my summer romance

I've been missing in action for a little while now, and I attribute it to the fact that every day that I decide to blog, something noteworthy happens to distract my attention from the task at hand. So the things I have to blog about just add up, and now, here I am, two weeks and - get ready for it - one haircut, one play, two celebrity almost-sightings, three new family members, one museum visit, four visitors from California, countless kisses, and one original musical since my last post. Life in New York City can move very fast sometimes.

The humidity in this city can be unbearable at times. With what little money I have to spare, I decided to save up and visit a place in the East Village, Astor Place Hairstylists, which I found on yelp.com, and spent a whole $20 on a nice, short haircut. I got about two and a half inches cut off, and made my former subtle a-line cut more angled and defined. It's all very Sassy New York and, more importantly, keeps me cool in the summer heat. Right around the corner was Beard Papa's, best known for it's handmade cream puffs. I decided to try one out, and biting into that delicious work of art was like chewing on a piece of Heaven. It wasn't too sweet or too flaky or too whipped creamy. It was perfect.

Two weeks ago, I volunteered as an usher for the production of Richard Nelson's Some Americans Abroad at 2econd Stage Theater in the Theater District. I had no idea what the play was really about or who was in it, so when I arrived and opened up the Playbill before for house opened to familiarize myself with the cast, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Anthony Rapp was in the cast. Okay, not pleasantly surprised. Ecstatic. He originated the role of Mark in Jonathan Larson's greatest achievement, Rent, and I have always wanted to have the opportunity to see him perform. Associations aside, he is a superb actor, and I learned a lot from watching him in the play. I tried to meet him after the show, but I wasn't able to stay at the theater because it was closing. My heart broke a little, not gonna lie. The following day, I heard that Jodi Foster and her children were at the restaurant I worked at, but I missed seeing her because I was in such a rush to get started at work and walked straight through the floor without seeing anything. Bummer times two.

Last weekend, I was contacted by my grandma's first cousin who lives in New Jersey. She, her husband, and her son, came out to Manhattan to meet me and take me out to dinner. We had never met, and the last time she saw my dad was when he was 14 years old in the Philippines. We had a great time, ate a lot, and chatted it up as well.

Meeting the family: Lolo Ben, Allan, me, and Lola Delia

Also during the weekend, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time. Unfortunately, I only had an hour and a half to spend in the museum because of my packed schedule, which is hardly enough to explore even one section, if you consider the size and scope of the Met. It was beautiful, and I'm going to try and set aside one day of my fall break to just go and wander throughout the museum. In the little time I had, I viewed the impressionist paintings, a homework assignment for acting (to help stimulate our sense of sight), and the superhero costume exhibit. So cool! Oh, and I introduced my friends to Beard Papa's that evening, on our walk to the museum, and everyone agreed: they were too good to be allowed to eat. But we ate them anyway. Of course.

Couture costumes

Cream puffs in Central Park with your friends = best thing ever

In the last week, I've had four Californians come to visit New York. I had dinner Wednesday night with John and April at their hotel in midtown, which was decadent and a lot of fun. Al and Jacob came much later that night, due to a 5-hour flight delay, and spent the next two days at my apartment. Sadly, again due to my packed schedule, I have yet to hang out with them. But we're planning on dinner Monday night for Al's birthday, so I'm looking forward to that.

Dinner with John and April

After six weeks of straight work, between school and my job, I needed to take a break. No work, no homework, no talk of anything requiring any sort of responsibility. Friday night, I went out with some friends from school for dinner and drinks. And though nothing particularly spectacular happened, I had so much fun. It was probably the most fun night I've had since moving here. I felt, for the first time, that my relationships with people, these former strangers who fell into my life a mere six weeks ago, finally progressed past the stages of superficiality. I had a lot of meaningful conversations with my friends, and though they were certainly aided by a non-stop flow of alcohol, they were honest and genuine. I know I say it all the time, but I really am so happy to be here.

Bright lights and big smiles in our lovely city

Finally, I met up with Miguel for the first time in a while, and we had what is quickly becoming a typical Gina-Miguel Saturday night: dinner and a show, thanks to the TKTS booth. We scored tickets to [title of show], which I've been wanting to see since I got the cast album last year. It was hilarious, as expected, but heartfelt as well. We met the cast after the show and took some pictures. Jeff, Susan, and Hunter flipped out over Miguel's shirt because Susan had bought the exact same shirt as a gift for Hunter from the exact same craft fair in Brooklyn that Miguel had gotten his shirt at. Small world. And I've got the pictures to prove it. What up?!

Miguel with Jeff Bowen

Me and Heidi Blickenstaff

Miguel, Hunter Bell, and the shirt they have in common (which says, "make me a sandwich")

And thus concludes this chapter my continuing love affair with the Big Apple. New York, New York, I can't get enough of you, baby.

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