Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sweet Freedom

After a week of incessant rain and less than ideal weather, waking up to sunshine and clear blue skies screamed "lets celebrate America!" Celebrate, we did. Decked out in red, white, and blue a group of friends and myself along with several kids from the program headed to Long Beach for a day of sun and salt water.

It was an early morning, we had to be ready to leave by 8:45 but luckily I managed to catch a few minutes of rest lying in the sand. We made it to Penn Station around 9:20, just in time to catch the 10:09 train to Long Beach. The train ride was not too bad, only lasting around thirty minutes. We arrived at the train station eager to sprawl out in the sand. 

The sun was hot and the water was calling, so Emily and I headed to the water. The water was slightly cold, but tolerable and felt good after lying in the sun for so long, and especially since I can handle pretty much any water (besides maybe the arctic) compared to the north Pacific I'm used to. Amidst our trip in the water I took a wrong step- and the consequences were apparent. Something attacked the top of my foot with vengeance, clawing away at my poor unprotected foot. In a frenzy I gave my foot one swift kick and freed it of the malicious crab, but it left me with a mark. So basically I got pinched by a crab today, which I'm happy to say is the low-point of my day because even though I may bear this battle wound for the rest of my life it was actually pretty insignificant.

The beach was really fun and relaxing, and I'm so happy I got to spend at least one day on an East Coast beach, one of my favorite ways to spend a summer day.

Today was also full of coincidence and small-world type incidents. First of all, on the beach, which mind you was the most crowded beach I have ever set foot on and the crowds sprawled on for literally miles, we ran into someone familiar. Of all of the people on the entire beach, situated right behind us was Frank, an admissions officer at U-Penn that we had had lunch with a couple weeks earlier. Emily and I were in doubt at first, but we bucked up the nerve to ask if he remembered us and sure enough he did. Small world!

When we got back to the mainland we decided to find somewhere neat to watch the fireworks. We quickly determined that the roofs around campus were pretty foreboding and off-limits looking (pretty intricate architecture) so we followed a big group of other kids off campus to Riverside Park, which has a beautiful view over the Hudson River.
Don't worry! I'm still on Emily's Struggles Watch. Here we have Emily with a straw too big for her cup
While waiting for the fireworks to begin, we struck up conversation with a couple next to us, who were very interesting. For starters, they were both Cornell graduates, and spoke to us about their school, which was awesome seeing as Cornell was an Ivy League that we did not get to visit. Also, I had a surprising amount in common with them. Barrett, the guy, had friends who studied at UNC Chapel Hill  (my hometown) and were from the East Bay (where I currently live). They had just moved to New York a year back and told us a few places we should definitely check out before we leave, like a great restaurant in Chinatown, and they also gave us the DL on how to get cheap broadway tickets.

The fireworks were beautiful and the day ended on a perfect note. It has definitely been my favorite 4th of July ever - I spent half of it on Long Beach and half of it in the Big Apple, watching fireworks over the Hudson. 

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