Shopped in Soho--bought clothes at H&M
4. Ate lunch in Little Italy (3 course meal for $10--I was elated!)
5. Rode around the rest of downtown in the rain, trying not to get too wet
6. Ate pizza from Z Deli while sitting at a little table in the middle of Times Square for dinner. FUN, although it was totally sensory overload to be there.
7. Sleep. Much needed by then.

1. Empire State Building--there was NO line at all. It was a fabulous view of the city.
2. Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Lady liberty is beautiful and I loved the museum on Ellis Island. I thought we would just spend a few minutes walking around, but we ended up staying for almost 2 hours.
3. Watched street performers in Battery Park--"The Positive Brothers"--two great quotes from them:
-"Ladies and Gentlemen, come closer. Come on, we are only 4 black guys. We can't hurt all of you...at the same time."
-"We are trained professionals...that's why we work on the street."
4. Ate dinner at Smorgaschef during happy hour and looked really conspicuous drinking water and eating a full meal while everyone else was flirting and drinking. Good people watching, though!
5. Went to "In the Heights" on Broadway. Awesome. My favorite part is when one of the main guy characters uses a price sticker gun to "shoot" and scare away some thugs that are hanging around a neighborhood girl that he likes. :) Below is a poor picture of the set.

1. Shopping in and around Union Square--successful, might I add.
2. Lunch at Café Lalo, the little place where Meg Ryan goes to meet Tom Hanks in the movie You’ve Got Mail. My favorite part was that there was a lady arranging flowers for the restaurant’s décor in the middle of the floor. Ate cheesecake...mmm!
3. Walked through Central Park
4. Looked at art at the MET. SO COOL!
5. At nuts from a street vendor. MMMMM!
6. Made dinner back at Jen's.
7. Saw WICKED! Need I say more?

1. Went to the Manhattan temple.
2. Walked the Brooklyn bridge--much more fun than I expected. I highly recommend it.
3. Grand Central Station
4. The New York Public library (not much to see unless you count the random girl that was painting her fingernails at a table near ours).
5. Bought an I (heart) NY Tshirt. Ya gotta!
6. Packed up and headed to the airport.

Things I learned in New York:
1) You can feel the rumble of the subway even on the fourth floor of an apartment building. It's not just in the movies.
2) Harlem isn't really the ghetto anymore, even though it still has that reputation.
3) New Yorkers are actually very friendly and helpful.
4) Central Park is huge, and a welcome break from the sky scraping buildings of the city.
5) An open top bus is a really fun way to see the city, until it starts raining.
6) If you’re going to murder someone, dump the body where the East river meets the Hudson because then the police can’t figure out where it came from. (compliments of our tour guide)
7) Take a map with you if you're going into Macy's.
8) Little Italy has the best food, closely followed by the nuts from the street vendors.
9) The New York Subway system is MUCH more complicated than London's, DC's and Paris's. And it smells worse.
10) Even in the middle of a crazy, busy city, the temple is still quiet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We the people...

I have spent the last week rediscovering my love for history and getting all geared up for the most patriotic holiday of the year! Last Thursday, I left for DC with my roommate, Emily. We had an easy flight, though we got into Baltimore at 11:30 at night. Kevin and Dana, who were gracious enough to host us while we were there, picked us up and we pretty much just went to bed.

Here's a brief overview of the trip.

1) Air and Space Museum (so much cooler when Kevin tells you why all of the stuff matters), flight simulators (if you ever go to DC, this is a fun splurge. Upsidedown is fun, just make sure you put your hair back so it doesn't block the projector. It's hard to fly blind.)
2) Lunch in the gardens next to the Smithsonian castle.
3) American History Museum (the star-spangled banner exhibit is cool.)
4) The Holocaust Museum (very moving, especially since the memorial for the fallen security guard was earlier that day).
5) Dinner in Georgetown.

1)Gettysburg - Wow, I learned so much this day. We spent the whole day exploring. If you go, get a personal tour guide. It's SOOO worth it.
2)Five Guys Burgers and Fries for dinner with Kevin and Dana.

