Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Moment I Fell in Love with New York City

I would like to take the time to announce that I have indeed fallen in love with this city. It happened by surprise and it's a moment that I'll never forget. Lauren, Anthony, and I were on our way back from Montreal on a 11 hour ride back. We left Montreal at 9:30 AM and did not arrive back in New York until 8:30 PM. The train tracks are along the Hudson River, and around 8 PM I looked out the window to see the city lit up in the distance. My first instinct was, "I'm home."

I think it took being away for a weekend to realize how awesome New York is. And I'll never forget all of the experiences I have had here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Month Later

(Picture from my balcony a few nights ago)

It's a month later. Today is March 15th. I do not know why but I woke up in the middle of the night and now cannot fall back asleep. I leave for work in 4 hours. I could spend time catching up on more tourist events but I do not even know where to begin. The first thing I must begin with is God. I was blessed to be able to go to church this week at The Apostles Church in NYC by Union Square. It really filled the emptiness of my soul to listen to worship and hear the word of God. It's what has been missing here all along. My roommates and I have expressed that we wanted to go to church and even start a Bible study here, but these conversations had never come to action. This city demands your attention and it is physically exhausting to commute back and forth and walk everywhere in the cold weather. When we are in for the weekend, we spend our time asleep, watching movies, or going to a bar on Saturdays to salvage the one night a week we can still be college students. The reality is that we are in this middle ground of college student and working adult, yet the working adult life is the one we primarily spend our time in. This lifestyle has led us to become physically and spiritually drained.

We all decided to meet at church on Sunday at 7 PM. The service began as an unfamiliar feeling. Worship music sounded distant, and the act of worship itself was distant. However, as the service progressed, and the pastor spoke convicting words from the Old Testament and the Gospel, my soul was reawakened to the fulfillment that only God can bring.

It made me realize that life isn't worth living without the guidance of Jesus and that my life means nothing if I do not wholeheartedly give it to Him. What a perfect time of year to spend reconnecting to what truly matters during Lent. I hope that I can start living a more authentic life, learning from my mistakes, as I finish my semester in New York.

On another note, I have started working on the film that Focus is shooting in New York. It's called Another Night in Suck City (thinking they are changing it to Another Night? who knows) It's starring Robert DeNiro, Paul Dano, and Julianne Moore. I am basically a wardrobe PA, helping costume designers shop and transport clothes to set. It is a ton of work but I am loving it much more than working in a cubicle!

Today the Focus interns had a meeting with the President of Production, who handles all matters of Development and what material Focus will turn into a movie. It was surreal sitting at the table with the man responsible for greenlighting all of the amazing movies Focus has made. I learned a lot from him and was so thankful for the experience!

Last week was Spring Break for Baylor (NOT US) but Ashley and Hollyn came to visit, which was so much fun. We ate some very delicious food and had a great time spending time together after being apart for so long!

This week will be a whirlwind but I am excited. It might hit 60 degrees on Friday! Score.

Here's a little excerpt from John 15.

12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's A New Day, A New Life...And I'm Feeling..Good

The title refers to a wonderful Michael Buble song. That is how I now feel about New York. The reason why it is hard adjusting is, because, let's see-- I lived 18 years in Alabama and 3 and a half years in Texas. So culture shock should be inevitable I suppose...

Anyways I had a great day today. I ate lunch at NBC at 30 Rock. We had the opportunity to meet with an executive who is in charge of all program content and censoring for live shows, including SNL. It was so interesting to meet with him and hear his advice. He said he has a stack of resumes from Yale and Harvard on his desk, but he would rather hire an intern he knows he can count on or someone who knows the business and has a good recommendation. This was good news!

I also learned at work that I may get to go on set for the new movie Focus is shooting in New York called Another Night. It is starring, drum roll please, ROBERT DE NIRO. I don't know how much more I can say, but let's just say I'm excited. Also starring in the movie: Paul Dano, known for Little Miss Sunshine. If I get to go on set, it will be in March when they start shooting.

Also, I just had a visit from my friend Andrea last weekend. We went to Little Italy for dinner at a place called Angelo's which was delicious! I ordered the gnocchi. YUM.

The rest of this blog post will be like a picture book. Enjoy!

On Saturday, we took a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was so wonderful. My favorite was of course, Van Gogh.

We walked by Central Park, which is still a Winter Wonderland.

Then Anthony showed us an adorable, antique bookshop.

