Oberlin Blogs

Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world

August 12, 2010

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

Last weekend, I went to New York City to visit some of my Oberlin friends. For those of you who aren't well versed with the geography of New York State, let me fill you in on some key facts. Rochester is right on Lake Ontario, just south of Canada. Rochester is about six hours away from Oberlin, though you can usually do it in five and a half. Rochester is six hours away from New York City. A long six. Thus, this was the first time that I had ever been to New York City.

It was quite the experience. I took a bus that left Friday night and, bright and early Saturday morning, I found myself in the middle of New York City's Chinatown. I was also not at the address that the bus company had said I'd be dropped off. That was all right, though, because as I walked down the street trying not to look like I was lost while simultaneously trying to look like I spoke Chinese, I saw a statue of Kuan Yin across the street.

A view of the second floor building on a street in Chinatown
Kuan Yin and I go way back.

Sure enough, soon after I met up with my escort, and we began a weekend full mainly of me gawking at everything. The city of Rochester does, indeed, exist. Five days every week, I take a bus downtown, walk several blocks to work, or to ballet class, or to the Board of Elections to get an absentee ballot application form. I'm used to downtown Rochester, and I find its sketchiness lovable. I also assumed that all cities had a certain level of sketchiness. This was not the case with New York City. Yes, I know there are sketchy parts of New York City, as there would be in any city, but the sheer amount of nonsketchiness was enough to throw me into full-on middle-class-girl-from-the-suburbs mode.

The main event Saturday was a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I spent most of the time flashing back to From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, but can you really blame me? I spent most of the weekend flashing back to various other books, including but not limited to the Young Wizards series and the Princess Diaries series.

Poster for Picasso at the Met
We did not play the find-the-Oberlin-art scavenger hunt game, because we were too busy haphazardly trying to see as many exhibits as possible. My justification was that I've seen the art in Oberlin itself before.

Another main excitement was the food. I consulted one of my Rochester friends before leaving (she used to live in New York City), and the only thing she talked about was food.

Chicken inside of lettuce
French toast topped with bacon
Some food highlights.

We also spent a lot of time just walking around. (See my previous statement about gawking.) On Sunday, we spent the day in Chinatown, so that I was right on location when I needed to catch my bus. That was a lot of fun, because it included more good food, more gawking, and lots and lots of people. (See my previous statements about the difference between Rochester and New York City.)

A cat with a rhino mask on
The true highlight of the weekend, found in a jewelry shop window.

So, all in all, a good time. Now I have a few more weeks of shows at the museum, and then it's back to Oberlin for the start of another semester. I'm considering starting to think about what classes I'll take. Maybe. Or maybe I'll take a few more weeks and then start thinking about that.

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