Thursday, July 9, 2015

Distant "Family"

My incredible day started the exact moment I stepped out my dorm building. I took a step outside to find that it was raining, cold, and foggy- Bay Area weather. Hugely elated, I walked happily towards the cafeteria through the homely familiar weather. As usual, we had our weekly meeting with Ms. Thrift and discussed the logistical details behind our activities for the upcoming weekend. After exchanging some money and information, we went on with our lives in Columbia. 

I came to class fully prepared as I had finally managed to achieve a full six hours of sleep, had all three cases fully briefed and detailed, and had had a double shot Starbucks energy drink an hour before hand. We went over the First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom of press by analyzing three cases: New York Times v. Sullivan, Cox Broadcasting Co. v. Cohn, and New York Times v. United States. In all three cases, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the press, to which I agree completely. Although in Cox Broadcasting Co. v. Cohn, I did have partial disagreement due to the fact that Cox Broadcasting presented the name of Cohn's deceased daughter on television without Cohn's acknowledgement, violating the right to privacy in the Ninth Amendment that the Court decided on in Griswold v. Connecticut.

The afternoon session of class really was interesting as we were split into groups once again and prepared for our first debate. We were assigned a fake case entitled Smith v. California arguing on the side of Smith. In this case, the defendant, Rita Smith, had her son killed in the line of duty in Iraq. Outraged, Smith joined an anti war protest in San Francisco and out of anguish over her son's death, burned a life sized effigy of President George W. Bush while shouting the words, "F*** Bush" on a megaphone. As a result, she was arrested for disorderly conduct although nobody was injured. Rita then sued the state of California for violating her First Amendment rights. Very detailed for a fake case isn't it? 

We assigned different tasks to one another, with me giving the opening statement in our group. I could already tell that we were going to easily win as the arguments we came up with really hit the button in regards to the protection to Rita's First Amendment rights. Now I would tell you all our arguments and even a brief intro into my opening statement, but that information is deemed classified until tomorrow. Hey, you never know who's reading these blogs, I don't want such delicate information falling into the wrong hands!

Afterwards, Izabel, Alyanna and I had a chance to have a quick chat with Michelle. We had the chance to explain to her what the Ivy League Connection was about, our high school backgrounds, and our plans for the long term. As our conversation dove deeper down the abyss of fascination, I had to leave abruptly as I had to meet my uncle who was waiting outside for dinner.

Uncle Jimmy and I
I met with Uncle Jimmy outside of Starbucks on 115th and Broadway. Now before I continue, Uncle Jimmy really isn't my actual uncle. Uncle Jimmy is a longtime friend of my dad and he just wanted to come and meet up with me and have an actual chat together over dinner. We had dinner at an amazingly historic place called P.J. Clarke's by the Lincoln Center. The food was above delicious. The medium rare burgers topped any burger joint I've ever been too, and their dessert really raised the bar for gut busting sweets. But it wasn't the food that mattered to me, it was the conversation that did. We talked about his current engineering firm, hot button political issues, financing, jazz music, and life in general. I found our conversation about his friendship between him and my dad the most hilarious as I brought up the stories my dad had about him and and my dad getting drunk together to which he responded with a hearty laugh and proclaimed, "Oh those were the days!"

The stage overlooking the dance floor
With some extra time to spare, we decided to see what all the "Midsummer's Night Swing" stuff was all about. The event was surprisingly free of cost- unless you wanted to dance. The stage overlooked a wide wooden floored area made specifically for dancing. There was a live band that played extremely pleasant Latin music and along with the great music was the addition of awkwardly dancing New Yorkers. After some more light chit chat, it started to sprinkle a bit, so we decided to head back. It was on the drive back to Columbia where Uncle Jimmy gave me some motivational talk. He told me that whatever I choose to do, I could be successful in, as long as I have the dream and drive  to do it. He said that it's the dream that drives success, so before I choose what I want to do, find the dream that will drive you to be successful. Before we parted and said goodbye, we made plans to meet up once again and probably take a road trip down to my dream school, West Point.

I really enjoyed my little bonding time with this distant uncle of mine. It really put a huge smile on my face to hear actual Tagalog coming from an actual Filipino. And whether it being Uncle Jimmy's affability or his hospitable attitude, it actually felt like I found a father in New York.


  1. I am so glad that he spent time with you although he's so busy. He is my best friend and my mentor. There were lots of motivational phrases that I heard from him, the one that remains in my heart is; "If you want to be successful, you should be 10 steps ahead of your peers."

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