On one hand, it seems like just yesterday that we checked the tally sheet as three young fellas efficiently brought up our 200-plus boxes, setting the large furniture pieces in place before anything else. They took a little over six hours to accomplish what would have taken a team of eight men in Malaysia to complete in two days. One could argue that in Malaysia, labour work is far more tedious due to the hot, humid weather. Then again, moving day for us in New York was on a cold December morning, so cold that one is often unaware of cuts caused by tough corrugated hardboard boxes during all that unpacking, flattening and discarding.
1. Never had Yahoo's weather app been so significant in our daily routine. Back in tropical cities like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we wear the same clothes all year round. Here in New York, we consult the app every night before committing ourselves to tomorrow's plans. Even during winter, we have different footwear depending on the street conditions - cold and dry, cold and wet, rain, sleet, snow, and so on. Some things are not worth the effort when the streets are covered in snow, accumulated over the past days and hence look nothing like anyone's idea of "White Christmas".
3. Thanking the New Yorker way. I was caught off-guard with this. The first time it happened, I thought maybe it was due to the person's background. And then I started paying attention to people everywhere from the stores to the streets, even the NYPD officers. Here's how it goes: "Thank you." "Mm-hmm." Hang on, is that just New Yorkers or Americans in general? I should watch more TV series for that. The only one I follow religiously these days is Homeland but it won't help much.
5. Online almost-everything. I think JL is rather lucky that I am not that much of a shopaholic. Otherwise... *shudder*! In addition to Amazon (books at a fraction off Barnes & Noble price-tags), I love Fresh Direct for delivering heavy or bulky groceries right to our door and they are always on time. We save the "specialty" items - bread, cheese, olives, cold cuts, fresh produce - for our weekend trips to the supermarket. Not forgetting the mobile apps: OpenTable (restaurant reservations), Seamless (food delivery), CityMapper (street navigation for NYC).
JL and I spent our first few months identifying comfort spots - makan and kopi places that we like, the church, convenient locations for daily necessities like the bank and grocery stores, the main subway stations - and then venturing around the respective neighborhoods, and finally stepping out of Manhattan into Brooklyn. I have fond memories of us taking the buses blindly just to see where we end up, which is a very good way of seeing Manhattan on street-level (my favorite is the M5).
It was only recently that we started going for more museums, musicals and sports events, largely thanks to JL's brother who brought his family here on vacation. Isn't that always the case? -- Living in a place and never doing the touristy stuff? I remember we only took the Duck & Hippo tours during our final weeks in Singapore many years ago.
But I doubt we're going up the Empire State Building nor the Rock anytime soon.