Monday, March 31, 2008

The Artist's Way

Craziest thing. I went in to interview at a private Christian school in Manhattan this morning for a Fall elementary teaching position, and now I'm being considered for the art teacher position. Next Monday I'm scheduled to teach a demonstration art lesson to a third grade classroom. I am very excited about the possibility of this! The position is only part-time, but I would have the flexibility for a second job. The school knows that I have had no formal training in art. The art teacher they currently employ is an artist with no training in education. So this could be a flip-flop in the current situation. I won't explain all the details of how this came about, but it was pretty interesting.

One of the highlights of my move to New York has been The Artist's Way. I’ll try to summarize what this is, though it won’t be a perfect summary. Basically, The Artist’s Way is a book/workbook that is to help artists (i.e. visual artists, writers, actors, musicians, etc...) who are blocked in their creativity, for people who are interested in art but have not explored it, or for people (such as businessmen, whatever...) who would like to be more creative in their lives and businesses. The author comes from the perspective that we are created by God, The Great Creator, and He has made us creative beings. Unfortunately, many people need help to recover their creativity. I am attending an Artist's Way meeting of ten people on Tuesday nights where we discuss the book and the exercises given in the book. The book is not written only for Christians to go through, but because everyone in my meeting are Christians we really get to discuss these things from a biblical perspective and pray together. Three of the people at the meeting (including the group leader) attend my church. I am very excited about this, as well!

Just yesterday I was walking in Manhattan and saw an art store, so I bought some supplies to try some watercolor painting, which I had been thinking about lately. Today I am a candidate to teach art at a private school. Who knows what will happen? I am on Cloud Nine right now about the possibilities (and a little nervous, too). I tend to be skeptical and question if things I see as good things are really blessings from the Lord. Throughout this entire experience of moving to New York, I am starting to see that God really does have good things to give us. Maybe things won't all work out like I want, but God has been good and kind to me. He continues to be. I hope I am learning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Straphanger Sprint (or Why Must The G Train Torment Us?)

strap·hang·er /ˈstræpˌhæŋər/ [strap-hang-er]
1. a passenger who stands in a crowded bus or subway train and holds onto a strap or other support suspended from above.
2. any user of such public transportation.

When you live in New York, one of your identifiers is which train you take in your commute from home to wherever you normally go.

"What train do you take?"
"I take the G (*gasp*) to the A or the L."

The G train does not have a good reputation with most people. Some of the reasons I've heard for it's bad reputation include:
-Trains don't run often enough.
-It's the only line that doesn't go through Manhattan.
-Sometimes it turns from a local to an express. (I experienced this once and just watched helplessly as we went speeding past three stations, including mine.)

I just saw on the MTA website that the G was given a D+ grade on its report card by commuters who responded.

Despite all of this, I don't hate the G Train. It's my subway line...
...Though I must confess that I have muttered a few choice words for the train under my breath on occasion (which, in all fairness, could happen with any train).

A couple of days ago I rode on the A Train from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I have to transfer to the G at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station. One of the things you don't want to do is just miss your train (see previous mention of the G's frequency). So, I stepped out of the A and the G was pulling in across the platform. The problem is that the G is shorter than other trains, and I was at the wrong end of the platform. So the G train went past me, then kept going, and didn't stop until it was quite a ways down the platform....
....And then I was able to experience another one of New York's great moments. There was nothing to do except make a run for it. It was quite a sight. I joined a whole group of fellow commuters running down the platform towards the G, hoping to make it before the doors closed, ducking in and out of those who were waiting for a different train, careening around trash cans....and we made it. It was great. I felt a real comradery with the other sprinters. And even though we were all from different backgrounds and life experiences, desperation to make the train was something we could all share. It was beautiful.

New York is like that.


Well, I finally got to unpack my bags last week and I don't have to stuff my bedding into a bag every morning. I say with great relief and gladness, "THE BEDBUG EXTERMINATION IS COMPLETE!!" And I pray that they are gone for good. I've read some horror stories about people having recurrences. So, I really do pray they are gone for good. Really. Listen to me whine....and I wasn't even here when they were alive and well...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Union Square

I really enjoy the walk from The West Village along 14th Street to Union Square. I've walked it a few times after church or work, then I catch the subway at that station. It's a nice park in the middle of the city where you can grab a bite to eat and just sit for awhile. This is also where I attended the rally to fight Human Trafficking.

Today as I approached the Square I heard loud chanting over a microphone. As I got nearer I saw a fairly large crowd gathered, holding U.S. and Tibetan flags. The crowd was demonstrating against the Beijing Olympics and calling for a Free Tibet. I got a gyro from a vendor there and listened to some of the rally.

Walking to Union Square and sometimes finding what new issue is being rallied for/against is one of my favorite things to do in New York so far. For one thing, it's interesting to see groups of people gathered to make a statement. I haven't seen a lot of that in my experiences, I guess. Also, it's interesting to see people who care so passionately about an issue that they would organize a gathering to let a lot of people know about it. It makes me wonder what I care about that strongly. I realize just attending a rally doesn't make one a great fighter for peace or justice. But it certainly shows that one is taking a stand for something they find to be important.

The lower picture shows the equestrian George Washington statue that stands in the square. In the background you can see the top of the Empire State Building.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My New Home

Here's a picture of my new home in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My First NYC Rally

Monday was an interesting day for me. First, I was able to transfer to a corner Starbucks cafe in Greenwich Village (an area of New York I love). The manager was friendly and I am hoping for a good experience there.

Second, I attended a very interesting rally in Union Square that was meant to raise awareness of Human Trafficking in hopes of putting an end to it. I was on the subway in Brooklyn and I saw a young man walking through the car handing out literature, so I started reading the paper, hoping to deter him from approaching me. He was not detered and got my attention anyway. The postcard he handed me told about the rally and since I was going to be in the area that day, I decided to check it out. I had never been to Union Square. As it turns out, I was very glad I went. The rally was put on by YWAM (Youth With A Mission), but they gave information on a lot of organizations working with this issue. I will add another entry here soon about Human Trafficking, with more information about it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Did you know that bedbugs are still a problem in the world? I had never thought about it much, but now I think about it a lot! The little vampires invaded our apartment recently and the exterminator had to come out the day I got here to spray for them. And now we get to keep everything in plastic bags for ten days. So much for settling into my new place! I just pray that this will get rid of them! You can pray for that, too, if you'd like! I'd be grateful.

I knew virtually nothing about these nasty creatures before now. If you want to learn more, here's an article from The New York Times you can check out about the current epidemic.... ...or another info sheet on

These things are all over the place. You don't have to live in a dirty apartment to get them...ask residents of the Upper East Side. I itch everytime I think about them (bedbugs that is, not Upper East Siders). And when I think about the phrase, "cute as a bug in a rug", I only think of this: