Narrative

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1942 was the year that Rose and Angela became best friends.

The two women had more than they thought in common. After having both come from the Ukraine to start a new life in New York City the two became neighbors in their building on the Lower East Side. The two ladies were born in the winter of 1870, they both met their husbands in school and got married at the age of 20, and they each had one daughter and two grandchildren.

They were neighbors for 42 years and had only ever smiled at each other in the hall and exchanged hello’s and small talk about the weather. But all that changed in the spring of 1941 when their daughters began working again.

Naturally, Angela and Rose had offered to look after their grandchildren while their daughters headed to work in the clothing factory they had just started in. Now with two little young kids running around the small apartment, the only peace and quiet the two ladies could find without leaving the place was at their fire escapes which served as a combination of a window sill and a balcony in New York City.

At first, they two had laughed off the coincidence of encountering each other at the red staircases on the exterior of their apartment, but then the visits became more frequent and the topics of conversation got more personal.

So each afternoon, at exactly two, Rose and Angela had their favorite interactions of the day with one another as they spoke about their life back in the Ukraine, their husbands, the daughters, their grandchildren, and their interests.

All the stress the ladies carried was relieved with the advice they gave each other and the laughs they shared.

 

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Academic Service Learning

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Queens Library on Merrick Blvd in Jamaica

For my Academic Service Learning I took a stroll down to the Queens Library on Merrick Blvd in Jamaica, Queens.

I had never been to that library before, but according to some other fellow SJU students that I met, the place got an unbelievable makeover. The entrance to the library is beautiful and the whole first floor is a rotunda. The children’s part of the library is off to the right with a first floor and a second floor, that is seemingly reserved for all the loud activities like the homework helping I was taking part in.

Clearly homework help doesn’t sound like it’s meant to be a loud task, but with at least five kids at each table it is. I had imagined I was going to be helping these kids out one on one, but I was stuck with a minimum of five at the table and I was to help them all simultaneously with all different types of subjects.

The first time I went was exhausting and I ended up staying an hour later than intended just to help two little sisters out with their math. I enjoyed getting to influence the little kids in making sure that they understood that their education comes first and to stay on top of all their school work. I was a lot of help with the Hispanic kids when their mom’s came around and I got to actually speak to them and they were relieved and pleased to have things explained to them.

The second time I went, I had help from a fellow SJU student at the table I was sat at. I had some of the same kids come back to me cause they really liked how I had helped them the time before. There was one kid cheering when we got his homework done in twenty minutes. He was going on to his other friends who had just arrived that he got his homework all done so early and now he had time to go buy a guitar at a music shop with his mom.

The experience was beyond memorable because although I only got to see these kids twice and help them with what they seem to struggle the most with, I thought back on how my mom would always sit me down and make sure I did all my homework as soon as I got through the door when I arrived home. The first thing I’d do was my homework, all by myself, and I never needed help but this experience made me realize that not all people are the same. I learned how to be patient, what with six kids on top of me asking me English and Math questions, and how to communicate things better to them and even their parents.

I like to think that I helped these kids out in some way, mostly by passing on the ideals of education coming before anything else. I even tried to explain to a kid how reading is the most fun thing anyone could do, as a bibliophile I was not exaggerating. It was a wonderful experience and I’d like to go back on my free time someday. It’s not everyday that you get to sit at a table and teach an eight year old something while they teach you something back.

The Arrival

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Via Pinterest

Shaun Tan’s beautiful graphic novel about the story of an immigrant and his journeys through his brand new world and life hit pretty close to home for most Americans. Being a country formed by immigrants makes this book all the more relatable when thinking of one’s own journey, or their parent’s, or their grandparent’s.

The audience experiences the journey of a man leaving his family behind in their home country to come to a better one before sending after them. He escapes the “creature” in his home and makes it to the dream world safely. After exploring and getting aided by other immigrants, the man manages to send after his wife and daughter. Before doing so, we see the man journey on a ship to the dream world, arriving and looking for a room, finding a very small one and making it as homey as possible with a photograph of his family, finding a pet that he goes almost everywhere with, looking for jobs, visiting the market and making friends, and finally the arrival of his family.