1) Church with the Knells in the Kentlands Ward
2) Arlington National Cemetery
3) FDR monument, Jefferson Monument, Picnic with my old roommate Tanaya and her husband, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, WWII Memorial

1) Mt. Vernon - If this house ever goes up for sale, I will mortgage my right arm to buy it. Beautiful!
2) Paddle boats on the Tidal basin (fun, but hot!)
3) National Archive

1) Tour the capitol (after a "mysterious package" closed down the whole place and delayed us a half-hour). Next time, I want to make sure I contact a senator or rep. so I can get a better tour and tickets to congressional sessions.
2)Library of Congress. Pretty impressive architecture. Someday, I will get a library card and check a book out to study from in the cool big room.
3)Washington Monument
4)Ice cream break!
5) Folger Shakespeare Library and Gardens. This sounds a lot cooler than it is. I would like to see a show performed here sometime, but it's not much of a tourist stop. Still, it was nice to escape tourists for a little bit and see a part of town with a little bit of a more authentic feel to it.
6) Union Station
7) Heading to New York!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hope for the Future

For my friend Amy's birthday we went to dinner and to see the new Pixar movie, Up. I have been excited to see it because the reviews have been PHENOMENAL, and I have always loved Pixar movies in the past. Suffice it to say, this one did not disappoint! If you have not seen it yet, stop reading right now, go find a friend, and go watch it.

If you have seen it, hopefully you can identify with the reasons I love this movie:

1) It is rated PG, and I can't figure out why it wasn't rated G.

2) The chubby, scout kid is nerdy and reassures me that even quirky, weird people can make a difference in the world.

3) The crabby, old man ends up being good in the end (don't tell me I spoiled it for you--it's a Disney movie after all. Whet did you expect?). I don't care if it's cliche, I like that he changes for the better. It's further proof that people will show their good side eventually.

4) Brief though it was in the movie, the romance was beautiful and REALISTIC. I hope someday to find love like that. Love that transcends time and place. Yes, I am a sap. And I'm proud of it.

5) They named the bird Kevin. And it likes chocolate...smart bird.

6) The dogs, especially Dug. Enough said.

7) The complete impossibility of what occurs in the movie. It requires imagination and a willing suspension of disbelief. I think being required to dream beyond the ordinary is a good thing from time to time.

8) I laughed and cried. Only the best movies can evoke both emotions.

9) The short film before the feature film. It always amazes me how much of a story can be told without using any words.

10) Disney has an uncanny ability to make the world a more hopeful place. We need more media that inspires good and teaches good morals. It's nice to see protagonists that are not perfect, but that you really want to see win in the end!

P.S. - The picture below is of one of my favorite parts in the movie.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Saving the World, one life at a time.

The Utah Cancer Control Program is launching a campaign to fight cervical cancer. Here's a little info you may not have known.

In case you were wondering, cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus. Females between the ages of 9 and 26 can get an HPV vaccine that prevents 70% of cervical cancers. See www.cancerutah.org/prevent for more information.

Friday, June 5, 2009

School's Out!

I just wanted to send a great big WAHOOOOOOO out into the great wide world in celebration of the end of the school year. It's been a great, hard year that has taught me a lot. It was a busy last week, what with the air conditioning in the school breaking (never a dull moment) and final projects to get into the grade book, but I made it. It was really nice to have some time left over to spend just enjoying my students' company and laughing with them about all the silly things we've done this year. Yesterday I went to Lagoon with the 9th graders and had a moment on the bus ride home to reminisce about all the bus trips I took as a high schooler myself. It was fun to be a (small) part of the memories they are making and to imagine where they will be when they are my age. It puts me in a crazy, kind of fun, time warp.

I'm still in denial that it's over. Maybe it will sink in on Monday when I get to sleep in. To all my teacher friends, congrats on another year!

Just for kicks, here are some of my students being CRAZY (they were trying to show all the things you SHOULDN'T do in a classroom for a project I'm working on for next year)!