Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moving to New York City

We've been here for a little more than a week, so I suppose it's a good time to mention our first observations before we're jaded and weary like everyone else here. :-)

The move itself was easier than expected. On the way to Europe, Newman scratched the hell out of Nick when he went through the metal detector, so we did all of this planning.... for nothing, because he was surprisingly good this time. Once again, the Germans at the airport fell madly in love with Batman and completely forgot their protocol. It was so funny to see the transformation. They began as stern, stony-faced, uniformed robots with a 25 letter badge ending in "polizei" who are supposed to be finding the liquids I snuck through. But when they see the dog, 4 of them gathered round-- "ooooooooooooohhhhhhh!!!! What kind is he! Oh my baby! Oh so cute! Oh mam, don't put him in the kennel, he can stay out. oooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh!!!"

So anyways, we got here easily enough on a Thursday, and found an apartment on a Friday, moved out of the hotel Saturday. And right after we decided to take the apartment, which is mostly unfurnished, we walked outside to find a freshly placed mattress. Insane! As my friend Carrie so succinctly put it, "I never imagined you as unemployed, with a pay as you go phone, sleeping on a mattress you found on the curb!" Believe it. We are pretty lucky, and in a happy spot for the time being. Batman is racking up vet bills and the money is going a heck of a lot faster than expected, so it's not perfect.... this is a good thing- perfection means you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop, right?

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The first week we've spent doing many touristy things, many involving food. One first order of business was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Grimaldi's pizzeria in Brooklyn. We had to wait in line for almost an hour and a half just to get inside and get a seat. It was totally worth it, this pizza will make you want to curl up in the fetal position and die right on the table. We're lucky to have made it out alive.

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View of Manhattan from the bridge

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The pizza!

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There is so much to eat in this city! Unbelievable cookies that taste even better than they look (not my picture)

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We also watched a free movie on a pier near the Hudson River, listened to the New York Philharmonic in Central Park, enjoyed a 5 course French dinner and toured the French Culinary Institute to celebrate Bastille Day, and caught up with old friends.

NYC Culture Shock:
- Seeing a movie at a theater costs 12.50 apiece!!! Weekends before noon it's only $6, so we will be getting up early for any cinematic needs from now on
- They list calorie contents for every menu item at restaurants. This is actually pretty cool because there are certain things that you quickly realize are not worth the nibble.
- We can speak English here! We got so used to English as automatically identifying us as tourists. We didn't even realize this, but we have been speaking to each other in hushed tones for about a year! The first few days we kept saying "Wait, why are we whispering? English is the language here!"
- Free water is awesome. I still buy a drink, I still can't get used to just ordering a water even if that's all I'm in the mood for.
- Lots of people are new to the city: we met up with an old high school buddy and she introduced us to some of her friends, many of whom have been living here less than a year. People here are pretty friendly, because most people are from somewhere else and identify with moving here, and there is a certain amount of openness required to stay here longer than a day or two. (Example: we were chased by a screaming old Chinese man who was wearing a dress and pigtails while pushing a shopping cart)

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