Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 19: Vacation

I am heading out of the city! I am off to California and then North Carolina to visit the family. I haven't decided if I will post while I am on the road. Goodbye New York... for now. See you in a week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 18: Beach bumming it

Today was spent with the sun, the waves, good reads, and good friends. I had so much fun. I promise to write more tomorrow. I am now going to become one with my pillow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 17: A New York Minute

Life moves at warp speed out here. My experience interviewing for a nursing job at NYU Langone Medical Center typifies the saying and song "In A New York Minute." I interviewed with the nurse manager and immediatley after the interview I called the nurse recruiter to let her know how it went. She said, "Great. I already heard from the nurse manager. I am drawing up the paperwork and we are targeting a September 14th start date!" I literally went from jobless to job in... you guessed it "A New York Minute!" I am still in a bit of shock as I was walking around Soho today just taking in the sights. As I walked the memories came flooding back to me, the exams, the clinicals, the tears, the triumphs. And I closed my eyes as the cool summer air hit me, and I savored how fast a New York Minute could completely change my life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 16: Movies set in New York

Here are the first ten movies that come into my head that were filmed in New York:

1. August Rush
2. The Visitor
3. Taxi Driver (A classic)
4. Boiler Room
5. The Usual Suspects
6. Saturday Night Fever
7. A Bronx Tale
8. Do The Right Thing
9. Regarding Henry
10. Coming to America

If you go to Wikipedia, the list of movies filmed in New York City is rather lengthy! And I find myself becoming like every other New Yorker when I go to the movies and mutter to myself, "I have been to that deli" or "I know that subway stop". It is really funny! I find myself more and more invested in this little island the more I live here. Maybe it has to do with all of the walking and exploring, camera in tow.

Anyway, out of my list 0f movies two were filmed under the arches at NYU. And since I have been here, I have stumbled onto three movies being filmed at NYU.

So, I will end with a quote from "Coming to America" a funny, comedy that seems to play on repeat on Bravo. It starred Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. This quote was said by Murphy's character, Prince Akeem to a woman he was initially supposed to marry. When he asked her what she liked to do, she would answer with a comical bow, "Whatever you like" to which he responded, "Listen, I know what I like and I know you know what I like, because you are trained to know what I like, but I would like to know, what do you like?"

Now, looking at this quote, all I can think is, blunt and direct... just like a typical New Yorker!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 15: Change

I finally took the big leap and chopped my sisterlocks into a chin length bob. On Saturday, I took some before pictures and went to Khamit Kinks in Brooklyn for a consultation. I was hoping that the salon would not be too busy and that they would take me before I changed my mind. My mom can tell you, I have vacilated back and forth about my hair since last December (I kid you not!). But I found my way to Brooklyn on that soggy, Saturday afternoon and after getting turned around it seemed like Khamit Kinks just ended up appearing at the end of a block that was undergoing construction. An African woman greeted me and ushered me into her station. I explained the various lengths of my hair and the breakage that had occurred. Then she looked at me and said, "Do you want to just cut it now?". I shook my head yes and before I knew it my sisterlocks were tumbling to the floor.

It is funny, but locs hold a lot of history. Even after my haircut was done, my hairdresser carefuly scooped the chopped hair up into a bag and handed it to me like she was handing me my own personal history book. I emerged feeling lighter. I am so glad that I took the plunge, change really is awesome!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 14: Future tellin'

It still continues to amaze me how many psychics are in the East Village! I think there are at least two per block! Coincidentally, a recent article by a reporter at discussed the increase during this economic downturn of people consulting psychics. In fact, a new type of person is consulting psychics: the type A, business suit, wallstreet type! And relationship questions are taking a backseat to finance questions/predictions.

