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Snowstorm in NYC

Growing up in Paris does not necessarilly prepare you for a blizzard. For those of you back at home, a blizzard is when there is so much snow, there is no visibility. Life as an expatriate in NY is hard enough, going through a blizzard doesn’t make it any easier.

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I unfortunately discovered this very rapidly during my first winter in NY. From my experience, the only positive I can offer is that you get a day off from work or school because basically the entire city shut down. 

As I am typing this, there is another snow storm going on right outside my window. The wind is blowing so hard, that my dog is hiding under the cover and I can’t see the bridge from my terrace that is a half mile from my house. I remember my first storm as an expatriate in NYC very well, I thought it would be fun to go out and experience it first end, that was a bad idea. I got so wet that the next day I came down with a terrible cold. Snowstorm here can sometimes last a day or even more. They can be intense and the city usually takes a few days to get back on its feet.

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Over time, you will begin to figure out that besides the news announcing a storm, you should really take it seriously when the schools announce they will not be opening because of the weather. I personally would recommend watching the weather channel during this time of year, it has the most timely information and will keep you uptaded and prepared. Preparation is important especially when it comes to food. If the storm is bad enough, you probably won’t be leaving the house for a day or two, and should prepare for this eventuality. Between the wind, snow and poor visibility it is hard to go anywhere. Plus, the streets can become quite treacherous. If you don’t have the right gear, just being outside can be very scary.

The worst part for me, isn’t really the storm itself. In fact, it can be sort of fun to be stuck at home with nowhere to go. You can cook a nice meal, watch a movie or take a nap. The part that I don’t like is after it’s all done and the clean up begins. The streets are so full of snow and ice, you literally sometime have to walk like a penguin. Otherwise you are taking a risk of falling on your face and breaking your neck. Just the way they clean the street can be a nightmare. People shovel small path for everybody to walk through, yet you can barely put one foot in front of the other… In a city like NY, I guess I expected a little bit better.

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To avoid the similar struggle like me, I would recommend a few things if you are moving to the city or just traveling here during this time of the year. First and most importantly invest in the proper winter gear. This is no joke, you are going to need it. You need to dress in layers. Besides a warm coat, gloves, hat, a scarf and even a light puffer jacket, that you can wear under your coat. I would also recommend to buy  a few nice warm shirts and underwear. A nice warm pair of boots with a rubber sole and some nice warm socks will help too. These tips are the difference between being miserable and being comfortable and safe.

If you traveling here from another country and that you are not used to rough winters, you really need to be prepared.

I know that most of the time it can seem that the weather channel or the news is exaggerating, in fact my mother in law believes it is a conspiracy between the media and supermarkets.

However, it is important to be safe and prepared. Freezing, falling or getting sick will not contribute to making your experience during a winter storm any better. Other than that enjoy your snow day, cook a big pot of soup, binge out on your favorite shows, take care of some choirs…

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New York Women’s march 2018

The weather this weekend was beautiful, so I decided to go do some exploring on the Upper West Side. I had a list of a few spots in mind and I was determined to get it all done. As I mentioned recently in a previous article, the MTA is just a mess during the weekend, let alone when you have a protest march in town. You really have to be courageous and a little crazy to try to go anywhere. However, I had come too far, so as I made my way through the madding crowd at Colombus Circle, it wasn’t long before I figured out that I stumbled into the women’s march and that this would be an interesting experience. I decided to try to obverse the protest from a better vantage point at the top of the stairs of The Museum of Natural History on 81 street and Central Park West. From my left to right, I could see thousands and thousands of people. Women as well as men and lots and lots of children. Some people wore pink hat, some people wore rainbow hats. Everybody seemed to be carrying a protest sign against Donald Trump. This particular march in NYC was one of over 250 similar protest planned around the world this weekend.

I think it is important for me to take a moment to try to explain to you what is going on in the land of the American Dream. It is important to try to understand what is going on here, and how it affects our everyday life. Being an expatriate as well as permanent resident here, I do not have the right to vote. I totally understand why that is the case, but it doesn’t stop me from offering my opinion: this President is making everybody’s life a living hell. I normally do not talk about politics often if at all, because I personally think that politic like religion is a very personal and tough subject to discuss with people. They tend to get very emotional and irrational and it can literally ruin a friendship or family relationship.

When I arrived, I thought at the beginning the march was for the #MeToo movement. I’m sure you have all heard about this movement. Doesn’t matter where you are from or what your feelings are, it is obvious that there is a massive movement across the world to hold powerful men accountable for abusing women. As we all also know, this particular President is not immune from similar accusations.

However, while I  was there, I noticed that there were lots of signs about the Dreamers and immigrants that this President wants to exclude. The Dreamers, if you are not aware are children that were brought to America illegally by their parents when they were too small to have their own choice. There is no need to say that these children and families have tried to integrate into the society and build a life that they can be proud of. To me personally, as an expatriate I found The President’s actions to be despicable and somewhat desperate.

These are just two of the topics people were marching about, but there were hundreds  and thousands of people that were there this weekend with their own personal reasons, whether it be the dreamers, victims of sexual harassment, equal pay, abortion rights, the travel ban… It is safe to say that the majority of Americans are fed up and frustrated by all of this. Whatever personal reason brought them to this march on this gorgeous January day, they all joined forces to make their voices heard, which to me as an expatriate and observer is the fundamental principal of living in a democratic country.

This President seems to live in his own reality TV show. There was in excess of more  than 120,000 people in the streets of NY according to the Mayor’s office this weekend. You could feel that people were feeling empowered and feeling that energy was an amazing experience. People were festive, energized and excited even while they were protesting against very serious issues. Everybody look like they were happy to be able to meet and share with people of similar points of view. Walking to the crowd, you could feel the combine strength of all these people as they gathered along Central Park West on a massive display of unity.

I don’t like big crowds and honestly I’ve never been a rally or a protest before. This march was a first for me and the fact that I was in my adoptive country made it that much more special and educational. Since Trump got elected, listening to the news on a daily basis can be exhausting. How can a man like him rise to the level of the Presidency in the leading democracy in the world? What kind of example are American settings for the rest of the world? How can somebody accused of sexual harassment by over 10 women actually be elected President? The United States of America is the country that represent the American Dream.  The idea that if you work hard enough and play by the rules, anything can be possible, unfortunately it feels over the last year that ideal has change. I felt pride taking part in this demonstration with the other American citizens, expressing themselves and demanding to be heard. It is apparent somebody is trying very hard to divide us, whether it is along religion, ethnicity or politics. It felt good to stand with other people and take pride in our unified voices. Some pictures I took speaks volumes for themselves, please take a moment to look into the faces of these people, read some of their signs and maybe not feel so alone and frustrated. I’m glad I went.

 

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