Entries Tagged 'Eat and Drink' ↓

Taipei 101 :: Typhoon Survivor

(Flashback to October 2-8, 2009)

Despite the worst weather conditions possible for a time to visit Taiwan – approaching typhoon, I made out a winner with my time spent in Taipei, nonetheless. Got in late on the Friday night and linked up with dearest Evelyn (NYU ’03 holla!) on Saturday. Met her and some of her fam: aunt and uncle who picked us up from the Guting Metro Stop. Ev and I would be staying with them and their fam (2 daughters: 25 and 18 in age respectively). Later in the afternoon, Ev’s dad and grandma joined us in the full house affair for the week.

Ev had forewarned me of her uncle being a sweet man, but “loves to practice his English, and thus would talk my ear off….” – of course, after reading this in her email, I smiled and was excited to be able to speak my native tongue with someone else… even if it meant that I had to wear my teacher hat (I’m used to it by now anyway, I’ve got trainers at my gym all yappity yap bc they want to practice their English while I’m doing my thing on the elliptical :: sighs!).

Anyhoots…originally, I had wanted to explore the lil’ island of Taiwan, ie. southside = Kenting = beach, but with the tempering typhoon….. I still made out well with a few random highlights:

* Bringing home a completely wasted 18 year old’s (Ev’s younger cousin) first time at a club home to her mother and grandmother at 5AM – UNintentionally of course; talk about “OMG! Unnecessary!!”
* Sun Moon Lake Hot Springs – I thought I was gonna give myself pneumonia from running to and from the hot and cold springs to warm and cool off… it’s not easy to stay relaxed!!
* Taipei 101 Building aka “the skyline of Taipei”……crashed a televised wedding party of 15 couples!! – Random!
* Many a’ large cups of the most awesome’est bubble tea I’ve ever tasted!! — They use real tea!!
* Ev’s Uncle. (yes, he deserves his own bullet point)
* Ev’s Uncle’s English.
* Ev’s Uncle’s enthusiasm and advocacy for green tea. (what can I say, he deserves 4 honorable mentions)
* Ev’s relatives’ super cool “robot/automated parking garage.” Sooo technologically advanced! This is how it works: Ev’s uncle would park the car in the “garage.” He’d step out, and press button to close the garage door. Once garage door is down and locked, an opening is made under the car, allowing for the car to be brought down into the parking garage. The automation then becomes complete, as it auto-finds a parking space for the car…… so that when Ev’s uncle has to retrieve the car, he just flashes his key or infrared something and it recognizes the car…..and brings it up to the “garage.”
* and some fantastic FOOD!

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Overall Impressions:
I had said before that Hong Kong is an awesome “oasis of civilization” within China borders… but now I’d like to officially put Taiwan under that category as well. People are super duper nice, courteous and orderly! They have frickin’ LANES for when queuing up for the metro/subway…and people ABIDE by them! It is AMAZING! I also realized that I DO in fact understand Mandarin… well Taiwanese’ Mandarin as since they speak with more of a “neutral tone” vs. Shanghai, where folks speak with more of a harsh tone… (also because folks in Shanghai go back and forth with Shanghainese..which is completely indecipherable!) Additionally, Taiwanese are much more patient with foreigners and actually devote sincere efforts in providing assistance. Ahhhh refreshing! Plus, great food selects as well! All in all, thumbs up for Taipei!

Here’s a photo reel for your viewing pleasure!

. . don’t burn the day. .

OBAMA’guration 2009… Happened in Bangkok, too!

Ugh…. I told ya’ll about my Lil’ Jon - ”Whatttt??!!”  moments with these damn accents in this Bangkok guesthouse…and then, come to find out I was only 1 of 2 Americans that were present in the lobby of a good 12 or so to witness OBAMA’guration 2009. After a some snide and snarky remarks from the non-Americans in the audience, the flat screen was eventually switched to channel: Bloomberg.   And goodness, Bloomberg – must you commentate over parts of the actual ceremony?? I mean really. I need not hear what you think about who’s on screen but would rather want to HEAR who’s on screen first.. then mayyyyybee I’ll be interested in your commentary. Sheeeeesh!

