I’m home. What a refreshing, relaxing feeling it is to be home in D.C. again!
I went to NEW YORK CITY!! How awesome was that trip! As hard as it was to go non-stop from eight in the morning until past midnight every night, it was all SO worth it! I saw so much that the days all blur together. I can’t remember when one day started or ended, nor what happened at any given moment. I just have the sights, sounds, smells and feelings that flash through my mind.
New York is such an interesting city! I can’t pin it down. You feel claustrophobic, yet fulfilled. The city is out of control, yet inspiring. It’s everything you don’t want to see humanity become, yet you end up falling in love and respect it. Our group had quite a few discussions on it, comparing NYC with D.C. We came to the conclusion that only a few of us would rather live in NYC than D.C. But, most all of us could handle living there for at least one year. NYC is so big, though, that it is easily out of the control of any government influence. Sure, people obey the laws and keep to the program. But, the city is so large that the collective decisions of the people controls what the city becomes, not the local government. It truly is a view of what humanity turns into when smashed onto a small island and has only minimal government influence.
I have to take back what I said before. NYC is best when seen in the early morning, as the city wakes up, or late at night, as the city gets out to relax. It literally comes alive in the morning, and that transition from asleep to active is almost reverent in the change.
Where all did we go following Friday? We took the ferry to Staten Island and got to go by the Statue of Liberty. We also headed to Ground Zero, which I was happy to visit, but they are simply building there so it is just walking by a construction project. We also headed through Wall Street and the financial district, Trinity Church (as seen in National Treasure), Canal Street (where I literally was asked if I wanted to buy a Rolex at least 50 times in the hour I was walking that street. Tons of fun and would be pretty dang sketchy if it wasn’t for all the tourists everywhere. SO many languages, despite being in Chinatown.), movie, we tried almost every night to win tickets to Wicked or other Broadway, but that sadly did not work out for me (my friend won, though!). Sunday we went to church in the Manhattan building, which was pretty cool, then we walked through Central Park again and made our way past the Guggenheim Ballet on the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art WHICH I LOVED! We only had two hours there, but it was one of my favorite things we did in NYC. I would go back just for the Met, easily. The Picasso, O’Keefe, Dali, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, greek and roman sculptures, egyptian temple, and SO much more! LOVED it. That night we walked the Brooklyn Bridge at night, which was awesome, and then our new friend, Andrew, took us up to the top of an apartment building and we got to see the city at night. We ended the trip on Monday by going back to the Manhattan temple to do an endowment session, then we ate lunch at this AWESOME Brazilian restaurant called Via Brasil (get their Stroganoff. Don’t ask questions, just get it. And be sure to work on your obrigado. I nailed saying thank you in Portuguese.) Following that we walked down to Grand Central Station and the closed UN Building and finally headed home in a bus that was driven by a crazy man who wanted to catch up to the bus that left an hour before us. It was one AWESOME trip.
In the end, I think the greatest lesson I learned from the great NYC is that people are just nice and good. I choose to believe that the world is made up of people who are positive and caring, and are just trying to live the best they know how. They are not self-centered and cynical as the stranger so often gets stereotyped. We had countless opportunities to see people helping other people, serving other people, thanking and sharing a laugh with other people; all whom are strangers with each other. I think that was a big lesson to learn, and what a better way to learn it than in The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, The Empire City, The Crossroads of the World, the one and only New York City!