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Hello there! This is Rachel again in NYC!

We had such an amazing day today and did so many different things! It’s hard to believe what we all packed in today. This morning we met bright and early (I’m sensing a trend here…) and we adventured out to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t think we have mentioned it before… but it is COLD. We all packed thinking more optimistially, but as we have seen updates from home, optimism for spring doesn’t always bring warm weather. This morning only solidified this fact as it was quite windy and cold on the bridge. Despite the frozen fingers and wind burnt faces, it was absolutely beautiful.

After stopping to refuel and rewarm at a coffee shop, we stopped by the world’s largest Macys. It was absolutely insane! There were NINE floors. The first floor was literally only makeup and perfume. I can’t even imagine how many employees they must have. We are also lucky enough to be there during their Bloom event, so there were flowers everywhere.

From there we headed to GMHC for our first day of volunteering. This day served more as a orientation to the background of this organization and then a lot of information about the different facets of the organization, such as client services, legal services, and other things. Every speaker was so passionate about their part and it was a really great introduction. We also got a big overview of HIV/AIDS for those not as familiar with the topic. There is also a university from Missouri during this week and we will be doing a lot of things with them at GMHC as well.

From there we went to China town and Little Italy to do some shopping before dinner. The group I was with found a lot of little trinkets, but my favorite part was stopping in a grocery store and picking up some unique candies for my loved ones at home! After that we had dinner at Lombardi’s, which had the most amazing pizzas with fresh mozzarella. We had a great reflection during dinner and we all feel really good about the work that we will be doing this week.

After dinner we split into two groups in search of gelato. The group I was with found a great shop called Mo where they were very patient in letting us try a few flavors before we decided. Afterwards we caught the subway, and after a missed stop, and then a wrong train, then the right train back…. we finally got home!

Tomorrow some of the group is heading to Carlos Bakery in Jersey, and some will be walking in Central Park. We have a long day of volunteering at GMHC tomorrow!