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Monday, February 18, 2008

I arrived up here in Brooklyn exactly one week ago today, and its all been absolutely incredible.

My team (three of us) and I are living in the basement of a church in a VERY diverse neighborhood in Bay Ridge Brooklyn (no shortage of Halal food to the south and South American to the north!), and I have decided that I love the multicultural feel of the city.

Tuesday was subway day. Basically, we were handed a subway map and 8am, and told to meet for dinner at 5:30 in the East Village. Easy enough? Well, we were also handed a bunch of rules:
  • You must travel to each of the five boroughs in the city
  • You cannot leave a borough the same way you arrived
  • You must utilize a train from EVERY color on the city map.
  • You must take at least one bus
  • Oh, and you must do it all by yourself....
So I essentially spent the entire day wandering from Brooklyn to Manhatten, up on to the Bronx and then Queens, and then alllll the way back down to ride the ferry to Staten Island. As terrifying as it was before I got my bearings and felt confident navigating, I had so much fun!!

The rest of the week was spent learning the route for the prayer tour (so far my favorite part!). The goal is to try to encourage our service groups to see the city through God's eyes and his heart, and NOT through a camera's lens or tourist perspective. I love it. We start in Battery Park before walking through China Town and Little Italy in Manhattan, then hop on the subway up to Times Square. Then we walk through Harlem and part of the Bronx where we hand out lunch money for groups to grab a yummy slice of New York pizza. Then we work our way down to Park Place (encouraging groups to compare the poverty in one part of the city and the wealth surrounding central park) before walking through the World Trade Center and St. Pauls before ending with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Its EXHAUSTING at a little over 6-7 miles of walking, but its an amazing way to see the city in a whole new light. I am still a little rough at navigating my subway stops, but any day now its going to click!

We served at Father's Heart Ministries on Saturday morning. They operate a soup kitchen on Saturday mornings. I served as the door woman (or, bouncer, if you will), and I think it was absolutely incredible that 450 people walked through the door that morning, and I got to welcome, hug, or shake hands with every single one of them. :)

Anyway, this week will be spent getting the housing site ready and continuing to get our navigational bearings, but things are awesome, and I am so thankful that the first stop on my post graduate adventures brought me to such an incredible city. While I've never actually been to New York before, I know that this city will never appear the same now that I've had the opportunity to see it from street level!


Sea said...

Sounds marvelous!! Was that subway/metro thing an exercise so that yall can learn how it all works? ´Cause I needed a lesson like that for the bus system here, haha, even though I´m sure it´s like 8 times less hard-core than the Bronx. SO good that they are pushing seeing the city through the perspective you mentioned. I´m so glad this has been rewarding for you so far!

kayteejay said...

Haha, yeah. It was totally a "go forth and conquer" type deal, but so fun. The subway system is HUGE here, and in my opinion, not as straight forward as DC. It can be a little intimidating, but I think the people watching makes it so worth-while!