Saturday, June 11, 2016

Life back in the States

It has been almost a year since my last blog post. There is so much to catch you up on! To keep things manageable, I will update in monthly increments (as per usual with my posts).

I hope you will enjoy following along in my new New York life!

In between our Brighton and New York lives, Ben and I were lucky enough to stay with family in the UK while waiting for the visa to come through. The interim period was strange. I had 3.5 years of hard work and research, followed by almost half a year of crazy and obsessive thesis writing. Thesis writing occurred largely at home, but my mind was full of science and worry the whole time. And abruptly, after the viva, it was over. I no longer had to purge every neuroscience fact I have ever known at the whim of my examiners. I had a job offer waiting for me in the US. We were just waiting on the visa. An empty-minded period of waiting. And I had no idea what to do with myself.
Luckily, friends and family helped me to figure out what I would do with my life during this time. My brain was too fatigued to work on its own after thesis and viva times.
My mother-in-law took me on a nice day trip around East Sussex to really enjoy the top sights of the area I had called home for 4 years. I was happy that I finally managed to go on a nature walk around the Long Man of Willmington, one of my favorite sights of East Sussex.
In between the fun times, there was a lot of ennui. A LOT of ennui. I would find myself drinking some wine and meandering the aisles of Asda (British WalMart, the closest establishment to where we were staying) for dinner, questioning my philosophical approach to life. You know, the big questions that one asks when half drunk in a place you really don't want to be.
But the interim was soon to end. And life in the UK quickly transitioned to new life in New York.

Ben and I upgraded to business class, since it was our travel together to start our new life. And I have to say, Virgin Atlantic Business class was amazing. Atlantic travel isn't particularly enjoyable (any travel sucks in my opinion), but the upgraded seats definitely helped. Still, by the time we got into the city, we were exhausted. We had booked an AirBnB one block from our new apartment and all we wanted to do was eat something and go to sleep, and wake up for move-in day! We have stayed at many an AirBnB and always had a pleasant experience. But the one we stayed in at NYC was terrible. Dirty beyond belief, the host was useless, and I was genuinely worried we may start our life in the city with bedbugs. Luckily, we did not get bedbugs. Or staph, or an STD. These are the highlights of that stay. I think this really primed us for the excitement of moving into our apartment. An apartment we had already paid a deposit for and the first months rent without seeing even pictures. Luckily, we loved it. And we still love it, 11 months on.

We had 9 days before I started my new job and so we explored our new city as much as possible! Our first introduction to NYC food started at Hungarian Pastry Shop. The pastries were great and, in the middle of August with no air conditioning, the restaurant gave a little bit of forgiveness to the overwhelming humidity and heat of the city. The coffee, however, was terrible. Our first coffee outside of Europe and we became quickly aware just how spoiled we had been. This would be the first cup of many disappointing coffees in NYC, and helped to spur on our interest in finding the best coffee in town.
We also had our first dirty New York slice experience. I would like to point out how much larger the pizza is than the average-sized plate it is sitting on:
Night time walks around central park, the discovery of a great tea place (Culture Tea Bar), and finding a local roof-top bar. We were doing it right.
We also went on A TON of walking tours around the city and managed a lot of sight-seeing. And on two food-based walking tours. Here are some of the highlights:

We managed to find an amazing coffee place, Brooklyn Roasting Company:

And we were introduced to one of the truly amazing aspects of the city- even though it is crazy and hectic and dirty, there are wonderful little pockets of community all over.

Things I loved to eat:
Crunchy spring salad with dill dressing

Rhubarb prosecco sparkler

Green goddess sandwiches. If you have never had green goddess dressing, you need to. Like now. Truly.

Chicken club lettuce wraps

Eggplant caponata sandwich

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