I just took a quick glance at my last blog and I can’t believe how much I have done since then. This morning I woke up at 7am so that I could talk to my parents on skype, but maybe I should have slept in a little bit longer. During our conversation, Mum made a comment about how much I’ve been doing in NYC compared to what I do in Melbourne. And I guess she’s right, but isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? I know I shouldn’t push myself too far, but what are the chances of me coming back to New York any time soon?
Anyway, you all want to know what’s been going, so here it goes, in point form.
1. Friday night: The plan was to get to Greenwich by 5:30, but it took Kaitlin and I a little while to buy some flowers and to hail a taxi. Of course we had to pick peak hour to catch a cab. We finally caught one and headed off to the living quarters for professors at NYU. There we met with a couple who have a daughter with FD. She is in her early 20s and doing a course at NYU. The mother, Faye, was the one who arranged for Kaitlin and Sonia to take me around NYC. It was great to meet Sam and her cousins and it was interesting to hear about the lives of NYU professors. I think it’s one of my fantasies to go to NYU to do my Masters in Social Work. If that ever happens then I will be sure to have a blog about that!
After dinner, Kait and I walked a little to catch a cab and we wandered into one of the bars that were open. A band was playing and we stuck around to listen for a while. The whole street was filled with bars and nearly every one had a band playing.
2. Satuday: Sonia and I hit the streets (not too early) and went to Gramercy which is near the East Village and Greenwich village. We checked out the farmers market, which is on the outskirts of a park, and happened to see a cooking demonstation. They were using rhubarb and arugala to make some sort of salad. I have a feeling arugala is similiar to rocket, but the cooks had never heard of rocket so we couldn’t work it out. There were lots of stands selling cheeses, fish, fruit and vegetables, paintings, wine and more. It was packed with people and we sat down a while to check out the scene. We saw a black man with a wild multi coloured wig, wearing a long skirt and top. He was walking up to people asking for money and of course he came up to us. When he said something, I said sorry instead of beg your pardon and he got angry at me for being impolite. He freaked me out a bit and so we moved to another spot which had a group of black people who seemed to be a little high and were very loud. It was quite a contrast to the people at the other end of the market who seemed to be white upperclass. The park was beautiful however and I enjoyed relaxing.
We then had lunch at a restaurant that had been recommended by Faye. We had amazing burgers and fries and I think I want to go back. After lunch we’d had enough of the area and headed off to Battery Park. On the way there we drove past Ground Zero which crept up on us. The land is huge and there still hasn’t been much progress made on the memorial being built. It would be nice if it gets finished by next year to mark the 10th anniversary since it happend.
At Battery Park we got to see the Statue of Liberty! No, we didn’t go to the island, seeing it from afar was enough. The que to get on the boat was huge! On the way out from the park we happened to see a group of black street performers. They were dragging out people from the audience and at one point one of the performers jumped over a line of five people! I have to say it was impressive and they were pretty cute too!
That night I went to see Wicked with the daughter of a family friend. It weas incredible. The singers were so talented, the stage was huge, the backdrop was stunning and the orchestra was great. Every song moved me and by the end of the show I was crying. It’s a very interesting story and explores what is evil and what is good. By the time I got home it was 11pm and I was pooped.
3. Sunday: In the morning I was picked up by a car service and headed of to the NYU Medical Centre where I met with the social worker from the FD foundation. He only works part time with them and he has up to 30 clients! It seems like health insurance is the main issue of concern and clients are lacking the right support to be able to live at home. We also discussed how there had been a few FD deaths already this year and I found this a little hard to hear. I think it still hasn’t sunk in and I don’t think I want it to.
After meeting with the social worker, my cousin Al picked me up and took me back to his house near Long Island to have lunch with his family. It was lovely to have a home cooked meal and to be around family. Even though I had never met them before, I felt a connection and was very comfortable with them. They have the cutest 9 year old grand daughter who hopefully I can connect her with my cousins in Melbourne. The five of them all came back for the ride to my hotel and Al’s wife Ellen gave me some food for work the next day – a bagel with cream cheese and lox!
As soon as I got back to the hotel my brother’s brother-in-law showed up and we went out for dinner. We just went to a hotdog/hamburger place and sat outside. It was nice to reminisce (spelling?) about Romi and it was lovely to sit outside and people watch.
4. By the time I got home it was nearly 10pm and I was exhausted.
So, that was my weekend. Pretty impressive, hey. I am back at the office now and making calls to families. and doing this in-between.
Tonight I am off to Harlem with Deborah to do a tour, have a soul-food meal and listen to jazz at the Cotton Club.
I think I could sleep for a week.