The Big Adventure

When I began this journey, it seemed like one of those things that was so far off that it might never even happen. There were so many layers of approval to be signed off, stacks of paperwork to be completed, and plans to be made that it was easy to think of ‘relocating my entire life to New York City’ as some abstract idea. This concept held even as the day of departure grew ever closer. Somehow, it was ‘just something I was doing’ rather than a seismic shift in the wonky tectonic plates of my life.

Finally, after nine months of waiting, wondering, speculation and admiration from others for this huge change I was undertaking, the day came and away I flew. Almost three months later – nearly a year to the day I asked about the concept of moving to America – my friends and family back home have asked with excitement-tinged voices “So, how is it living in New York??”

My answer is always a resounding “….eh.” It’s only when chatting to my parents last weekend that I realized why. The Big Adventure was never ‘moving to New York’, and it’s taken me a while to realize that.

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No Cheese, Please.

Anyone that has known me for longer than a few minutes and has had a meal with me – or discussed food – will know that I don’t like cheese. It smells and tastes like feet and is a great way to ruin food.

There are a few exceptions to the rule – basically if it’s very mild and / or doesn’t taste of cheese, then it’s fine. Mozzarella on pizza is a perfect example. Even then, if there’s too much of it, I don’t like it.

You would think that this would be a major problem for me if I had relocated to France. Now, we all know that Americans like their cheese but they are also the Czars of Customer Care (written alliteration counts). In a world where you can order a meal at a restaurant, painstakingly swap out every component for something else, and still have your order taken with a smile (as opposed to the punch in the face such an act truly deserves), you would think that getting a meal without cheese on it would be simple, right?

Wrong.

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The Great British Catch-Up: Part 3

It’s funny; when you start with an empty apartment, the idea of filling the space with everything you’ll need seems daunting. Things start to seem achievable once you’ve bought your first few thousand dollars worth of furniture and spent what feels like a lifetime building it all.

It’s only once the cardboard mountain is spirited away, the dust is swept up, and your clothes are finally put away, that you realize you were right.

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The Great British Catch-Up: Part 1

‘Sup guys and gals, it’s been a while!

I started this blog as a way to talk about my relocation from London, United Kingdom, to New York City, United States of America. Since getting here, I’ve written one post about my mental first day, two posts on how amazing a Caribbean Cruise is (who knew?), and another about how crap American banks are.

So why, exactly, has it been so bloody hard for me to write something new and meaningful in two-and-a-half months, and what have I been up to in that time?

As it turns out, quite a bit. So I thought I’d finally sit down with some Biffy Clyro and tell you about it.

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Cruise Muse

My previous post was written in somewhat of a hurry; I wanted to get it posted before we left port, and we had an invitation to go up to the Helipad at the front of the ship to watch us depart.

There were a few other observations I wanted to make, for the sake of completing my thoughts, as well as for anyone considering a cruise.

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Cruise Noob

If you’ve ever cruised before, skip this post. Otherwise, read on.

As I write, we’re docked at the pretty little town of Charlotte Amalie, on the beautiful island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. It’s Stop #3 on our 8 night cruise and I thought now was as good a time as any to recap some of the first days at sea and in the Caribbean. Plus, this being a US territory, there’s data here so I can post.

I’d never been on a cruise before, but always kind of fancied the idea. I like seeing new places, and the idea of being shuttled around in what is essentially a big hotel, visiting some of the most amazing places on the planet, seemed like one I could get on board with (pun fully intended).

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Day 1: Welcome to America!

I had wanted to book a car service to whisk me from JFK to my hotel in Melville; the company was allowing me to expense my taxi fares so I figured doing it ahead of time would make sense. I also didn’t want my girlfriend, AJ, to come pick me up and risk waiting forever. I reached out to the folks on BritishExpats.com (http://britishexpats.com) to get some estimates for wait times at Immigration, with the expected wide variety of responses. The conclusion was ‘how long is a piece of string?’ and I decided to just wait and get transportation myself once I was through.

Immigration itself was actually a painless affair – just lots of queueing. It took about an hour from debarkation to baggage claim, which is really good considering I couldn’t join the usual ESTA queue. Ironically, considering the mantra ‘Everything is bigger in America’ (which I’ve found to be almost universally true), the baggage carts were smaller than the ones at London Heathrow, resulting in my luggage departing from the cart into the path of someone else. Thankfully it only happened once.

Once out, I joined the chaotic mess of travellers awaiting transportation, but managed to get myself an Uber after a few minutes of swearing at my phone’s inability to pick up a good enough data connection to pinpoint my location, and I was underway. Continue reading “Day 1: Welcome to America!”