Get Out – The mad late review.

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Before we all die I just want to say…

I saw Get Out the weekend it came out. I posted my review on Facebook and I figured I should put my reaction to this movie on here with a few additional remarks. I think it’s amazing that this movie is doing so well at the box office and while it’s not a perfect movie (very few movies are), it perfectly illustrates a feeling that many people of color have when navigating white spaces.

Light spoilers ahead.

Racism is scary. Bottom line, I learned early in my career I needed to be careful of who I can trust. I remember being at work receptions at Syracuse University where it was me and a few brown folk and we would look relieved to see each other.

Sure it wasn’t a look of… “did they get you yet?” but more of, “you still here?”

There’s a certain familiarity I took from this movie, particularly the way Chris was able to call his friend which allowed him code switch from one reality to another. This allowed him to stay true to himself and it quite possibly saved his life. Which leads me to think about my friends or lack there of. I may need to friend someone who works for TSA. That’s not awkward right? To ask a someone to hang out after they patted you down at the airport? lol

When someone asked me why I felt the need to become a Latino representative at SU,  it was because I didn’t want to lose myself. I didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole (see what I did there?) of not remembering where I came from. As a young person of color working at PWI, there were so many things going on that it was hard to maintain myself worth and my self identity. Sure, I had self esteem issues, but who doesn’t? The point is that my identity became real important really quickly and that is what lead me to connect with so many students.

I often relate these experience to my time in Syracuse because New York City is different. The racism is still there but it gets hidden in the lights. To be honest, most of us are so busy just trying to pay rent that searching out passive racism is not the top of our lists. However, NYPD choking out a black man on the street for selling loose cigarettes will remind us the type of world we live in.

Syracuse snuggly fits right into Central New York and if you ever take a trip there you wouldn’t notice much is out of place. But, travel to near by Cooperstown (as I did last year) by way of the small roads you will see that America Trump is talking to. Yet, Get Out represents the progressive, almost color-blind, liberals who say they want to create change but want to be in the front of that line when change happens. They are the ones ordering $6 coffees and $8 chopped cheese sandwiches.

This isn’t just a movie about how scary passive racism is, this is about losing our identity to American assimilation of black and brown bodies and gentrification of our cultures and spirits.

Trust me I feel more comfortable in the South Bronx than I do in Skaneateles, NY.

So when someone asks if I will ever move back there…

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30 for 30: Books & Autographs

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All of this is hard to explain. To see the table that has a card with my name next to a small stack of books would have been hard for me to fathom a year ago. Yet, to see people drop by that very table to get my signature and a copy of my work is hard to put into words. I’ve barely gotten used to the idea that I wrote a novel but seeing more than one person hold it in their hands is just awesome.

I wont lie. I have intentionally made it difficult for people to get advanced copies of the book. The fact of the matter is that as a self published author, I have to do much of the work from marketing to setting the price to creating actual invoices. I wanted to create a buzz within my circle of friends and family that would expand into other people feeling excitement about this. So I emailed people in phases with explicit instructions to not share the book link with anyone and the only favor I asked was to post a picture of the book on social media.

The results worked better than I ever thought they would. Those who did not receive any emails wondered how to get the book and when they asked me where they can purchase it, I would then send them a link with the same instructions as the previous person. Of course, if you follow me on any of my social media platforms you will know that I promote pretty regularly but not heavily. I don’t want to drown my audience with this novel either, which is why it’s better when other people do it.

2014-09-20 10.20.07Which brings me to my book signing in Syracuse this past Saturday. I ordered thirty books for this, which is the standard from I was told. I was fully prepared to come back to NYC with an extra 10-15 books that I could essentially sell out of the trunk of my car. But before I really knew it, people were buying the books that were on display that the SU Bookstore the day before the signing. But still, it was a game day and despite it being a reunion weekend for Black and Latino Alums (Coming Back Together), I thought I would still have extra books left.

Well, I have always been told that I sell myself short because all my books were sold out and I was shocked. It was definitely a highlight when I told people who asked if the book was still available and I had to break to them. Just like I can say that I’m happy to admit that I’m working on a deal with the SU Bookstore to have more copies available. Although, after while, I do feel generally bad that not everyone was able to get the book when they wanted it.

All of you have been so supportive of me and I cannot express how grateful I am. The book hits Amazon and Ebooks on October 1st. I’m happy this journey has taken me here.

