Broadway

Throughout my trip in NY, I tried to knock out as many bucket list items as I could, which included viewing a show on Broadway. It was a difficult task to select a show with all the available options, but I trusted that whatever show I saw would be worthwhile given that it was, well, Broadway! I would’ve loved to catch a classic, such as the Lion King, but alas, I a running on a student budget. I hope to return someday to catch it!

After much consideration and help from friends in finding discount tickets, I decided on A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Walter Kerr theater. It was a great, whimsical show. I particularly enjoyed how creatively the cast made use of the rather small stage.

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Following the show, I wandered through Times Square trying to find a ride to my friend’s apartment. I stumbled upon a frozen yogurt place, from which I could not resist getting New York cheesecake-flavored fro-yo!

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Feeling at Home

For the final part of my trip to NYC, I had the opportunity to enjoy the city on my own. I love having the chance to explore a new place at my own pace, absorbing the sights and sounds and pausing to snap a photo when I stumble across something of interest. The best part of wandering through the city solo was realizing how much of a city girl I am, as I felt very much at home amidst the diverse crowds and skyscrapers.

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A walk through NYC

People-watching, eating, and walking – my favorite things to do when out in a new place. I got to part-take in all three activities on my first day visiting a friend in NYC.

We grabbed a delicious brunch at Barbounia in Manhattan.

Spinach omelet

Spinach omelet

Watched a game of street-polo and families with young children in local parks.

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Grabbed snacks in Chinatown.

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Almond milk bubble tea and red bean bun. Yum!

Saw some great architecture.

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Traversed the Brooklyn Bridge, where I swear we passed Sandra Bullock and I ran into an old acquaintance who had moved into the city in the past year.

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And grabbed a Mexican dinner in Brooklyn.

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Empanadas and a grilled avocado

Had we not been worn out by all the walking and if there had been better weather, we would have wandered deeper into Brooklyn to watch the sunset at Prospect Park. Even without that final adventure, we had quite an ambitious day of touring the city. On to more adventures tomorrow!

Generous T driver

20150201_103810I have been fortunate in having some favorable experiences on the infamous MBTA Green line in Boston.

When I was on the T this weekend, a girl in front of me handed the trolley driver three dollars cash, which was over the amount she’d have to pay for the ride, but she didn’t have any change. When I stepped up to the pay machine, I started loading money on my card first to pay for the ride. Before I had a chance to accept the new amount on my card, the T driver went ahead and added the three dollars he held in his hand. I was surprised for him doing that, and he responded by reminding me to just say thanks.  A little extra cash for a T ride is always appreciated!

Day 8: “The Most Interesting Woman in the World”

(The title was chosen by my co-volunteers who experienced the same mind-blowing talk with me)

While we were completing a group reflection in the cozy common room of one of the cottages that we were staying in, the front doors opened suddenly to let in a small Chinese woman. After greeting us, she blurted out “Who’s Catholic here?” We had heard before that she was in search of the Catholics in the ASB crew, but we didn’t make an attempt to track her down in the residence. She beckoned those of us who had raised our hands, and we followed her to her private apartment. Not knowing what to expect, the woman directed us to photos on her wall as we cautiously entered her front room. Our confusion instantly turned into admiration as we noticed the woman standing with Mother Theresa in one photo, and the remainder of her photos capturing moments with Bl. John Paul II, including celebrating Mass with him, posing next to him, and reaching out to him from the crowd at St. Peter’s Square.

Before we had a chance to fully process what we just saw, the woman invited us to sit, and we spent the next half hour or so in pure awe of the woman’s stories. She proceeded to share with us her journey within the Catholic Church. She had come from a Buddhist background, and converted when she was about 31. While serving the Church in China, she had been placed under house arrest and was suspected to be a spy for the Holy See. She shared with us the details and photos of her 13 month pilgrimage that involved traveling to Guadalupe (she had a great devotion to the patroness of the America’s), Greece, Rome, and Jerusalem. She climbed Mt. Sinai, traversed the desert in which Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights, walked through Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and visited the chapels/cathedrals built over Jesus’ birthplace and other main points during His life. In her journey she also met religious in China who had been persecuted for their faith and the Archbishop of Jerusalem. She also did a lot of work with the Little Srs. in China and here in Baltimore. When asked what she did for a living that allowed her to travel so much, she told us she was essentially a “professional volunteer.” What perfectly topped this amazing witness was when she casually mentioned that she’s good friends with Cardinal Sean O’Malley. Those of us Catholic girls who are familiar and involved within the Boston Archdiocese just lost it.

The woman concluded her witness by sharing with us the prayer card pictured above. She asked us to pray for conversion in China, so that Catholics may practice in peace in the Communist nation.

This surprise talk by a little Chinese woman was touching and impressive beyond description. Us Catholic girls could barely hold in our excitement as we returned to our room for the night. The bond that holds us together within the Catholic Church is truly beautiful and offers a deep connection that no other community could ever develop. The experience reminded me how much I appreciate this connection and how the love for the Catholic Church traverses cultures and nations.