Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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today's reading

Goree Island, Senegal, 2013
In recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have begun examining more closely what many people have already learned anecdotally: that spending time abroad may have the potential to affect mental change. In general, creativity is related to neuroplasticity, or how the brain is wired. Neural pathways are influenced by environment and habit, meaning they’re also sensitive to change: New sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain and may have the potential to revitalize the mind.
One of many reasons I love to travel, and how it has shaped my personal development at such an integral part of my adult life.   Openness to new ideas and adaptability are even skills I put on my job applications!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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red hook

Since Zack moved here I've been trying to make a better effort to see more of New York.  Not just my neighborhood, or my borough, but the less explored neighborhoods that have plenty of cool spots that I'm missing out on simply because of laziness.

So one day in December we made the trek out to Red Hook.  Mostly famous for two things: 1. Ikea 2. Devastation from Hurricane Sandy.  While the siren call of cheap Scandinavian furniture has indeed made me visit Red Hook previously, this trip focused on wandering around & getting snacks along the way.  Some of the area is abandoned warehouses, making for a slightly creepy vibe... made much more cool with the amazing street murals decorating the walls.  We saw scenes from The Shining, Frida's recognizable peeking eyes, and a tribute to Mr. Hokusai (among others).  The final destination was the pier, which we made in time for a windy and freezing sunset over Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Next time I'm coming for Steve's Key Lime pies along the waterfront... in the summer that is :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

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chinese new year, part 2

more photos from the year of the goat celebrations!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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chinese new year, part 1

I live downtown, in an area that is slowly becoming Chinatown, a fight between the historic and online declared borders of neighborhoods (and the new immigrants: people my age) and the actual shop, restaurant, and citizen inhabitants.  Walk down one street on my block--some amazing dumplings stoops, places to get your hair cut for $5 (where your stylist might not speak English), open air markets that sell some unsightly food like fish and durian.

A lot of people complain about Chinatown's slowly creeping expansion (mostly those who don't like the aforementioned fish smells, particularly in the heat of summer), but I love Chinatown's defiant refusal to acclimate to the universal culture of the rest of Manhattan.  You won't find any Starbucks, or Duane Reades, or Equinox gyms in that area, and that's kind of the beauty of it.  Walking past the durian fruit sellers every morning on my way to the subway makes me a little homesick for Southeast Asia, in a good way.

Anyways, I was excited to check out the Chinese New Year parade this year.  I still haven't made it out to Flushing, but figured I should take advantage of my current apartment location and walk a mere 2 blocks to see the Manhattan parade.  It was one of the first warm days of the winter, warm enough to declare "no coats!" but cold enough to regret that later in the afternoon.  We rounded out the evening with bao, soup, and more Chinese food: a delicious ending to our Year of the Goat festivities!

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