Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coney Island & Cameron Asay

Last Saturday Kelly, Stephanie, Amber and myself made the long and arduous journey to Coney Island and Brighton Beach. And by long and arduous I mean only an hour and a half by train. It wasn't quite perfect beach weather but it was overcast enough that it was hardly crowded at all.

This trip was most likely my favorite part of this whole New York experience. It was my first time at the Atlantic Ocean for one thing. I really loved it because it was the first time in months that I felt like I wasn't in a city. Standing in the water and sitting on the sand made me more relaxed than I have been in a very long time. And I don't just mean that in terms of how long I've been in New York. It's not that school is overly stressful but to be as relaxed as I was at the beach? I think we'd have to go back to Christmas break 2012. My biggest problem with New York is the fact that there isn't enough nature. You can't see the stars; there aren't houses with yards; there aren't rolling hills or mountains covered in trees. The beach felt like a whole other place than "New York City" or "Brooklyn." Nothing worried me while I was at the beach.

We also went to the New York Aquarium.
And I bought a new hat!
This weekend I tried to do something equally relaxing without having to go all the way to the beach. It's not so much that I decided to do these things but Cameron brought them up when we talked on Thursday night and he made me promise I would go on this quest, as I like to call it. So I dubbed Saturday "Cam's Quest."

1) My own personal quest was to get Jamba Juice. It turns out the closest Jamba Juice is at Columbus Circle inside the Whole Foods which is basically in the basement of a mall. Pretty nifty, eh?

2) After getting my Jamba, I got back on the train so I could be closer to a specific part of Central Park. I rode one stop from 59th to 72nd street, where I started what I promised Cameron I would do. He sent me to this peninsula near the boat house, across from a fountain and an angel statue. When I got to the edge of the peninsula, there was a nice big rock perfect for sitting on. The area I was at was obscure enough that I didn't see that many people throughout the hour or so I sat there. While the beach made me feel far from the city, sitting on that rock made me feel even farther away. It was a perfectly sunny day with a slight breeze. Trees surrounded me. I'm still not exactly sure of Cameron's reasoning for sending me to that place in Central Park but I'm glad he did. I just sat and thought about a million and one things, but in the good way of thinking about things. I didn't really come to any specific conclusions about life but some times you just need to sit on a rock at the park and think about how things are going.

3) Once I finished "finding myself" in Central Park, I headed to Hell's Kitchen to get some cookies. This was the funniest part of my Thursday night conversation with Cameron. He told me he wanted to buy me a cookie but obviously he's in Utah and I'm in New York so that wasn't super plausible. So then he started describing this cookie place in Hell's Kitchen that he didn't know the name of but was pretty sure was between 8th and 9th avenues. "You'll find it," he said. Through some astute Google searches on my part, I figured out it was called Schmackary's. And I've gotta say, those were some dang good cookies. They sell them 2 for $5 so I got one that was cookies and cream and another that was classic chocolate chip. So now when I go back to Utah, Cameron owes me $5.

What I loved most about going to the places Cameron made me promise to visit was feeling so connected to him. New York is Cameron's favorite city in the entire world. (He's told me that multiple times.) He's been very adamant about me enjoying my time here. Out of all my friends, Cameron is the one I've seen most recently on account of how a week after coming to New York he was here for the BFA Senior Showcase. (I'm pretty sure I wrote about how refreshing it was to see him just days after leaving Utah.) Before that he was still one of the last people I saw in Utah. When I was sitting on that rock in Central Park, I half expected him to come bounding down the pathway and climb up the rock to sit next to me. Part of me really did wonder if  he planned some elaborate joke in which he flew to New York just because and then decided he wanted to see me. The only thing that would've made those cookies better is if Cameron was there eating them with me. I love the fact that I was in places he once visited, places he'd made memories at. Being thousands of miles apart doesn't have to matter.

Another thing I've yet to mention is seeing "Once" the musical. Lion King was spectacular, of course. But "Once"... I think I loved it even more than I loved Lion King. One reason it was so special to me is because the lead male character is played by Arthur Darvill. Arthur also played my all-time favorite companion on Doctor Who, Rory Williams. I've been listening to the Broadway soundtrack ever since the show. We were in the sixth row and though our view was partially obstructed at times, it was still brilliant. Seeing Arthur as someone else besides Rory was great and made me appreciate even more the great actor that he is.

And now that it's Sunday, June 16 . . . I have less than one week left in New York. I fly back to Utah this coming Saturday. I'm mostly excited to go back because that's where my so called "real life" is. I left a lot of people behind when I came to New York. It's honestly been one of the best things I've ever done, living here, but there is something to be said for having a "family" at school. I also get to go home to Wisconsin for a week in July and I'm quite looking forward to that as well. All those people back in Provo mean a great deal to me. If there's one thing I've learned while I'm here, it's how much those friends love and care about me. "Cam's Quest" is just one example of how they've been looking out for me while I've been here. Like on Thursday night I also talked to Ben. After we'd been talking for about 5 or 10 minutes out of nowhere he says, "It's good to hear your voice." I don't think anyone has said that to me before. It definitely made my Thursday night a great deal happier and made me that much more ready to get back to my life.

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