Warning! This is a long post!
I am slowly reaslising that much as I would like to be blogging more for you, due to the beautiful weather we are having it feels like an extended summer, so staying in to blog has not been the most inviting thing to do. Fear not - when winter arrives I will not be leaving the apartment (except for work or if it is burning down) because I hate the cold weather. With that said, here is another double week post!
I felt like I had a pretty normal week last week. I went to the gym a few times, even had a go in the pool which was lovely, did a grocery shop, did my laundry. It felt very much like I was finally settling in to actually living in NYC. On Tuesdays I now have classes from 6:30pm until 9pm - as part of the J1-visa you have to either be a cultural or educational visitor, hence the part time study. Fast forwarding to the weekend, we had a programme social at a place called The Liberty on Friday night, a very pleasant bar had we not been given an area in the basement. It is right underneath the Empire State building so if you're visiting New York and following the tourist trail, make sure you drop in.
On Saturday I went for brunch at Le Souk which was incredible! The food was gorgeous, I shared a lamb burger and truffle mac and cheese (neither of us could decide which was better) and the atmosphere was buzzing (they even had their own DJ!). I haven't had many NY Brunches but I think that one will be hard to top. It was also not too pricey with 2-4-1 tickets on Pulsd - a great app that I would highly recommend for discounted tickets and general events.
Following that I made my way to Le Bain - a stunning rooftop in the heart of the Meatpacking district. I didn't stay long but I can highly recommend the crêpes from the little cart next to the bar. After that I made my way back to New Jersey to get ready for a night out as one of the guys on my programme was celebrating his birthday. We had a great night out in Hoboken at a place called Texas Arizona - a sports bar and nightclub rolled into one. After a busy day, I needed a day to relax. It was really hot and sunny so a group of us went to Brighton Beach for the day. We had lunch at a place called Tatiana's which served Russian and Eastern European dishes. I had some dumpling/ravioli type things with sour cream - they were delicious. It was really nice to chill out but due to some poor planning my flatmates and I had somehow managed to invite over 20 people for a Sunday dinner so we had to run back to New Jersey to start getting it ready. It was an incredible team effort but we pulled it off, and had a delicious three course meal of Borscht soup, chicken with stuffing, roast potates and vegetables, and then cookies and ice cream for dessert. Delicious!
This week started off with a movie night. I went and saw Kingsman the Golden Circle in the Newport Mall cinema. Though the film itself was not quite up to the standard of the first film, the cinema itself was great - it had huge reclining armchairs which were really comfortable. I think I might turn into a movie buff purely so I can go and chill out on the chairs! Tuesday was a busy day at work and then with class afterwards, and Wednesday too was busy. I am a volunteer with New York Cares, a charity that connects volunteers with other charities that need them. On Wednesday I helped out at the Good+ Foundation which provides support to families, particularly new parents, who can't afford essential items. I am really enjoying volunteering as I get to meet New Yorkers and give back to the city. I had a chilled night in on Thursday and then on Friday after work I went to Madison Square Eats, a little food festival between 26th & 25th St and Broadway. I had chicken in a waffle cone coated in mustard-bbq sauce. It was delicious, but I think I could've done without the waffle cone.
At the weekend I decided that I needed to burn off a bit of the previous day's chicken waffle cone, so I went to the gym for a HIIT workout. Afterwards I went for a wander around the Lower East Side. I went past the Tenement Museum where I watched part of the free film. It is a fantastic museum that I would highly recommend, especially if you too are an immigrant to New York. I walked down to the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to Pier 17 where there was an Oktoberfest event. I dropped in for a couple of beers and met some people on my programme. Afterwards we went to a bar but I was quite tired so I went back to New Jersey for a girls night in. I needed to have a good night's sleep because on Sunday a group of 20 or so of us hired cars to go up to Bear Mountain for a hike.
It was a beautiful day. The weather here has cooled slightly and the crisp air of Autumn has started to arrive. It was lovely and sunny though so ideal hiking weather. We hiked up the Major Welch Trail - which turned out to be part hike part scramble up huge rocks. It was really good fun and made getting to the top all the sweeter. Then we hiked down using the Appalachian Trail - a huge trail that stretches all the way from Georgia to Maine. We did get a little bit lost as part of the trail was unmarked, which meant we did an extra mile or so, but it was really good to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh air.
All in all it has been another amazing few weeks. I feel like I am settling in more to life in New York, and the time is already passing so quickly. Soon I will be 2 months in! I am very much looking forward to October as my sister is coming out and we have some exciting things planned. Until next time!