On a pleasant spring day, New York City Atlas Corps Fellows decided to go for a picnic. “It’s a perfect day for a picnic,” I said delightedly. Even though the day turned out to be cloudy, a few fellows gathered and our picnic “basket” was full. All of the fellows set off towards the LeFrak Center at Lakeside which is the largest and most ambitious project in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside provides seasonal ice skating, roller skating, biking, boating and water play. None of that was important to us than to just sit on the grass and catch up. Group time is the only time where you can gather fellows to have a great time and picnic discussion.

Let me divert a little bit…You see, New York life is crazy.  It never stops; even in a blizzard with record snowfall, businesses remain open, public transit operates, and New Yorkers–well we put on our boots and trudge on through. People are always looking so serious you think they are constipated throughout. I always think that people would just stop and enjoy the breeze, but unfortunately no one ever notices it.

For me at least, I sometimes feel pressured to match the lifestyle of everyone around me in this fast paced city. It is natural to feel overwhelmed, but I always try to manage and remind myself that it takes time to adjust. My fellow fellows make me feel comfortable and at a common ground. Atlas Corps brings diversity in our groups and the racial and ethnic diversity is obvious. That is why when we gather, I fell free again.

Back to my picnic story!! Some of fellows who gathered at Prospect Park had never been there before. I was dumbfounded at how big the whole park is. So many people, so many lovely kids running around. It is alive and soo beautiful with cherry blossoming, leaves falling, red roses and blue violets blooming.

I am pleased that people made it. We laid out our picnic and we chat away. Before we knew it, our afternoon had turned in to photography moments. Jeremiah, a C22 fellow loves his camera. I thought only Andrew Tangas aka Tang had a thing for cameras but noooo. This guy is so good. Alert: Atlas Corps has a new photographer y’all only this time he is in NYC (check out the photos on Facebook and you will believe me!!

We ate, we chat, we laughed and we posed for photos. I even took photos of the photographer; I was good and the pictures were spot on. I love cameras too. I have learnt that photographs have the ability to convey emotion, mood, narrative, ideas and messages – all of which are important elements of storytelling. I could tell in that moment, that all of us being together, as fellows brought some joy in us. We never get to do this often especially as satellite fellows. Being there in that moment with these fellows was special! It was even more special because we got to spend the last Sunday with lovely Douglas C21 who’s is ending his fellowship in a week  and going back home in two. Makes me sad that we get to meet and bond with incredible people then they just leave (: But, hey, isn’t that how life just is ??! Douglas, we wish you blessings in your journey ahead.

When the picnic was over, everybody crossed through the park walking briskly to the nearest subway. I felt refreshed and ready to face a new month, and a new week.

What a pleasant time we had! What a pleasant time everyone had! I will leave you with Atlas Corps Fellow oath no. 12…

“A promise to have fun, stay motivated and to embrace this unique opportunity”.