Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It’s amazing how not doing in work over Fall Break will set you back two weeks. But I finally have time to reminisce about my experience in New York City as part of AASHA. Any time you’re in New York, you’re going to have an incredibly adventurous and fun time, I had no doubt in that, but I was curious how it would all go down considering I didn’t really know anyone else who was going on the trip, as well as very little details about what was going to happen.
First, we all met up, had dinner, introduced ourselves, and talked briefly about the trip about four hours prior to a ten hour China Bus ride. At midnight we headed to Durham to catch that mysterious China bus. Needless to say, we got to know each other pretty quickly. Within thirty minutes, I was in a deep, drooling sleep on one of the team member’s, Jessica’s, shoulder. Everyone continued to bob in and out of consciousness, but for the most part, I was lucky enough to gain an adequate amount of rest considering the circumstances. I can only remember waking up twice- once we were stopped at a gas station and the other was when other passengers were screaming at the driver for running off the road. All in all, the China bus experience wasn’t too shabby. It got us to where we wanted to go for an extremely low price.
When we got to New York, we headed for our prospective habitats for the next few days. The girls were staying near Times Square and the boys were staying in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. So we all squirmed around NY’s public transit and somehow managed to easily find our place. We settled in and took a short nap and, then, were off to our first volunteer opportunity. We worked at a Senior Center and helped them serve dinner. It was an awesome way to really be immersed in the New York community. We met and spoke with a lot of interesting natives. One who I will always remember is Ace who was a Jewish, American World War II veteran. We also held a small dance party in the eating area where Tonmoy showed his skills to some ladies-He definitely made their day.
After we served dinner, danced, and had our own dinner, we helped clean up the kitchen and talked with some of the people who worked at the center. Tony, who was the chef, and Jackie, who was second in command, talked to us about New York and their work. Jackie even helped us figure out places to go for that night. It was really nice to do something good for the community while being able to interact with a lot of true New Yorkers. Being able to dance and put a smile on the men and women’s faces made it even more worth it.
As we left the center, our minds were open to explore any and all parts of the city. We were all extremely excited to just roam around and find random things to do. All in all, the first day was great. We were able to complete a successful volunteer project and have fun and meet great people while doing so. I honestly don’t think we could have asked for a better first day. From then on out, it was just more crazy New York adventures, and I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity.