In the summers, I usually visit my family in New Jersey. I grew up living in a city only minutes from New York. Now that I’m older, I have taken advantage of being so close to the great city and have turned part of my trips back home into learning experiences. For the past three years, I’ve attended art and writing conferences during my time on the east coast. Such experiences have been amazing! The art conference I attended entailed exploring four major New York museums for an entire week- MOMA, the Met, Guggenheim, and the Whitney. Then, I expanded my learning experiences by attending writing institutes at Teachers College. These experiences have been incredibly rewarding-ever since I’ve graduated from college I’ve set out to be the kind of teacher who is a lifelong learner. Attending the workshops/conferences over the summer have taught me how to enhance my teaching but have also helped me grow personally as an art lover and writer. I’ve seen artwork created by the greats- Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Monet, Warhol, the list goes on and on. I’ve had a chance to think in new ways about the work and discuss it with fellow teachers/art lovers. I’ve learned more about writing with other teachers and heard great authors speak about their craft. I’ve actually had the pleasure to speak to these authors and thanked them for inspiring me. These experiences have been extraordinary gifts in my life.
Of course, spending more time in NYC has helped me develop a greater appreciation for the city itself. Every time I go back, I discover something new, beautiful or exciting. I always make sure to carry my camera with me; I just know I’ll find something that amazes me on my way to my workshop sessions. I also look for fun things to do before heading back home. Last year when I was standing outside a classroom, waiting for a session to begin, I rummaged through some tourist brochures and discount stubs for Broadway shows and other happenings around the City. I came across a Harry Potter Exhibit that was on display at the Discovery Times Square museum. Being a Harry Potter fan, I was completely ecstatic that I had discovered such an event was taking place. I made a plan to stop and visit the exhibition as soon as my afternoon sessions ended. I need not go into the details of everything I saw in the exhibition, but it was so thrilling being able to see upclose many of the props and costumes I had seen countless times in the films. I caught the train and returned to my hometown in Jersey that evening so content about my little discovery, so grateful to have a chance to come back in the summer, learn new things and enjoy these adventures. I hope I can return this summer to gain more knowledge and discover more. I’m already starting a list… Number one is to visit the Ground Zero Memorial.