Moving INTO New York

A crazy project

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07/11/2014
di MintoNY
Commenti disabilitati su My way to work

My way to work

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When I was in Rome, the largest Italian city I have ever lived, getting to my University took me 40 minutes by tram. When I was in New York it took me 20 minutes by tube from my home in the Upper West Side to Midtown.

So I’m not used to long distance daily trip, but as they say there is a first time for everything. Now that I live in London it takes me 1hour and 40 minutes to get to work.

From my place, in West London, post code W5, I have several options to get to Bankside (in Southwark borough), but the one I prefer is probably not the fastest one.

According to the official website of Transport of London, I have two fast different routes, 1 hour 10 minutes each circa.

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The only problem with these solutions is that they do not know ME.

First of all, I like reading while in the train and, consequently, I hate changing trains.

Second of all, if you want to read in peace in the train, you seriously need a seat and London trains are always too crowded in the morning. The perfect solution for me is going to Ealing Broadway where another Central line train terminates and it means that in the morning every 15 minutes a train gets in the station and gets empty to leave again and I have a guaranteed seat every morning.

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Third and last thing, I love bridges. Getting to St Paul’s tube station instead that Southwark, I find myself in front of the amazing St Paul’s cathedral and then I have to cross the Millennium Bridge, which is amazing because it’s a pedestrian bridge with the Tower Bridge and the Strand on the left and the East Side on the right, with seagulls flying peacefully all over you, in front of the Tate Modern… It’s a 5 minute walk over the bridge and my daily Good morning to London.

As for everything else in life, even deciding how to get to work is a matter of priorities. Half an hour more or less of sleep is a personal decision and when it comes to me, everyday, I prefer to get up 30 minutes early and enjoy my reading, St Paul’s view and the energy that the Millennium Bridge gives me every single time I cross it.

Of course, then, the perfume of men’s cologne of the “walking suits” that work in Bank (the tube station after St Paul’s) is just the icing on the cake!

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05/28/2014
di MintoNY
Commenti disabilitati su Job interviews and Zips

Job interviews and Zips

Let’s talk about job interviews.

Whatever it’s a café or a business firm, every time I have an interview, I want to get there prepared. I spend time making researches about brand, company, products and even about interviewer.Furthermore, I dress according to the specific required dressing code (“smart business” for firms, “dressy-casual” for restaurants and bars). Yes, I do my best to impress who I have in front of and around me, trying to let the interviewer know me and see as much as possible of my self.

Nevertheless, yesterday, I showed a little bit too much of my self.

I’m not the grey-jacket-and-black-pants kind of professional woman, so I usually prefer a simple dress in neutral color.This time a picked an embroidered beige dress with a zip fastener along all my back. Damned zip.

I walked in the building, went upstairs and introduced my self to the receptionist ( a 20 something boy). I sited down in the waiting room reading Wired magazine and waiting for Mr. A. I was feeling great (finding Wired Magazine in a waiting room is always a good sign to a technology lover as I am).

When Mr. A. arrived he invited me to follow him in another room, crossing all the flat, in my embroidered beige dress.

During the interview I was comfortable (as I always am during interviews): it was just a chat about who I am, what I have done and what I can do (something I am really prepared about). But but but… Interviews are not only about making them know me, to me interviews are about know the company as well and , in this case, the company was Mr A.

… and he was distracted and smiling in a funny but annoying way. Was it because of something I was saying? Was he not interested in what I was talking about? I was there looking at me, talking an thinking “this is a Harvard educated man, he is professional… he looks professional but there’s something going on here”.

Trust me, when you invest time and competence getting ready for an interview it’s not nice to sit in from of someone practically chortling in from of you.

The interview was over. I had been my self, I felt good about it but just a little bit disappointed by Mr A’s behavior. I mean, what the hell was his problem?

Before letting me go he invited me to complete a psychological test in the waiting room and goodbye. Perplexed I sited on the chair and suddenly I understood. Wearing a dress you are not supposed to have a physical contact between the chair and your back’s skin, don’t you?

Yes, exactly: my back zip was unzipped. Yes, exactly: I crossed the flat and have had the interview wearing an unzipped dress. Yes, exactly: people in that office have seen my not skinny back, my black bra and probably my tights as well.

Yes, exactly: that’s what Mr A. was probably laughing about.

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To be honest, after I had tried to fix the zip, I spent five seconds thinking about changing my name, identity and move to Kenya. Then I simply accepted that on May 26th , 2014 in London, I had made a complete fool of my self, like never before. It’s been like a grief and I went through all five stages.

