There is a handful of outdoor cats that roam about the Pratt campus, taking refuge in the boiler room when it’s raining or snowing or just plain cold; they make this whole college experience much less frightening, because what’s more home-like than having a cat curled up on your lap, purring while dreaming blissfully away? Maybe a giant St. Bernard named Sophie reigns slightly above the purring cat, but that’s just me.
Some of the sculptures on campus take a little looking at, a little study time. The Pratt sculpture garden (which I refer to as the courtyard) is located on the main lawn of the campus, and there are sculptures pretty much everywhere. There is one sculpture that I particularly appreciate and it’s called Welcome. Displayed is a row of four sculpted men of hard granite or concrete or clay, all on their knees, naked with their hands bound behind their backs. Over time, weather and erosion have broken and shattered some of their hands, molded their heads to the point of disproportion, and depressed their already weary faces. This art piece stands to represent the segregation of the world, the lack of humanity or the understanding of what true humanity is, that all men are created equal under God, that segregation is a lie. When I stand and look at it, study it as I do most things, I am aware of how simple the display itself actually is. But it’s the meaning behind the simplicity that makes it living art.
My schedule today included going to the Empire State Building. However, that all changed when I met Charlene. When I visited IBC my first day in New York City, I was informed that there was another Christian who was attending Pratt in the fall; this was Charlene. Today we met for the first time and I cannot express to you how excited I was to be talking to another Christian on the Pratt campus grounds.
Anyway, after talking for a moment or so, the two of us basically decided to ditch our plans for the afternoon and just go get lost in New York City. We went on the subway (this time I purchased a metro card and put money on that so I wouldn’t have to relive the whole debit card incident) and ended up in downtown Soho. Never before have I seen so many people in so many places all at once. Everywhere I turned my senses were absolutely inundated by huge names like Gucci, Prada, Chanel, etc. We went into an Armani store, just for the fun of it, and found a cotton dress that was $138.00 (at Wal Mart, this dress would’ve gone for about twenty or thirty bucks). Just plain ol’ T-shirts were over thirty dollars. Even familiar places like Forever 21 were glamorized by the sparkly character of the city. Vendors called out on street corners; people hailed cabs and scolded children; fashion emanated from the cracks in the sidewalk and the seams of apartment windows.
We entered a store called Sephora, a store that sells solely a very expensive line of makeup and other toiletries. When we walked through the doors, my eyes immediately scanned absolutely everything; rouge, facial spray, facial cream, eye shadow, lip liner, gloss, hand cream (not lotion, hand cream), lip stick, hairspray, nail polish, shampoo, and oodles of perfume.
We tried on perfumes, looked at nail polish, and smelled everything. I found these bottles which looked to be fine lotion and after smelling them thoroughly I put some on my hands.
“Hunter, that’s shower gel.” Charlene laughed. I was absolutely embarrassed. Wiping off my hands, I went to try out another lotion.
“Hunter, that’s still shower gel.” I just couldn’t win. I was totally out of my element.
Charlene purchased some nail polish and then we left the land of Sephora. She then told me she wanted to take me somewhere to get my hands washed.
Honestly, all I could think was “but then my hands won’t smell as fabulous as they do now.” Boy was I wrong.
We entered next into an organic store called Sabon, where salts were taken from the Dead Sea and used to exfoliate the skin and cleanse the body. The employees there took us through a hand washing ritual that involved all sorts of salts, soap powders, oils, and even crushed almonds. My hands came out glowing and feeling as clean and as soft as a baby’s bottom. The rest of the afternoon I kept my hands up to my face, smelling them and rubbing them on my cheeks.
On the way to our next destination, we stopped at many jewelry vendors to examine their products. At one vendor, I found a leather bracelet woven around a golden cross, conveniently adjustable by a pulling mechanism. I snatched it up immediately and paid the vendor the eight dollars that it cost. He was kind and even gave me a bag for my tiny purchase, my tiny contribution to his success.
Our final stop was a rice pudding shop (I didn’t even know they existed) where I was introduced to the glorious taste of rice pudding. Rice to Riches has as many flavors of rice pudding as Dunkin Donuts has of donuts. It was ridiculous. You could even put toppings on your rice pudding. Charlene was generous and treated me to a combination of cheescake and rocky road rice pudding with Black Magic (brownie crumble) sprinkled on top. They presented you the pudding in a disposable Tupperware along with an abstract spoon to eat with which to eat the pudding.
On our way back to campus, Charlene once again blessed me and gave me a bottle of nail polish (bought at Sephora), a bottle of shower oil (bought at Sabon) and my rice pudding (bought at Rice to Riches). When I came into my dorm room, I realized how much God had blessed me; He’s been doing that a lot lately, showing me just how good I’ve got it.
To end today’s entry, I will tell you of my first venture to do laundry. After seeing that all of the washers on the first floor were out of order, I did my laundry on the second floor and worked out while my laundry was being washed and took a shower while it was being dried. Thinking that my load still had a ton of time left, I took my Bible and my journal to the laundry room so I could go ahead and start reading the next chapter of Exodus (for some reason, God has laid in on my heart to study this book of the Bible specifically; I’m growing in knowledge and in my relationship with Him through it). Another girl came in while I was there; suddenly she made a shocked sort of noise and pointed at the ground, making me look up from my reading; a cockroach, about the size of my thumb, was crawling quickly towards me.
Throwing my books aside, I balled up my hand into a fist and smashed the living daylights out of the large bug. Then, for good measure, I stood up frantically like the squeamish girl that I am and stomped on it until its guts were forever imprinted onto the laundry room floor.
I guess I’m officially a real New Yorker now that I’ve killed a cockroach.
Classes start on Monday…I can honestly say that I am insanely nervous that I’m going to break under the intensity of foundation year…but at the same time, I know that God is powerful, even though I may not always believe it.
I sometimes wonder how any part of my life could possibly ever help anyone. After all, I always feel like such a goofball, a nerd, an absolute nutcase. But God uses all sorts of characteristics; Moses had a speech impediment; Paul killed Christians; Samson had a woman problem; and David was a murderer. If God can use characteristics, problems, issues like these, then who am I to say He can’t use my spaziness, my exaggerations, my overemotional-ness, my fears? I need to stop putting God in a box; it’s about time I realized that He’s too big to fit in one.