Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I was on national tv!!!

That's right...I was on the Today show last Thursday.  Don't rush to your recordings of the morning show just yet.  Unfortunately, the only part of me that made it out from behind the HUGE sign and camera-hogging people in front of me was my left eyeball and about half of my forehead.  And that was for about .25 seconds.  But, I was satisfied.  I mean, it was national television.  It was an early (4 a.m.) and random morning to the city but I can now cross that off of my list.  

In other news, I am officially back in Idaho in less than a week!  Woo hoo!  My summer has been amazing and there are still a few things that I have left to tackle this weekend when my friend Kristin visits but for the most part I am ready to get back normal life.  My refreshed brain and inner self has many new ideas about life and who I am wanting to be and becoming.  That's what contemplating life for 4 hours on the beach a day does for you.  I also have laid out my classroom and made about 6 to-do lists for when I get back to 201 N. 1st Street.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

my Boston adventure

A random stranger took a picture of me at the wharf (near the New England Aquarium)....I believe at Long Pier.
On my way back to NYC on the Fung Wah bus.  I bought an Amtrak ticket for $78 to Boston and $100 back to New York.  Then at the hostel I was so happy to be informed by budget traveling Europeans that there is a bus that goes from Chinatown in Boston to Chinatown in New York City for $15!!!  So I got a 90% refund on my train ticket and bussed it to the city.  Then I didn't feel so guilty about that pair of shoes I bought on Newbury Street.
At Grand Central waiting for my train to Rye.

Eating outside on Newbury Street.  Newbury Street is lined with restaurants, art galleries, clothing boutiques, and many other fun shops.
A statue of George Washington in the Public Garden with the financial district buildings in the background.
Paul Revere's grave in Old Burial Ground.  This is also where John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin's parents, and the actual Mother Goose (a person, not a goose) are buried.  It is said that John Hancock may not even be buried there anymore because right after he was buried grave diggers cut off the hand that he signed the Declaration of Independence with and they believe they may have taken his body also.  The small cemetery was so full that they they were burying 4 people deep and they almost didn't let Paul Revere be buried there.  Fun history fact #2: John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence and the saying of needing your "John Hancock" or signature originated because of his signing.  
Faneuil Hall.  This is where the Boston Massacre took place and now the building is full of souvenir shops, a post office, and restaurants.
This is directly behind Faneuil Hall and is lined with eateries down each side of the hallway inside.  I walked out of Faneuil Hall just in time to see these guys starting their live entertainment.  They were acrobat type people that were very engaging and fun to watch.  They ended up doing hand stands at the top of that ladder that is behind them.  It was quite impressive.

*Author note:  The pictures are out of order and before the text....after many minutes of trying to rearrange, this is the best that you are blessed with.  Since I went to Boston 2 weeks ago, I figure that an unorganized blog is better than no blog at all.  Thank you for understanding. *

My Boston trip a few weeks ago was amazing.  I LOVED Boston.  It is an easily walkable town and the people are very friendly (at least compared to your typical New Yorker).  I took a train to Boston Saturday morning, stayed at a hostel, met some friendly Europeans, walked down Newbury Street, ate lunch, shopped (what?!?), watched people and ducks at Boston Common (a city park at the end of Newbury Street), ate dinner, went to bed, toured Old Burying Ground, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, ate lunch, visited with a local fisherman at the wharf, walked, walked, walked, and rode the Fung Wah bus back to NYC.  

That is the condensed version....details are with the pictures. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

it's my's now or never

mmmeee at South Street Seaport with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge behind me

So I postponed the Boston trip to instead see Bon Jovi in Central Park. That's right....I was one of 70,000 fans who crammed themselves onto the Great Lawn to enjoy a little bad medicine, if you will. Since people started lining up to get in the day before and we showed up about an hour before, we were a fair distance away from the stage. Scratch that, we were VERY far away. But it was all about the good music, the atmosphere, and an amazing live concert. In Central Park, nonetheless.
This is from our blanket area....with about 69,000 peeps in front of us. 

