A Weekend With My Sidekick!

Good morning everyone! This weekend was absolutely crazy but all in good ways. This past Thursday, my girlfriend Arissa came to visit me. She is here for 5 days and we’d been planning and anticipating this for weeks so it was such a relief to finally see her again and spend time with her. For those of you unaware, right before I came here to NYC through Students With Diabetes, I was abroad in Merida, Mexico for just under 4 months (late-January to early-May) through my college’s Study Abroad program. She never was able to do any sort of visit to Mexico and upon my return home, I only had 3 short weeks before departing for Tampa and NYC so needless to say….I haven’t been home much in the last 6 months. Our weekend was incredible; we visited so many neat places and became expert adventurers. Here is how this past week/weekend went:

On Thursday, all of the interns here at JDRF International had a special luncheon with the CEO, Derek Rapp, and got to have some quality time just talking with him about anything and everything. I know I’ve praised Derek before but I again just cannot express enough how personable he is and how much he truly cares about fighting T1D and finding a cure. He is 110% dedicated to his duties and it is so inspiring and motivating. We each got to discuss more about ourselves and personal experiences with JDRF, T1D, and more. I look forward to future encounters with Derek between now and August 21st when I will return home to Iowa.

On Friday, we caught the tail end of Team USA’s Womens Soccer team parade of champions as they went down Broadway from Battery Park up to City Hall. The streets were absolutely PACKED; I mean shoulder-to-shoulder packed. After shimmying our way through the crowds, we made it over to Ground Zero where we saw the North and South pools. We also visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum where we witnessed hundreds of thousands of remains from that terrible day in 2001. We saw everything from building remains to listening to victim’s voicemails from friends and family to a fire truck that was crushed by rubble from the building collapse. The experience was breath-taking and powerful to say the least. I was almost to little to have remembered but I DO recall my parents being speechless and emotional for hours on end and seeing bits on the news. This day will be with everyone for now and for always, and this memorial and its purpose will live on as well.

After the 9/11 Memorial, we hiked back towards Times Square to check out Carlo’s Bakery (again for me, but I will never turn down the chance to have some tasty desserts). We had some chocolate mousse cake which was to die for:

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After devouring our tasty treats, we made our way down 6th Avenue towards Rockefeller Center (I am kind of obsessed with this place if you haven’t caught on yet). We bought tickets to see the Top of the Rock and waited in line for only about 10-15 minutes TOTAL before we were at the top. The view was AMAZING and we each got some stellar pictures, but here are just a couple:

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In the first picture, you can see a hint of another landmark we tackled and hiked up as well….its the Empire State Building for those thinking too hard 🙂 Anyways, after the Top of the Rock, we knew Wicked was going to be doing lottery tickets for that night’s show and Arissa LOVES Wicked so I humored her and tagged along. We each put our names in and awaited the drawing to commence shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, our names were not drawn and we were left with no further plans that evening. We made our way back to Brooklyn and spent the remainder of the evening relaxing and Arissa had some online class homework to complete and then we watched one of my all-time favorite movies, The Guardian!

On Saturday morning, sleeping in was not a luxury this time as we were visiting the Statue of Liberty at 10am! After getting up and ready, we met up and made our way to the Clark Street subway. We only had one stop so we had nothing to worry about right? Wrong…..we somehow managed to completely miss the conductor announce “Wall Street!” and did not realize this until after the doors closed and the train took off once again. Thankfully the next stop was close by and so we were able to make up the distance by walking and proceeded to Battery Park where we endured long lines through security and the gangway onto the boat. The sun was shining, the water glistening, and with my best friend along side, it was setting up to be a wonderful day. When we arrived at Liberty Island, it became a mad dash to get off the boat and towards the statue. We finally disembarked and began our trek around the island. Our tickets allowed us pedestal access of the statue, which was AWESOME! While the crown view would have beat all but our view would suffice.

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Riding the ferry back to Manhattan!

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When we were thoroughly satisfied with Liberty Island, we began our journey back to Battery Park and eventually to Brooklyn. We paid the crew at Grimaldi’s a visit and to get a taste of New York’s best pizza! As you can tell from the post’s featured image, the pizza was HUMONGOUS and extremely delicious. Surprisingly, we had a few leftovers but those will be eaten as part of my lunch sometime this week. Arissa had heard me appraise this restaurant numerous times prior to coming so she was excited to finally experience it herself first-hand.

