should not be that close to this button
I open at the close
did you just
the potter fandom never dies.
You can re-open a closed tab with ctrl+shift+t. You’re welcome. :P
should not be that close to this button
I open at the close
did you just
the potter fandom never dies.
You can re-open a closed tab with ctrl+shift+t. You’re welcome. :P
I went to New York early again today, because I was planning to meet up with some people at Grand Central. But before I could do that, I had to go to the store where I bought my SIM-card, to try and get a refund (I couldn’t text to the Netherlands, which was one of the main reasons I bought it…). So after I did that I went back to Grand Central and met up with Jose. He was a very kind fellow and told me a lot about New York and its ways and customs. I said I hadn’t been ‘downtown’ before, so we went to Wall street and walked around there for a while. He told me about the history of New York and how the Dutch basically made New York the Trading ‘capitol’ it is today.
So we sat there for a while, talking about differences between our countries. Like how in the Netherlands basically nobody carries a gun, except maybe police officers and how different that is in some parts of the US. After a while another person met up with us, Mert, he is a ‘native’ New Yorker as well. We walked around a little, went into a small, touristy shopping mall (mainly to get some cool air) and then went onto the terrace of the mall with a view on the bay and Governors Island. We sat there and talked for a while and then decided to move on to the ‘Bowl’ (Bowling Green) where there was a museum about native Americans which was free (I am Dutch, I like free stuff). The museum was nice (and cool) but nothing too special. From there we went through the Battery park to the bay which had a nice view on the Statue of Liberty. We sat there for a while as well and just talked about New York, the US, The Netherlands, you know, the usual.
I realize this must be quite boring for you to read, because basically the day was filled with a lot of talking and not much ‘doing’, but I really enjoyed talking and walking with some people that knew what they were talking about and could explain a bit more about the city, instead of just watching and not knowing what was going on.
Tomorrow I will go on a boat tour and I’ll maybe go to the Metropolitan Museum, just to see what it is about. Right now I’m just tired and satisfied and I am going to sleep, because tomorrow will be exhausting again. See you then!
Day 5: Central Park and Natural History
Today was one of the more humid days in the city. The temperatures rose to up to 37 degrees Celsius and humidity I think at some point reached 70 – 80%. I went straight to Central Park from Grand Central and I think that was a good decision because in the city it was just too hot and crowded. Walking into Central Park, of course you are first greeted by a bunch of salesmen, but once you get past that it’s just like walking into a nice park in any big city. It’s amazing to see how a park like this is possible to exist in a city like New York where space is obviously scarce and every inch has to be used to its fullest potential.
I walked down the main road in the park (so called ‘The Mall’) where there are a lot of street artists (musicians and performers). At the end of the Mall there was a group of performers doing an act about jumping over people. It was pretty funny and they were putting up a good act. After the performance I sat down in a tunnel below one of the main cycling roads of the park, the air was a bit cooler there, so it was nice. I looked at my map and saw that I wasn’t too far from the Natural History museum. So for the sake of saving my own body from the heat I went up there and entered. This museum is HUGE. It’s so big that it is impossible to go through in one day.
Because I was quite late I had even less time. The museum closes at a quarter to five, which seems strange to me, since everything else is open until at least eight or nine. But I enjoyed what they had to show. There was a show about how the universe formed in this big dome. Basically it was a 180 degrees cinema screen where you had to look up to see (ouch my neck). The animations where amazing. The information given in the movie was pretty basic (in my eyes) but I guess it was mainly aimed at children. The rest of the museum was very versatile. Every floor had a very different feel to it; some pieces were a lot older than others, which was nice. It made the museum very versatile. I will definitely go back there if I ever come to New York again.
Day 6: Just relax!
I did nothing today, nothing but relax, sit at home and just talk to people at home. It have been a pretty busy 5 days, so I thought I’d take a day off.
Today I went to New York City again, I wanted to take it slow today, so I didn’t really do much. But before I go into that let me tell you about what happened in the train to New York.
I was sitting there, enjoying the view when suddenly something in the water caught my attention, if you get upset easily don’t read on, you have been warned. Floating in the river I saw what looked like a strangely colored log, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be a human body. The man, about 40 – 50 years old was still wearing his green t-shirt, making it look like he had been ‘put’ there. A couple of people in front of me had seen it as well and one of them called his father, because he worked at the police, to ask what to do. They called the cops and told them what happened. That is a great way to start the day, isn’t it? I have no idea what happened to the man afterwards, I didn’t bother to look out the window when I passed the point on my way back, but I reckon they probably would’ve cleared the body by that point.