Denial. “Are you sure he noticed the unzip dress?”

Anger. “Well, he should have said something, he has been unprofessional laughing of me instead of with me”

Bargaining. “Ok, he was a man, so probably he was embarrassed as well”

Depression. “Who cares about the dress… I’m just sorry because I like the position and he won’t probably give me the job”

Acceptance. “What is done is done.. and probably was meant to be. Let’s laugh about it!

Of course, the day after such a thing the feeling is like hangover: “Did it really happen?”.

Laughing about the event with my sister, she told me that Kate Middleton had a similar accident.  Yes, her ass is probably nicer than mine, but it’s still comforting to know that I’m not alone.

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05/12/2014
di MintoNY
Commenti disabilitati su London: the first week

London: the first week

A lot of things can happen in one week, especially if you planned to move to another country.

Day 01, Friday.

My journey began on May 02, 2014 when I left from Naples International Airport. My dad and his partner took me by car, having a Nutella croissant for breakfast trying to avoid talking about me leaving.

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British airways took me from Naples to London Gatwick (and I deeply love British airways: seats are always comfortable, my flight has been very quite and the food was good).

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First: baggages reclaim

Second: information point (where they gave me the smartest subway map I have ever seen. It’s so small that I can carry it in my wallet!)

Third: First capital train ticket to Queens Road Peckam. I was supposed to change at Londron Bridge, but then someone of the stuff suggested me to change at Clapham junction (for £11,50 instead of £14,00!!!).

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Almost two hours later, I was home.

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Well, “home” is a very big word. The landlord never came and I’ve been standing out of the door for 2 hours, under the rain with my suitcases. At lease the wifi was working, so even if I was out of the house I had the possibility to text and call my family and friends (but I will tell you about the house in another post).

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At 5:30 PM one of the other renters came home and let me in. I spent the rest of the evening looking for another place on spareroom.co.uk and other websites.

 Day 02, Saturday.

Lucky me, the second day was sunny, so I was ready to get out and starting to discover London (one piece at the time).

First: English coins. I mean, it’s easy to recognize English bills (just like in any other Country you can read the big number printed on it), but with coins it can be a little bit more complicated.

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Second: Oyster Card. The first time you get an Oyster card they will ask you £5,00 (but will also give you a folder for your card!). Then it’s up to you, you can chose to add 7 Day, monthly or longer period Travelcards to your Oyster card.

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Third: UK phone number. I had done some researches in Italy so I had already decided to buy an O2 SIM card. I took the “pay as you go” (the option with no contract). For £15,00/month I have 75minutes, 500 texts and 1G of data. Not bad.

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Four: Still look for another room. I took an appointment in the post code area W5, near to the Hanger Lane Station.

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Day 03, Sunday.

Saturday I went to see a room that, in the end, I decided to take. At 8 in the morning of Sunday I sent a text to the agent: “Hi Misha. I take the room, 100% sure. Please text me back to confirm you received my message“. At 2PM I was in front of the house waiting for Misha, the real estate agent, ready to sign the contract and pay the deposit and one month rent advance.

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So, room taken: I had a new home address in a clean, safe, nice house!

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Sometimes it’s karma, sometimes it’s from the Universe or from God… anyway I always enjoy good signs and after I signed the contract I saw a ladybird!!!

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Ok then, I had a new naked room and needed to buy a few things before moving to the new place. Besides I still had a week to spend in Peckham, so the least that I could do was to discover the area.

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Day 04, Monday.

Monday was May 5th and one of the roommates was a Mexican girl who decided to give an easy party to celebrate the “Cinco de Mayo”, a Mexican celebration that this year coincided with bank holiday, so everyone was at home. She cooked for us and we ate and drank and chatted.

Day 05, Tuesday.

I was still making some shopping for the new room (for example I needed a pillow. Lucky me, pillows where on sale for £6,90 instead of £8) and I was getting ready for the next step: looking for a job. So I went to the JobCentre Plus of Peckham where they told me to take an appointment to request a National Insurance Number.

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In the afternoon my friend (an Italian girl that has lived in London for almost three or four years, and that I met in New York) proposed me to have dinner together. Of course I was (and still am) penniless so I texted her back proposing a coffee, but in the end dinner was on her (“I have two coupons for some free chicken!”). My first night out!

