Monday, August 2, 2010

NYC, etc

I think I thought NYC would be a hard adjustment. Honestly, it isn't.

I mean, it is if we actually thought about it. We gave up our nice house, our cars, our small town life. We left our friends and coworkers who have accompanied us on our life journey for the past seven years. We no longer have easy access to Target and Sticks and the Downtown Mall.

NYC is so different. Mostly: it smells. Not constantly, but often enough to notice regularly - certain areas, certain times, certain people - really stink. It's not beautiful in a traditional sense - it doesn't have the small college town atmosphere of Charlottesville and the beautiful mountains of central Virginia; it especially doesn't have the beautiful nonstop water views that we had everywhere in New Zealand. And the people, generally, are different. Almost everyone is skinny (although I notice it seems the majority of them smoke as well!), many people look like they are straight out of a fashion magazine; and yet a few definitely look like their most recent shower was not this month. People walk fast, people curse loudly on the street, it is a very in-your-face environment.

And yet? We've adjusted well. And I think we like it. It's not "hard" the way Charlottesville and New Zealand were hard.

When we want dinner and don't want to cook? Just go downstairs and tons of restaurants just within a block or two. The best mango's I've ever had in my life (including the super fresh ones in Fiji) are from our local fruit street vender. Central Park is a few blocks away, and two other parks are within blocks. Lilly's school and Jon's work are a half mile away, and I work from home so it's an easy commute for us all. We see local family and friends enough that it doesn't feel as isolating as New Zealand and Charlottesville sometimes did.

I think I love New York, especially during the week. But I miss "normal" life on the weekends. I'd love to be able to get in a car and drive somewhere. Would love to get away from the crowds(although our neighborhood on the Upper East Side is never very congested, but many parts of the city are). I'd love to go to the grocery store and pay normal prices, and be able to buy a variety of items.

Some things in NYC remind me of NZ. The cost of living is high (but unfortunately there is no exchange rate to justify things this year!). It's not easy to go out and go shopping for everyday things. But New Zealand had a beauty to it that is missing from NYC, and I miss the laid back way of life.

I still miss our friends in New Zealand, and walking through St. Heliers, and Lilly playing on the playgrounds on the beach. I miss the wineries on the island across from where we lived. I don't miss the isolation.

I miss our friends in Charlottesville as well. While we have history in NYC because of family and old friends, we don't yet have new friends that we share common experiences with - so it will be nice when we have that family with a similar-aged child to Lilly who we can meet for brunch or on the playground on a Sunday.

It's funny to see Lilly adjusting. She's learning to walk on the NYC streets and keep up with the pace, although we still use a stroller for longer outings. She's developed a taste for NY hotdogs, but for some reason is not as interested in NY pizza. She knows the elevator system - L for Lilly (and Lobby) and that we live on floor eighteen. We count all the way up, and I swear she'll enter kindergarten next year not knowing there is a number 13, because our building doesn't have a floor 13. She knows how to buy a bagel with cream cheese from the street vender, and some afternoons after school I give her money and a bag and we go down to the fruit vender so she can buy whatever she wants, and then she proudly carries it back upstairs. And she can certainly hail a taxi.

All-in-all we are adjusted. 11 months to go, and who knows where we'll be then. It definitely is mind-boggling that we've lived in three so-very-different cities in the past three years; arguably we've lived in the top three most interesting places in the world to live.

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