All Coming Together #VamosNaranja

LANSU LogoWhen I thought about writing this, I wasn’t sure what platform I should use. I haven’t mentioned my exploits as the president of LANSU (Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University) as much on here because I try to keep work and volunteer stuff mutually exclusive. But nevertheless, some things tend to bleed over.

Once I came back to New York City, I had my heart set on being a more involved alum of SU that focused on Latin@ students. In my past, as an employee of Syracuse University, I tried my best to support any of the Latin@ students that came across my path. While that sounds like I only helped on portion of the population, I made sure that I supported all students as best I could no matter their pigment or lack there of. The point is that I know the issues and the struggles of the current student. It really isn’t so different from 20 years ago (Geez…has it been that long?).

LANSU-save the date-gold-nosaveI have been doing this for a year now and things are really coming together. I will admit I wasn’t sure how this would work out, but I have been able to find time to give back. The Latin@ Alumni are so important, not just at Syracuse, but to any school really. In many ways we are new to the game since many Latin@ students come from first generation parents. My job has been to try to get older alums in the same room as younger alums to create a connection that will help everyone involved. I think that for the most part it has been working but there is tons of work left to be done.

My main concern is the LANSU scholarship. This is a huge undertaking that will require time patience, and of course money. There are a number of alums that have told me that they did not have a particularly great experience in college. I think this is where many Alumni offices struggle with is being able to gain support while promoting this homogenous experience that portrays fun times and good spirits. I take all of that into account because in the era I was in school we were still doing sit ins at the Chancellor’s Office every time there was an announcement that tuition was going up another 3%

Now we live in a time where the tuition is about 54k and rising and student issues have not changed all the much so being able to help them in way that were not available for me or my fellow alumni is the goal.

In the mean time, I’m enjoying the many workshops we have been providing for alums to help them be successful because we all can’t do it alone. While I know that many of us had negative experiences in school we can transform those to positive experiences out of school.

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Every Word is a Revolution

20131217-120900.jpgEvery word is a revolution. When someone asks me what my take away was from watching Junot Díaz talk with Toni Morrison last week, that last line is the best way to summarize it. There are few times in life when you realize you are in the presence of greatness. I have had this privilege a few times by simply being in the room with great literary minds. Yet, nothing really prepared me for this particular discussion at the New York Library.

I’m not going to go into an expansive breakdown of this discussion because I will not do it justice (which is why I just attached the link below), but rather, it is best for me to be reflective on how this event should reshape the life of writers. What is interesting to me is how unapologetic words from these two authors can be. I feel like I’m someone who says sorry too much so when I read their words and hear them speak, it’s like a tiny revolution. The reality is that I want to write my fiction with no apologies. It should be harsh at times and hard hitting. Yet, there is a serious fear factor in all of this. There is a little person on my shoulder telling me that I am not good enough.

As I sat there and watched these two legends speak, I began to wonder if there were feelings of doubt that snuck into their thought process. I do recognize their humanity but the aura around them glowed with divinity at least in the realm of the written word. Toni Morrison was that author that Professor Mays at Syracuse University championed. I took a class solely on her and it took me way too long to realize how great she really she. Song of Solomon is one of those books everyone needs to read. So seeing and hearing her talk about books I’ve read a long time ago along with her thought process was indeed axis shifting. Yet, that confidence she has makes me believe that whatever fear she may have had was put back into her work. I plan on reading her works again. Now that I’m older I think her words will mean even more to me now then they did then.

The same goes for Junot Díaz. He writes like he talks and it’s truly amazing. He has changed the game for me. I became used to reading narratives where the voice is so very formal and even if the protagonist curses… it’s still formal. But when this man stood up in front of a large audience in Syracuse a few years ago and read one of the dirtiest passages in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I knew this man gave zero fucks about what people thought about him and his work. That is an inner peace that he has with his work and the central place that I want to get to.

That is why every word is a Revolution. This goes far beyond just writing something that I consider to be special. It is more about reaching a point where I have a connection to a audience that is beyond the norm.

The Next Chapter

writingAs I literally write my the next chapter of my novel, I am thinking about the next chapters in my life. My first school year is coming to a close here at Barnard and I have set certain goals for myself that will be set in motion before school starts back up in the fall.

I have the prefect opportunity to start school again and I would like to take full advantage of taking course at Columbia University. The process may be slow since classes are not free and I do work full time but I owe it to myself to get my Master’s Degree. I frequently tell people that I ultimately didn’t want to get my Master ‘s at Syracuse because I was tired of the SU point of view of the world. The other reason is that I would still be there right now if I went all in on that program.

Now that I have an idea of what my work schedule is like, I can plan to take classes accordingly. This will effectively change my life to be able to attend an Ivy League Institution. I had already investigated the possibility of this happening last summer when I was getting ready to be interviewed for my current position so I know what CU has to offer. I think going down this road will allow me to turn the page to the next level of my career.

Speaking of turning the page, I feel the need to say that I have resigned from the Latinegr@’s Project. I know this will come to shock to some because everyone knows how passionate I am about Afro Latinos. I am not going to get into the how’s and the why’s. They are a great group of people that are doing some amazing things. As proof from when I left SU last year, there are times when you just need to move on. I did wish them luck with pushing their agenda and ideas forward into the future. When I think about it, they really don’t need luck, they will be successful with anything they do, I can feel it.

I have also been thinking about the Syracuse University Commencement that just happened last weekend. I truly had mixed emotions about this day. I felt bad that I could not see the students that I’ve been in the trenches with for years. They made it very hard for me to leave and I wanted to show my appreciation. However, this Mother’s Day was the first time I have been with family in a very long time. Graduation weekend has pretty much always fallen on Mother’s Day so I spent 11 years in Syracuse on that weekend.

So it was VERY hard for me to look at all the ceremonious pictures on Instagram and Twitter because there was a part of me that wanted to be a part of that celebration. It reminds me of the discussion and arguments with the knuckleheads. I do miss them. Of course, since most of them live in NYC, I am sure it is only a matter of time until I see them.

I wont even mention that I am turning 39 in less than a month. The big Four-Oh is right around the corner which means all types of cancer tests that I am so not ready for.

The reality of it all is that writing this novel had been a another journey for me. The funny thing about turning the page on an old chapter is that is hard to go back. The story that I am creating draws from so much experience from me as well as the vivid imagination that I was born with. It has opened up some old wounds but also spawned some great ideas for future text. Writing this has been a mixed bag of feelings that has allowed me to think about everything in my life.

One thing is for certain, all this writing has given be a new appreciation for people who do this for a living. I am not even sure what I am going to do about it when I am done, but I suppose I will figure all that out in the next chapter.

The Cultivation of My Brand

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This past week I’ve been realized one thing, I am cultivating a brand. I started doing this years ago without realizing it. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I tried my hardest to be as consistent as possible.

I will admit that I had no idea exactly what I was doing but I figured being recognized under one screen name would be the best possible thing for me. This way when someone was looking for my blog they would always be able to find it. That is why my twitter and tumblr are the same. If you play me in world with friends or any game on the iphone, you will know how to find me: latinegro.

It is also that consistency that has also allowed me to have the same message. While, this particular blog tends to get personal at times. I still, for the most part, try to advocate for the recognition of Afro Latinos and to a much larger extent, Latinos. Then there is my overall feeling on the fight against racism and oppression that I have been so out spoken about. I also believe in education and easy access to it. I think that it is our responsibility to help our youth get a better education.10240G Brand Yourself

With that being said, I realize that I never mentioned how I am the president of the Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University (LANSU). This is something that I’m very proud of but I don’t feel the need to brag about it. Quite simply, there is a lot of work to do to get this organization to where I envision it. Last week, we had our first collaborative event of 2013 that was very coincidentally called: Branding Yourself in the Global Marketplace.

While I also knew about branding myself, It was very interesting to see other people’s opinion on it. It made me reenforce what I had done the week prior to all this, which was using my ability to write to create a theme for LANSU that needs to be solidified. Quite frankly, I have never been comfortable asking for money. Even when I was a telemarketer for brief time in the late 90’s, I had trouble asking for money and that was my job! But, I have a passion for my former students at SU and for fellow alumni. My job is to bridge that gap through networking at the fulfillment of the LANSU Scholarship Fund.

I had spent the first few weeks of January really trying to get LANSU’s name out there through twitter, facebook, and Linkedin. I was in a very long meeting with Syracuse University to get what I need established. This almost lead me to forget the other side of my brand: The Latinegr@s Project. This was something that I figured was unforgivable in my book especially with Black History Month. I wanted to create a ripple in the water in a way that I have never done before.

The last time I wrote for The Huffington Post was in July of 2012. It had been weighing on me that I have access to this awesome medium and I was not taking advantage of it. While I had planned on writing my final SU based article in November, there was something about it that just fell through. It wasn’t strong enough.

