Wednesday, 3 June 2015
My American Adventure: Down to business
Today was the day I actually started what I came to New York to do - provide legal assistance to low income individuals or families in the community.
First impressions count a lot so I chose my outfit carefully and ensured I looked the part haha.
I will be working in Upper Manhattan / Harlem twice a week and other boroughs on the rest of the days. I really like the diversity because I will get a feel and understanding of the different communities in New York and travel around.
Today was more of an introduction of the organization and what I will be doing for the next 10 weeks. I am looking forward to the challenge and I have already been warned that they will be lots for me to do and I will be expected to pick things up quickly. It's going to be really hands on.
I like challenges because they cause me to come out of my comfort zone and bring out the best in me. I have no doubt that I will grow both as a person and professionally throughout these 10 weeks.
I left the office quite early today so I attended the 4pm service at the Universal Church in Harlem. I am so blessed and thankful that my church is worldwide and has many branches in New York, so wherever I work or stay, there is a branch for me to attend.
My faith is very important to me and without it I wouldn't even be here. It's through the Universal Church that I found God and learned how to use my faith.
After the service, I walked around Harlem for a bit and I really enjoyed it. It reminds me of Brixton High Street but more vibrant and with so much going on. There was music playing, mainly classic 90s R&B and Reggae music and I could smell Caribbean food. Oh, it smelt so good. I felt like I had entered the 70s era where people are walking down the street with afros and funk music playing lol.
There's a variety of shops from your well known high streets stores such as, H&M, Gap and Old Navy to the local clothing stores called Pay Half and Dr. Jays ladies.
There are a lot of Caribbean food stores and restaurants hence why the streets smelt so good.
There's a lot of pedlars on the street and people just hanging around killing time. I did sense a lot more hostility in Harlem then in the other places I have visited so far and most people either ignored me or looked at me with a blank face and walked away when I asked for directions lol. They were some genuinely nice and helpful people and I guess the more I am in the area, the more I'll understand the people there.
One thing I know, you have to be assertive!