Yelly Writes

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

No I wasn’t in New York, I was in Atlanta the day the two planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  I think most of the people in the world who were old enough to remember and understand what happened can remember where they were when they learned about the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, into the Pentagon in Washington DC and into that field in Pennsylvania.

NeverForgetI was living with my relatives in Atlanta and it started out like a normal Tuesday.  I’d started helping my uncle with his medical records.  I worked at his clinic, in the back office, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  They were transitioning into digital records so I was doing data entry for them, taking patient records and inputting all the patient information, doctor’s notes and procedures into a patient records management system that they’d just installed.

I got ready to go to the clinic, went down and had coffee and a piece of toast and left the house with my aunt.  We had a small white TV in the kitchen and it was usually switched on whilst we had coffee.  Strangely on that day, I don’t remember the TV being on.  We got to the office shortly before 9AM.  The first plane had already hit the North Tower so it was definitely after 8:46AM.  I don’t remember what time we got there.  But I remember one of the patients in the waiting room saying “Oh my God!” over and over again whilst staring at the TV.

The TV in the clinic’s waiting room was tuned into CNN (we were in Atlanta after all).  I remember switching on the computer and walking to the water cooler to get myself a huge glass of water. I can still remember rounding the corner and walking into the waiting room.  I remember looking at the television and seeing the the second plane crash into the South Tower.  I can still see it.  I don’t think it’s something you can “unsee”.  It’s one of those images that embeds itself permanently in your brain.  I’m sure it all happened in real time but it I know that I can see it in slow motion.  How the plane flew straight into the South Tower and the ball of fire that exploded shortly after.

The rest of the day passed into a blur.  I don’t remember much about what happened except for all the TV watching we did.  There were a few panicked hours because we couldn’t get in touch with my cousin and her husband who were both in New York.  But at the end of the day, we were all accounted for, safe and sound, rattled, unsettled and terrified, but scared.

I think I never really understood the feeling of helplessness until that day.  Even now, it isn’t difficult to remember the feeling of not being able to wrap my mind around the enormity of what happened to America on that day.  The shock, grief, utter helplessness and eventual anger that everyone felt on that day.  It will always be a day that I will sit quietly and think about life, how blessed I am to have all my loved ones with me.  My heart goes out to all those people who lost their loved ones on that day, not just in New York but in Washington DC and in Pennsylvannia.  We will never forget all those senseless deaths.  Know that we will always remember.

Last year, in November, was the first time I went back to New York after that day in 2001.  We went to the 9/11 Memorial and did the walking tour with a firefighter and a lady who worked in an office across the street from the World Trade Center.  Before we went on the tour, we walked around the 9/11 Tribute Center.  I was fighting the tears by the time we finished walking around the exhibition.  Our tour guides talked about their experiences, what happened to them on that horrible day.  It was heart-breakingly poignant.  They were ordinary people who were thrust into extraordinarily horrific circumstances.  But what struck me was the underlying spirit of hope and the indomitable human spirit.

The enduring Sphere sculpture by Fritz Koenig was once the center of the the Austin J. Tobin Plaza.
The enduring Sphere sculpture by Fritz Koenig was once the center of the the Austin J. Tobin Plaza.

We must all never forget.  We must all remember so that this will never happen again.  We should always try to walk in someone else’s shoes.  Our first response must always be peace.  We must always be guided by love.

NYC Skyline


Yelly Writes

Tick tock says my body clock!

My body clock is so screwed up at the moment.  It’s after 10PM and I am now wide awake.  About 2 hours ago, I was as groggy as can be.  It doesn’t help that I’ve just come back from New York (yes, I may have mentioned it in a previous post!).  What I found completely strange was while I was in New York, my body clock was still on UK time.  So I thought when I came back from the trip I’d be okay.

I didn’t factor in the fact that I could have post-travel illness.  I normally don’t get really sick after a trip, just really tired.  But this trip was different.  I came back with a sore throat with a slight tickle that made me cough and a fever with a slightly runny nose.  It’s gone down hill since Wednesday.  I am keeping myself up with all the coughing and have found myself drifting off to proper sleep at 4 or 5AM!  It doesn’t help that tomorrow is a work day and I’ve got to go in and catch up on a week and a half’s worth of work!

Where is that lottery win when you need it eh?

I loved New York.  I just wanted more time to reacquaint myself with the city.  I didn’t do a properly touristy visit when I was last in New York.  We went to a few choice places (I was with my parents and my baby sister) but didn’t really experience New York as such.  Not properly.

This trip was different.  I managed to see, maybe, 400% more than when I had when I was with my family.  I even managed to start understanding the Metro subway system, which, I think, in itself, was a major achievement!

Wollman Rink, Central Park

It was a good time because I was ticking off places that I’ve seen in New York movies.

Tomorrow, I’m going to get an antitussive so that I can stop coughing and get something to soothe my sore throat.  I’m going to go take a hot, steamy shower in the hopes that it will help my congestion.  One thing that the trip did highlight was the familiarity of the US pharmacies to what I grew up with in Manila.  I miss the familiar brands and the familiar generic medicine names.  When I’m less groggy, less coughy and generally feeling better, I’ll write about the food and my New York highlights!

Watch this space!

Yelly Writes

Sick bay after New York bay

Soooooo…I went to New York.  I spent 5 days in the city that never sleeps and got home on Wednesday.

I am however, coughing up a storm and have a terrible cold.

I will eventually find the strength to write about New York.  5 days isn’t enough.  Figuring out the subway system is a whole day activity!  I haven’t ticked off the movie and TV locations that I wanted to visit.  I did love my 5 days in the Big Apple though.  There was so much to see and not enough time to see all of it!

I’m going back though.  I just need to save money so that I can stay longer!

I’ve got a few photos to share so watch this space!

Central Park

Yelly Eats

Hudson New York Bar and Kitchen, Colchester

I’m not much of a beef eater so I hardly order steaks.  If I do order anything made from beef, it would probably either a salt beef sandwich or pastrami (the more kosher, the better!).  So imagine my delight when I found out you could get a salt beef bagel from an American-inspired bar in Colchester!

I read through the menu and wondered what the food would be like.  It looked promising with club sandwiches, salt beef bagels and hotdogs on offer.  With a claim that they served fabulous Atlantic cuisine and that they were inspired by downtown Manhattan, I was looking forward to tucking into my salt beef bagel.

Well, I’ve had my salt beef bagel and I was a tiny bit underwhelmed.  The salt beef was a tad on the dry side but I guess I’ve been spoiled by the Bell & Brisket and Monty’s Deli because they made REALLY good salt beef from scratch and each sandwich would be prepared as ordered from a batch that was probably made the same day.  The space was amazing and it was big and airy.  But the concept confused me a little bit because it felt like I was walking into a southern restaurant instead of a Manhattan bar.

Will I be going back to Hudson?  I’m not sure.  Maybe their other offerings are okay, they may even be really good.  But it’s quite hard to get a salt beef sandwich wrong — if you have great salt beef to begin with.  Don’t get me wrong, the food looked okay and the coleslaw and fries that came with it were really nice.  I’m just really picky about my salt beef.  And unfortunately for them, I wasn’t too impressed.

Hudson's salt beef bagel