Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Good Week for Food

In this past week, I have probably gained back all the weight that I lost this summer from walking around NYC. Boo. Was it worth it? Hmmm, my taste buds say yes, but I don't know if my arteries agree with that.

Grand Lux Cafe in Garden State Plaza. Pasta Carbonara.

Grand Lux Cafe. New Orleans Beignets.

Shrimp Pad Thai from Pongsri in Midtown

Crab, Avacado and Mango Sandwich from MacarOn Cafe

Apricot Macaron

Macy's Chocolate Fountain Day for employees :)

Ippudo Ramen
Shiromaru Hakata Classic

'The original tonkotsu' soup noodle with pork loin chashu, kikurage, menma, 1/2 boiled egg, red pickled ginger, sesame & scallions

Grasshopper Cupcake (Mint Chocolate Chip) from Crumbs

Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo Dump

I haven't blogged in a while due to a combination between busyness and laziness. But these last final weeks here have been great and I'm really starting to have mixed emotions about leaving.

Bryant Park.

New York Public Library.

Shaved ice + mango + bananas + boba.

Top of the Empire State Building.


Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry.

Xi'an Famous Foods run by a recent WashU alum!

The Highline, an old elevated railroad track converted into a park in the city.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Uncomfortable Bus Ride

Because I got out of work early today, I took a different bus than the one I normally take in the evenings. Who knew that a four hour difference on the same route could be that different?

I took a seat, crossed my arms, and put on my shades. Nap time! Smelly disheveled man sits next to me. Or not. I firmly grasp my purse, cover my nostrils and turn the other way.

"What would Jesus do?" the voice inside my head asked.
"He would talk to him and care for him."
"So what should you do?"
"The same."
"So why aren't you?"
"Because I'm scared he's going to be like the man on the airplane and not stop talking to me and eventually try to follow me home..."
"Jesus didn't fear discomfort or physical harm."
"I know, I know."

The homeless man pulls out an index card with phone numbers and starts dialing the numbers on his cell phone. "HEY GEORGE! Hey ummm if you need me for anything, let me know. I'm in desperate need of a job, I'm having a really rough time. Help a brother out, yeah? Just give me a call."

[Okay, since when did homeless people have cell phones? Man, America, you really are something. (Apparently homeless people can earn up to $200/week!) That could also explain where he got the money to ride a bus to New Jersey.]

I began thinking of ways that I could help. He needs a job. Yesterday, we had our corporate give back day and volunteered at the Jericho Project in the Bronx, where we painted two stories of a transitional house for the homeless. Ah ha! As I was about to tell him about checking out the Jericho Project and how they could help him find a job, he pressed the STOP button to get off at the upcoming stop. I missed my chance. :(

As I was about to nap again, these rowdy teenage boys run onto the bus, and the leader of the pack sat next to me.

"Hey, I like your belt. Where'd you get it?" his friend asked.
"It was free," the boy next to me smirked as he put a lighter in his mouth.
"Where'd you get your shoes?"
"It was free, too."
"What'd you do? Just slip them on and leave?"
"Nah, I just stuck 'em in my pack. Hey, let's go to the back of the bus and light one."
"No man, what if we burn the whole bus down?!" the third kid chimed in.
"Oh never mind, here's our stop!"

They ran off the bus and I let out a sigh of relief. I am definitely not as versatile in different cultures as I thought I was, or as loving as I hypothetically thought I could be. Jesus, fill me with your strength to be able to love people who are different than I am.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Desert Song

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

It was almost midnight when my bus pulled up to my bus stop coming back from the city. As the bus screeched its wheels and drove away, a noise still echoed in the air. It was coming from the woman ahead of me who was sitting on her lawn talking on the phone. She quieted as I walked past her to cross the street. When I was halfway across the street, she began to wail and weep for some unknown reason. Her cry pierced my heart and I really wished there was something that I could do. What could I say? "Are you alright?" Obvs not. "Can I help you?" What could I do? Continuing to walk, I prayed that God would comfort her.

Even though she was a hot mess, I believe that's when God finds us the most beautiful. As we cry out in our desperation and brokenness, God looks upon us with compassion and mercy.

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames
- Hillsong "Desert Song"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Third Celeb Sighting

Friday, after work I went to try a restaurant in Little Italy called Bonito II. Their eggplant parmigiana was really savory, and the lunch special was only $7.99.

Met up with some WashU folk in Union Square where I spotted T.R. Knight (George O'Malley from Grey's Anatomy) kissing his partner :O We then went to check out the Financial District, where unfortunately, we didn't get to see stressed out ibankers or NYSE brokers get out of work. Though, we did see a bull and some boa constrictors, who would've guessed?

Then Saturday, another WashU friend and I went to the American Musuem of Natural History where we spent the majority of our time in the Oceanic Life exhibit.

The museum closed at 6pm, so we had an hour and a half to kill before our WashU reunion dinner. We went to K-town to get some froyo, but there was a huge line out the door at Pinkberry so we settled for some Red Mango. Soon after, we went to a place called Tribecafe for dinner. I ordered a Mentaiko Spaghetti, which is spaghetti with squid and spicy coe rod topped with shiso and nori seaweed. Om nom nom.

Time Square! I have yet to see a Broadway show...

My summer in New York has been getting significantly better after tackling my bucket list with friends. A friend from church said, "It's not about the job or what you do, its about the people you're with." I've been realizing how true that really is. My experience isn't defined by the places I go to, but by those who keep me company. Thankfully, God has blessed me with lots of friends in the city :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New York City Bucket List

Here's a list of places I want to go before I leave New York at the end of the month.

Places I've been
- Time Square
- Flushing
- Brooklyn Bridge & Ice Cream Factory
- Soho & New Museum
- Lombardi's Pizza
- St. Marks & Xi'an Famous Foods (run by a WashU alum!)
- Flushing & Joe's Shanghai
- American Museum of Natural History
- Ktown
- Chinatown
- Financial District & Wall St.
- Union Square
- Bronx
- Tribeca
- Bryant Park
- Grand Central Station
- Central Park
- Staten Island Ferry & Statue of Liberty
- Battery Park
- The Highline

Places I want to go
- Coney Island
- Met Musuem
- Broadway: Wicked

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th Weekend

This past weekend was amazing! Saturday, I went to Hofstra New York Summer Conference for a day to listen to Peter Ong (from Chinese Mission Conference 2007) and Greg Jao (from Urbana 2009). I wish I could've gone for the whole 5 days to get the full experience, but alas I wanted to see the fireworks (see below)! One thing that I got out of it is that there is no such thing as good news unless there is bad news.

Then on Sunday, I hung out with some church folk and had a very nice BBQ then went to watch the Macy's fireworks from Hoboken, New Jersey. We learned the hard way that it is not wise to leave at 8pm when the fireworks start at 9:20pm. We arrived 15 minutes after the show started just to find that our view of the fireworks were obstructed by tree leaves. It was quite disappointing.
Today, a couple WashU kids and I went on a day trip to Wildwood Beach in Southern Jersey. It was really great getting to catch up with these friends and enjoy the cool beach water on this hot hot day.

Along the boardwalk, there's this place called Lime Rickey's, which had waffle ice cream! We got the cookies and cream and mint chocolate chip ice cream, which tasted amazing with the warm Belgian waffle. I'd recommend it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Second Celeb Encounter + Fun In the City

After four weeks of not really exploring New York, I decided to create a bucket list and tackle it. (Bucket List to be posted later.) One of the only food-related goals was to try New York style pizza. A few of us from WashU went to Lombardi's in SoHo, which was apparently the first pizzeria in America. It was delish! We ordered a large with mushrooms, spinach and sausage.

After Lombardi's, we went to check out The New Museum, also in SoHo. The current exhibit is Rivane Neueschwander's stuff, which isn't too crazy and is pretty fascinating. When we were on one of the floors, we saw Sandra Oh (from Grey's Anatomy) walk off the elevator! At one point, she was less than a foot away from me and I totally didn't know how to act or what to say. So I just admired her hair.

Anyway, one that I thought was particularly awesome was the ribbon exhibit called I Wish Your Wish (picture below). Basically, other people's wishes are printed on these colorful ribbons, and you can take one to make it your wish as well. In return, you replace it with your own wish on a sheet of paper. The one I took said, "I wish to find pleasure in things as much as I used to as a child."
Next, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and tried the famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory's strawberry and chocolate chocolate chip, which was super rich.
Afterwards, I watched a jazz band play in front of Central Park. I <3 jazz!! Also, I don't know if you can tell, but that dude is playing two instruments at once!

Finally, I met with a new friend, who is also from WashU and is working in NY this summer. We got some curry katsu from Go! Go! Curry! USA on 38th St. and 8th ave. It's a small hole in the wall, which equates to deliciousness. Turns out she's going to be an RA next year too! Craziness.

The end of my glorious day in New York!