Day: July 23, 2017

365 Challenge: Day 133 – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Christmas-town in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, home of Moravian College, where I went to school for four years

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. In the third set of five, we discovered all the colors (excluding black and white) that have an important meaning to me. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. This is our fourth grouping, covering weeks #16 thru #20 of the 365 Daily Challenge, and the topics will be: the 5 Places I’ve lived! Last week was the city where I  where I grew up — Long Island, New York, but this week is the city where I went to college: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Before we get into those details, a few interesting facts about this lovely place as well as the Wikipedia link for more information:

  • One of the centers of steel trade during the Industrial Revolution
  • Over 20 colleges and universities in the surrounding cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton
  • Christmas village setup every year
  • Large population of Moravian religion followers

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After I took the SAT, I received hundreds of brochures based on my scores and profile. I picked a few schools on Long Island, but I also wanted a few that would bring me to another state. I found three schools of interest in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Given my uncle and his family moved to the Lancaster area the prior year, and this was only about an hour north, we took a family trip and killed two birds with one stone. {Aside: No birds were really harmed, I promise.} We toured the college campus for each school, and by the time I’d finished, I decided which school was best for me. I won’t bring up the negatives on the other ones, as that’s not fair; we all have our own taste and interest. I chose Moravian College, right in the heart of Bethlehem.  It had two campuses, North and South, separated by about 1 mile of the central part of the village. It’s the sixth oldest school in the country and was originally a women’s college.

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Moravian was where I became an adult. I went from being an incredibly shy and quiet only child who rarely went out… to a fraternity guy (YES, I know… shocker!) — and our frat’s president in my junior year… to a theatre performer and a middle school student teacher. I’ve had so many different lives, but it all began with living on my own for the first time at 18 years old. I cried when I said goodbye to my parents. I started making friends, drinking at a few parties, building up courage and confidence. It’s where I learned to become my own man. I still chat with many of my frat brothers, sorority friends and dorm buddies. It was an amazing experience, as I love the academic life and culture. Some day, perhaps I’ll be a professor of something and be able to give back to students and colleges.

During the 4 years, I lived on campus for 2 years and off campus in the fraternity house for 2 years. I came home for major holidays and a few weeks each summer, otherwise, I lived in Bethlehem. I had my own car, a kitchen to cook in and a house to party in. I considered staying there after graduation, but it was a strange year for me, ultimately sending me back to Long Island. Everything changed when I graduated: My grandfather had recently passed away, my godmother passed away and I accepted that I was gay. I’d never explored that side of me before, though I had known it was always who I was. I’ve gone back a few times to visit friends, to speak at the college for alumni meetings, graduations and and guest spots at conferences. I miss it, to be honest. But it helped make me who I am today, and for that, I will always be grateful. Though it only last 4 years, it has a lifetime of memories:

  • Where I dyed my hair rust
  • Where I earned the nickname Saturday Night Fever
  • The only time I’ve been hospitalized (dehydration, and not from drinking!)
  • Where I rushed and pledged a fraternity — don’t ask me about hazing!
  • Where I met amazing friends and professors
  • When I became a man (an adult)
  • How I learned multi-tasking skills
  • Where my thirst of history was quenched
  • Where I was elected to read several verses and readings at the annual Moravian Vespers ceremony in the Moravian Church full of thousands of people
  • Where my love of Christmas was normal

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Imagine being in Bethlehem during Christmas season… when it snowed… at an outdoor village… buying presents… with reindeer and elves running all around against a forest backdrop and the river banks just on the other side… in a valley and on a hill… sheer perfection. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and many of my friends and former college buddies still live there. I’ll visit again soon.

How about you? Have you been to Bethlehem? Moravian College? Lehigh Valley? Share away this week before we finish the last in this 5-week arc revealing all the places I’ve lived. Next and last is San Francisco one week from today. Thanks for being part of this fun series!

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RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Mama Cass @ Aspen Tree Book Reviews. We connected a little less than two months ago probably over a book we both enjoyed. Her website is dedicated to many great books in a range of genres and sub-genres. She’s quite funny and we’ve had tons of conversations about genealogy and technology. She’s done a lot of research and is always searching for more great finds. She also calls me Superman, which I find quite funny, given how I always refer to myself as average. But if you want to see some humor, get a little inspiration and meet a new friend, check out her site. A few words from her About Me section:
    • “I have been reading since the time I could walk.  50 years later and I read approximately 150 books a year.  I want each author to take me to a land, a time, a place of their choosing.  I am merely along for the ride. I read many different genres of books, because I love diversity, sociology and culture. So, that being said, you might find books about African American literature, books about Buddhism or Muslim, or a gay or lesbian love story.  I don’t believe in just reading what is familiar, that’s a good way to miss out.”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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