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After stuffing our gullets with pizza, we returned to my apartment briefly to let the food settle a little before heading for Times Square once again. Our afternoon was filled with shopping as Arissa wanted to take advantage of NYC’s famous stores. We tried the Wicked lottery once again, but to no avail we were not drawn. Finally it was supper time and my stomach was gurgling something nasty so we decided upon Red Lobster. Now before this picture is seen, let me just say that I absolutely LOVE seafood and eat it whenever possible. I totally indulged in a feast of crab, shrimp, potatoes, and garlic bread for supper…

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I devoured a pound of crab, two-skewers worth of shrimp, mashed potatoes, and several garlic bread rolls. Thankfully the restaurant staff did not have to roll me out of the booth and down outside 🙂 With our tummys full and our spirits high, we trekked over to the Empire State Building with tickets in hand to witness this majestic city at night. We originally bought tickets to both the 86th floor and the 102nd floor, however the 102nd was apparently closed for repairs/renovation, therefore preventing anyone with tickets from visiting. Fortunately we were still able to visit the 86th floor AND receive a refund for our tickets. The view was stunning….I could have stayed up there for hours and just stared in awe at the city and its gorgeous lights and sense of calmness from above.

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Click to enlarge and have a better view!

The second picture will requiring clicking on it to enlarge and see the FULL panoramic image of just one side of NYC at night time (sidenote: on the right side of the image is Times Square). By the time we left Empire State, our feet were killing us and we were ready to return home and call it a night.

Sunday morning, again, did not allow for the luxury of sleeping in any as we were headed to church. The service was awesome, like always, however we arrived later than normal and had to sit in a side balcony which do not present the greatest view but we survived. After church, we ate soup and breadsticks at Olive Garden (one of Arissa’s favorite restaurants). We had bought tickets for two museums that day: The Hunger Games Exhibition and BODY WORLD; both through the Discovery Museum. The Hunger Games museum was incredible. We saw VINTAGE costumes from the actual films as well as the ACTUAL carriage, Mockingjay pin, drawing book of Cinna, and more, all of which were directly from the films. Another experience we had while there was the opportunity to star in our own “green screen” film and we wore the capes that (just the week before) Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) and Josh Hutcheson (Peeta) had worn themselves when exploring the exhibit when it initially opened. This place was incredible to say the least. Here are some pictures:

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Riding the train towards the Capitol 🙂
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Just one of MANY vintage movie costumes of Katniss and Gale
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The ACTUAL mockingjay dress that Katniss wore in Catching Fire

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After this museum, we entered BODY WORLD. To give you an overview, this is a museum is designed to display the anatomy of the human body and all of its contents; meaning everything from the human brain to bone structure to embryonic development. Every “display” in this exhibit is a real human cadaver or FROM an actual cadaver. No pictures were allowed except for one:

arissa13This picture shows the anatomy of a real horse and two human cadavers. All of these cadavers have been donated and dedicated to science. The experience was a little eery but still overly fascinating. To see first-hand the anatomy of a brain, heart, liver, pancreas, etc. was crazy and probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After this museum, we found ourselves craving a sweet treat, so we settled on Ben&Jerry’s, which was just down the street from the museum. I found my new favorite flavor…..The Tonight DOUGH starring Jimmy Fallon! 🙂

We decided that our weekend had been busy enough and after doing a little more shopping and failing at yet another Broadway ticket lottery, we returned to Brooklyn where I cooked us some delicious barbeque chicken and butter noodles. We then settled in and watched Celebrity Family Feud and Battle Bots to bring our Sunday evening to a close.

It is now Monday morning and time for another full week of work. Here is where I left off last:

I finished out last week making several “deadline calendars” for myself and my supervisors for my different projects. I am still in the process of organizing all of my research findings into categories as part of my Hispanic outreach business case and once finished with that I will begin forming buckets to put into my TYPED business case, and also begin creating my PowerPoint presentation from the beginning up until now with slides of each part….lots going on but I am excited and know that while I would always prefer things go smoothly the first time through, I know this portion of my project is going to be the most time-consuming and strenuous but it will do me good! As for my social media project, another intern (Brittany) and I met and drafted a mock “questionnaire” that we will use when it comes to contacting JDRF chapters across the country. We will begin contacting chapters starting today and hopefully have them all finished by the end of this week or by the end of next week (all depending on how busy everyone else is this week too). This week is going to be FULL of phone calls and Word documents but I am excited (especially about the phone calls) as I LOVE talking with different people whom I have never previously met or spoken with and having the opportunity to connect with them and just seeing where the conversation takes us. Anyways, I better get on to my Monday’s work and start the week off strong! Arissa is here all of today and half of tomorrow, and it will be sad to say goodbye but we will savor the time together now. Stay tuned for my next post later this week.

Until next time,

– The T1D in NYC

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