I have had three experiences with palm readers. The most recent one was when I was food shopping in Whole Foods (possibly hippie central) This guy in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat grabbed my hand and stared at it for what seemed to be an eternity. He then exclaimed, "Why are you not writing anymore?" I was flabbergasted by the question. How did he know that I used to write? He then asked my why I was not singing anymore. Many people do not know that I can sing. Then he touched me on my back and asked me why I didn't have someone look at where I was injured. So far he was batting 3 for 3.

The next experience involved a guy I had been dating a couple years ago. We were having a coffee at starbucks and just enjoying each others company. He takes my palm and asks me if he can read it. I start to laugh, and ask him if he is a psychic. His brown eyes became serious and he said that his grandfather is a "seer" and that he has the gift but doesn't choose to pursue it. He slowly talks me into the reading, taking my palm carefully into his and studying it for a couple seconds. He told me that I have a lot of schooling ahead of me. I found that very interesting because that was way before the idea of going back to school had even entered my mind. He also said that in terms of children, I have "two boys in my hand". When I asked him how many children he had in his, he quickly responded, "I have one, a little girl". What struck me was how sure he was about what he was saying. It didn't seem like he was consulting some crystal fairy in the sky he uttered these things like he was reading a book.

The last brush I had with a psychic was during a street fair in Rockridge, California (a gentrified area in Oakland). I was walking through the crowd and a woman grabbed my hand and said she had to read my palm. I relented. She told me mostly things about a relationship that kind of seemed to ring true but what I really remember is her saying that I was going to move to a place surrounded by a lot of water. Her words came back to me in a flash when I looked out of the window during my flight to New York and saw the ice blue water jut out against the island of Manhattan. I remember thinking, "hmm...maybe there is something to this psychic stuff. after all" Either way, I have more education, moved to a land surrounded by water, and I am writing again. So, I guess so far I am batting three for three.

p.s. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The sign says, "special reaing $5.00". I guess since they can predict the future they don't need to know how to spell it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 13: Brooklyn

I think Brooklyn is my favorite borough of New York. I remember when I first moved to New York I had to be in Brooklyn for my very first nursing clinical. It may seem silly now, but I was absolutely terrified! I was just getting used to living in Manhattan and now I had to venture to another borough? But once I found my way there I realized, it isn't all that bad and I started to realize why people loved it there so much. I mean my friend just visited New York and she named her new dog Brooklyn. How cool is that!! Even Posh Spice and David Beckham named one of their sons after the beloved borough.

I will never forget when I was hanging out with my friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and my mom called. I was out a little late and I told her, "Hey Mom, I am in Brooklyn". Her voice was incredulous! She replied, "You are in BROOKLYN!!" I could see images from "Good Fellas" flashing in her mind. Williamsburg is one of those neighborhoods in Brooklyn that has undergone a face lift (aka gentrification). It used to be a rough neighborhood but it is now home to many hipsters (skinny jeans wearing, whole foods shopping young people). We laugh about that night now. For me, that night stands out as a growing time for me. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and spreading my wings as a newbie New Yorker. And boy did it feel good to stretch my wings and fly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 12: New beginning

I love taking pictures of doorways. For me, doorways represent endings and new beginnings. A friend of mine calls the difficult times in life as the "hallways of life". "You just have to find a creative way to get to the door", she would say. After hearing that I remember feeling a little relieved. A lot of growth happens when you are in the hallway and the changes that occur lead to an assured hand grasping the doorknob.

p.s. This picture was taken on a stroll down the private lane downtown called The Mews (the gate was open). It is a great little stroll if you have time. It is open to the public from 11:00-5:00pm.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 11: Town Hall Meetings

Who are all these crazy people at the town hall meetings? Well, thank goodness we have Congressman, Barney Frank in the President's corner. He was so right when he said, arguing with some of these people is like arguing with a dining room table! Now there is a group of people comparing Obama's healthcare policies to the policies of Hitler? I just do *not* see the connection. And I have to say, Hitler is not so well known for his ideas about health and wellness I think he is well known for killing innocent people. The argument is just truly ludicrous.

