Stateside

The city that never sleeps

Before I can say anything about my time here in New York, I have to say thank you to my amazing grandma for letting me stay with her for the past few months and to my parents for always letting me be independent.

I’m gonna miss you guys like crazy and Lao, I’m gonna miss your cooking so much, but good thing you’ve taught me how to make some yummy foods (though they never come out nearly as good as when you make them!)

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Making Scallion Buns
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Lao and I chillin at Union Square

Living in New York is feeling small in a sea of never ending people, taking hour long subway rides to get to and from work, and meeting grill-wearing, face-tattooed Batista’s with dreads longer than my hair. Teaching yoga, tutoring kids, and waitressing have all been such amazing experiences that have allowed me to cross paths with some truly incredible and inspiring individuals.

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Penn Station on Thanksgiving

wpid-imag2245_1.jpgThe lady who started the nonprofit organization Urban Yoga Foundation I teach at is indescribable. The kindest, purest, lovingest soul I’ve ever met; she’s so free and young. For 20 years she’s been working to bring yoga to public schools/ the Harlem community and her passion really shines through her actions. She lives in this gorgeous four story Brownstone in West Harlem and the studio is actually in her home! The studio shares its own floor with the kitchen and dining room. The calmness of the sun shining off the dark wooden floors in the mid afternoon is just so perfect. I feel blessed to have found UYF and to have the opportunity to learn from such an amazing yogi.

Urban Yoga Foundation
Urban Yoga Foundation

SBUI’m gonna be soo sad to leave the kids I tutor and work with 😦 They are all sooo amazing- each of them is so adorable and unique. I wish I wasn’t leaving because I want to see where these kids will go and what they’re going to do. South Bronx United is a nonprofit organization founded by this one guy whose vision is to use soccer to create social change. Most, if not all of the students are first generation/ immigrants from Africa and Latin America. For these kids soccer is a huge part of who they are and because of SBU they’ve been able to find a community and a home. All of the kids have such amazing stories and I’ve grown pretty attached to them!

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SBU Annual Benefit: raised over $50,000!

The reason why I wanted to come to New York was so I could find a vegan waitressing job. I couldn’t deal with serving meat anymore and in central/south Jersey, where people don’t even know what veganism is, it was kind of difficult to find a vegan restaurant. That’s when I found this place Wild Ginger located in Soho and next to Little Italy and Chinatown.

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Wild Ginger

New York is a place where if you have a vision and the will power to find the resources, you can reach your ideas to people who believe in what you believe in and expose a reality to people who have never known of such before. It’s also a city where the differences between the rich who live in guarded, manicured structures of Upper West Side and the poor who are surrounded by graffiti- ridden, broken down buildings of South Bronx are as clear as day and night. You’d think the education would be phenomenal here in the world famous city, but it’s quite the opposite. How is it that some kids barely know how to type?!

wpid-imag2249.jpgThe most amazing thing about New York though is that there is no where else in this world with so much culture and diversity all in one place. I’m going to miss New York a lot more than I had thought I would.

The other night I was driving back to the Bronx from New Jersey, and as I was driving closer and closer to the city, the stars began to illuminate the darkness. The thing is, these starts weren’t glowing in the night sky. Instead, they were glowing down here on earth. The city lights swallowed the night stars and hid their beauty away. I must admit though, the NYC skyline is absolutely stunning. From outside looking in, it’s crazy to think about how small one is on this tiny island (I was so shocked when I came to the realization that yes, Manhattan is in fact an island!), let alone in this whole universe. That’s when it hit me, my world is about to be flipped upside down and around. I’m about to leave for a world where the stars live in the sky where they belong and I couldn’t be more excited!

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Shit, I’m about to leave to go to Vanuatu– a little island country located in the South Pacific for two years, away from my family, away from my friends, away from a world I know.

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