Monthly Archives: August 2014
August 28, 2014
In 2012, like most recent graduates, my girlfriend Jamie and I were jobless and living at home in Connecticut. Knowing that she needed to be in Los Angeles to truly get her TV Production career jump started, and I was able to work in sports in any major city, we decided to take a risk and make the move to Los Angeles. On March 4th, 2012, we set out on a 6-day road trip across the country.
That is not the story that I will be telling however. This is a more specific story of that trip. This is the story of how we ate our way across the country. Given that I love shows like “Man vs. Food” and “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” I used this road trip as an opportunity to visit some of the restaurants featured on the shows.
Our first overnight stop was in Columbus, OH where we had dinner at the famed Ohio Deli. I ordered the towering Dagwood Sandwich, halfway through my meal, which was made up of five slices of roast beef, five slices of ham, five slices of turkey, lettuce, cheese, garlic mayo, and a side of fries, I had reached my limit. The Dagwood was delicious, but I did not stand a chance at finishing it.
Lunch the next day was in St. Louis, Missouri where we ate at the Iron Barely. I ordered the most popular menu item, the epic Monte Cristo Dog, which consisted of two split open hot links, two toasted-open hot dog buns covered with strawberry jam, and melted Swiss cheese on top. The mix of the sweet jam and the salty dogs went perfectly together.
Next was the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Their specialty dish is a 72-ounce steak. I chose not to order that as we had eight more hours until our next stop and I knew I needed to be alert and not falling into a “food coma.” I still got a steak, but chose the more modest 21-ounce piece, which was delicious. However, I did get to the see the 72-ounce steak in action, as there was a party of five trying to eat one.
On Day three of our trip, we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico and eating dinner at Saddies where Man vs. Food had been the previous year. I ordered the combination platter, which consisted of a taco, an enchilada, and tamale all covered in cheese. I was in a cheesy Mexican food heaven.
After the next day’s Grand Canyon visit, and a stay in Las Vegas, we were on the last day of our trip. At breakfast on day, six and we went to the Man vs. Food favorite, Hash-House A Go-Go, where they specialize in over-sized breakfast plates. I ordered the Snickers Pancake, which as you can guess has chunks of Snickers in it and was about the size of a hubcap. After eating three pancakes worth, which was only about half of the pancake, I called it quits.
Four hours later, we arrived in Los Angeles, full and excited for our future in our new home. Additionally, even though it is years down the road, we have already started planning our eventual trip back, looking to conquer the northern half of the country this time in cities like Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Buffalo. Not sure if this trip with be fully digested by that time though.
August 21, 2014
There’s a certain magic to living in New York City and being a dreamer. Maybe it’s the energy that emanates out of the skyscrapers in Manhattan or the way the city lights take on a personality of their own at night. Either way, there’s just something mystical about wanting to change the world and having the city back you up on that.
So armed with this feeling, I decided to embark on a creative adventure this summer. I set a goal for myself to redesign my website, write two books and a whitepaper and launch a podcast all by late August. Why? You ask.
Why would you do all this writing and work? What about the outdoor concerts in the city or the amazing atmosphere in Central Park during the summer. Well my counter to your why is why not? If we only live life once, I consider it a disservice not to live our lives to the fullest, so I am simply doing my version of that.
That being said, of course I will enjoy the outdoors in the city and bask in the atmosphere but I will also set out to accomplish my goals.
The subject of all this content will be about navigating through different cultures and embracing one’s global identity. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and even at an early age I have been fascinated by other cultures and what makes them tick. Even now as I am living in my 13th home, fifth country, and fourth continent, my itch has not lessened one bit. In fact, all I see is opportunity around me.
- Opportunity to erase conflict and understand each other.
- Opportunity to celebrate diversity and…
- Opportunity to help create the next set of global leaders.
I am aware that this is a lofty goal and my goodness it is, but like Alicia Keys sang in “Empire State Of Mind”, “big lights will inspire you”. And that’s exactly what living in this amazing city for 10 months has done to me. It has reawakened my desire to teach and has strengthened me enough to chase a dream. A dream that I have absolutely no idea if I will achieve or not – stay tuned.
There’s a certain magic to living in New York City and being a dreamer.
August 13, 2014
The best way to describe Princeton Reunions is an annual cult gathering of alumni for three days of excess and extravaganza. There are fireworks, celebrity performances, strange chants and my favorite part, a three-hour parade (dubbed P-Rade) of alumni going back to the classes of the 1920’s. I went back for my one-year reunion a few weeks ago, as did many of my classmates, and we all donned the cult uniform of garish class jackets and all manner of orange and black.
I bring up Reunions not to get weird looks at the office (of which I already received plenty when I wore said outlandish class jacket on the way to Reunions), or to indulge my pride in our insane traditions (okay, maybe just a bit), but because an inevitable part of Reunions is hearing the question a million times from acquaintances old and new, “So what do you do?”
When I say to young alums, “I work for a PR agency,” I am most often met with blank – though sometimes vaguely impressed – stares. More often than not, they are out of their depths. Granted, this isn’t the case with older alums who have spent more time in the business world. Nonetheless, I think this demonstrates two problems that public relations faces as a field. The first is that public relations is hard to define and even harder to explain.
This leads to the second problem: not enough people from the liberal arts consider public relations as a career. As an English major coming from a school that offered few pre-professional majors, programs or classes, people expected me to go into academia, the arts or teaching. I balked at the idea that these were my only options, laudable though they are. I thought about what I had learned as an English major, and, in addition to more ineffable and personal qualities, I realized I had honed three essential skills: reading, writing and research. Sure, one could argue these skills are adaptable to many careers, and that is true. However, I think it’s especially true for public relations because, in addition to networking and building contacts, these are the skills that make us most valuable to our clients. We have to make judgments based on enormous amounts of media we read and interpret, write for many different audiences – from our clients, to the press, to consumers – and find whatever information our client needs or that we need to stay informed. That’s why more of my orange-and-black clad humanities majors should take a closer look at communications.
August 7, 2014
Four years ago, I studied abroad in Israel for a semester in high school. During that time, I went through the same training as Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers. To this day, I have never been more physically or emotionally challenged. I learned more about my personal strengths and my Jewish heritage than Hebrew School ever taught me. Most importantly, I learned how far I can push myself.
“Grenade!” Commander Gili gives us three seconds at 4:00 AM to jump out of
our cots, and hit the deck. I am exhausted. I am 5,703 miles away from home, one of forty-five high school students studying in Israel, participating in the Eisendrath International Exchange program. This week I am living at Gadna in Stay-Boker, Israel, for basic training with the Israeli Army.
Dressed in Israeli army gear, I quickly leave my tent and line up waiting to be
inspected by my head commander. The rules were strict, the punishment was firm.
No English is allowed, and all instructions are given to us in Hebrew.
It’s pitch black and we are boarding a bus on our way to an empty field. “Camouflage!” I drop to the ground, and have three minutes to remove my jewelry, cover myself with
mud, and put twigs and leaves in my hair so that I will not be detected by the enemy. I feel my identity being lost.
“Yalla!” Commander Gili lines us up, and we are sent off on a three-mile run back to the base. An hour later, hot and hungry, we are seated in the mess hall and given bread and spam to eat to fuel our bodies for what was about to come next: a crash course on how to shoot an M-16 rifle.
After learning about the parts of the gun, we were off to the shooting range, where we are given headphones. For the first time in my life, I am handed a live weapon. As I dropped to the ground, once again, I am face to face with the target. “Esh!” I could feel the recoil
the gun had made against my body. After all ten shells were on the ground, I picked
one up, and held it close to my heart, only imagining what the Israeli soldiers really
feel as they use such an intimidating weapon.
The next day, our bodies are trembling with fear of what will come next. We
climb rope, jump over walls into mud pits, and run through tires in an obstacle
course. If we did not complete the course in less than five minutes, we were told to do fifty pushups.
Our journey had finally reached its end. All forty-five of us are surrounding
David Ben Gurion’s (the first prime minister of Israel) grave. Finally, I knew what I was training for this whole week. At last, I understood what it meant when Gili said, “The Israeli Army is a defense army. We never put our guns on automatic.” The preparation, teamwork, and survival that I committed myself to all paid off when it came to expecting the unexpected. I now know what it means to be a team soldier, and for whatever life may throw at me, I’m ready.