Followed by eating some NY Pizza.

On Sunday we saw the matinee performance of CHICAGO! Such an amazing cast and talent! Oh so scandalous. But oh so good. The day after we saw the show I promptly rewatched the movie and sang all of the songs. Because, yes, I am a Broadway show fanatic. Next on the agenda: Phantom, Wicked, and Daniel Radcliffe's show called "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NYC: Great for A Month...

I can only explain my absence of writing on the blog as a natural result of my current distaste of New York. What?! Yes. Distaste and readiness to leave. If I could take the wonderful restaurants, museums, Focus Features, and my classmates with me then it would be great. The rest of it-- the cold, the dirty streets, the foul odors in the subways, the general indifference of the people in this city-- can stay. Am I being a bit dramatic? Well, yes...but all of those facts are true. I am the kind of person who embraces living in a different city every six months. I prefer independent travel, being out of my comfort zone and I love learning the culture of a new city.

However, this is the first instance in my life where I feel trapped by a city. I look out the window every morning, see Manhattan, and grimace. The city is a never-ending labyrinth of GO GO GO that is fun for a month, but once you want to settle down and take a breath, it won't let you. I feel as if I live in a hotel. I do, kind of. I can't take the trash out or do laundry in my pajamas because you have to go out into public areas to do these things. You can't walk outside and smell fresh air. You smell smog. You cannot walk to a grocery store where I live. You have to take a subway, which means only buying things you can carry back. This type of lifestyle seems cool, trendy and efficient for about a month but then it really becomes a chore.

The things that are supposed to be simple become chores that require extra preparation. Because of this, I am feeling drained, in much need of a southern city for a week. Is this sad? I am not the type to become "homesick." Interestingly, I am more homesick here than I ever was during my semester in Europe. Europe is a different story. Check out "KA in Europe" to see my never ending appreciation of my experiences there.

YES, I know this is an opportunity of a lifetime. YES I am appreciative and I am loving "parts" of living here. But all in all, come May 4 I will be ready to say goodbye to the Big Apple. And come April 16 I will be ready for a break with my sister in France for a week for Easter.

Okay, so now you get it. I am not a NEW YORKA okay?? I think I'm going to like LA and the surrounding beaches MUCH better. We shall see.

Next on my blogging agenda, the weekend visit of my friend Andrea. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Catching Up From Last Week

I'm posting what happened last weekend so I can catch up to the present. Here is what I wrote last week:

On Saturday we had a field trip to the Museum of the Moving Image. This basically means we went to a movie museum and it was AWESOME. They have so many artifacts of film equipment-- some even dating back to the 1800s.

They have cameras, early sound recording devices, film, lighting instruments, and televisions.

They had a Zoetrope, which is a simple spinning device that gives the illusion of a moving picture.

They also had Kinetoscopes, which are large boxes that one can look into and watch a small film in. In order to watch the film, one has to crank a wheel on the side of the box.
I got to dub my voice on a clip of The Wizard of Oz and watch the movie with Judy Garland using my voice. It was pretty cool. However, I'll leave the acting to her. My voice is definitely not as pleasant as hers! After the museum, we went to lunch with our teacher, Joe. We went to a really great, low key Greek place. The chicken souvlaki and tzaziki sauce was out of this world. (Almost as good as it was in Athens but not quite).

On Sunday I went to the Russian Tea Room for lunch to take advantage of Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week happens once a year in NYC for the purpose of letting normal people get to try food at crazy expensive restaurants. For instance, at this place a cup of coffee costs $8. On their restaurant week menu, one could order three courses for $24. So we took advantage of the fixed menu! For an appetizer I had a blinchki, which is like a crepe, filled with goat cheese and mushrooms with a balsamic reduction. For the main course I had baked salmon in a fluffy pastry with cream sauce.
Lastly, for dessert, I ordered the chocolate mousse which had a raspberry sauce in the center. It was definitely a gourmet meal! And for a great price.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I intended on going to this church called Redeemer on Sunday that people from Baylor recommended. They had a night service at 5:45. We got done with lunch around 2:30. I had time to kill in Manhattan and everyone else went back home so I went by myself to wander around Times Square. I am entranced by anything to do with Broadway so I thought, why not.

I walked up and down 7th Avenue and saw the Box Office for The Lion King, Memphis, Phantom, etc. and then I chanced upon the box office for American Idiot, the musical that has all of Green Day's music.

