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Flatiron School and my Brooklyn Life

It’s been three months since I last posted and a lot has happened. Most of the blogging I did in the past few months can be found on my technical blog but it’s all programming related so I decided to keep it on a separate site.

The Good News

First the good news. I finished the Flatiron School. It was intense and awesome and I made some great friends while I was there. We celebrated holidays, went out for drinks, had a Halloween party. During the last week we did a sort of campus draft where potential employers came in and met with us to discuss our projects. I got a few interested leads from it that I plan to follow up with after the Flatiron School.

Flatiron

Throughout the course of the program, we worked in different groups to create applications. One such application I built was called Charity Connection and it matched businesses with charities. For example, an after school group needs new computers and a finance company is getting rid of there old computers. The business could list the computers it wishes to donate and the charity could claim the computers. Then each party receives an email and can make arrangements for the transfer. I built another application called Just Lunch which helps busy people make friends for lunch.

charityconnection

The Bad News

Greenpoint_Houses

The bad news, Nicole and I broke up. We had three great years together but our lives were taking us in different directions. She moved to Harlem in Manhattan to attend Bank Street and study museum education. I have no doubt in my mind that she’ll make a great museum educator one day. I moved to Greenpoint in Brooklyn. I now live with 3 great roommates, a hairstylist, an executive assistant, and a technical recruiter. We have a blast together and it’s been a really great match all around.

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

My web development program through the Flatiron School is September through December. After that Nicole plans to move back to the United States. Her and I are going to get an apartment together near Bank Street, her school.

Peggy the dog

In the meantime, however, I needed a place to live. Luckily, I found a subreddit for NYC Apartments. I procured a place to live in Bedford Stuyvesant, aka Bed Stuy, with a guy named Jon and his dog Peggy. Jon worked as a barista and Peggy was a dog so didn’t do anything.

Back in Florida, I rented an SUV with my friend Victor, and filled it with as many of my worldly possessions as I could, which worked out to about half. Victor and I drove through the night and made it to Brooklyn in 18 hours including stops for gas and one dinner at Shoney’s.

obi

We arrived in Brooklyn the next day around 7am and unpacked my stuff. After unloading, we dropped the car off at JFK airport around the corner. The attendant we returned the car to was shocked by the quick time we made between Florida and New York. After dropping off the car we returned to the apartment and passed out for about 2 hours. Victor slept face down on the wooden floor. I slept in a chair. We were both so tired that it didn’t matter.

Freedom Tower

When we woke we walked around Williamsburg and took the subway to Manhattan to see the Freedom Tower. We walked around Wall Street and the Financial District as well. That evening, we met up with my cousin Ryan at Barcade, a really cool bar/arcade mashup. I got a call saying my mattress and bed frame arrived so we hailed a cab back to the apartment and moved it in before it could get stolen off the stoop. That night we got Victor to his bus in Chinatown where he rode back to Ohio.

Chinatown dinner

Chinatown dinner

I took the subway home and called it a night. It was weird having a new home, and even weirder being without Nicole for so long. At this point it was nearly a month since we last saw each other. I kept focus on Flatiron and learning as much Ruby as I could so that when Nicole returns I can get a good job and afford the crazy New York rent prices.

Gators, Airboats, and the Occult

Back in Florida I got a chance to reconnect with my family who I hadn’t seen in almost exactly a year. They had recently become obsessed with the board game Settlers of Catan. We played dozens of games over the few weeks I was there. I got some dinner with my dad, had more craft beer at a few microbreweries that opened up along Central Ave, and went swimming in the pool.

zeitgeist

 

My next door neighbor, Lauren, moved back to St. Pete and started working for her family’s company so her and I got a chance to hang out as well. Shortly before I was scheduled to leave for New York to start the web development program, Lauren invited me on an adventure to Miami to see her friend from South Africa perform at a bar. We made the 4 hour drive into a full day adventure of airboating and eating gator meat. It was fun to be a tourist in my own state.

In Miami we stayed with my friend Gerard and his parents. Gerard showed us around town and took us down to South Beach for a walkabout. That night we saw Lauren’s friend’s band perform. They were really good, but the weather was biblical. We Ubered downtown in the pouring rain and partied in near hurricane-like conditions. At the end of the night we had delicious tacos and took an Uber back. By the time we made it back to Gerard’s there was heavy flooding and the streets were nearly undriveable.

koreshan

The next day Lauren and I hit the road and returned to St. Pete. Along the way we visited Koreshan State Historic Site. A real-life The Village. It’s a creepy little commune of old buildings once occupied by members of a cult.