We were not disappointed. Just as I'm sure the people around us were not disappointed with our dancing and singing. The concert was "free" but you had to pick up tickets at certain locations at certain times and my friend Teresa was unable to do that. We bought ours off of craigslist for $25! A deal, I tell you! And a great deal for the guy who got them for free and sold them for $25. Apparently there was quite the controversy because some people were selling them on ebay for up to $1500. The people buying them obviously didn't realize that it was general admission, no assigned seating and on a flat lawn. Too bad for them. We continued to dance after the concert was over (in order to miss the crowd of course)...
me dancing  :)

Earlier that day, I met Teresa and her boyfriend, Chris, at the Bronx Zoo. It was the best zoo I've ever been to. While I love, love, love seeing all of the animals at a zoo, I usually feel sad for them that they are trapped in a small habitat that is sometimes pretty bare. The habitats at the Bronx Zoo were HUGE. But, they were set up in a way where you could see the animals from a lot of different view points outside of their enclosure so they were pretty close, too. It was a great time of the year to go and see babies. We saw a baby gorilla, lots of different baby monkeys of all different sorts, a baby giraffe, baby ducks, a baby baboon, and baby African deer. Cute, cute, cute!

The day after Bon Jovi, we explored Little Italy, Chinatown, and South Street Seaport. We walked a TON all weekend between the zoo, getting into the concert, and lower then Manhattan. There are waterfalls temporarily on display as part of an "art project" down by the Brooklyn Bridge. We sat at Pier 17 and enjoyed the sunshine and people watching. This was after eating pizza outside in Little Italy and me getting in the back of a van with a Chinese lady in Chinatown to buy a fake Coach purse. No worries, Mom, this is all normal. A little sketchy...but normal. They usually take you upstairs to the top of building in Chinatown so the cops don't arrest them for selling knockoffs but apparently the police were around so the Chinese ladies got on their little walkie-talkies, walked us a few blocks from the original lady whispering in people's ear on the street corner "you want Coach, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana?" and took us into the back of their van that was filled with knockoffs. An interesting experience and a cute purse for $400 less then what the "real" one would sell for. And really, who in Coeur d'Alene (or Athol) will be able to tell the fake from a real one.

A great weekend was had by all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

naked cowboy....woot woot!

And here we have the latest development of Amanda's summer...a picture with the Naked Cowboy in Times Square. Aside from him being a creep (surprising, I know), it was quite exciting. I can now check that off my list.
Earlier in the day I explored Central Park (including the Central Park Zoo), people watched on 6th Avenue, and shopped at a few farmers' markets. I tried bargaining but I think they saw me as a naive tourist and I ended up paying full price. Sigh.
The man in the blue shirt (in the picture below) was part of a random group dancing on a street corner.   Not too bad and apparently that's all it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket with cash. Perhaps I should take some lessons.

I relaxed on a lawn in Central Park for a while and enjoyed this view. Quite peaceful....

I'm off to Boston in the next few days where I will stay in a hostel and begin another solo adventure.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

my schedule

This is my daily schedule....minus a few alterations here and there depending on plans:

I wake up.

I help the housekeeper, Mary, make breakfast for the kids before they are off to tennis camp.

I walk Duke (the German Shepard) around a nearby golf course (approximately 2 mile jaunt) after all of the kids leave.

I shower and get ready for the day.

I either walk downtown Rye and go to the library or read outside or prepare for tutoring my student, Teddy.

I go to Manursing (the beach club they belong to) to check the kids out of camp and then they swim/play with friends while I lie on the beach and read. This is also when I contemplate life. This will last anywhere from 2-4 hours.

We come back to the house and I help make dinner.

I tutor Teddy for an hour if he is home.

I go to bed.

The end.

It's really a great job. If you aren't convinced yet....Exhibit A: This is the view of Long Island Sound from my beach chair.

And here we have Exhibit B:

This is my view at the Yankees/Mets game at Shea Stadium. The small white dots are baseball players. I am most definitely not complaining about the view....I was happy to be there. Until it started raining and we were high enough to not see very well but not high enough to be covered by the small roof around the edges. The family had extra tickets so they took me and a few of the kids' friends. It was really fun and I had the best hot dog I think I have ever had in my life there. The rain was well worth the experience.

This is how I entertained myself (and a 4 year old) at the beach yesterday...