I am not particularly a huge Green Day fan but my friend Mallory told me that it was a pretty cool show and that I would like it. So I wandered in and asked if they had any student rush tickets for later that night. The guy said, well we have some for right now. I was like, oh okay sure! So I literally wandered in the box office, bought a cheap ticket, and was seated in the 4th row. The music was phenomenal. I'm not a huge Green Day fan, but the show was fantastic. It was a rock show but with highly stylized musical numbers. Pretty Awesome.

Best part was that the lead singer of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong, was in it. He was absolutely amazing live. I was star srtuck.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Bad Day and the Bigger Picture

One of the things I've left out of my blog is that life here is not perfect. After the initial honeymoon effect of moving to a new city, one really learns how the move is affecting his or her lifestyle. In my case, along with all of the blessings I have here, there are also negative aspects as well. Wedneday was probably the worst day I've had here. It was snowy and slushy and the subways were jam packed. Instead of waking up to sunlight and fresh air, I walked into the cold, dirty, smelly underground of the city where people were all squeezing into subway cars. The car I was in stopped for 15 minutes because of the backed up subway traffic. At the next stop, I had to transfer to another train. This one did the same thing, so I had to transfer back to the N train. It took me an hour to get to work. After I got to work, it seemed like my menial office tasks were meaningless.

After lunch, there was nothing for me to do, so I spent the remainder of the day at my cubicle, staring blankly at the computer. I felt like I was in the movie Office Space. It really sucked the life out of me. One of the reasons I embrace a career in the film industry is for the sole purpose of not having a scheduled, 9 to 5 job sitting at a desk (sorry Mommy and Daddy, I feel your pain). I want to be on a set on different days with different hours, running around as a PA or making sure the filming is on track as an AD. But for now, I'll have to suck it up and just remember what this internship is about and remember that I am in a really blessed position here in New York. After work I felt like a caged animal being released. I basically ran down the snow covered streets into the subway station to go home.

Because of this, I ended up getting on the wrong train. I had to walk home from a station I was unfamiliar with, about ten minutes from our apartment. I tried using my phone to navigate but it was useless. The cross streets were set in a confusing grid and there were no street signs. I finally found a man and asked which direction 41st street was in. He pointed me in the right direction. I got home, defeated by the day, and all I wanted to do was see my roommates and convince them of how bad my life was and poor me and I needed their support and their encouragement. (How pathetic!) Except when I walked in the door, ironically, no one was home. And no one came home for another 3 hours. I had the worst day since I've been here and I was alone. I know I'm being melodramatic but this stuff can really get in your head. I went to bed at 9 PM, defeated. Julia and Erica were at a movie and Lauren was working late, editing a video. They returned home around 10 and I woke up and got to talk to them. It helped because they are the best roommates a girl could ask for.

After consideration of this day and previous depressing instances, I realize how these instances affect my spiritual life here. It's not like New York is a heathen city out to antagonize Christians. It is merely indifferent. Diversity is a norm and universalism is celebrated. It's so easy to try and blend into society, in the attempt to not offend anyone or rub anyone the wrong way. I told my roommates to keep me accountable here. I see that my blog has been mostly about food and culture, which is a large part of anyone's lifestyle, but that's not what matters in the end. What matters is character--figuring out who you are and what you believe. I hope that I do not lose sight of the bigger picture while I am here, nor when I continue working in the film industry.

In an encouraging email today, Julia sent me the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, "Before the Throne." After researching the lyrics, it turns out this song was written by an Irish woman in the late 1800s. She was the daughter of a minister and ended up moving to California. Here are the lyrics she so masterfully wrote:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great high Priest who’s name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hand
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
When satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within
upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because a sinless Savior died
my sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
to look on Him and pardon me
Praise the One Risen Son of God.
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of grace
One in Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God

The goal for me now? For one of my next blog posts to be about my first church visit in NYC. Needing to focus on the bigger picture.

Whatever struggle you may have or if you simply are having "one of those days" like I've had this week, be encouraged. And look at the bigger picture.

Much love,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Irish Pub, Guggenheim Art, and Dutch Food

I woke up this morning dreading to go to work because it was snowing heavily outside. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that today is much warmer than yesterday, despite the snow and cloudy sky. Instead of 17 degrees like yesterday, it is now 28 degrees. I was further delighted by the atmosphere at work this morning because the Academy Award nominations were just released and "The Kids Are All Right" is nominated for four awards, including Best Picture. Focus Features also was nominated for three other awards for their foreign film, "Biutiful," and Best Original Screenplay for "Another Year." Read more about it!

