New Yorkers Are Awesome

New Yorkers Are Awesome

A Latino's First Experience In New York

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit New York city for the first part with a group of amazing college to students. We had to opportunity to work at a school, tour the Big Apple, and serve people. Here's a link to an article that tells more about that if you are interested.

However, more than what a was able to give and serve during this four-day visit to New York I must say that my interactions with most New Yorkers completely broke any idea I had of the stereotypical grouchy, mad, or rude New Yorker.

Reflecting back on the experience, it was shocking that I, a 20-year-old Latino who has been stereotyped many times before, actually had an unconscious stereotype of what New Yorkers would be like. So here are a few experiences I had with New Yorkers that changed my perspective on many things:

1. Lost and Hungry

A few friends and I got lost somewhere near the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan and the World Trade Center Memorial trying to find a specific restaurant. After not being aloud in the restaurant because of a very specific dress code we were trying to find a Plan B. Picture a Latino and three southern people looking at their phones and street signs trying to find where we were and what to do.

While everyone could just walk by us, laugh, and not think twice about stopping a mother and teenage daughter stopped us and asked, "Are you guys looking for somewhere? Maybe we can help." We explained the situation, had a good laugh, and they recommended a great Mexican food restaurant. We got lost on the way there, but that's another story.

2. Cafe Mofongo

It was about 6:30pm on our third day in NYC; we had been all over the place like real tourist: we went to the MET, Time Square, Grand Central, Central Park, the Public Library, the Staten Island Ferry, etc. and we were both tired and hungry. Being the Latino that I am, I convinced the group to get some Latin American food. After a bit of Google and Yelp we decided to go to a Dominican food place called Cafe Mofongo on 39th Street.

Along the way I kept telling my American friends all about the Dominican and Puertorican food to build up the hype. We find the place, we walk in and unfortunately they were closing. However, these humble and amazing people went out of their way and aloud us to stay a bit to buy and eat the food. As a Latino, I felt at home and my friends were amazed at the care and hospitality these people were showing. We thanked them for everything, payed for the food, and after a great time together with these people we had just met they let us pray over them and their business. One of my best memories of NYC.

3. Evangel

Evangel is a Pre-K through 12th grade non-profit school and Christian church in Long Island where we spent most of our time in NYC. The school consists of over 550 students from all over the world that represent over 73 nationalities. Our time at Evangel was mostly concentrated in serving the school students, staff, and facilities as well as in the church.

I remember sitting down to eat with some of the second-graders during their recess and talking with these kids from Russia, Guatemala, United States, Japan, and Ireland and hearing them talk about their lives in NYC, what they liked about the people and culture, and most importantly their experiences with the people in the church and their communities.

Most of the people there came from pretty harsh backgrounds; each one had a story and a struggle. However, they served each other and those in the community with such love and humbleness that it changed my way of seeing things such as privilege and empathy.

As the title states, "New Yorkers are awesome!" I learned a lot from this trip and the people I met in MYC and I hope that you can learn something from them as well.

Cover Image Credit: LearnVest

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.


Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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