So after that… Pleasant… experience I arrived at the hot, hot, hot terminal of Grand Central again and continued my exploration of the city. Today I went to the Museum of Modern Art, which is pretty close to the Rockerfeller Center. I’m not really into modern art, but it was nice to see a big variety of art exhibited there. It is a recommendation for anyone interested in art, but be prepared to be there for a while if you really want to see everything! The nice thing about the MoMA is that it has free WiFi, so I could just sit there a while and check my e-mail and chat with friends. That was nice.
After I had seen enough of the exhibitions I went to the sculpture garden where I just sat down and read a book for a while. An older couple sat down next to me and after a short while the man asked me: “you are not from here are you?” He could tell from the map in my bag that I was a tourist. I had a lovely conversation with the two, they were both teachers, one teaching sociology and the other psychology (I think Forensic psychology specifically, but I’m not certain anymore). They were both New York City citizens and were really nice. They went to see a movie in the museum and I went to get some lunch before the ‘big event’ of the day. I decided it was time for me to get a real New York-style pizza, so I did. And it was good.
The big event I was talking about just now was the following: A group called ‘Improv Everywhere’ is a New York based improv group that does lots of crazy stuff every year. They are known for the ‘Frozen Grand Central’ prank they did a few years ago (look it up on YouTube). They also do a so called ‘MP3-Experiment’ every year. That was this Sunday, but alas when I tried to go there by subway, there was maintenance on the track I had to take. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how else to get there (I had no internet and the staff was of no help as well) so in the end I just went back to Grand Central and sat down to read a book and listen to some music and just watch people.
It’s a bummer that I couldn’t participate in the project, but I’m sure there is more good stuff on the way the coming days. Tomorrow I will go to Brooklyn with Barbara and Wednesday I have a meeting planned with some New York Nerdfighters (Google it ;))! I am looking forward to meeting some new people!
I hope to see you all tomorrow as well.
I haven’t written any blogs the past few days because I was just too tired to do so. I guess a jetlag kind of hit me? I don’t know, it could also be the stress and business of New York, but more about that later!
Day 2: Rest a little after your trip
My second day I didn’t do much, my host Nihal had to work on a paper he was writing for school, so he couldn’t really bring me to the station (we had to go to a different station that was an hour drive, because I had to buy a ticket first), so what I did was just relax a little after the stress of my first plane ride and being in the US, so far away from home.
Day 3: New York City!
You can guess from the title what I did today. Yes, I went to New York City of course! I traveled alone from Beacon station to Grand Central and I was prepared to get overwhelmed by the city. When I exited the cool, air-conditioned train I was welcomed by a blast of heat from the underground train tunnels of Grand Central station. That heat is unbearable, they don’t seem to be able to ventilate down there at all. So I quickly walked on to the main hall, of course I had seen this hall many times before in movies and internet videos, but seeing it in real life is always different. It’s smaller than I had imagined for some reason. Though the main hall is by far all there is to see at Grand Central Station. The main hall is surrounded by train platforms, stores, information booths, the subway station… Everything you need basically.
The first thing I did was go to the Radio Shack to buy me an American sim-card so I could call/text my hosts here in the US for ‘free’. I was hoping to be able to text to the Netherlands as well, but for some odd reason that isn’t part of the plan I bought. That is weird, but we are going to check out if we can fix that later. The guy at the store told me it was possible and that’s why I bought it. Anyway, not important for this blog…
I then went on to the Rockerfeller Center. Upon arriving there the nice man in front of the observation deck told us that the fog was obstructing the view on the city so we should probably come back an hour later. So I left for Times Square instead, man, that street is busy. There is currently a lot of construction work/renovation going on on Times Square, so a big part of the square wasn’t accessible, which made the rest more crowded than normal. But it was nice to see the square at its worst (when it comes to tourists). The number of people trying to sell stuff to the tourists was almost as big as the number of tourists. At Times Square I had to check out all the huge stores, so I went to Toys R Us, the M&M store and the Disney store. It’s crazy how big all the stores are.
After visiting the stores I went to the ‘center’ of the square where an area was closed off, a tap dancing crew was preparing for a dance, so I took a look at that. It was ok… ;-) Halfway through I left for the Rockerfeller observatory again. I bought my ticket and went up, it was amazing. The view on the city is crazy and unbelievable. There is this constant humming of the city below, sometimes you would hear sirens or honking, but the rest it was just constantly humming like a machine on steroids. I got a great look at the Empire state building and behind that, in the distance the Freedom tower. New York is a city with many cities, every big building is a city on itself and it is amazing how so many people can fit on so little space. The thing that amazed me the most though was the view on Central Park. The park takes up about a third of upper manhattan and it’s in the middle of the city. After a sea of skyscrapers suddenly there is this gaping hole of green and water. It’s just magical to see.
I went back to Central Station after visiting the Rockerfeller Center, I waited a bit for my train and went home. Not much happened that evening, because I was just too tired to do anything else. New York is a very busy place and there are stimuli everywhere, literally all the time when walking on the street. It is very tiring when you’re not used to it. The main thing I learned today is that I would never want to live in New York City. That’s for sure!
I hope to see you tomorrow!
The alarm went off, 5:30, I got out of bed slightly (read: very) nervous. Not only was I about to leave the country and everything I know and love behind for just under a month. I was going to take my first airplane ride of my life. Went to the bathroom, took a shower and closed my eyes and thought for a moment. What have I gotten myself into? I must be crazy, I thought. Why didn’t I opt to go for a few weeks, instead of a whole month?
Half my breakfast was still in the bowl when we got in the car, one last wave to my dad and off we went. Off to the big unknown, off to the big apple. 8 AM we arrived at the airport, a few hours early, I didn’t mind, it meant I could stay with Hilde and my mom for a few hours longer. Eventually I had to get to the gate, so I decided to go through security around 10. After handing Hilde my sunscreen (that apparently landed in my backpack instead of my suitcase) I waved them goodbye one last time. I won’t see them again until august 7th when I get back.
It’s hard saying goodbye to people like that, but this time it was different. I wasn’t just saying goodbye to someone, I was leaving myself. I’ve said goodbye to people before, but then I just went home and went on with my own business. This time I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t go to my safe place, hide behind my computer and act like nothing had happened. I went on automatic pilot for the rest of the day; went to my gate, boarded the plane, told my neighbor it was my first time flying and he said: well then you HAVE to sit at the window (he asked if his wife could swap places with me).
I was scared, mainly for the flight at that point, because I didn’t know what to expect at all. Lift-off was kind of cool, the way you accelerate when the plane takes off, it reminded me of a rollercoaster. Also the way you feel when you go up, up, up and then you hit some wind and you fall down a little again. It makes you feel like you are on some very weird coaster ride. Once we were at altitude I could look down on the world below me and see how tiny everything was.
Of course, Germany and Belgium were all covered in clouds, but once we reached London it cleared up a little. I could see all the ‘little’ cities and highways slithering through the hills like snakes put together as a complex puzzle of sorts. It was amazing to see all of this, but also strange to realize that you, as a human being, are actually very tiny, very insignificant. After about an hour or two we left England and Ireland behind us and met up with the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently a good friend of the plane, because he outstayed his welcome a little.
I mean, after five hours of endless blue and while you have seen it all. Luckily, after five hours we reached the other side of the pond, eventually we flew over Boston and New York, turned around and landed in Newark where a friend picked me up. The landing was a lot different from what I had expected. I don’t actually quite know what I expected, but it was not this. It was a lot smoother than I had anticipated and that was all fine by me. The eardrums stayed intact and so did the plane. One thing is for sure: I am not afraid of flying. We didn’t hit any turbulence, but at some points it shook quite a lot and I found it interesting rather than frightening, that is good to know.
So then I got picked up by Nihal and we went home, got lost a little in Hobonten(?), New Jersey but eventually found the right track and went to Newburgh where I am now. The people here are really nice, Nihal and Barbara are good friends of my parents and they welcomed me with open arms. I am lucky to be able to stay here, because I am sure they will take good care of me.
Now I am lying in my bed, still wearing my (too long and hot) jeans, thinking back to what happened today and still thinking: What the hell have I gotten myself into. Quite frankly I am still a bit worried about the rest of the trip, but I’m sure right now that is just the aftermath of the nerves combined with tiredness (though it is only 19:37 here, it’s 2:37 in The Netherlands right now). I had a good look at the New York skyline on my way here from the airport and I hope to give you a first report on the city tomorrow (though this blog will probably go up on the same day, because I’m too tired to ask for the internet password right now).
I hope I can sleep a little tonight, this knot in my stomach isn’t doing me any good…
See you tomorrow! (or today)
PS: No pictures yet, TOO TIRED
“Under 300 club! Wooh!” or “This is the first time I was so early to a <insert well known YouTuber here> video!” These comments are so common and after 6 years on YouTube I still don’t understand them. I regularly am one of the first viewers on a YouTube video and I don’t care about that. I don’t get why others do. Is it special that you happened to be online while the video was published? Isn’t that just considered luck?
I get the ‘First’ comment a little bit. It’s basically a race to the video to see who gets there first. I mean, didn’t you ever have a race with your parents, or brothers/sisters or friends? “First at the car wins!” But what is it with all these comments about being ‘one of the firsts’, it doesn’t make sense! Congratulations -I guess- on your insignificant accomplishment that isn’t actually an accomplishment? Here is your pat on the shoulder?