My friend is Mary's son, Andy. I took him to swim yesterday and he was quite excited. Mary and her husband are from Chile and Andy speaks Spanish and English, usually in the same sentence. I may very well be bilingual when I return with him at my side. This is another picture of us. He hadn't ever been to their beach club before and kept saying, "This is sooooo fun!".

Give me a little kid with a huge imagination and a lot of excitement and I have a pretty goooood time.

I love my life.

the life of the Adventurist Amanda

One week later, I have time to post about my adventure into NYC. Not that I've been overly busy....

I rode the train into the city from Rye. I navigated my way through Grand Central and off onto a street and walked until I found 5th Avenue. It was a perfect day to be in the city...not too hot, not too cold. As my pal Goldilocks would say, it was just right. Beautiful blue sky and no rain. I wandered around 5th Avenue, stopping at many shops to look around and made my way to Rockefeller Center. The Today Show had a wedding there that morning so there was a street blocked off where they were cleaning up and disassembling away. My friend, Teresa, called her friend Anna (who was also a DG at Idaho but was older and graduated by the time I entered college) to ask her if she would leave me a ticket to the top of Rockefeller Center. Anna works at Rockefeller Center so she has the connections. Anna was able to leave me a ticket at the desk and I took the elevator up 70 floors to the Top of the Rock. It was amazing. Central Park to the north and lower Manhattan to the south. I could see the Statue of Liberty to the south also but it was about as big as my fingernail. The picture above is looking north from the Top of the Rock overlooking Central Park. Next, I was attempting to find the correct subway entrance that I needed (thanks to Teresa's directions) and walked in the wrong direction until I came to Times Square (pic is of me walking near Times Square). I bought a "I (heart) NY" shirt for $3 (a steal I tell you) and walked back in the other direction to find the correct subway. With stops along St. Patrick's Cathedral and more shops, I finally headed south to Union Square to meet Teresa. While I waited for her to get off work I walked around a farmer's market and fed pigeons. We ate lunch then headed to dinner on the Hudson River on the Upper West Side (west of Central Park). We had dinner right on the river which was beautiful. The sun set over New Jersey and I made my way home.

This is Teresa on the left and Anna on the right. Me in the middle.... :)

So my independent adventure was a success! I have Sunday and Monday off and will be in again to explore more. I actually understand the streets pretty well (we are only talking midtown to lower Manhattan) and took two 12 year olds into the city a few nights after my first expedition. They had a concert that they wanted to see so I went with them to help them find their way and ride the train with them. Margo and Katelyn (the girls) were very polite and thankful for me taking them. The family continues to be great! I will spend the 4th of July with them at the beach. Their beach club has a big picnic and fireworks over Long Island Sound. I'm possibly off to Boston next weekend. It is a great life that I lead....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

to the NYC tomorrow...wish me luck

I will be riding the train into the city tomorrow and exploring from Grand Central Station out. The train station is about a 5 minute walk from the house I am staying at and it is a 30 minute ride into the city. The year of Amanda entails independent things not yet attempted. I think wandering around Manhattan falls in that category. No worries, Mom, I have a map. I'm thinking I'll check out Central Park, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown, and we will see where else my little feets take me. I am meeting my friend Teresa (someone I lived in Delta Gamma with that now lives here) after she gets off work and we will be going to happy hour with the DG alumni group from here. Just a coincidence that it will be happening on the same day that I will be there and it should be a fun little time.

I began tutoring today with a very unmotivated 16 year old. Should be interesting if that will be his attitude every time. No complaining here considering I only tutor him approximately 4 hours a week. I think I can power through it.

Yesterday I walked downtown Rye to get some tutoring materials from the library and explore this quaint little town. I at lunch at a fun little cafe' that has a Smores dessert that I will be returning for. Then over to a coffee shop to read my book for an hour or so, followed by some window shopping at out-of-my-price-range-shops and normal shopping (i.e. purchasing) at in-my-price-range boutiques. Todays itinerary was consumed by tutoring, preparing for the next lesson, baking brownies, reading more of my book, and going for a run. I'm thinking I may work out a deal with the future husband to be returning every summer. No future husband in mind, Mom, just thinking of what deals I will be bringing to the table. You know, I'll trade you weekly poker nights for a summer relaxing on the beach of Long Island Sound. I think that's reasonable.

Look for an update on my adventure in the next few days....