I was warmly greeted by a pot of coffee and an assortment of bagels in the kitchen as a celebratory breakfast. Who has the best internship ever? Me.

Saturday was wonderful because we got to stay in from the cold and relax. That night, I researched the best New York City Irish pubs. I read about 15 different pubs, then decided to go to one in Astoria, rather than in Manhattan. We figured the prices would be better in Astoria. I called the pub to ask whether they served food and a woman with a thick Irish accent answered. She was very friendly and informed me they did not serve food but to feel free to bring my own or order in at the pub. Wonderful. We ate at a more family friendly pub called Cronin and Phelan's, then walked about 12 minutes to the pub that didn't serve food, called "The Quays." Don't be fooled, the pronounciation is not "qways"-- it's "keys."

We got to the pub and found it quite empty, except for about 5 scruffy men at the bar drinking Budweiser. I was with two of my roommates and Anthony. We were the only girls in the bar. We ordered our drinks and backed off from the bar into a table near the back. I told Lauren I felt bad for coming into this manly, neighborhood, Irish pub. She said they were probably happy to have young people in there. I was skeptical. I think Julia was feeling my side as well.

However, we were not there five minutes until an old Irish man came up to our table and asked Julia to dance with him. She said she was not a good dancer and that she was okay. This man seemed quite drunk. But then the bartender (a younger guy) assured us he was harmless and in fact a co-owner of the bar. So Lauren was brave and got up to dance with him.

He was as lively and jolly as you can imagine an old Irishman to be. After he danced with Lauren, he danced with me and then Julia. The music was from a juke box, so we danced to everything from Johnny Cash to Andrea Bocelli to Michael Jackson. He actually reminded me of Ricky, my grandfather, who indeed comes from Irish ancestry. Loved it. From then on, our whole table was welcomed by other people in the pub and we were given free drinks for the rest of the night. By the time we left, more people had come, and definitely more women were in there. Anthony especially loved the place because it truly feels like a neighborhood pub where you can get to know the regulars and learn their stories. We'll be back someday for sure.

On Sunday, I got to meet my wonderful aunt for brunch at a place called Cafeteria in the Chelsea area. It was so great to see her and catch up! The food is fabulous there and I will definitely be taking my roommates back to it. Aunt B knew that I really have no idea how to dress for cold weather, so she helped me find new gloves, boots, and a hat to keep warm in this crazy, icy weather. THANK YOU AUNT B! All of those items help a million times better than what I brought, and I got to wear my new snow boots for the first time today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

On Monday, I decided to use my day off NOT to sleep and watch TV, but to go out and see some sights. This is a big deal for me people. We keep our little heater on 78 degrees so we can blissfully walk around in t-shirts in our apartment and watch TV like we're back in Texas. But yesterday Lauren and I braved the 17 degree weather to go see some art at the famous Guggenheim museum.

The collection was small due to renovations, but my favorites from the collection were Manet's "Before the Mirror,"

Van Gogh's "Landscape with Snow,"

Monet's "View of The Ducal Palace from San Giorgio,"

and Picasso's "Woman with Yellow Hair."

Can you tell I am a cliched Impressionist fan? That style of painting never ceases to amaze me. I can't wait to see more! Next museum on the list: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, obviously. It's closed on Mondays so I'll have to go on a Saturday or Sunday.

Next we went to the New York Public Library.

What is this famous for you might ask? Not because it's one of the largest, oldest libraries in the US, but because it was in the Sex and the City movie of course! This was the location where Sarah Jessica Parker was to have her famous dream wedding, only to be dumped on the day of. Anyways, Lauren and I wandered around and took pictures of the beautiful architecture.

After we went to the library, we got dinner at a Dutch restuarant in Soho called Vandaag. Lauren ordered some "bitterballin" and I ordered the fish entree. It was really gourmet and tasty. The most interesting part of the meal was my cocktail I'd say. It was a belgian beer with pineapple liquor and fresh lime. I've never tasted anything like it but it was great! We made it back to the apartment around 8 PM, having had a very culture-filled day.

Now I am here in my cubicle, appearing to be very busy. But hey! I already filled out an excel sheet with Hotel information and I am on call for my boss whenever she needs me.

Much love from the snowy New York,