People ask me all the time “How did you get to write for the Huffington Post?” Well, the answer is networking. I got lucky that I knew someone that knew someone that works for them. When the call went out for new bloggers, my name was given and I was contacted. This is one of those times when being a mentor to a fabulous person like Victoria Chan pays off. I will always be grateful for her because of this and I will always make sure I am there for her when she needs advice.

I was asked to only write about College and Higher Education topics, which I did and struggled with. I have a personal copy editor (my girlfriend) who tears my articles up, demanding I be more clear and concise. I noticed after the 3rd article I posted that there was way for me to submit a blog through Latino Voices (a branch of the Huff). I kept that in the back of my mind knowing that I will have to post about Afro Latinos one day and hopefully they will accept this.

Fast forward to last Friday. As busy as I was, I was debating on if I should even write something or wait until Monday. Most times, I would write a post and it would take a day for me to edit it and go back and forth with how good it may or may not be. I just decided to write something during my lunch hour. It was something really quick and straight forward that was barely 700 words if that. I fact checked it and sent it to my beautiful girlfriend to destroy (I tend to be vague with a lot of typos). She emailed it back with two edits! I was shocked. Later she would tell me that it was the most straight forward article I have written.

I submitted it to Latino Voices around 3pm. I was thinking that, if they do post this, it wont be until Monday. I was almost mad at myself about that because I had waited so long to write it. At 5m exactly…they posted the article. The rest has been a whirlwind of comments and praise that I was not expecting. I did a radio interview with a show out of Syracuse the very next day. It turns out to be the most read blog post I have written ever.

I was asked what was it like to create a brand for yourself? Simply put: Absolutely Amazing.

Where are the Campus Protests?

hr01I went on a mini rant yesterday on Twitter. Which is not usual for me. Every so often I will have something creep up to the surface of my consciousness that will have me unnerved. This was sparked by the fact that one of my former students is in trouble. As upset as I was about that, it became compounded with previous thoughts coming from a conversation I had with family.

One has to understand that the older members of my family come from a generation of protest. The things that most of us take advantage of in colleges is because they protested to get it when they were in college. I’m not just simply talking about the Civil Rights Movement. There were numerous protests about the war in Vietnam and subsequently protests about college curriculum as it pertained to Black and Latino Studies. Most of my family grew up during the time of The Black Panther Party and the Young Lords.

So the question they proposed to me is, “Why don’t college kids care anymore?” I’m not even sure I have an answer for that. What I do know is that the perception of struggle is different and internalized in a different way. Many of these kids lack the ability to see their own privilege. There is also a distinct disconnect to history and community.

Taking a few steps further, one would have to be more than blind to see the shortcomings of this economy and the short falls of government. The price of education rises steadily every year at a rate higher than inflation. There will a point in time when education is just too expensive. What will happen then? When will the youth fight for their right to be educated on their terms? The availability to education will no longer be a race issue, it will be a class issue — an issue of the haves and the have nots.

Gone are the days of sit ins. I can actually say that I was involved in a sit in during my college days. I believe it was freshman or sophomore year, when there was a group of individuals who lead us to sit in (and thus shutting down) the Tolley Administration Building at Syracuse. During that time, it was the office of Chancellor Shaw and we was not happy to see nothing but students of color sitting right out side his door. What were protesting? The rise of tuition, which at that time was almost 20k.

We saw the writing on the wall then. We knew friends that were not coming back the following semester or year because it was just too expensive. Look at things now. I am still paying off my loans and I don’t owe a fraction of what these kids who graduate now will owe. Yet, what is the outcome of apathy? Debt? When does the amount of a student loan outweigh someone’s life time salary? And yet, some of my students (the males, in particular,) get upset with me because I care too much about their grades. Because (according to them) I do not understand the fraternity life they are living. There is nothing to understand. Graduation is the only outcome especially if you are going to owe that much money.

Looking back at MY 2012

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path” – Morpheus

I always try to take one look back before I proceed into the future. 2012 has finally come to an end and I cannot help but be amazed of how I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I will say that as much as I wanted this to be a good year, I wasn’t so confident that it would end that way.

The first thing I decided to so was to take more risks. The truth of the matter was that at this time last year, I knew I needed to change my life before I went spiraling down in a flame of debt and foreclosure. What I learned from my woman was that taking risks shouldn’t always be that scary. After a afternoon of learning how to ice skate –without falling once, I realized that I needed to invest in myself and take those risks that may turn my life around.
At the same time I realized that this blog was becoming a venue for me to complain and talk about things I would love to do but never follow up on. I was done with that. I need to stop talking and just do. The result ultimately ended up with me having less blogs than I anticipated but, the major goals I set were completed. Yet, as a writer, I did get more exposure than I ever thought I would with being selected as blogger for the Huffington Post. Yes, I feel like I keep saying this but I still find this to be amazing.  I wrote 4 articles and acquired a great deal of fans on that site.

