In July I had an interesting encounter with a student currently enrolled at Baruch College, located at Lexington Avenue and 24th Street. I was looking for the nearest Staples store to buy computer paper so I looked around and decided to ask a pretty young lady standing nearby.
“Do you have any idea where the nearest Staples is located,” I said. “Sorry,” she replied, “I’m from China and I’ve only been in New York 15 days.” That got my attention!
The Forbidden City, China
We started to talk and she told me she was a college junior and would be a student at Baruch for the next two years. “My name is Annie,” she said, “and I come from a city in China that’s near Hong Kong.” She told me the name of her hometown and asked if I recognized it. I said, “no” and then went on to remark on her excellent use of English.
“I started learning English when I was in kindergarten,” she replied. “And when I knew that I was coming to New York I practiced a lot.”
She went on to tell me that she lived with three roommates in Queens, but that one had already moved out because she wanted to have a shorter commute to Baruch. “She’s moved to Chinatown which is very noisy and crowded,” she added
Annie told me she was with a group of 50 students. I told her that I thought she was quite brave embarking on this venture. She replied, “Right now, my cousin is going from China to Russia for one semester.” I told her that sounded like even more of a challenge to me.
We spent almost two hours walking around together. Annie said, “I’ve seen a lot of Queens, now I want to explore Manhattan.” She also offered a few impressions of the city. “I keep wondering why they don’t lower the sound of those sirens,” she said. “They’re very loud. She also asked me why New Yorkers speak so fast. “Even when I ask them to repeat something they say it so fast that I can’t understand it,” she noted.
After we parted I realized I should have given her my email address because she had an interesting tale to tell. Then I remembered that she told me she had just finished taking her chemistry class. So the next day, I went back to Baruch to see if I could locate “an Annie who had a morning chemistry class.” No such luck.
I went to the registrar’s office and explained what I wanted but the official word was “We have to protect our student’s rights.” I said that when I was at Columbia my boyfriend (now my husband) came looking for me and he was told where I was right away. “Everything is different now,” a young lady explained.
Who is studying in the United States?
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When we saw Crazy, Rich Asians, the smash romantic comedy of 2018, we all agreed that one of the standout performers in the movie was Awkwafina (Nora Lum) – she was a definite scene-stealer. By the way, where are the sequels? The latest rumor is that filming will start with two movie sequels filmed back-to-back in 2020. Don’t bet the rent money. But never mind, when they do come out I’m sure they’ll knock our socks off.
I have a subscription to Air & Space, which is a bimonthly magazine that was first published in 1986 and comes from the Smithsonian. It’s especially relevant this year because this is the 50th Anniversary (1969-2019) of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Neil Armstrong’s first words – as he stepped down onto the soil of Luna were, “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind,” as the whole world watched.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a morning person. This means that every day I get up, fire up the computer for emails, stagger into the kitchen to make a blistering hot, strong 20 oz. mug of coffee and finally, click on New York’s Channel One to check on the weather and/or news while sinking into the sofa and trying to wake up. Ergo: I hate mornings or as Moss Hart once famously said, “Nothing happens before noon, that doesn’t happen after.”
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