The streets in New York City definitely make you feel brand new. It is such an experience to be in New York City. The city that’s always mentioned and more in movies, photos, music and whatnot. The city that never sleeps does indeed never, ever sleep.

We arrived in New York on the 4th of April, which was my birthday, happy birthday to me! I knew from the beginning of this project that I would turn 25 in the United States and it really was one of the best birthdays ever. We arrived late in the evening, dropped our baggage at the hotel and we went for beers to celebrate my birthday a bit more. The bar we went to was a classical American sports bar and for a second I felt like a real American. After a couple of beers I went back to the hotel because the day after there was a lot on our schedule.

The 5th of April was sightseeing day, and by sightseeing I mean walking for almost 30 kilometers in one day and wishing somebody could carry me around at the end of the day. We started at the 9/11 memorial where I took a moment to take it all in. After all these years, I’m still horrified of what happened. Did you know the rescue dogs were traumatized as well? The rescue workers had to lie under some boulders and pretend they were a survivor so the dogs had a ‘win’, because they smelled people everywhere. I couldn’t hold back the tears when I heard this.

The sightseeing tour continued with stops at Wall Street, Trinity Church, Battery Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Square Park, the High Line, Madison Square Garden, Time Square, New York Public Library, Grand Central Station and the Gay Monument at the Stonewall Inn. The monument is something I really wanted to see because of the Stonewall Riots, especially after what happened in Arnhem last weekend. That night a part of our group went to a karaoke bar, including yours truly. At the end of the evening, I concluded something very important: I cannot sing. I did have my own moment to shine though, singing Born This Way on stage.

One magical thing about New York is the view. Like a real Upper East Sider, I went for a drink in the Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center (shout out to all the Gossip Girl fans out there) and enjoyed it while I was watching the view.

New York City has so much more to offer, but the actual conference is coming closer and closer. Writing this, I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Downtown NYC, sipping a coffee and preparing for the conference. It makes me feel like I’m the lovechild of a diplomat and Carrie Bradshaw. Quite an unorthodox combination, right? Well, that’s it for now. The next time you will hear from me, I’ll probably be stressed, obsessed but at least well-dressed – that’s what I keep telling myself. Until next time!