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Archive for April, 2008

Living in New York

I’ve received a few emails and questions about our new life in New York. I’ve been unsure of what to post. For one thing, as I have blogged about before, since moving to New York, we’ve spent a lot of time visiting the doctor. Our frequent bouts of illness have confirmed my theory that when you move abroad, you spend the first year getting used to the bugs and viruses of the area. And since we lived in Sweden for 5 years, we have really moved to a new country. My kids’ immune systems are used to the Swedish brand of bugs.

Anyhow, back to our current experience. I’ve spent a lot of time getting used to the American bureaucracy. I guess I was unprepared for the hoops we would have to jump through to enroll our kids in school. The boys had to get physicals and shots. We had to provide a lot of documentation that we were actually living in the school district. Documentation was difficult to procure as we waited for utility accounts to open and bills to be sent. . . Anyhow, it took a lot longer than I wished, but I did get the two oldest boys enrolled in school. Once that was done, I had to get started on kindergarten registration for my third son. This meant physicals, more shots, a kindergarten screening and a lot of calling and driving.

Now that’s done. The boxes are mostly unpacked. Spring has come and gone and it feels like summer is already here. But here are some impressions of our new place.

First, there are a lot of people around. After living in the Rocky Mountains and then moving to Sweden, I am just not used to so many people. We live north of New York City and I am having a hard time distinguishing where the villages, towns, cities, etc. begin and end. The town I live in, doesn’t seem to have a recognisable city center. Although it is possible I just haven’t discovered it yet.

While we do live near a lot of people, the area and its surroundings give the impression of privacy and seem to camouflage the population. The Appalachian trail crosses the area in which we live and trees abound for miles. Blue signs dot the highways sharing tidbits of the past. Various battles and skirmishes took place in this area during the Revolutionary War.

I promise to write more as we become more acclimated.

 

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So a month or two ago, dh said the dreaded words to me, “I think that our daughter is ready to potty-drain.”

Silence as I contemplated with horror the prospect and I began my counter-arguments, “she’s young, I have to do it and it’s messy and we’ve just made this big transition and it’s too much for her, etc.”

What I really wanted to say is, “are you out of your mind?”

I hate potty training. We’ve managed to get the three boys trained and I can’t for the life of me explain how that happened. I like to think that an act of God occurred and I was saved.

I was so naive with my first son. When he was 20 months, I started poring over potty-training manuals, “expert” magazine articles, potty-training readiness lists and potty books. We bought a cute little white potty and I gleefully snapped pictures of my son sitting on the toilet with his toothbrush in hand. It was all so charming. I would debate with the toilet readiness lists and gauge how important some qualities were to the overall process. I was sure my little guy was ready to use the toilet and I was going to prove it.

Well, I proved that I wasn’t ready for the potty-training process. Each method  proved that potty-training success basically depends on consistency on the part  of the parent and consistency just isn’t my strength.

I don’t want advice about the perfect potty training method unless it involves shipping off the child to a deserted island and returned once they are completely trained. Now that’s a method I could manage.

 

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Invaders

They attacked at dawn, sleek black bodies scaled the walls, while we innocently slept in our beds.  Dawn’s rosy fingers reached out and brushed my face. With joy I awoke and went to my closet. With horror I screamed as large black ants swarmed around my clothes, shoes, and walls.

I spent much of the day vacuuming, cleaning out cupboards for crumbs and furiously battling with the invader ants.

You are probably laughing at me right now. My husband did. But I truly have a horror of ants due to a traumatic episode in my first year of marriage. I was a blushing bride when we were invaded by ants in our first apartment. I handled the invasion without fear until one day, while pouring syrup on my french toast, I discovered drowned ants in my syrup. The incident has scarred my psyche and seriously hampered my ability to enjoy syrup for a long time.

Have you ever seen the episode of Donald Duck where ants invade his home? Donald races about frantically while the ants launch an extremely well-organized invasion of his kitchen. We laugh at Donald’s foolishness, but I  sympathize with poor Donald. I don’t mind ants. . .outside. . .but NOT in my home.

 

 

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I keep changing the look of this blog because I feel like it. I hope it doesn’t bug you all too bad!

Since I don’t invest any money into blogging (other than what I pay for my monthly internet), I experiment with what WordPress has to offer.

What do you think of the new look?

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Sorry it took me so  long to post this.

Our first foray to New York City was so much fun. Both dh and I have always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. We were short on time and so made the Statue the focus of our adventure.

While I was searching for parking places, subway times, ferry times, etc., I realized that I learned all these skills while living in Sweden. I think if I had moved to NYC from the west without any experience in Europe, I would have been completely overwhelmed by timetables, parking garages, etc. So I was pleased with my ability to arrange it all.

We drove into Manhattan, parked at a garage by Lincoln Square, walked a couple of blocks to the subway station and took the train to the South Ferry station. The kids and I had a fun time talking about the buildings and about our friends who used to live in NYC. (We sure wish they still lived in NYC. . . we miss you guys!

The subway ride was a normal subway ride.  People got on and off, foreign languages peppered the conversation rhythm, couples made out, and over-excited tourists shouted at one another. We got off the train at South ferry, walked up the stairs and joined the hordes of people waiting to take the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is free and takes you pretty close to the Statue of Liberty.

Tourists crowded to the sides to catch a glimpse of the statue while tired locals took seats in the middle, checking email on cell phones, reading books, or napping. I admit, I was a bit disappointed with the locals. It’s hard to imagine passing everyday such an important symbol for our country and cooling ignoring it. Most of us are the products of immigration and I rather consider the Statue of Liberty the ultimate symbol of immigrants.

Sorry for the tangent! Anyhow, the Statue is beautiful and I felt sentimental as we passed it.

So we got off at Staten Island and found a pizza place. We were transported back to Sweden with the setup of the place. It reminded me so much of a pizza/kebab stand in Sweden except for the signs. Instead of pictures of kebab offerings (gyros in the U.S.) different pasta plates were shown. The pizza was really good.

Then we walked back to the ferry, rode it back to Manhatten, and took a train back to our car. We walked by the fabled Central Park. I wish we would have had time and money for a carriage ride.

When we got back to our car, we decided to drive by the Manhattan Temple. I plugged in the wrong address and so we took an unintended tour of Manhattan. It was so fun to see all the people, the buildings, and everything. Driving can be crazy in the city, but not any worse than driving in Paris with the GWB.

Can’t wait to visit again for more adventures.

 

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my apologies

I think I am going to have to go on blogging vacation right now. I’ve just been too busy to write.

I do have some adventures to record about our recent trip to New York City. But at the moment, I’m just trying to keep my head above water.

 Please be patient, I’ll eventually get to the blog.

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