But eventually….. I got to witness history once again. I saw THE MAN  be sworn in and heard THE MAN speak. PROGRESS, ladies and gentlemen. PROGRESS.

Overall, though – folks from every country that ‘ve met all  share the same HOPE, JOY and a real sigh of relief to have the O-man in the big seat! :-)

Oh and speaking of progress… I gotta keep this one short… since I gotta catch some snooze to catch my flight to Singapore in the early AM… Now THAT, too, is PROGRESS! :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

It’s Been A Long Time…

I know, I know… I’ve been slacking majorly on the blog tip, but I’ve been SOOOOOOOO BUSY and not to mention, egggggg-zausted with the teaching thing.  I’ve got quite a bit to backtrack and catch ya’ll up on and I’ll certainly try my best to bring ya’ll up to speed!  Here are some quick notes:

Teaching is NOT an easy job. First, surprisingly waking up at 5:30am isn’t all toooo terrible (despite that my previous jobs required me to COME HOME at 5:30am…but anyway….) … what is terrible is that by the time I arrive home in the evening, I am completely zonked. And to all my teacher-friend readers out there….. It is incredible how many after-school-hours you spend talking about your kids!!!  I mean, EVERY DAY as myself and the roomies gather around for our evening-chill out session, we share stories of our students… “the things that kids say… and do….” hilarious!  You just can’t make these stories up! (Yeah, at some point I’ll take the time to type out some good ones, but for now — just be happy I’m blogging.)  Even more entertaining and hair-pulling…. is stories of the parents! This is the part that makes teaching a not-so-easy job. As mentioned in previous post, parents are … oye!! ALL sorts of scenarios: divorced, step parent(s), adopted kid, housewives, househusbands (though, I have yet to personally encounter this), guilt-filled divorced parents and their manipulative crying kids, and well, crying kids in general (I had about 4 in one day last week)… basically, you name it! I’ve got it!  The varying approaches of parenting, or better yet, the clueless approaches of parenting bewilders me!  I’ve already been told by a couple parents that they admire my time, efforts and tips on disciplining and teaching their students and that they wouldnt mind sitting in on my class to see me in action, and not to mention learn some English too! LOL!  Of course, everyone reading this is welcomed to join me in a grand head shake. I’ve been pretty much certified in their minds a “professional” in this field – that I can single handedly turn their rugrat into an independent genius while at the same time, advising them on how their respective families should function in order to create the best environment for their kid. I’m convinced if I advise them to jump off a bridge, they’d do it in a heartbeat because they “trust my professional advice.”

HEADDDDDDDDDDDDDD SHAKE!

. . don’t burn the day. .

1st Week Recap

OK, an update is absolutely long overdue…

My Welcome Flowers…

I’ve just completed my first official week here in the ‘Hai and I gotta say… thankfully, it is getting a little better by the day because, I learn something new each day. Shanghai is absolutely massive, dizzying and everything in between. In the initial days, it is simply overwhelming… and in many ways, it still is. I felt (and still feel to an extent) quite like an observer to all of which Shanghai/China is all about. It is difficult to fully explain, but never have I ever been this challenged in a new setting. The language barrier is HUGE. Forget all the people who tell you “Everyone in Shanghai speaks English…” That’s BS!! I live in what is considered the “International Community” called Jin Tao International Community – a rather prominent expat area. I walk out and see mixed family of all sorts; lots of Europeans, too bad they are mostly families; (snooty) mom, dad, child. (And these kids are SPOILED. Ie. A family of 4: mother, father, son and daughter were all getting massages at this massage parlor last week..and the mother asked the young son – probably about 9 years old… “How was your massage? Do you think you are ready to have a 2-hour massage instead of just an hour for the next time?”) I am not lying!! Anyway, back at the matter at hand — even in the “international community,” vendors don’t understand a lick of English. Ie. I dipped into a nearby Papa John’s last week because I had not much time before my evening class for a bite, and ordering a pizza had never been so trivial as it was for me last week. An older German gentleman (who was here on business) was trying to do the same, and it all became a charades-fest. I’m not saying that they should be fluent in English, because well I’m in China and gotta respect their culture/language, but jeeezus it is difficult getting by!

