So apologies for the MASSIVE DELAY between posts. My Macbook charger sadly did not survive the 7 hour flight, and I had no WiFi in the hotel I stayed at in my first week. In 2017. Ridiculous.
WARNING: This will be a long post!..
Starting from the beginning then. After saying my final goodbye's I got through security in Manchester to a nice "Hello" from three of the other Mountbatten's on my flight. We had a good chat while waiting in the bar for the flight to board and a few drinks (needed I think for a bit of Dutch courage). The flight itself was pretty decent, had a wonderful gentleman from the British Embassy sat next to me who was very chatty which helped to pass the time, and watched Allied (would recommend). I was lucky to have the window seat and thanks to the beautiful sunshine I had a great view, especially coming in over Canada. Sadly as we entered the US the clouds arrived and it was hard to see anything. The humidity here makes it quite hazy so although I managed to spot the city I couldn't get a great picture on the way in.
The first hurdle, immigration, was passed quite smoothly compared to my previous trip to NY. A couple of questions, a stamp, and I am officially a US resident! I had organised a taxi with two of the girls on my flight, so we had a pretty smooth transfer and got to the hotel at around 6pm. The hotel was pretty dated, but one of those places that, with a bit of investment, could be turned in to an art deco masterpiece - it even had it's own (unused) 1930s style bar, which they used to store luggage.
On the first night we went out to a bar close to the apartment to meet people. There were two people from my interview for the programme which was nice to see, plus loads of others. I had my first ever dollar slice of pizza, and we ended the night on a rooftop right underneath the Empire State building. We didn't stay long as our orientation the next day was at 8AM!
Orientation was a long day, with lots of information. We were given talks about life in NYC, as well as help in filling out our Social Security and bank account applications - two very important things if you are living long term in the US. The best talk was from the NYPD - I can honestly say I have never had more fun thinking about my own death. I think this was the right approach as we can all to this day quote the do's and don'ts of the subway system. In the evening we went out for cocktails and then watched a live band at Brother Jimmy's BBQ. It was a lot of fun, and I was even handed the mic at one point to sing along to Sweet Caroline!
Wednesday I had the day off so I went downtown with a couple of other people on my programme to complete my Social Security application. It was really hot so we wandered around Wall St and South Street Seaport before heading over to Dumbo in Brooklyn. We had some great views from across the East River and it was the first time I realised that I was actually in New York! I made it!
We also had a mixer in the evening at an incredible rooftop bar called 230 Fifth where they have incredible views of the Empire State building (check my Photos page to see the view).
On Thursday I had my first day at work (will do a more detailed post about this soon). It was manic but I think it's better to be busy than to have nothing to do. Afterwards we celebrated by going to ANOTHER ROOFTOP in Chinatown. It was really expensive so I didn't have anything but the views were incredible. Friday I was working, trying to get to grip with various systems, and had another very busy day. It was a girl's birthday and some new people had arrived, so we went to Pioneers - a bar where you can play giant Jenga and Connect 4. We ended up going to a club owned by Jay-Z but I didn't stay too long because I was starving!
I woke up on Saturday hoping for a chilled day but I forgot.. New York does not do chilled! Around 30 of us went to our first New York brunch at Zengo's - it was incredible. You pay a set fee and get unlimited food (which was all so yummy) and unlimited mimosas, bloody mary's and sangria! Your time is limited (2 hours) so you can imagine us all tucking in heartily to the delicious food. It felt like going back to Roman times where they would stuff themselves and then throw up just to eat more. It was definitely a fun experience but possibly not one to be done too often. Afterwards we returned to 230 Fifth because it was beautifully sunny and it was closer than walking up to Central Park on a full stomach.
After so many busy days, I had an early night, and ended up getting 12 hours of sleep which was very much needed before Moving Day on Sunday. My bus to New Jersey wasn't until 12:30pm so myself and a new friend, Catherine, wandered down to the West Village to find the Friend's apartment. We tried the Path train for the first time too.
Moving was very hectic, we arrived in New Jersey, had our bags sniffed for bed bugs (and probably other things too), and then dashed to Target to get bedding. There was very little left as many people had got there before myself and my flatmates. It was really frustrating (I left without pillows), and even more so when we realised there was a Kohl's and a Sears nearby which were fully stocked (managed to get the pillow). But I am now officially living in New Jersey with a beautiful view of the Empire State/Uptown New York!
That's enough for today. Again sorry for the long post. I will try to catch up a little bit with my blogging in the next few days.