There seems to be a sort of status involved in being in the ‘under 300 club’ that I do not see, nor understand. Like it magically increases the size of your e-peen, even though no-one will ever read your comment or know that you were in the ‘under 300 club’. Are there seriously people that go around, talking to their friends, saying: “Oh em gee, look at this! I commented way early on this here video! Like seriously, look there, I was the 73rd viewer!” and then the friends respond with: “Wow! You really are more special in our eyes now!”
I guess it’s about feeling more special than others, because you were one of the first to see the new video. At that moment you are one of only 300 people that has seen that video and know what it contains. Even though, only ten minutes later, thousands of others will have followed in your path. But for that one brief moment, you are… Special. Kind of.
Do you ever have this moment where you think: “What if I would die now, what would happen on my funeral?” Or better yet: “What if I knew I would die in a week, what would I tell my friends and family to do for my funeral?” Would you even want to have a say at what happens? I for one would prefer that. I mean, after someone has passed away you can only guess as to what that person would’ve wanted to have happened at his or her funeral. You want to make it the last omage to the life of a person, so it needs to be personal, right?
While sitting in the bus, listening to music, the player shuffled to a song. This song is the reason for this blogpost. Let me explain, there are certain songs where you might think: This is the song I would love to have played at my funeral. It’s just so beautiful and befitting. The problem is, in a few years, you might not like that song anymore. So I like to think of these songs as ‘my current funeral songs’.
The song in question was the following: Don’t give up the fight - Racoon.
It’s a real tearjerker in the context given in this blog. Usually I’m not a very ‘sentimental’ person, but this song just caught my attention in a way that it made me all teary eyed. Now of course there would be more than one song at a funeral service, but at this moment, this would be the first song to be played.
Besides songs there are obviously other things to take into account. Like dresscodes and how and where you will be buried. I will spare you the details, but one of the things that I would love to see at my own funeral (yea I know, how can you see your own funeral?) is rainbow colors. That’s right… Rainbow colors. Don’t come dressed in black and white, or some timid teint of red. No, please come to my service dressed in the most colorful outfit you own!
On a happier note: I am still excited!
Ps. No I am not dying, don’t worry.
Do you know that feeling you get when you do, did or are about to do something exciting? That feeling in your stomach that makes you giggle all the time, shake like a 12-year old on Red Bull and bump up and down in your chair like you are about to explode? That feeling that stays with you for the next two or three days, until it finally subsides and then you think about the thing you do, did or are about to do again and it returns for just a brief moment.
I have that feeling right now, I did something very exciting and I just can’t stop feeling happy about it. I can’t tell you (yet) what I did -sadly- because that could ruin it. Besides, that is not the point of this blog. I wanted to talk about that feeling. That feeling that just keeps you in its grasp. Every time you think about it, you want to take out that picture you took while you were doing it. You want to read that e-mail you wrote. You just want to relive the moment, or be reminded of what is (or might be) to come.
Every time you look at that picture, e-mail, person or whatever it is that reminds you of the thing you do, did or are about to do, for a short while, you relive it. Or you relive it in your mind as if it is happening right now, even though it is in the future or the past. It is a great feeling, because it describes you at your best. The most exciting thing going on in your life at that moment. Something you live for, something you worked on for a long time.
Every fibre in your body wants to (re)live that moment before it is too late, before the feeling is gone, or something takes it away. It’s not always bad, having the feeling being taken away, it’s just the way it is. That’s life, right? For the moment you are that exited person, that person that lives for what you do, did or are about to do. You are excited and you want to share it with the world.
I wanted to share it with the world and now I did. I am happy with what I did, even though it might turn out to be false excitement. For now I am happy, shaking like a 12-year old on Red Bull and jumping up and down in my chair like I am about to explode. I love this feeling and I hope that it will stay. But if not, I am looking forward to that next feeling!
Chapter 3 of this semi-interactive story.
Last chapters most voted option was:
1. Steal a car and drive around a bit, in the hopes of figuring out what the hell is going on.
Chapter 3 - Highway to Hell
Amir looked around him, the empty police station was eerily silent. No phones were ringing, all the windows were shut and only the faint sound of car alarms was to be heard from outside. Every now and then a loud bang vibrated the windows. Amir put his head in his hands and tried to stay calm. How could this have happened? What is going on? Why am I still here? So many questions were running through his head at the same time. Then he realised something: He was alone. All alone. Nobody there, not his family, not his friends. He didn’t even know if he would ever see them again. He looked emptily to the blank walls of the office and sat there for a while.