Umm quick review from last weekend… So I at last woke up at 2pm on Saturday and met up with Thomas (American colleague) to show me around. Here are some shots of Carrefour (French chain ala Walmart). They have practically EVERYTHING there – It’s similar to a Super Walmart/Super Target with groceries section. Their motto is “Thank you for shopping at Carrefour. See you tomorrow.” And you know what, that is exactly right! Last week alone, I was there at least 5 times throughout the week. Three of which times, I had to go back to purchase more clothes hangers. I didn’t realize how much of my clothes needed hangers nor how much clothes I had brought. (Also, random thought — I am glad I brought the amount of clothes that I brought over because just as I had imagined, I can not see myself succumbing to the fashions here. And to be honest, right now, I wish I had brought more.)

Then the next day, Sunday, (which was my first real full day) Thomas and I met up, and showed me the ropes of bus-catching, metro-catching etc, to head into the “heart of Shanghai”…. People’s Square on the Puxi side. If you recall my previous post when I broke down the make of Shanghai – the city of has undergone (and still is) major renovations in the last couple of decades. It is one thing to read about it, but it’s a whole other amazing reveal to actually SEE and BE IN areas so developed and modernized, knowing that just a little over a decade ago, it was all simply farmland.

To refresh, Shanghai is basically split by the Huang Pu River. West of the River is Puxi (city centre, traditional/old Shanghai, where all the action is) and East of the River is Pudong (new, shiny, westernized, calmer Shanghai). Back when I was researching schools to teach at, I was convinced that I wanted to be on the Puxi side because I wanted “authentic living, where all the action is” but of course that changed when I received an offer from the Shanghai Pinghe School in Pudong. Simply, Pudong was nothing 20 years ago. All farm, all the time. Today, it stands as the modern staple of this burgeoning city.

However, after exploring a bit more of Puxi, I am kind of kicking myself that I am not situated in Puxi, but that is a whole other topic for now. (Basically, I’ve been a spoiled Manhattan’ite.)

Anyway, Thomas showed me the essentials of People’s Square (think Times Square x Asians to the Infinity Power), Nanjing Road (a strip of shopping), The Bund (famous riverfront/boardwalk sort’ve full of bars and such at night, and amazing view of “new Shanghai skyline” of Pudong), then walked down to an area enclosed as “Old Town” — where they are preserving as much as they can of traditional Shanghai architecture.

Here are some flicks..

Oh, mind you, it is incredibly humid and disgusting here right now, and it is only going to get worst in humidity (so says the locals). I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the conditions out in Puxi, so I suffered in jeans and kicks. I was heating up profusely, and I guess not “altogether” with my jet-lagged self either, so the photos are so-so. (Sorry for the TMI, but I needed to explain for my hot-mess’ness in the pics… literally. :-)

These buildings are crazy incredible to see in real life… The 468 metre Oriental Pearl Tower (highest tower in Asia and the third tallest in the world) and the 420.5 metre Jin Mao Building (housing the Grand Hyatt, highest hotel in the world).. They are situated in the Pudong/new side.. but more on these buildings in separate post to come… OK, flicks..

Old Town

Get used to that little blue Gumby-looking guy. It is the mascot for the 2010 World Expo that is to be held right here in Shanghai. The mascot, named Haibao, literally means “treasure of the world”. The blue smiling cartoon figure has curly hair and is in the shape of Chinese character REN, or human beings. The expo, which runs from May 1 to October 31, 2010, is expected to draw 70 million visitors, or an average of 400,000 daily. What is crazy to note in that picture is the old and new Shanghai all in one pic. — Get used to that as well, the constant juxtapositions are all over the place. You turn down one road and it’ll look very European, then just around the corner will turn into residents of the extremely poor. Shanghai is undergoing major gentrification by the day…and Starbucks and even Coldstone is everywhere!

This here is a long line that twists and turns for its famously delicious and inexpensive Shanghai dumplings. Apparently, the wait in line is at least/average of 30min long no matter what time of day and night. I plan on hitting that up at some point and giving it my own review.

