Faraway

I’ve always taken great pride in being a New Yorker (New Yawka, thank you).  It’s a huge part of my identity.  When I went to college, I thought everyone at my small liberal arts college would think I was *so cool* that I was from the City.  Turns out, they were not.  Upstaters are not fond of New York City, especially when it seems only people from the City can claim the title of New Yorker.  They also do not like the City’s simplified version of New York geography, wherein you have Long Island, the City, Westchester, and then everything else is Upstate.  They like to tell you about Central New York and Western New York, although to be honest, I would just nod along politely and go back to calling it all upstate.

Point is, even when I found myself in a situation where it was uncool to be from NYC I was still hella proud of it.

Interestingly, in England I get much more the reaction I originally expected when I say I’m from New York.  I have used my accent to command the respect and attention of a class of students.  When people notice my accent (and they always notice my accent), they ask where I’m from, and when I say New York, I have gotten an actual gasp of awe.  Even MR has gone on record saying that he finds the NY accent kind of hot (really??).  I’ve branded myself as a New Yorker.

I think I can claim the title.  Both sides of my family settled in NYC when they got off the boat from Italy and Germany.  That makes me a fourth generation New Yorker on my mother’s side and third on my father’s.  I went to NYC public schools.  I taught in NYC public schools.  My cousin is a NYC police officer.  I used to have a super thick accent, along the lines of ‘dawg’ and ‘cawfee’ and most of my family still does, even when the NY accent is dying out.  I even grew up in Queens, which is one of the more ‘authentic’ boroughs inasmuch as nobody goes to Queens unless they’re from Queens.  Or going to the airport.

It doesn’t get more glam than Bell Blvd, people.

My family being in New York was an institution.  It would always be–until it wasn’t.  The transition started a long time ago: distant cousins moved to Florida; my grandparents sold their house in Brooklyn and moved to the Poconos.  My father’s parents followed suit, and my uncle went to Jersey.  But that was all fine, because my parents were in NYC and they weren’t leaving.

Only–rents got high.  My mom kept looking at apartments and realised she could never move because she could never afford a new place.  My dad got sick and my sister lived too far away to help as much as she wanted.  New Yorkers will know that a drive from Croton-on-Hudson in northern Westchester to Queens is too much of a trek to do on a regular basis.  So my parents compromised–they moved to Tarrytown.  At first I hated the idea of them leaving NYC, but as it happens, I find Tarrytown amazing.  Gorgeous views of the Hudson, amazing restaurants, still proper NY food with good pizza and bagels…MR and I visited my parents there and promptly fell in love.  We would move there in a heartbeat if we thought we could ever afford it.  But we can’t, so we settled for visiting.

Actual view of Tarrytown–it is actually that gorgeous.

 

Also delicious NY pizza here. And the bagel place next door rocks too. I am getting hungry.

Only then my sister moved to Massachusetts.  My dad’s no longer with us, so that left my mom alone in Westchester.  She shouldn’t be alone–she’s kind of isolated from everyone because she doesn’t really drive and everyone’s pretty far.  Not just my sister, but to get to her brothers in Staten Island and Brooklyn is easily a couple hours’ journey involving several modes of transportation, including a boat to get to Staten Island.  So obviously my mom needs to move to Massachusetts.  I 100% think she should do this.

But selfishly, I think that my ties to New York are getting severed.  My children will never be able to call themselves New Yorkers unless they choose to move there.  But even then, won’t they be transplants with their British accents?  And can I even call myself a New Yorker anymore?  I don’t live there.  When I go to the States I will be visiting family in Massachusetts, and I almost spit out the name.  Not because Massachusetts is a bad place (I actually quite like it, if I’m honest), but because it’s not NY.  And the bagels and pizza will suck.  So if I don’t live there and don’t have ties to the City, how can I claim it as ‘my’ city?  Do I have to start saying ‘I’m originally from New York’ instead of ‘I’m a New Yorker’?

When I left NY for England I thought I would probably come back.  But gentrification and skyrocketing rents mean that the financially comfortable life we lead in Coventry is well beyond our means in NYC, an injustice that stings.

This is definitely an existential crisis.  I want to go home, but I don’t know where home is.  Faraway is the City that raised me.  That’s part of me, but I don’t think I’m part of it anymore.  I live in Coventry.  I like England and I like Warwickshire, but if I’m brutally honest I still feel like an outsider.  I’m always the only American, and that gets a bit lonely, particularly when I have to explain/ represent some of the idiocy this country gets up to.

So where is home?  I don’t know.

 

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Source: Faraway

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Radio silence

So I just looked at this blog and realized (realised?) that I haven’t posted since January 3rd.  That’s rather a long time.  But I have some reasons for that.  Okay, I have two reasons for that.

The first is that I was busy fulfilling one of my New Year’s resolutions and finding work.  I had a scary moment at the beginning of the year where I realized I had blown through almost all of my monthly allowance in the matter of a week.  By allowance here, I mean disposable income.  MR and I are very socialist redistribution of wealth types and split our disposable income equally between two separate bank accounts.  Being on one salary meant that said disposable income was rather small, and we had a very serious talk about how I needed to work.  I am then proud to say I went at it full guns blazing and applied for every teaching job I thought I could do, including Head of English positions.  I even had a spreadsheet, and made it a full time employment, practically. Continue reading

A rebuttal

So my fiance posted about the end of his bachelor-hood, as I am moving to England in one (1) week and we are both rather stunned by the fact that after a year plus all this long distance bs becomes a thing of the past.  He seems to think many other things are going to become a thing of the past, and you can read the original list here.  But as I read this, I think he needs some reassurance/ reality checks.  So, my response:

My (fiance’s) bachelor bucket list.