Flying Through New York

This is my first post writing from the United States. I arrived from the Philippines mid August and spent a few days staying with my cousins near Union Square in Manhattan. It was nice to be back in the states with the endless possibilities that New York City provides. I went to a show in Williamsburg with some friends I hadn’t seen in years. I had delicious bagels and cream cheese, giant slices of pizza, and amazing craft beers. That week I purchased a SIM card for my phone and visited the Flatiron School where I would be attending a web development immersive program for the next three months.

Laundromat how new york

Laundromat, how New York!

I ran into a fellow student who I’d become acquainted with over the summer chatting online from Korea. He also attended the Flatiron Presents meetup that Tuesday. We discussed the pre-work we’d both been working on over the summer and how we were looking forward to living in NYC.

I also helped my cousin to shoot a music video on his rooftop while I stayed with him. Check out his band Ditch Effort. I made a rough cut of the project for him, but he’s still ironing out the finer details of the project.

Ditch Effort music video

At the end of my stay in New York I left some of my bags from Korea with my cousins and flew home to Florida to see my family and get ready to move all of my things to New York. More to come in the next post.

My last day in Florida

Waking Up

I woke up around 5:30 to feed Mael, my parents’ golden retriever. I’d been looking after him leading for the past week or so leading up to my trip to Korea. He ate his food then headed outside to relieve himself while I busied myself in my room making all my last minute preparations for my trip.

Mael, the golden retriever pup.

Mael, the golden retriever pup.

My dad arrived at 6:15 to take me to the airport. I’d told him to arrive an hour earlier than I necessary to make sure I got to the airport in time.  We drove in near silence to the airport. He was quiet from being tired and I was quiet from all the thoughts racing through my mind like the stream of consciousness of a schizophrenic.

My three bags: Samsonite Duffel 50 lbs, Jansport 65L 30 lbs, and my camera bag (12 lbs?)

My three bags: Samsonite Duffel 50 lbs, Jansport 65L 30 lbs, and my camera bag (12 lbs?)

I checked my bags in no problem and sped through security since the airport was predictably empty on a Sunday morning at 6am. I arrived with approximately an hour to kill before my flight. I checked off my usual airport to-dos: get a Naked Juice, wander aimlessly, use the bathroom more out of boredom than desperation.  Finally, it was time to board. I sat three-quarters of the way back next to some ballroom dance champions from Eastern Europe. They looked to be in their late teens to early twenties.  They didn’t seem to speak much English and I was tired so I put my neck pillow on and passed out for the majority of the flight.

The ocean seems so calm.

The ocean seems so calm.

JFK Blown Away

I woke on landing at JFK in NYC. Our flight had arrived 10 minutes early giving me a little over two hours to make it from Terminal 5 to terminal 4. I spoke with a representative from JetBlue and she directed me out of the terminal and up to a train to the international terminal. Since I’d crossed from one terminal to another I had to go through security again, a process I usually dread, but found fascinating given the circumstances. JFK’s international terminal must be one of the most culturally diverse locales on the planet. I saw Hasidic Jews flying to Israel, Africans in traditional garb flying to Kenya, and people who looked vaguely like Borat flying to Uzbekistan.

Possibly Psy

Possibly Psy

The line moved surprisingly quick and in under 20 minutes, I found myself deep in the heart of the massive terminal perusing the duty-free shops. I picked up a bag of Hershey’s sampler chocolates as a gift for my director and assorted Korean counterparts. When I arrived at my gate, I saw a man who bore a striking resemblance to Psy, the Korean pop star famous for Gangnam Style. I discretely snapped a photo and posted it on twitter. Immediately two Psy fan accounts retweeted my photo. To this day I have no idea if that actually was him, but I like to believe it was and he was flying first class NYC to Seoul, so there is a chance it was him.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, my name was called over the intercom. I got really excited for a minute thinking they may be upgrading my seat to business class. It was a foolish idea, but that didn’t stop me from pondering the idea. I got the counter only to receive a new boarding pass, for the same seat.  Dreams dashed, I sat at Buffalo wild wings and enjoyed my last Thai Curry hot wings before flying to Korea.