And now for some school/classroom shots:

And a row of pong tables on the 1st floor.. (and no, I have not played…)

For the very first day of the summer program, we had ourselves a little welcoming ceremony. And well just watch this video to get a sense of what my daily life has become to sound like…It’s all like the “Wah wah wah in cartoons, I just tune out…” (Funny, she kinda sorta reminded me of myself when I was a little.. but just not as.. well you’ll see.. LOL…)

And some photos of students in the auditorium.

Classroom shots…

My 1st graders

My 2nd graders (though 1/2 of the class is missing on this day bc they all had swimming class.)

My other 2nd graders — My BEST, MOST WELL-BEHAVED, SMART class. These kids actually TAKE NOTES… and this one kid uses a ruler to make charts for his notes. Only 2nd grade!! We took two pics.. a “good” and “crazy” pic..

Look at the notes! and a dedicated drawing on the blackboard for their teacher. :-)

My 5th graders… BTW, little William is the boy at the front of the class with the peace sign…

I don’t have pics of my to-be 9th graders because they would be too-cool-for-school for a picture pose anyway, and plus there are only 6 of them. But just think Dead Poets Society and that’s how I conduct that conversation class.

And finally here are some shots in my neighborhood in Pudong. Wide, tree lined streets, condos/apartments, tall buildings etc..

This is actually the Radisson in Pudong…

The street signs are pretty cool in that it shows you what is coming up next and thereafter, left and right…

Stay tuned for the next blog when I recap my fabulous 1st full wknd!!…

. . don’t burn the day. .

Just In The Nick Of Time…

I was never an Edwards-hater. In fact, I even thought he would’ve been a viable Presidential candidate, however just caught himself once again in the race at the wrong place and more so, wrong time; and his bow-out was rather early. But jeez, talk about timing, huh! I’m a bit torn at the moment on that one (especially since I am typing this post now at 2:28AM) – and I’m referring to the timing of his endorsement, by the way. On the one hand, I feel like Edwards held out till the more obvious candidate to rep the Dems was clearly going to clinch the W aka Mr. Almighty O, but on the other hand, his endorsement is a nice “Up Yours” gesture to the Clinton Camp as they scrape on, by tooth and nail amidst an eh-worthy-gloating-win in West Virginia.

Now, I’m not trying to be mean, since I was in fact in the crowds a few years back hootin’ and cheerin’ when Mr. Clinton rallied alongside comedian/supporter, Chris Tucker on NYU campus (I wish I had a digital camera back then), but really, as AgainstHillary.com suggests…

The time has come
We don’t care how.
But Hillary Rodham Clinton
Will you please GO NOW!

Your campaign is becoming
An endless charade,
So get off the trail,
Burn out now, don’t just fade.

You can swim down a river
Of crocodile tears.
You can surf on a wave
Of terrorist fears.

Enough with the red phone!
Enough with the NAFTA!
If you like,
You can go now by White Water Rafta.

Hillary Rodham Clinton,
We don’t care how—
HRC,
Will you please GO NOW!

You can leave on McCain’s
Straight Talk Express.
You can leave all made up
in a Muslim headdress.

Kucinich will take you
On his UFO
But good God, dear Hillary
Just go go, GO!

You can ride home on coattails
Or in big biz’s pocket.
Or maybe you’d like to
Ride NASA’s new rocket.

You’ve raised a gazillion
From execs on Wall Street.
But when it comes to real change,
Barack’s got you beat.

You can go by limo
Or lobbyist jet.
You can ride an old donkey
Just get, Hillary, GET!

Your negative ads
Are bringing us down.
You should get off the air,
You should get outta town!

You can go to New York
Or back to The Hill,
But get yourself home
….and don’t forget Bill!

Hillary Rodham Clinton,
We don’t care how—
HRC
Will you please GO NOW!

…………….and now speaking of Going Now… and Timing and all…. It’s time for me to catch some shut-eye. It is nearing 3AM!

. . don’t burn the day. .

Go GREEN!

