NYC Trip: Day 3-5

 

If you missed it, I wrote about Day 1-2 here…

Day Three: Monday morning my mom and I walked to a bagel shop, since you can’t go to NY without eating a bagel! Luckily my navigation skills weren’t too bad, and we got there without getting lost. The bagel shop was close to central park, so we walked there and explored. I really wanted to see Cherry Hill Fountain, which is the fountain in the Friends opening theme song. While we walked down Literary Lane towards the fountain a street performer played Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (which happens to be one of me and my dad’s favorite songs) on his saxophone and it felt like a scene straight out of a movie. After that lovely moment we found the fountain and took some pictures!

IMG_2420.JPG

After walking around central park, we met up with my dad and brother because we brought tickets to do a bus tour of uptown. The buses were supposed to come every fifteen minutes, but we waited an hour and a half before the next one came. Now while I don’t necessarily believe in reincarnation, I swear the tour guide is my Aunt reincarnated. Like my Aunt, the tour guide was super blunt, kind of rude, had a raspy voice, and was over the top. The bus was at capacity, so we had to sit on the bottom. After a few stops it became obvious that most people didn’t have any intentions of getting off soon, so we decided to get off and try again the next day. We walked around some and came across a little park that had some statues, which was cool.

Then we Ubered back to our apartment to get ready for the show that night. We saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on broadway. It was really cute! Their take on the classic was interesting, but also didn’t stray too far from the original. My favorite character was their take on Verruca Sault. After the show we walked around until we found a place to eat, since it was 9:30 and we hadn’t had dinner. We stumbled upon a great asian place, and I had some really good spicy wonton soup. That evening we walked around more, and went to Times Square again before calling it a night.

Day Four:

Tuesday we decided to try the Bus Tour again. This time it went much more smoothly and we rode the bus from Times Square to the 9/11 memorial. The memorial is beautiful, yet so heartbreaking. One of my childhood friend’s father died in the pentagon on that day, so I always think of her and her family whenever the subject comes up. After paying our respects at the memorial, we found a place to have some brunch. The restaurant/coffee shop was adorable and was the perfect little place to grab a bite. Afterwards we went into a shop next door that had a ton of vintage posters. My brother got a Seinfeld one and I got this one…

alexander.jpg

 

While we were in the shop it started to pour. We were going to walk to Wall Street, but it was the end of our trip and none of us really wanted to walk a mile in the rain. Instead we walked to the nearest bus stop and took the rest of the tour. When the rain let up, me and my mom went thrift shopping. The rest of the evening was pretty quiet besides, you guessed it, more walking around.

Day Five:

We had to be out of the apartment at 12:30, so this day was pretty short. My dad and brother got up early and rode bikes in central park. I hadn’t been feeling well, and accidentally slept in pretty late, so once I got up my mom and I walked to a coffee shop called The Jolly Goat to get breakfast.

After breakfast we packed up and got an Uber to the airport. I got randomly chosen for TSA pre-check, so that was really nice, although the rest of my family didn’t so I still had to wait for them haha. The flight back was uneventful, and now I’m home!

It was nice to get away, and I really enjoyed New York!

Advertisements

NYC Trip: Day 1-2

If you’ve wondered why I’ve been a little MIA this past week, it’s because my family and I went on vacation!

Day 1:

Our flight took off at 8:30am, and it’s a bit of a drive to the airport, so we left at 6:30am. I can’t remember the last time I was up at 6:30! Airport security went really well. The TSA agents usually harass my brother since he’s a type one diabetic and uses both a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, but this time they were really nice about it. The flight went well and we landed at Laguardia airport. From Laguardia it was about a thirty minute Uber ride to our airbnb, which was in Hell’s Kitchen.

Our apartment was 800 sq. feet, so it was a bit of a squeeze with four people, but I think we all managed pretty well. We landed at around 2:00 pm est. so we were pretty hungry and ate lunch at a restaurant called Vynl that was right down 9th avenue. We didn’t have anything planned for day one, so we decided to walk around and get a lay of the land. Me and my mom went shopping, or at least we tried to haha. We got lost and ended up walking for six miles. We did however eventually find the stores we were looking for and I got two new shirts for the upcoming school year. During our time being lost we accidentally ended up by Trump Tower, and given everything that’s currently going on I felt compelled to do this…

IMG_2392.JPG

That evening we ate Turkish food at a great restaurant called Istanbul. After dinner we walked to Times Square. Times Square was so different than I had always imagined it. It was basically just a ton of screens and thousands of people staring at them in a trance. Honestly I found it kind of odd, but I enjoyed seeing such an iconic place. We walked around some more and then called it a night since we were all pretty tired.