The Arrival captures the true immigrant experience in many ways. From the long journey to a new land, to leaving a family behind in hopes of a better future for them all. I found myself thinking of my parents arriving in this strange new land seeking better opportunities for themselves and the future family they were to have. The “creature” aspect of the comic was great and it made me think of communist leaders or any type of rebel group or terrorist groups in other countries and how they are part of someones decision to escape their reality and come to the “dream world” that Tan re-imagined in his book. Immigrants helping one another out was another really great and true point that the author drew about and it made me think of one of my favorite movies, Paraiso Travel (2008), in which the main character gets lost and a woman begins to help him; the woman’s husband begins to scold her for helping out a “miscreant” and she says if they don’t help each other who will?

Being out of place was also a huge part of the book and it made me think back to my Sports Management class. I love the class and all but the majority of the time it’s just the teacher talking about football or baseball and all the guys in the class getting riled up over something that I know absolutely nothing about. It makes me feel a bit inadequate about my knowledge in my own major, but then I think about how the majority of them would be absolutely lost in a class that just spoke about soccer (which would be my ideal class) and I just try to go along with it all.

The Arrival was overall very insightful in what it would be like to be an immigrant and putting in work to bring your family over, and it gave me an image of what my family members did when they arrived to this country. It was truly a beautiful story told through amazing illustrations and it had no need for words to accompany the drawings.

Hometown Hero

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After school on Wednesday (and after some thorough investigating throughout the day), I headed over to Sunnyside the day after the cast and crew of Spider-Man: Homecoming arrived. They had just filmed in Astoria the day before and the day after they headed over to the studios in Long Island City to film some explosions.

So I arrived at the supposed house of Peter Parker where they were filming earlier and I met some kid named Bryan who was just as ready and eager to meet Tom Holland as I was so we quickly did some more investigating in front of the fake Pizza Hut and Cricket that was just built for the movie and we headed over two blocks East.

We arrived just as they were about to start rehearsal for a stunt scene. We crossed the street and waited in the crowd till Tom came out. And when he did finally come out onto the fire escape we were all paying attention to, I yelled. If you haven’t already noticed I love the kid so much.

So we all cheered and waved and he waved back before going back in to change. Bryan and I were dying for attention from our fave so we waved for ten minutes straight, just us two in the crowd of people until he finally waved at us. Yes, Tom Holland waved at me. My life is complete.

After rehearsing a bit, Tom finally went back into the building a second time to suit up and finally start the actual stunt.

Spider-Man is sat at the edge of a fire escape while eating a sandwich or burger or something. He then answers his phone and talks for a bit before dropping his food. He goes after his food, sticks onto the fire escape, and shoots out a web to recover the snack before jumping back onto the edge of the fire escape.

If that doesn’t say Peter Parker, I don’t know what does.

I would’ve posted videos, but I got pretty vulgar and I was yelling the whole time in them so I decided against it.

I stayed for the whole rehearsal until they stopped at 7 for “lunch.” They finally filmed after they ate but I was long gone by then.

My friend Byran got to stay the whole night since he lived two blocks from where they were shooting and he got a handshake from Tom when they wrapped up!

I had one of the best days ever and I just wanted to share my adventure with Spider-Man before the movie comes out next summer.

P.S. I also saw Harry, Tom’s best friend, and it was amazing! He filmed the whole crowd at the end of rehearsals to show Tom and Tom later said on Instagram that he had the most rewarding day thanks to us!

 

About Me

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Hello all! My name is Marcela, I was born and raised in Queens, New York. My parents are Colombian so I am fluent in both English and Spanish (and I’m currently learning Brazilian Portuguese). I’m majoring in Sport Management and hope to work for a team or arena one day. My favorite things to do include reading and writing, watching movies, listening to all types of music, hanging out with friends and family, and watching football (soccer). Some fun facts about me are that my favorite season is fall, I like the color green, I’m a dog person, my favorite movies include The Big Lebowski and Shaun of the Dead, my favorite book is God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, my favorite bands include the Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters, a couple of my personal heroes of mine include Pelé, Dave Grohl, and Tina Fey, and a quote I live by is “Be so good they can’t ignore you,” – Steve Martin. I decided to take this comics class to better my understanding of the comic books themselves, rather than just the movie universes which I love! My favorite superhero is Spider-Man since he’s literally a hometown hero and my favorite graphic novel that I’ve read so far is The Complete Persepolis. I hope to learn a lot more about this home of mine through a different viewpoint and I can’t wait to do so!