Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cruising Around New York City

The countdown until departure continues, no matter how much all of us wish it will halt. With only a few days left, I am determined to make the most I possibly can out of them.
My day started off with the same normal morning routine as always. I woke up and headed of to morning session. In class we discussed cases that dealt with the rights of an accused individual, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, and the highly controversial extent of the death penalty. I retrospect, the majority of the session was dedicated to serious discussion over opposing sides of the death penalty. Every student participated, which is highly uncommon at my high school, and offered many very interesting perspectives. I have never witnessed so many young minds working effortlessly to promote their stance on the issue and to me, this was really inspirational. I actually found that many of the arguments that were brought up, both pro and con, were views that I agreed with.
After a very highly educational and intense morning session, lunch arrived. I headed, like always, back to my dorm where I awaited for the rest of my  suitemates to return from their classes. No matter how hard or intense my day has been in class, my suitemates always find a clever way of making me laugh. There has yet to be a lunch period in which someone does not make a hilarious comment that sparks a great interactive conversation which usually concludes with all of us barely being able to contain our laughter.
The afternoon session was much more relaxed, compared to the morning session. For the first fifteen minutes of class we took our last quiz for the course. I feel like I did really well on it because I really paid deep attention to the discussions in class and I also used my newly developed analytical skills to go further with the readings. After the quiz, we all were divided into groups and played a "friendly" game of Constitutional Jeopardy. At the end of the day, my team emerged as victors of two of the three rounds, thus granting us two extra points on our quizzes.

After the evening session, I rushed back to my dorm to organize myself in order to over the subway stop to meet the rest of the cohort. Our plan was to meet Ms. L so we could take a sightseeing cruise around the waterfront of New York. I was very excited for this expedition as it would cover numerous landmarks all in one trip. When we finally arrived at the station, we met with Ms. L and took a short and unbelievably "free" bus ride to the piers. We got the tickets and then headed over to get food at a local food shop. I had one of my favorite seaside cuisines, fish and chips, which was  incredibly delicious and really reminded me of Pier 39 back home in San Francisco.

The Statue of Liberty
After dinner, we headed over to board the boat. Once onboard it took almost an hour  before the boat detached from the dock and began making its way to the river. I really enjoyed the trip because of all the landmarks and views we were able to get. We passed very close to the amazing Statue of Liberty, which is one of the few statues in America, that is dedicated to an idea. Then we passed by the newly rebuilt One World Trade Center. I felt a deep sense of pride to see that even after such a catastrophe, America recovered and now resurrected the legendary World Trade Center on a much grander scale. While I had always wished to have had the opportunity to view the original Twin Towers gleaming in the skyline of the city, this was a nice alternative that really made me stir the same emotions I had felt when we visited the 9/11 Memorial. As we passed by I saw myself imaging how lucky all those who were able to have viewed the towers the few hours before the greatest terrorist attack in American history occurred. Further along the trip, we passed by a building that symbolizes the unity and prosperity for the world, the United Nations building. I always have been amazed by how this organization has successfully lead to greater peace in the world and development of a network of nations  that aid one another. Throughout the entire trip, the weather had not treated us nicely, with sporadic showers every now and then, it was difficult to capture the true essence of a sunset in New York. On our way back, however, we were able to see how the city lights up and the beauty of the iconic buildings, such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, light up the night sky.
After we arrived back the harbor, we took a bus and a subway in order to get back to Columbia. When I arrived back I was a bit exhausted so briefly put a few touches on my essay and called it a night.
Today was a blast and a very productive day in the sense of sightseeing. With one trip I was able to see many of the places I had not yet viewed. While the weather may not have been as amazing, the sights were still prominent and the experience was never-the-less outstanding.   

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