Like smiles, Wi-Fi should be free, but in New York neither are, so we were unable to blog about all the things that happened yesterday. Here's the recap:
We took a train from Philadelphia to New York Wednesday morning. On the train, I put my wallet in my front pocket instead of my back as a safety measure, and I refrained from carrying a bulky camera around my neck. I didn't want to look like a tourist, since I plan to live in New York City one day.
We disembarked at Penn Station in New York. Though I tried to look unimpressed and nonchalant, inside I was screaming.
We walked down the street to our hotel, which was an adventure in itself. We checked into our rooms then made our way to Columbia.
I had a hot dog from a hot dog stand in New York. I liked it so much I had two.
We walked onto the Columbia campus and the city disappeared. It was strange to look around and not realize you were in the biggest city in America. It was serene and clean, and I loved it.
We sat through the informational session and took a tour of the campus with Dane, a short, muscular young man who I really wanted to be friends with. All of the tour guides, who are current Columbia students, seemed like the kind of people I would want to surround myself with in college and in life.
That night we ate dinner at Aureole, a Charlie Palmer restaurant. I didn't know who Charlie Palmer was, but Mr. Ramsey pointed out that he was the man taking our orders and bringing us bread.
Since I was in New York, I had a NY Strip Loin as my main course and a NY Cheesecake for dessert. They were both fantastic.
Afterwards, Mr. Ramsey went back to the hotel to sleep and the "cool kids" (Mrs. Kronenberg, Mr. Miranda, Marisol, Henry, Brandon and I went out to explore New York City at night.
We walked up and down Times Square which was lit like it was daytime. Again, I tried to control my composure. I had my hands in my pockets so I could hold my belongings at all times, especially while we were shoving through crowds of people.
Then Mrs. Kronenberg took us to the Empire State building. It was midnight, so the lines were short but they were still lines. Mrs Kronenberg joked that it was "The City That Never Sleeps."
I compared it to home. "Pinole: The City that Sleeps in the Night."
We reached the top of the Empire State. I looked over the edge for the first time in my life.
I don't want to get all gooey and poetic, but the view was beautiful and I fell in love. I had that swelling feeling in my chest and I felt both happy and sad at the same time. I was happy because I was here and sad because I had to leave. I could've stared at the skyline until morning.
I know for sure that I will live in New York City at least once by any means necessary. Whether I live in a penthouse or a poorhouse, it will be in NYC.
We returned to the hotel at 1:30 AM and went to sleep an hour or two later.
We woke up at 8:00 AM and rode to New Haven. After getting sandwiches, we attended an information session about Yale. My favorite part of the session was when they spoke about the Anti-Gravity Club, which is not a group of rebellious nerds but a juggling troupe.
"They juggle balls, clubs, torches... they even breath fire. No experience is necessary to join."
I want to join this club. If the college I end up attending does not have a club like this, I will start it, and it will be amazing.
Lastly, we ate dinner with Dr. Luong. Until this point in the trip, I've been nervous about the course I'll be taking at Yale. I wake up feeling nauseous, butterflies in my stomach. I'm afraid that the course and the elite students from all over the world will eat me alive. Figuratively.
Talking to Dr. Luong eased my fears, and for the first time I'm excited about the course rather than anxious. Dr. Luong is an intelligent, eloquent dinner guest, and he gave us a taste of what we are to expect on Sunday.
Tomorrow Brandon and I are going to buy thick notebooks for the course. I'm pumped.
The past two days with the Ivy League Connection were very enlightening. I discovered where I really want to live and I learned that there isn't too much to be afraid of. I realized at dinner that I am having one of the best times of my life right now, and that this will affect my future forever.