Today, April 22nd = Earth Day. With all “Go Green” reminders to save our one sweet world being thrown around every which way we turn (and yes, we should be putting into action!), I’d also like to bring to light, a Green reminder to the NBA Playoffs. Yup, we’re in it already! Game 2 of Eastern Conference Quarter Finals vs. Atlanta Hawks is set on Wednesday, April 23rd at 8PM EST. Green leads series 1-0… GO GREEN!!

. . don’t burn the day. .

Slow But Speeding….

I will go in this way
And find my own way out.
I won’t tell you what to be,
But I’m coming to much more.
Me.

Time is indeed moving slow but speeding, as I am one day shy from departing NYC (tomorrow, 02.28.08). With the birth of the blog and all, I’ve been able to document pretty much all my moves leading up to this point. (Great to have and be able to refer to when I’m 87!! I can say I was cool.) Slow but speeding it surely has been! My previous posts of Give Up To Gain and No Expectations alarmingly come to mind as I enter my remaining 24 hours of Manhattan-life. Crazy, crazy… even still!

As I’ve been counting up towards my days at home with the fam in Boston, I realize how much more of a “New Yorker” I am. The dual question of:

Has New York molded who I’ve become?

Or

Has New York simply provided me a channel to be the person I’ve destined to be?

This double-sided question came about after a friend recently asked me if I think I would lose my New York-sense in the same way I’ve lost a bit of my Boston-sense, while living wherever the road may take me…

Answer to All of the Above:

I may have lost my Boston accent and am pretty much ignorant to its city’s layout and workings, but I can not say I’ve lost touch with my homebody, family sense. And in that respect, Boston is essentially homebase for me, literally. My family and friends back home keep me grounded (regardless of my “big city” achievements) and for this reason, I still have a bit of the Boston in me (along with my sports teams). :-)

New York has most certainly allowed me to break free from the borders of homelife and in turn, provided me with an outlet to express ideals that I’ve always had within. Growing up and attending public schools in my hometown, diversity was always prevalent, especially at my high school (at once, was the largest HS east of the Mississippi River). We had an after-school club for every ethnicity you can think of from Italian to Cape Verdean to Haitian to Jamaican to Irish to Asian. I was the chic who was in all sorts of nerdboxer.jpg/community commitees (National Honor Society, Executive Commitimg_3144.jpgtee, Student Senate, Key Club, Amnesty International) in addition to sports (basketball and moreso, track). (Go Boxers!) I weaved in and out of different circles with no problem. In fact, I was voted recipient of Housemaster Award (Green House) my senior year – an award voted by my student class for individual who possessed character, leadership, excellence in academic and community service… some gibberish like that.

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Having img_2926.jpggraduated in the top 10 percentile of a graduating class of 700 students, coming to NYU in ’99 was a pretty seamless transition on the level of size and multi-culturalism. I say this because during my freshman year, I met some folks from, say the west coast or midwest, who really had a tough time adapting to NYC and the NYU make-up. Me…Not so much. I felt at home. Options, independence, diversity, cultural stimulants, creative energies — all jumped at me and I loved it. With that said, I would think the latter, “NY has provided me a channel to become the person I’ve destined to be” is the more appropriate answer.

My next move to Shanghai (and/or wherever thereafter), will certainly not eradicate neither any of my “New Yorkness” nor “Bostonianess.” These are intangibles, already deeply rooted in the whole pie that is me. So, overall, it was kind of a silly question to begin with, but it definitely made me pause and analyze the whole scenario a bit. Confirming and reaffirming that this is me….

I will go in this way
And find my own way out.
I won’t tell you what to be,
But I’m coming to much more.
Me.

- lyrics excerpted from song entitled “#41″ from album Crash by Dave Matthews Band (04.30.96)

(the song that started it all, 01/07)

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. . don’t burn the day. .