I think this is going to be a rough road for our president but a poster hanging around town made me remember the hope that inspired so many people on election day. I believe the President (and all of us in favor of socialized medicine) will see a change in our current healthcare policies. If the detractors of this healthcare plan continue to use faulty arguments (like the comparison to Hitler) I think it is safe to say: a) the opposition doesn't understand what Obama's healthcare policy is b) they don't fully understand the history of Hitler and c) they might need a psychological evaluation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 10: First Memories of New York

I moved to New York in January of 2008. I remember the cold, the unbelievable amount of walking, and all of the people spilling out from what seemed like every corner. The subway system seemed so daunting and my second week of school I had to figure out how to make it to a clinical in Brooklyn. And I also had to get settled into the dorm on East 26th street and 1st aveune. This dorm room literally crushed my Felicity memories. I felt betrayed! I laugh about this now but when my Mom and I entered my dorm, we walked into a dingy, dirty, and depressing space. There was a broken lightbulb in the common space, dishes were piled high in the sink, and no one was there. I was going to be sharing my room with someone I didn't know very well and I could not believe it. I knew Felicity was a lie but this really brought it home. And my resident assistant was definitely not Noel from Felicity. But as the days stretched out into weeks, I started making my way. I found a website that let me plug in my address and where I needed to go in New York and I was starting to learn the subway system. And by the end of the first semester, I realized that I made it through my first east coast winter. I knew that I was starting to find my way when people were asking me for directions on the subway. I secretly smiled to myself when I remembered how lost I initially felt. And now after 18 months (but who is counting) in this big city I actually feel found.

Day 9: Favorite Books

I walked past this bookstore in the West Village and it got me thinking. I remember how I used to love to read. Even when I was going through undergraduate school at San Francisco State I would read books for pleasure. I just love the fact that you can travel in your mind when you are reading. During the summer months, I especially love mysteries or suspense novels. Right now I am reading the "Twilight" series. I also have the Secret Life of Bees and The Burn Journals on my list to balance out my non-literary (but very fun) reading. So in honor of books and all things literary here is my top five books:
Top Five Books:
1. Giovanni's room by James Baldwin
2. 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda
3. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 8: A noted trait of most New Yorkers

Sometimes all you need is the truth to be stated clearly and simply.

One stark difference that I have found that differentiates New Yorkers from pretty much everyone else, is that the majority of New Yorkers that I know tell the truth... about pretty much anything! And the more I experience this unique form of truth-telling the more I want to become like these fearless (and truth filled) New Yorkers. I have many memories of friends telling me things about myself that were merely facts to them, resting points in our conversation. They have told me I am smart, the nicest person they have known, beautiful, talented and it has helped me see myself more clearly and silence my inner critic. Telling the truth (whether it is positive or negative) is usually done out of a love. Truth is an expression of love whether it is love for another, yourself or your coffee! For me telling people the truth can be challenging especially when it will not make them very happy. However, being bombarded by the truth (pretty much on a daily basis) is teaching me the value of truth-telling. I see myself getting better at telling the truth and sometimes saying exactly what I feel without the quickening of the butterflies in my stomach, my pulse is even and regular, and my breathing is calm. The truth has become a stabilizer for me and a calming force. The truth is love.

Day 7: 1930's inspired party

Last night was so much fun. I finally got up to my friend's apartment in Washington Heights. He was throwing a 1930's inspired party. The air is cooler up in the Heights. Interesting fact: the highest point of Washington Heights is approximately 265 feet above sea level. And through more web searching it is also a reasonable place to purchase a co-op or a condo in Manhattan.

