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,


Friday, January 21, 2011

School, Serendipity, and Warhol

It's Friday!

This week I have learned the crazyness that is my work and school schedule. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I work from 10 AM- 6PM, then hop on the subway to go straight to class. Class starts at 7PM and lasts until 10:30 PM. Talk about a full day! However, I absolutely love every second of class. On Tuesdays we have Electronic Culture, exploring how technology has changed us as a society and how it will continue to affect us. On Wednesdays we have Contemporary Cinema, which is pretty self explanatory but includes exploring the filmmakers of generation X and why filmmakers made more philosophically based movies in the late 90s/2000s. Our teacher, Joe Kickasola, is wonderful-- laid back, insightful and extremely thought provoking. Which is needed after a full work day!

In class, we are able to write on the desks! (Something I got sent to the principal's office for in middle school. I remember to this day walking into Miss Murray's office, terrified, and telling her that it was a senseless and dumb mistake.) In the open minded spirit of New York, we are able to graffiti our hearts out if desired. It is seen as a "creative outlet" for students. Love it.

After school on Wednesday night, Julia and Erica had a hankering for some delicious dessert. So my roommates and I headed to the famous "Serendipity 3" restaurant to sample some famous desserts. (They are open until 2 AM) This charming little restaurant dates back to the 1950s in New York City. The story is fascinating. However, I think we were expecting too much because we were less than blown away by the desserts. Julia and Erica split a chocolate cake, fudge, and ice cream creation which turned out to be quite mediocre.

Delicious for sure, but not anything you haven't tasted before. Lauren got the apple pie, which was okay, but nothing spectacular either. I ordered their famous "frozen hot chocolate," a treat that everyone RAVES over, and was definitely NOT raving about the tasteless, chalk-like, whipped cream on top of it. Sorry Serendipity, but we will not be back for your over-priced touristy desserts. We ended up getting home
for the day at midnight. Whew!

Even though my internship is very low key right now, it is draining to be awake and alert for so many hours. I am hoping that my decision to work 4 days a week won't come back to haunt me.

On a happier and more exciting note, we went to an extremely cool venue last night-- The Museum of Modern Art's exhibition of Andy Warhol's motion pictures. I really don't know much about Warhol (ask my little sister Sally, she would DEF know!) but I do know that I was inspired and intrigued by his portraits captured on 16mm film.

Along with viewing his creative films, one could create their very own Warhol portrait. The event set up a room with three stations, each complete with a white backdop, lighting, and a personal photographer. All you had to do was stand in a line and each person got a 45 second potrait done. While all of this was going on, a DJ played eclectic music while museum workers served different kinds of wine in plastic cups. This was my first art gallery experience with the famed wine in a plastic cup! I had a ball.
Lauren and I discovered that not everyone's portrait was displayed. We figured you either had to be beautiful or interesting to be displayed (lots of foreign people were up there, along with anyone wearing thick black rimmed glasses). So in an attempt to look more artsy, I borrowed Kevin's glasses for my portrait.

We saw Erica and Julia's portraits from another line, but Lauren and I unfortunately never saw our faces on the big screen. Sad day. However, this event will definitely be one of my favorite moments in New York City I am sure. :-)
Julia and I both wore shoes that were very unforgiving to our feet. So, we decided to split a cab back home instead of walking 6 blocks to the subway. It was definitely worth it!

Julia stopped and got McDonalds in Time Square. It was such a fun, memorable, night in New York City! I have an intern seminar at work today in two hours and after that, the weekend is here! be sure to tune in to Letterman tonight if you aren't out! Our taping will be on. Nathan Lane (voice of Timon from Lion King) is the guest. Extremely funny man.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Becoming a Local and Seeing Letterman


I can't believe it's only been a week and a half. My roommates and I are already so familiar with our schedules, subway directions, and the beutiful city of New York. Our apartment is a dream. We live in Long Island City, outisde of Manhattan, but it is only a bridge away. Because of the location, we have a very spacious apartment, one that would be comparable to any Waco apartment for a Baylor student. We are very blessed.

To end the work week last Friday, my roommates and I went to a swanky bar called the Campbell Apartment, located in Grand Central Station.

This is a famous New York bar, but also famous because it was on the pilot episode of Gossip Girl. For any GG fans out there, this is the place where Nate *gasp* cheated on Blair with Serena after a wedding. Anyways, Erica and I had candied apple martinis and Lauren had their famous "prohibition punch". We could only afford one drink there but it was a really cool place to visit. Afterwards, we went to a place in SoHo more suited for our college student wallets.

Saturday, the girls and I thought we would be out conquering the city, but sincewe were so exhausted from the first week we ended up relaxing quite a bit. That night, we went to a restaurant called Pomme Frites, which only sells French Fries. The appeal is getting to choose from a vast array of dipping sauces. I chose Rosemary Garlic mayo, Mango chutney mayo, and Truffle Oil mayo. They were really delicious, but our stomachs weren't the happiest afterwards...