 

Last NYC Weekend

OK real quick because I’m finding that my ability to retain memory is diminishing by the day…

Saturday 2/23 – You would think with such an all-over-the-place week, my weekend would be that much morimg_2993.jpge jampacked, but nope! I go back to my industry days when all the weekdays/nights were all crazy, but come weekend, I became a total chill hermit. This weekend was no different. I woke and had brunch with my friend Frank aka “Verucca” along with his fiance, Lauren, where we spoke about all sorts of old times – “hustlin dayz” and Jay Z’s office, PB and Sdoucos – oh man Sdoucos! F and I have seen each other grow in our respective lanes and I’m super proud of where he is now and only look forward to hearing of greater things from him! And then a bulk of our convo related itself to my arrival to Dave World…Let’s just leave it at: “I’m Here.” :-) Finally, congrats on the engagement and maybe you’ll move it to July so I aka “Nelson” can make it!

Next, as promised from my earlier Roosevelt Tram excursion, Dan and I’s “word is bond” had us on a G train joyride. Check the perrdy view from the pics of the last stop. You can see Lady Liberty! ….

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And then I pretty much was toasted from my entire week’s adventures. I passed out at 10:30pm allowing me a full night’s rest. I really needed it.

Sunday 2/24 – Well rested was I. I headed into the BK to meet up with friend, Phil for possibly my last BK brunch for a while…(I’ve been averaging weekly weekend brunches in the BK with the plethora of BK folks I know, since I’m finding the city is just too much for me nowaday.) We hit Heights Cafe in well, the BK Heights. (Nice area, I’d consider it a possible dwelling area in the future. Plus my other friend Joy is all about BK Heights since she’s moved there a couple years ago.) But anyway, going back to brunch, I can always count on having randomly wide-ranging, interesting topics of discussion with P. I mean from the initial greeting, we can start talking about what we did the previous day to ending discussion with the invention of velcro with Dave references in between for sure. Speaking of Dave, we then upon my personal request (since I need my fix before I leave the city), watched Dave Driven. Phil has certainly seen me mature thru my Dave stage, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m just as shocked as he is. (Yeah, all these Dave references in one post is much, but I’ll explain in another blog post… soon come…)

Thennnn I dipped back to the city to have a mini Cancun reunion with Gab and Jess at El Cantinero by NYU – where it all began. Funnily, for as many times I walked up and down University Place during my freshman year, I had never been to El Cantinero…but it always looked festive all year round. Great times with these ladies as we reminisced and shared stories of our stupidity during college years in addition to coming to realization how far we’ve come (and how old we’ve become) since Spring Break, Communications Conferences, Non-verbal communications class, Professor Magder and ILA. HA! Bonus was that during all of this, the missing J, Jackie, currently in ‘Bama texted me …. She’s going to have her 10K shoes bronzed and put them up in a shrine with Patricio Swayze photos and surround them with bushes. I also learned that according to Z aka “my boyfriend,” I was known as the “asian chick with cool kangol hat and sneakers” back in one our many media classes. HA! Two pitchers of sangria later, we had been there for 4 hours. Good times!

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. . don’t burn the day. .

Atlantic, Bad Boy, Cafe Mogador, APT, Florent, Cielo!

Hmmm let’s see. I gotta start jotting down stuff now before I completely forget what I’ve been up to in my remaining days here in NYC…

Thursday 2/21 – I woke up on the tired end from the previous two late-night outtings. But, thankfully, I was able to push my first meeting from 1pm to 3:30pm… and even still, I was rushing to get outta my apartment to meet up with my homie, Marcos at Altantic. We were supposed to do lunch but both of our schedules got a lil messy and rather than risk the not being able to meet up at all, I trekked up to his offices even for a brief chit chat. Marcos was THE man who offered (and I gladly accepted) my first step into the music industry at Arista. Yes, yes, the good ol’ days. (By now, ya gotta get used to my frequent good ol’ days references .. until.. I start talking about my days at Family Tree — but that is later coming..)