In honor of the roaring 30's we played poker (well, I watched trying to figure out the rules of Texas Hold 'em) and many smoked cigars and cigarrettes. So, early this morning I got up and headed out to brunch and even after three washings I still can't get the memories of last night out of my hair! I had a great night and a wonderful weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 6: The NYC Apartment

The NYC apartment has been etched into my memory way before I moved here. I remember Carrie Bradshaw's apartment in Sex and the City and all of the memories that went along with it. And I remember the apartment of Bronte in the movie Greencard and her beautiful greenhouse. And how could I forget Felicity's ridiculously large dorm room when she moved from California to attend New York University? My dorm room on 26th street pales in comparison to the palatial palace that Felicity lived in for her first two years of college.

I live in a six story, pre-war building in the heart of the east village. NYC apartments are typically small but amazingly multifunctional spaces. I love my little space and it has taught me to live more simply. I don't have a closet that overflows with designer clothes like Carrie Bradshaw but I have the opportunity to create unforgettable memories every time I step outside my apartment door.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 5: Obama Fries

Dear President Obama,

I am so happy that I voted for you and I will tell you three reasons why. First, you have a vision for how you see our country and the world and you are willing to listen to every day people to make that vision a reality. You also want to make healthcare available to every American and change the current fact that our country is ranked number 37 in healthcare. According to a study by the World Health Organization, France, Italy, and Spain have scored the highest healthcare scores. And lastly, you awakened in me a desire to get more involved in being a part of the change you created in this nation and our world. President Obama, you are inspiring and it is amazing to see the wonderful and surprising ways that you are celebrated in our beautiful city of New York!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 4: Strawberry fields and flowers

This picture was taken during my second weekend in New York City. I was accepted to NYU about three weeks before classes started and everything was a mad dash to get to the city. I remember the freezing cold and the crowds of people. I remember feeling ill equipped for all of the challenges I was going to face. Looking back on this photo, I cannot believe that I got through two very cold New York winters. The funny thing is I always seem to visit Strawberry Fields when it is either 90% humidity or freezing cold. The cool thing is, the memorial is never the same. It is eternal, like John Lennon himself.

p.s. People formally gather every year to celebrate John Lennon's life by singing songs on his birthday (October 9th) and for the anniversary of his death (December 8th).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 3: A Bookstore's reflection

One of the things that I love about New York is the amount of bookstores per square feet. One thing that I know is that New Yorkers love to read. I realized this when I saw the amount of people that flock to Strand bookstore's dollar bookshelves. I don't want to knock the Kindle that is sold through amazon, but I thought to myself, "really?" There is nothing better than anxiously flipping through the pages of a book anticipating what is about to happen. That is such a good feeling and I am not sure a kindle can recreate that. So, today, my ode to bookstores may they continue to educate New Yorkers and the many European tourists who come here! Amen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day Two: A private little street downtown

I was intrigued by the private street I came across on 5th avenue and Washington Square North yesterday. I walked back there today to check it out a little bit more. The Washington Mews used to be a row of stables that housed horses. These stables have now been converted into homes (built in the 1930's). Now, mainly NYU professors and staff members live here. It is a beautiful little area that might go unnoticed by many. I noticed the quizzical expressions when I was snapping photos. For me, it is rare to see a private street in New York City. Looking through the gates takes you back to not only another time but almost another country.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day one: picture one

I know what you are thinking. What European city do I hail from, right? Well, this picture was actually taken in the East Village of New York City. This is the little french maison near New York University. So, the city is New York. The girl is me, Rashida. I have lived here for 17 months now and just graduated from NYU. I got the idea to chronicle my next year here because (a) this is an amazingly beautiful city (architecturally and culturally) (b) this is also a super expensive city and I am not sure how much longer (after said chronicled year) I will be living here) and (c) I will actually have proof of what I experienced for 365 days through photos.

So my mission (should I choose to accept it) is one photo a day for the next 365 days. Day one went swimmingly. I had a morning of thumbing through the crinkly pages of the New York Times. I had a celebrity sighting at the local Starbucks (Mr. Big from Sex and the City) and realized that although my days here may be numbered I am utterly and completely in love with this city and all it has to offer.