We met at Oxford Circus (my first time ever in this area of London!)…

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… and walked around going to Nando’s (where we had dinner)

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In the evening we walked from Nando’s to SoHo and then I finally saw the Big (not so big) Ben!

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It was a quite, nice night!

Day 07, Wednesday.

Boring day, printing several copies of my CV and cleaning the new place.

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Day 08, Thursday.

At 3PM I had an appointment at the JobCentre Plus in Camden to request the NI number. I was looking for the centre and I was sure I had the correct address, so I went in the office at Camden High Street, number 96. It wasn’t the JobCentre, but a bank! Apologizing for the mistake, I asked them directions to get to the JobCentre (it was just across the street!!), but then a person of the staff asked me “do you have a bank account?” and I: “No, I tried to open one in several different banks, but they didn’t allow me because I don’t have a job yet”. So the woman told me “ok, no problem. You can buy one here, even if you don’t have a job yet. It’s free”.

I didn’t want to be late for the appointment at the job centre and I wanted time to collect some information about the bank, so I left saying that I was going to come back in an hour.

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Passport, where are you from, what do you, have you studied, what do you want to do in UK, where do you live etc… After few typical questions and a nice chat with the Pakistan employee (who kept smiling to me telling that I was so polite, wishing me the best of luck), I had finally applied to request a NI number.

Ok, let’s go back to the bank. I asked about May (this was the name of the woman who proposed me to open a bank account in the first place). I asked all the questions I had (fees? Debit card? ATM fees? Internet banking? etc…). After half an hour I had opened a bank account (and now I have £20 pounds on it, not much but it’s a start!!!!).

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Week number one: a busy one. Flight, UK phone number, Oyster card, new accommodation haunting, new relationships with strangers, get used to a new currency, understand how the London public transportation works, request a National Insurance Number, Open a bank account, One night out! All these things could seem easy and fast to do, but I’m actually proud of my self and very grateful to God!

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05/10/2014
di MintoNY
Commenti disabilitati su NYC basic tips and etiquette

NYC basic tips and etiquette

New Yorkers are tough people. Don’t ever expect to be understood or tollerate just because you are new in town or a tourist: if you won’t respect their rules they will tell you, in the worst way they’ll find.

But don’t worry, you can train yourself to survive in the city with “NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette”, an amazing book by  Nathan W Pyle.

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You can buy the printed  book on Amazon here.

You can also buy the animated book on iTunes here.

Follow the Facebook page here.

 

About the author

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Nathan W Pyle (Photo from his Facebook profile)

From Kettering, Ohio, he lives in New York

website: www.nathanwpyle.blogspot.co.uk

email: nathanwpyle@gmail.com

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04/30/2014
di MintoNY
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Chatting with a friend in front of a raspberry smoothie

In a scene of my favorite movie, “The legend of 1900“, they say that a man will never be poor as far as he has a story to tell. Yesterday I understood the meaning of this quote.

I was eating a raspberry smoothie with my friend Cetti,when she asked me about my family. Do you remember when you were kids? The typical first conversations you used to have with new friends? I used to tell them about my parents’ jobs, the games I liked to play and the Barbies I had. But the more I grew up and the more I notice how the conversations with people just met change. In fact Cetti and I have been friends for almost four years, but yesterday we realized I hadn’t ever talked to her about the big story behind my family.

The story of my family is a kind of tv show with schemes, fights, deaths and love… and I was smiling looking at the enraptured look of my friend while I was telling about how my mom and dad felt in love. Telling a story is a powerfull tool, because it let you make people and feellings to live again, people that are here no more and feelings that have been burried by too many misunderstood events.

While going on describing the story of my parents, my friend kept commenting “this is love”. And it was, and in a kind of way it will always be.

My dad and my mom are no longer together because she passed away a few years ago and now he is living a new relationship with a woman I really like her, because she takes care of my dad and loves both my sister and me. Anyway,  It’s always a kind of consolation when my dad tells me that my mom was and will always be the love of his life.

Life isn’t easy and love is even more complicated. One of the things I learned from my parents is that love is never enough, even if it is true deep love. You need to work hard on your relationship, built it day by day with trust in yourself and your partner, being a team and never compete one against each other… and it’s really difficult to remember all of these during the everyday life.

Mom, dad, this is for your Love…

{“Tornerò”, this is my parents’ song}

What about you? What about your parents? Have you been lucky enough to find the love of your life… and most important, have you been courage enough to fight for it?