Day Two:

Day two began bright and early again because we had tickets to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We had planned to take the metro, but we walked to the wrong station and in order to get there on time we had to take an Uber. Liberty Island was really nice! I was shocked at how small the statue of liberty actually is; I thought it was at least twice the size. Either way it was cool to see a symbol of such a huge part of American History.

IMG_2405.JPG

Next we went to Ellis Island. The only thing there is a museum about immigration, so we walked around the museum. I always feel like the best way to visit museums is when you have lots of time and are in the right headspace. It was really busy there, so it was hard to get into it, but the time we did spend there was fun, and it was cool to learn about the history of immigration in the United States. They had some audio recordings that would play when you walked by certain parts of the set, in order to try and give you a taste of some of things immigrants heard when they first arrived in America. A lot of the recordings said things like, “Go back to where you came from.” It’s incredibly disheartening to know that this still happens to immigrants everyday in America.

IMG_2409.JPG

After we got back to the city we decided to take the metro back to our apartment. Since it was a Sunday afternoon no one was taking the metro, and it was really quiet. For lunch that afternoon we had NY style pizza at a little shop in Hell’s Kitchen. That afternoon we walked around more, (this is a common theme lol) and then got ready to go see The Book of Mormon on Broadway. The Book of Mormon was such a fantastic show! It was hilarious, but also touched on very real issues within religion. I highly recommend seeing it!

 

This was my first time visiting NYC and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Travel days 3-5 will be up soon!

Have you ever been to NYC? What was your favorite thing you did there?

My First College Class Experience

Yesterday, August 10th, was the last day of my first college class!

For reference I took an art appreciation class as a 5 week Summer course.

Many aspects of this class felt a lot like high school. It was a fairly small classroom with around 25 students, and we sat at those typical desks that have the chair attached to the desk. For some reason my teacher didn’t seem to understand the difference between an art class and an art appreciation class. Typically in an art appreciation class you would learn how to analyze art and learn a little bit of the history of different art movements.

img_2342.jpg
We did the octopus as a quick exercise in class, and although it’s a little messy I’m pretty happy with mine. (two octopus tentacles painted kind of messily in hues of blue)

But did we do that? Haha no. I really shouldn’t complain because I got three hours for doing very little work, but at times it was frustrating. The majority of the class we painted. We painted a seed pod, an octopus, a collage we made out of magazine clippings, and the final painting was a group project where we each painted a piece of a collage. The other project we had was making a sculpture out of polymer clay and a plastic animal. We also had to visit an art gallery and an art museum.

As for my professor, there’s one thing I can say that I think explains his overall demeanor and teaching style pretty well. Last week we watched a documentary about yarn, riveting right? I always arrive to class about ten minutes early since I have a perpetual fear of being late. Since I was there early he was still setting things up. I’m not sure if he realized this or not but he was projecting his computer screen onto the wall. I was looking around the room when I noticed he was googling, “What is the definition of a medium in art?” It took every once of self-control I have to not audibly laugh. He never lectured or really gave directions, and all he would do is show us pictures of things and tell us to paint them. I kept waiting for the “lesson day” but  it never came. I didn’t really learn anything (expect that painting is really hard), but I also didn’t have to do much work so I’ll count it as a win.

I’m super proud of myself because I made it to every single class. 4 days a week for 5 weeks, 20 classes total. To a healthy person this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I haven’t been able to go even a whole week straight to class in five years. Of course it helped that it was only a few hours a day and I had no other commitments, but I would have never imagined even five months ago that I would be able to do this.

Things with chronic illness can change in the blink of an eye. I’ve been out of a flare for a while now, so realistically I know one is going to rear its ugly head soon, but being able to succeed in this class gives me hope for the Fall. I’m looking forward to being in school full time again.

It won’t always be this easy, but having something productive to do feels fulfilling!