On Sunday, Julia, Erica, and I went to Union Square for some bargain hunting and grocery shopping. Afterwards, we researched the best Italian restaurant we could find for a good price and ended up in Astoria-- New York City's most diverse neighborhood.

Apparently over 120 languages are spoken in Astoria. The great thing about Astoria is that it is only two subway stops away from our apartment. The restaurant was small and charming with exposed brick walls and wooden tables complete with candlelight. The service was wonderful, the food exquisite, and the prices low.

On Monday, I was awoken by a phone call from a New York phone number. I let it go to voicemail. Out of curiosity I listened to it and it was a man from the David Letterman show saying to call back if I would like tickets to a taping of the show. However, he said that I must answer a Letterman trivia question in order to get the tickets. So I immediately woke up, googled David Letterman, and began studying him.

After thirty minutes I called back, and he asked me what instrument Paul Shaffer plays on the show. "The keyboard!" Yep, so I got two tickets. We were supposed to show up at 3:30 to pick up tickets, then come back at 4:45.

It turns out that the boys in our Baylor group also got tickets and our other roommate Julia got a ticket at the last minute. The show was exhilarating. They play upbeat music and clap as you walk into the studio. They tell you to laugh hysterically even if you don't think a joke is funny.

At 6 PM, Letterman ran out on stage and welcomed us to the show. It was surreal seeing him so up close. We were on the 4th row. The show was a blast and I would encourage ANYONE who goes to New York to do it. Especially because it's free! All you have to do is answer a trivia question. :-)

Our taping of the show airs this Friday, the 21st if you want to see it! Maybe you can catch a glimpse of me in the sweeping audience shots.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Day at Work

Here is a smattering of photos from my first day at Focus, taken with my iPhone.

The office itself is beautiful. Hardwood floors, exposed ceilings, and illuminated posters of movies Focus Features has made.

My desk was love at first sight. Right by my computer was an Atonement poster. I got an intern handbook and was allowed to get a coffee in a Focus Features mug. I'm a nerd.

I work in Physical Production under the production manager, Evelynda. I read a script today that Focus is starting to shoot in March. Also, I covered the receptionist while she was in a meeting and got to answer the phones saying, "Focus Features." Woohoo! They would ask for a name and I would say, hold please, and transfer them to someone important.

Here I am taking my first Lunch break!

Monday, January 10th: First Celebrity Sighting

On Monday, little did we know, we would meet this dreamy actor named Chase Crawford. I'll get to that later.

I have Mondays off so I spent the day getting to know the city more and finding my office in Manhattan. It takes about 25 minutes to ride the subway from my apartment to my office.

Julia, Erica, Mandy and I went to a bakery then to Whole Foods in Union Square.

The best part of the day was when we chanced upon meeting Chase Crawford, star of TV show Gossip Girl. They were filming an episode of Gossip Girl in the hotel that Lauren's family is staying in. She mentioned the possibility of seeing some of the shooting, but we weren't sure. We went in the lobby and there is Chase, just leaning against the wall, waiting on shooting. Julia went over to him and said, "Hey! We're from Texas.." Then his security guard shooed her away and Julia was devastated. But THEN-- Chase came up to us and started talking! He is actually from Texas so we talked about how we are from Baylor and everything. He is really nice and was absolutely gorgeous in person.

I went to my first Broadway show called "Next to Normal" and walked around Times Square.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In The City!

I am now settled in my new apartment in NYC! This is the view from outside my window.

I have three roommates: Erica, Julia, and Lauren. Erica is doing PR at a company called 5W, Julia is working at CBS, and Lauren is working at a production company called Spin the Bottle.

I was exhausted after finally getting to New York, so we all went to eat lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant and then took a nap. We had an orientation meeting from 7 to 10 PM, then we went out for drinks to celebrate my birthday!

This morning, my roomate Julia bought me a birthday donut! So sweet. What a great 22nd birthday to wake up in New York City!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Where I Am Heading

I would like to take the opportunity to describe the company I am working for. It is a brilliant little company called Focus Features. It is the art house film division of NBC Universal's Universal Pictures and acts both as a producer and distributor of its own films, as well as a distributor for foreign films.

They have produced movies including Atonement, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Pride and Prejudice, Dan in Real Life, The Pianist, Lost in Translation, and The Kids are All Right.

They make movies that push boundaries and inspire. Movies that go against the norm of the usual Blockbuster with characters and stories that are relevant to our culture.

This internship is a dream come true. Well, at least for now. I may change my mind after actually working there. One more day in Alabama and on Saturday I am off at 6 AM to fly to NYC. Pursuing the first real step of working in the film industry.

The Day Has Come!

I leave for New York City in less than 2 days and I am a nervous wreck. I haven't packed, I haven't studied a map like I thought I would do all Christmas break, and I am falling behind on my Food Network research of where to eat in NYC. My flight leaves from Mobile at 6 AM on Saturday, which means I probably will not sleep that night.