Sunday, February 03, 2013

The First Day

The day kind of started at 4.30 this morning: the jetlagged brain leaps into action and has to be forcibly restrained with slow deep breathing and sheer determination to keep the eyes closed and the body horizontal. I was still awake, I think, around 6.00 but the next thing I knew Joel was knocking on the door saying it was 12.30.

The flight over was very smooth, though Qantas is now clearly economising on food and luxuries. I missed my chamomile tea... But what is normally the worst part of the flight — sitting bolt upright, desperate with twitchy aching legs on a domestic connection from LAX across to the east coast — is much easier and faster when it's done in a big 747. Travelling with family is so much easier than travelling on your own. Who cares if a son or partner climbs over you in the middle of the night? Not me. And can you leave your bags in the airport when you go to the loo? Yes you can!

Our apartment here, which we found through sabbaticalhomes.com, is fabulous. Up on 108th and Broadway, the streets are much quieter than the theatre district where we stayed in 2009. We have a small bedroom, a small bathroom and small kitchen, but a decent sized loungeroom and separate study. There are three desks for working at. And there is an upright piano. Our landlord is a guitarist and music professor. It's also spotlessly clean. I will sort out photos soon, I hope. We're up on the second floor, and the apartment is an L-shape, built around central courtyards and inlets. Not a huge amount of natural light, but it's warm and cosy. It's good being in a place with books and music.

We are also travelling with a friend who's with us for a few days, visiting her daughter who's here on exchange but who has become quite unwell. So our joys are tempered by concern for this other family.

The three of us have just walked down Riverside Park for thirty blocks. I love that we can walk uninterrupted by the traffic lights at the end of every block, and I can see myself running there (with hat, gloves, and long pants, of course). We walked about thirty blocks, then stopped for black bean soup and quesadillas, before Paul and I came back, walking along Broadway, to meet our landlord's friend and pick up the second key. Joel is off wandering on his own, re-orienting himself.

It's now 4.30 pm, and I think we might now head out again, to get the last of the afternoon light and do some shopping for food: apparently the markets around here are pretty good. I have borrowed Robyn's fabulous coat; I have a fleecy hat my mother made me years ago; I have fleecy gloves I bought in New York in 2005; and I have a lambswool scarf I bought in Edinburgh in 2000. It's 29º or -2º. Not too windy; no rain; no snow. So with the right gear, it's nothing but bracingly pleasant.

Here's our building:http://streeteasy.com/nyc/building/the-manchester

I'll see if I can link to googlemaps to show where we are:
http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=255+W+108th+St,+New+York,+10025,+United+States&hl=en&ll=40.795358,-73.961935&spn=0.042041,0.057421&geocode=FQOabgIdClqX-w&hnear=255+W+108th+St,+New+York,+10025,+United+States&t=m&z=14:


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