So, I rush uptown and am late by about 10min and knew we had about an hour set aside for our catch-up. As I’m signing in at the lobby desk, I look to my left and wow….. bringing it wayyyy back is Damon! Damon and Marcos in one day! Ya see, D had once upon a time worked at Bad Boy (2001). As I mentioned in previous posts, I had left knee ACL reconstruction surgery at the end of March, 2001. But, that did not stop me from interviewing at various record companies and PR companies throughout April and May. One of which was with D at Bad Boy. With crutches and full knee brace in tact, I took that interview and left knowing that Bad Boy would be an awful match – reason being – its disorganization. I walked out, totally confused. (I can say this now, cuz D and I have chuckled over this numerous times. We kept running into each other in the subsequent years esp when I was over at BMG/RCA, since Bad Boy was housed under the same roof at that time…and eventually became friends.) Soo yeah, wow D and M! Two total icons for “when it all started” in music for me.

Next, I scooted back down to the East Village for a dinner with friend, Monique at one of my favorite img_2956.jpgMoroccan restaurants, Cafe Mogador on St. Marks. Among all sorts of topics of discussion, we were trying to figure out how we became friends, and we still don’t know the exact moment, but the gist is… She worked with my sister (when my sister and I lived together in the city a few years back), met me at some point…vibed on the music tip, and from then on became one of img_2960.jpgmy groupies :-) Right, M?? So yeah, dinner was fab. And actually, M surprised me with the ordering of straight Henny “because it’s so smooth and will warm us up from the cold” and a drink to follow. I NEVER knew you did it this way M, I NEVER knew. But anyway, apps and lamb tangine with the spicy sauce was where it was at!

After dinner, I popped over to the west side to show my homie, Khairi some love at APT. (Sorry, no boots this time… but the kicks gotta count for something!) I can’t even remember the last time I was at APT…but was cool; got there on the early tip and chilled with some peeps (Kym Ahmad, Sharon, Nina and Sam). Heard the “fist” story and all of that… Here’s us being of course, fools…though, Khairi is missing!

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My initial curfew of 11.30pm of course didn’t stick and we went off to Florent for a late night snack. That experience can be summed up in two words: Stevie Wonder.816.jpg

But upon walking out… ooh la la.. it’s snowing!!!

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And still… I was not allowed to go home even though I was uber tired. It was probably around 1:30AM at that point. However with out of towners in our hands, we decided to “see what was going on at Cielo.” 6851.jpg818.jpg403.jpg343.jpgBeing that I have spent many a event nights at Cielo, I had a good handle on the who’s who in that mix. Upon walking up and through the long ass line outside in the snow, security immediately greeted me and welcomed my party of 5. Now I had no intention of even going inside because I needed and wanted my sleepies, however security thought otherwise and granted easy access into the spot. Promoter chic got all fired up as he had just comped FIVE …$35 per head tickets.. yes that is umm $175 right there along with an irate promoter and pissed off “regulars” in line! Ahh well, that’s how I roll.. :-) But seriously, could there have been any more greasy euro-trash, jersey’ers there that night? I mean it was PACKED and I still don’t know who the DJ was. Hands down, the sound system there is one of a kind, and now they’ve even improved on the dj booth/soundboard. But all that oomptah-oomptah-oomptah-oomptah was too much for me. I peaced eventually and got home shortly before 3AM.

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I find it funny though. It is as if the universe is putting me in these places to let me get my last fill’s worth and have me confirm that I will not miss these type scenes much.

NYC will indeed, always be here.

. . don’t burn the day. .

The Platform Discussion


Many have asked me when was the exact moment the thought of picking up and leaving NYC for a life abroad had kicked into my cranium. Truth is, I’ve always wanted to live abroad a bit. I love America and the entitled opportunities that come with being an American but my travels have always taught me so much more about myself, true meaning of living, and deeper understanding of what it means to be an American (the good and the bad – but I will save this discussion for another post).

Not too long ago, a friend (Shout out to Sharon!) had passed around a quote to my fellow open-minded, traveler-friends:

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

So true, so true! Whenever I travel, I love to buddy and chummy up with the locals for the real scoop – whether it is where to eat, where to grab a drink, where to hear good music, where to party, where to shop, where to escape etc. I’m curious by nature. I like to probe. I like to be wow’ed. I like to compare/contrast stories and ideals, since this is really the only way to test my own universal knowledge in addition to be open to gaining more. Knowledge = Power.

