Welcome To New York

Welcome To New York

Through all the busy streets, the non-stop traffic, the delicious food, and the upbeat New Yorkers, Manhattan never failed to leave me in awe.

Through all the busy streets, the non-stop traffic, the delicious food, and the upbeat New Yorkers, Manhattan never failed to leave me in awe.

This past month, my stay in NYC was nothing short of amazing and kept me on my feet every single day. Day by day, new surprises awaited and each day I conquered something new.

Here's a little taste of my stay:

Welcome to New York.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Graf

If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.

I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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Survivor's Guilt Of 9/11

What it takes (or does not take) to get a high pair


Pair of Queens, a two, and a five - no guaranteed winner winner, chicken dinner but not complaining. My mom holds a straight, and my dad has three of a kind.

Of course, poker requires strategy, but making logical bets does not begin until past the first round - also known as after the dealer randomly hands you cards. The dealer could be your best friend or worst enemy, but the blessing and curse behind this fact are that there is no bias towards anyone, whether you are the Global Poker Index player of the decade or some weenie hut junior starting from square one.

With that being said, it was completely by chance that my family had the combined luck equivalent to some type of flush, where at least one, if not all of us, had more or less some shot of winning. I would not consider myself devil, nor could I consider myself saint who revives starving kids in Africa and saves animals from fires. Like the other players, I simply played the game but got lucky with the deck.

My mom had just finished her shower and was watching me (almost a year old), and my dad was working at a local middle school in central New Jersey. I have no memory of these times, but anyone looking from the outside can say that I lived an average but blessed life filled with love and security. Similar to others, I had amazing people close to me who were happy and healthy and expecting to continue life just as is.

Those "others" are my teacher, my former teammate, and the large handful of students at my dad's middle school. Like I said before - most of us lived ordinary lives, but the "others" I previously mentioned are much more extraordinary than I am.

My teacher left an everlasting impact on me both in and out of the classroom, my former teammate showed me compassion and empathy if I broke down after a game, and that handful of sixth-eighth grade students were raised by supportive parents who would have supported careers anywhere from the arts to the sciences.

As I type this, I wonder why my widowed teacher's husband had to be crushed in a building and why my teammate's dad had to experience the inevitable smog. I wonder what on earth those, at-the-time obnoxious but lovable, middle schoolers did that made karma slap them with jeopardizing their parent's safety in the Big Apple.

At the beginning of poker, you never know what you are going to get. Conspiracy theories aside, the majority of the public was not expecting what we refer to as 9/11 today.

Like poker, it is difficult to predict the future and how everything will lay out. I mourn over how I could not have shared my luckier cards with everyone else. No one would give up with a, even if not necessarily winning, luckier deck of cards.

But I curse the dealer for giving the best of people a bad hand; those who received a bad hand for 9/11 were more deserving of the jackpot than I did and ever will be. Therefore, I have the obligation to make purpose and meaning out of my miscellaneous luck in honor of those who were stuck with unlucky threes and fives when planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

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