Although, there were some bumps along the way, my second blog for the Huffington Post received some comments that I was not excited about. Looking back at it, it wasn’t that big of a deal but, I did feel a certain way about it. I craft my words carefully (which is why I was called a Word Ninja) so that people can understand where I’m coming from. Usually, there are people who take my words to mean something entirely different (I’m still getting used to that). There was also the time in which the Huff denied a post from me. That was particularly hard to swallow, but I got over it.

I still believe that this was a banner year for racism. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won a second term, I believe we have seen so many signs of racism in the country that it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The death of Travyon Martin really took its toll on me when it happened. I think there is a lot to be said about the gun laws in this country and while I wrote nothing about Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings…I think eyes need to opened when comes to which populations are being effected by certain laws. I think more importantly it is the perception that people have that really shows how “tolerant” we are of other people. This does not mean I have strong words for just white people….my own people can be ridiculous too.

Of course with the things that I say or do, come people who have either a difference of opinion (which is fine) or people who downright cannot deal with me. This year, I have learned to take the good with the bad. Let those fester in there thoughts while I continue to move forward. I can spend a whole blog post on the telling of stories about people and incidents that happen earlier in the year that will be completely hilarious. However, in doing so, that will make them look bad. I am determined to be the better person always. I think I have succeed in that one thing before I left Syracuse.

There were several proud moments for me this year, but nothing did it more than me getting an A in my graduate course in the spring semester. Another reason for the lack of blog posts was the simple fact that I was taking a class. The reason why this was big for me is because I never got an A in any class in my college career. I think I did pretty good on this.

My, departure from Central New York involved risks has I mention above. I was lucky enough to sell my house and get an apartment for a short amount of time. There was also so much risk in just keeping the faith and hoping that my job search would find me something. I’ll be honest, there was one point where I gave up. With my last job application submitted, I told myself that it was either now or never. If I do not get a job in NYC, I would have looked into Grad School in California. I had schools already picked out when Barnard called for the interview.

I will never forget that afternoon when I was told that I was hired. With my return imminent, I thought about all the things I would do when I got back home. But, I had to ultimately say goodbye to good friend. Yes, it was hard to say my goodbyes to colleagues, friends, and students but it was the hardest to say good bye to Rocky. I still love and miss that dog. He has remained in Syracuse with the x-wife. I still think about him everyday. Sad to say that all good things come to an end…SU will always be in my  heart.

However, I did learn that everything is truly connected. In the wake of my decision to move, my mother suffered a heart attack. This required her to have a quintuple by-pass surgery that we all were very nervous about. Of course, Columbia Presbyterian is one of the best places she could have very gone to, there is was always that horrifyingly small chance that something may go wrong. The good thing is she fully recovered which made my return even more glorious.

The rest of the year was filled with apartment hunting while being broke, Obama was re-elected, Sandy damn near destroyed lower Manhattan, my Macbook broke, and I am near obesity.

I think this was a good year. Very successful. Next year will be better. I will share a toast tonight for my friends, family, and to all of you who continue to follow me. Happy New Year! 

Tony FAQ

I wanted to compile a small list of questions that people have been asking me since I moved back to NYC:

The number one question that I have been hearing lately is “how is the new job?” It can often times be more specific like “How is Barnard?” This is a fair question and I feel as if I need to come up with a universal answer since I have often been repeating myself. That is not to say that I do not like answering the question because anyone who switches jobs will tell you that the question of how your new job is will happen well past the first two months from the start date.

Barnard College is great. I cannot be happier right now. The job I have right now is very similar to what I had at Syracuse University with some differences. The campus is smaller but the fact that it is so neatly tucked into Morningside Heights makes it really special. There is hardly any sense of apathy which is a real change from Syracuse. These young women are very attuned to what is happening in the world and it really impresses me. I suppose being at an Ivy League institution will do that. (Which freaks me out — Ivy League??)

Here is another question I get, “How’s the transition?” The funny thing is, I never considered moving to NYC to be a transition. It was very easy to go back to the public transportation mode. My work hours are relatively the same and I am treating my living situation similarly to what I had before I left Central New York. The only things that took a while to get used to was not having Rocky in my life and the constant Parking Wars that go on in the streets of NYC everyday.

There is not a day that goes by in which I see a dog that reminds me of Rocky. There is always someone walking their small dog that bears that resemblance. There is a dog park over by Riverside Drive that is called Rocky Run. I took him there once and I am the mayor of that place on Foursquare. Perhaps it sounds silly, but I think about him every time I check in. Of course, I am over that way because I have to park the car, which is also about 15 blocks from where I reside. These are the parking wars that I am getting used to and can probably dedicate an entire blog post on this subject.

“Where are you living now?” I am still in Washington Heights. It is interesting to not live in the Bronx or in Mount Vernon. The parking wars are serious in this section of Manhattan this for sure. I do feel very comfortable living here, more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I was so used to everything being slower and quieter. When I was in Syracuse, I felt like I was moving faster than everyone else or that perhaps I was just a little bit louder. I feel like I fit right into a busy neighborhood that plays so much Musica Latina.

I think there is a lot to be said with me coming back to a place that has had the culture that I have missed so much. Before you assume that I am making this all about Spanish food and Latin Music, there is a definite culture in being a New Yorker. It is the feel of the city, the thrill of the sports, and oddly enough the subway train rides. It is these things that have made my return easier for me on all fronts.

Finally, “How is your mother doing?” She is doing remarkably well. I often say that you would never know that she had a quintuple bypass surgery. I believe there is a part of her that feels she now has a second chance at life. I have often wondered what it is like to get older and face death, but I think that because she was a nurse in The Bronx, she has seen her fair share of death.

She is walking around more than she did in the past. While she may not be as strong as before she will get to where she needs to be with PT. Her body is not just recovering from the surgery, as I mentioned before that she does have Diabetes. Taking that into account will all the other ailment, like Arthritis, and you get a picture of how she should look and feel. But, she doesn’t look like one of those old ladies. As long as she continues to pay attention to diet and maintain her exercise, I think she will be fine for years to come.

If you have any more questions feel free to send me a message on here or through Facebook!

That Crazy Life!

This NYC life is crazy. Many people ask me if things have changed since the last time I lived here and at the moment, all I can say is no. Perhaps the fact that I have visited the city enough to understand its evolution over the last 11 years. The main thing that has changed has been the names of stores but that is the type of evolution that comes with cities. People come and go in the big city and so do businesses.

Transit seems the same to me. No matter how fancy it gets with it’s metrocards and computerized announcements, mass transit will always remain the same. There will always be someone asking for money in between stops. There will always be some delay that will hold up your trip. However, buses seems to have changed. They are bigger and come a little bit more frequently than I recall. I will admit that even though I am stating this, I am not in the Bronx waiting for the ill timed Bx 39.

Yet this life is crazy because there is now so much to do and not enough time at the moment to do them. If I thought I was busy in Syracuse with work, being at Barnard is only busier due to all the stuff that I am learning and doing. Days are flying by and I just realizing that this is the end of my second week work AND I left SU 3 weeks ago. That is crazy to me.

If there is one thing that I am struggling with, it is this thing that I have deemed “Parking Wars”. Every few days (expect on weekends), I have to move my car because of alternate side of the street rules. For those not familiar, the city cleans the streets on certain days at certain times. If you do not move, then that is a ticket for you. If you park in place you are not supposed to (like in front of a school on school days), then you will be towed.

This is should sound all very simple if not for the fact that I live in a city where parking is like gold. Not to mention that they are multiple ways to lose this war. There are days when alternate side parking rules are suspended. Those days are normally holidays but more frequently is it Jewish holidays that last two days. Most Jewish holidays mean that public schools are off. I emphasize most because if you make that mistake (like I did) thinking that Sukkot (a Jewish Holiday) meant that all schools were closed, then your car WILL be towed (like mine did).

I wont event talk about how people squat parking spaces for others. There is one lady that thinks she is slick by holding her spot for this guy (again, I am NOT getting into it) Despite this crazy life, I am doing well. I will figure out the car situation. For better or worse, it is a reason to get up early in the morning sometimes. It also gives me a reason to drive since I do not do that as much.

The craziest thing so far has been a surprise welcome back party thrown by former students of mine 2 weeks ago. That took me for such a loop. I never saw it coming. It was nice to see these young adults now having to deal with life outside of school. We all left at a decent time because they had to work the next which I cannot help but smile about. It is crazy to know that I have an established network here.

I wont consider myself full settle until November. That is when this NYC life will finally settle in for me.