So when did this bulb hover over my head and decide to illuminate itself through my bones? – Saturday, October 27, 2007.

I was outhpim0702.jpg in Storrs, CT, to run a promotional event for Sony Ericcson’s w580i walkman phone (at the South Florida vs. UCONN football game – my very first ummm tailgating experience.) The day started off as a damper… literally… as grey clouds loomed and spat on us throughout the day with testy winds. I don’t do rain, and I don’t do rain and wind combos. But for the most part, mother nature pitied and saved the real downpours for when we were wrapping up the day’s event. I was able to live with this. Plus, my staff was awesome to work with and super hpim0760.jpgcooperative and were troopers to meet our day’s goals, especially under the weathering circumstances. But overall, I personally was in a dizzy. I knew my contract was ending the following week with possibility of extension, but was not 100% locked in (on my part and theirs). I truthfully, was pulling my hair at the thought of having to wake up and know that I had some stupid powerpoint slide or some stupid client issue to look forward to in my day. I knew I personally didn’t vibe with the 9-5ers either. They were nice folks and all, but there was a disconnect. They had the passion for it all – something that was lacking on my part. I was almost envious of their gusto because I know how that feeling can be so rewarding; I lived it when I was working with music. But in the end, all of which I was doing in agency life was meaningless to me. I hated the feeling and knew I needed a fix – FAST!

So, it was about 4:30pm and I was aiming to catch the 4:50pm Amtrak back to NYC. As I was in line to switch up my ticket to an earlier train, I received a call from a friend, Rico, who I hadn’t heard from for a little while. We shot the shit since I had time to kill, while waiting for the train. He then received a call on his other line from a mutual friend, Jodi, and I encouraged, of course, a 3-way convo. Again, I had time to kill and here were 2 perfect victims to keep me entertained as I waited, LOL!

lightbulb_idea.jpgIn any case, the platform discussion commenced. R told me that he was planning on living in Brazil in the ’08 and J was talking about finally pursuing grad school. Though I was happy for J to take the next step with higher education, I was more interested about how R was gonna live in freakin’ Brazil (sorry J, ;-) ). But really, I more/less asked, “How the hell are you gonna live in Brazil?!?” His response: “I’m going thru this program to teach English abroad.” DING! DING! DING! My keen logic-meter went off the charts. A PROGRAM that TRAINS and CERTIFIES English teachers. Ahhhhh! HA! This was the light I needed to permeate through the dismal, damp dizzies I had been feeling all day long! (A couple days prior, I had re-acquainted with a college friend who I found out was living in South Korea via teaching English, but he did it on the total whim/no certification style.) But THIS… THIS “PROGRAM” got me all sorts of intrigued and excited.

I went home that night and started my intensely focused search on varying programs that would turn this desire of fulfilling my travel jones – a reality. I knew I wanted to do this; I wanted to do this ASAP; and I was in a position where not much would hold me back. (“I ain’t got no kids” etc) I honestly hadn’t felt this excited since my very first internship at Arista Records. (See “The Good Ol’ Days“) After much homework, I narrowed my search between Oxford Seminars and Global Tesol. The training schedule with the latter program was a better match and for that simple reason I opted with Global Tesol, in addition to the optional practicum portion of the course which I thought would be a great training bonus.

Next thing I know, 2 weeks into November, I was enrolled! At the same time, I picked up another contract scenario with a book publishing company to oversee marketing efforts in support of medical/political thriller, Capitol Reflections (which actually is a really well written novel by epidemiologist and former Senior Health Advisor during both Bush & Clinton administrations, Dr. Jonathan Javitt; subject matter: genetically engineered foods).

Thanksgiving passed and I was participating in my 5-day intensive training seminar. Sunday, December 2nd – I was officially certified. I spent my 1st and 2nd weeks of December outlining a timeline and had set the end of February to be my end date in NYC… And here I am now… leaving in a week!!!

What can I say, I was/AM FOCUSED man!

trainplatform.jpg

So there ya have it!

From the dark side of even a dreary day spent outdoors, we can see a glow of something bright…even if found on a train platform.

 

. . don’t burn the day. .