  • Wake up when I want to.  —One of the reasons I’m marrying you is that we’re both not morning people.  This in my estimation will give us a whole heap of marital accord.
  • Announce the morning with a bottom bugle call. –Ok, yes, that’s got to go.  At least doing it under the covers does.  I don’t want the poison gas on me!  It’s my fear of nuclear fallout.
  • Have a wash without searching through all the girly soaps and creams.–Maybe some of them would do you good.  Everyone could use some pores unblocked.
  • Be able to use the shower without knocking over a hundred kinds of shampoo and conditioner. –If you let me get a shower organizer, everything would be…wait for it…organized. 😛
  • Spend an hour on the toilet reading.  –Maybe that’s not a bad idea because it gives the smell particles a chance to die.
  • Be able to use the toilet when I want (as there is nobody sat on it reading).  How I Met Your Mother wisely pointed out that if you’re not reading, it’s just lost time.
  • Leave the toilet seat lid up (every time I go in there I have to lift the lid up, how many times do we men have to tell you).  –At least you don’t run the danger of having your butt dunked in the toilet!  That’s why we win.  Also, should I be concerned that quite a few of these are toilet related, or is that just living with boys?  I’ve never lived with a boy before to know…
  • Sit on the sofa and switch the sport on without worrying that we were meant to go out for cushions.  –You already have cushions…we don’t need any more.  Although come on–would you turn down a trip for Ikea meatballs?  I didn’t think so.  This is the plus of being in a couple.  More meatballs.
  • Sit and watch sport without being told “what more sport” as I proceed to watch cricket/rugby/football/F1/tennis/Tour De France/Ryder Cup etc.  –Admittedly I do have a sports limit, but it’s higher than you think…
  • Eat nothing but meats and starch, and only using tomato sauce as part of my five a day. –We can do that on pizza night…  Also curry night.  Once a week.
  • Play computer games while watching sport. –Play away!  But you know, maybe you could acknowledge my presence once or twice over the course of such an evening.  
  • Not be questioned over the revealing outfits female characters wear in most games. If I was looking for a high brow discussion on modern post feminism I would watch Loose Women and not play Mass Effect. –I would treat you to my feminist rant here, but that would just mean spoilers for later on.  You gotta keep some mystery alive sometimes.
  • Watch TV shows without explaining every situation, especially if the question is due to be answered in 30 seconds.  –What?  I never do that!  Not ever.  Never.  Besides which, how do I know the answer is going to come in 30 seconds if I’ve never seen the thing before.  Exactly.  
  • Write a blog post.  –Write away!  If I tried to put any caps on writing in our household, that would put me in serious trouble.
  • Not keep my phone on waiting for a Skype call.  –Word.  And not having to deal with the vagaries of internet video chat, and being able to use non verbal communication for once…  Oooh, and being in the same time zone so that our window to talk isn’t three hours long exactly.
  • Do the clothes washing on the same setting for everything. –You will know and love your delicates cycle.  But you’ll also appreciate the things which need to be washed on the delicates cycle too, so it evens out in the end, really.  Also, someone else will do the washing like, 20% of the time.  That’s 20% more time for you.
  • Iron everything on the same heat.  –See above.
  • Organise everything in the flat how I like. Whether its books, DVDs or remote controls.  –No lie, this is a bit unnerving to me too.  How do people merge their stuff and sense of spatial order?  Is there a manual?  There should be a manual.  But you can be librarian still and always.
  • Own the remote control. –That is the end of an era.  You can watch your sport, but be prepared for some Downton Abbey in the evening.
  • Go to bed when I’m tired.  –This makes me think you think I’ll tie you to a chair and force you to watch an entire season of Downton Abbey in one night.  As long as you don’t make me go to bed with you, I’m fine.  Then I can watch Bridezillas streamed from America until two in the morning.
  • Sleep in the middle of the bed and have all the duvet. –Steal the duvet and I will put my cold toes on you in retaliation.
  • Keep the windows and doors closed to stop the pollen/vampires getting in.  –Not generally a problem, except on hot nights.  Could I postulate a theory that vampires melt in the heat?  Probably not–damn you Bon Temps, for refuting my theory.
  • Snore. –I think you underestimate how heavily I can sleep.
But there are some things I’ll be missing too.  For example:
  • I don’t think my ginormous Prince Caspian poster (complete with Ben Barnes pointing his sword right at me) will ever grace my walls again.
  • I will have to hear complaints about the number of bad reality tv shows I can watch, and the amount of times I can watch a sitcom rerun.
  • Farewell to the incomparable freedom of an open bathroom door.
  • No more dinners of candy bars and fruit (to make it healthy).
  • No more falling asleep on the couch at nine and staggering to bed at two.
  • No more sampling four different kinds of moisturizer at any given time.
  • I will have to put my shoes away.  And also probably my purse.  Even when I like it’s place ‘near the middle of the floor’ so much.
  • I’ll also probably have to explain why I have so many shoes.  It’s less than I used to have is an argument that probably wouldn’t make sense to a guy.

But then we both get:

  • Someone to come home to every night
  • Someone to go out with when we’re bored
  • Someone to make fun of stupid movies with
  • Someone to make a cup of tea when we’ve had a bad day/ are too tired to get out of bed/ just don’t want to do it ourselves
  • Someone to do a chore we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do
  • For me, someone to kill bugs
  • For you, someone to sew buttons
  • Someone to frequent Ikea and eat meatballs with
  • Someone to travel with
  • Someone to be loved up with.
  • Someone.

It’s obvious which side the scale tips to.