New Yorkers Are Awesome

New Yorkers Are Awesome

A Latino's First Experience In New York
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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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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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When Words Are Not Enough

Sometimes you just need to be.

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Life is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. We all desire easy fruitful lives where no one ever dies and no one ever leaves. Instead, we suffer through hardships and great trials that test our faith. These conflicts often leave us worn down and feeling helpless. This is the time when words become a languid breeze, going through one ear and out the other. This is what you should do when words are not enough to satiate the pain you hold in trembling hands.

Focus all your energy into just being. No one expects you to get over the tragedy that occurred in your life, so don't force yourself. Just eat, breathe, and sleep until you feel up to doing normal tasks. Whatever circumstance that has stolen your breath and turned your life upside down won't go a week in a couple of days or a week. Wounds like yours don't go away instantly; instead, they take time and nurturing. Sometimes it's best to keep a sore covered but in some circumstances, know that seeing someone is okay.

These tragedies you face are real, and they try to break down the very substances that make you who you are. Counselors and therapists can help you make sense of the burden you carry. There are many reasons why you might be hesitant to see a therapist, but if the burden you carry becomes too much, a therapist can help you lighten that load.

Know that what you are going through is real and it is tough, but you will make it out on top. You are a survivor and a success story. Every single bad thing that has tried to tear you down hasn't succeeded, and this will be no different. Trust me, your story is not over.

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