The Language of Disability

Not that long ago I didn’t consider myself disabled. Society had taught me disabled people were in wheelchairs, had some level of impaired mobility, or had moderate to severe cognitive disabilities. Sure chronic illness had completely taken over my life, but in my eyes I wasn’t disabled enough.

Fast forward to maybe nine months ago, I realized I was in fact disabled by my chronic illnesses and took on the label with pride. For me disabled is both a description of how chronic illness affects my life and a political label. I don’t have a problem with being referred to as disabled, because it’s true.

A lot of people however don’t seem to like the word “disabled.” When I was in high school I applied to become a “Best Buddy” which is a program where you befriend someone in the special education program. Fortunately or unfortunately for me (depending on how you look at it) they didn’t have enough special ed kids for all of the volunteers to have a buddy, so I never got one.

I did go to a training class after school one day, and something from it has stuck with me. They talked about how you shouldn’t ever say someone is disabled, instead say “a person with a disability, differently abled, or handi-capable.” The funny thing about the language of disability is I only see parents/caretakers asking people not to say disabled, never actual disabled people. I’m sure there are disabled people out there who don’t like the term, but I personally haven’t run across any. Many people take on the label with pride and try to advocate for themselves and others with disabilities.

I personally have a problem with the term “differently abled.” Disabled people aren’t differently abled, they are disabled. There are things we can’t do, point blank, end of story. For me some days I can do something and the next day I can’t, but there are also things that I’m never abled to do no matter the circumstances. “A person with a disability” isn’t offensive, I just find it unnecessary. The argument for the other side is that you should put the person before the disability. I feel you don’t have to take that literally. As long as someone is being respectful and isn’t  using a demonizing or belittling tone, then there isn’t anything wrong with saying “disabled people” or a “disabled person.”

Of course you should treat someone like a human being, and not reduce them to their diagnosis. However I don’t fid it necessary to say “person with a disability” every time you speak about disabilities. What are your thoughts? Do you use the term disabled to describe yourself?

The Hair Perv: Chronically Misunderstood

In the fall of 2016 my PCP thought I might have pseudotumor cerebri. One of my mom’s coworkers daughters had this and went to see a neuro-ophthalmologist, so we decided I should see him and figure out if I actually had pseudotumor cerebri or not.

This was probably the weirdest doctors appointment I have ever had. To start it off we were shuffled between five different rooms to do a bunch of eye tests. No one explained anything or said why I was doing the tests. When we finally saw the doctor he looked at my eyes and said maybe five sentences to me. He told me I needed an MRI and he would give me a prescription for torodol. After four years (at the time) of chronic illness I was kind of offended that he thought  had never tried torodol. It’s pretty much the first pain med doctors try when you first become sick.

After I saw him there was one more eye test I had to do. An older man was running the machine and was getting everything set up. To be honest I don’t remember 100% what the test was for since the day was such a whirl-wind. The man had to put some sort of salt on my scalp and then put electrodes over the areas of salt. I had rather long hair at the time, and my hair is pretty thick. As he put the electrodes on my scalp he ran his finger through my hair and said, “I’m enjoying this way too much.”

“I’m enjoying this way too much”

What the hell is that supposed to mean? I was sixteen and that comment was incredibly inappropriate, plus my mom was standing right there. I have no idea why he thought that was an okay thing to think, let alone say. I was there to find answers to my chronic illnesses, not be hit on by some pervy old dude.

We did the MRI and found out I do not have a pseudotumor, so needless to say we’ve never been back. In those 4 four years pervious to that appointment no one would order an MRI for me, so at least I got that out of this mess.

Oh the things we go through to find answers to our chronic illnesses!

Ragged Doll

I am a ragged doll

Dropped in the mud too many times

Beaten, broken, and stained

 

I am a ragged doll

Cast aside

Sprawled out in the bottom of the toy chest

Bending beneath the weight of better newer toys

 

Toys that haven’t been stained

Haven’t been dropped in the mud

Haven’t been broken

 

I spend my nights awake

Wondering if someone will ever want this ragged doll

This ragged, broken doll

 

Some days I appear to be new

My porcelain skin has yet to start crazing

When I shatter will you still pick me over the other toys?

 

I’d want a shiny new doll if I were you

These stains are off putting

And these chips are more trouble than they’re worth

 

In a sea of shiny toys

Who would pick this ragged doll

This ragged, broken doll