Picking The Right Country

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Picking The Right Country

“When you move from one country to another you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some things that are worse, and there is nothing you can do about it.”Bill Bryson

If you are planning to live abroad by choice and not by a job posting, it can be an overwhelming decision where to live. When I fall in love with a place, I often ask myself if I can live there.  A lot of times the answer is no. It’s beautiful but it gets cold in the winter and I am way too used to California weather. I love hot tropical climates – but would  I want that all the time? They are usually accompanied by rainy seasons.  Beautiful places can be too isolated, too crowded or too many  tourists in the summer. While it’s fun to use hand motions, in an emergency wouldn’t I want someone to speak English? I’m getting older so I do not want to be a day’s drive from the nearest hospital. Will not having a support system in place be too hard? 

We will definitely rent something big enough to have guests so our friends and family can come visit. Making friends in a new country without work or school will be hard.  Quarantine has prepared us for that. 

There are some places I can rule out right away. I’m allergic to smoke and pollution so Southeast Asia and China are out. 

I would definitely like to live somewhere where the cost of living is less, not more than Los Angeles. Most of the countries on that list have cold winters so they were already out. Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, France, Iceland and Japan were not a consideration. Unfortunately. Australia, New Zealand, Israel and the Bahamas are taken off here as well. 

I do need access to a city. One of the things quarantine has taught me is that I don’t have to be busy all the time. Living  in a beach town could work now. I can’t live my life without access to culture – museums, theatre, good restaurants but I don’t need so much of it now. 

It’s going to be hard to pick the right place. The “grass  is always greener” mentality plays in here. Running away from home rarely ends well so we have to research and try to make the right choice for us. Luckily, I have plenty of time now, to do this.

Stay safe,

JAZ

The City – New York

The City   –   New York

“New York City has finally hired women to pick up the garbage, which makes sense to me, since, as I’ve discovered, a good bit of being a woman consists of picking up garbage.” Ann Quindlen

The city was what one called it if you lived in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, New Jersey or Long Island. If you were a certain kind of girl growing up in Brooklyn, everything in the city (Manhattan) was better. I rode the subway for an hour to get my hair cut at Bergdorf Goodman.  I would come home and rewash it and blow dry it the way I wanted it to look. I was sure that anything I did in the city would make me chic and cool. A hamburger in the city just tasted better to me.

I knew that if I lived in the city all my problems would be solved. I got my wish. My parents got divorced and we moved to the city. We were no longer bridge and tunnel people or the family we were before. I still had my Brooklyn accent but I was ready for my life to completely change.

I would finally be a grown up. I would kill water bugs and cockroaches without screaming for help. I would not be afraid of crazy homeless people. I would shop at Gristedes, Dean and Deluca and Zabars instead of Waldbaums or the A and P.  I would walk to theatres, museums, restaurants, clubs, bars, Bloomingdales and Bendels.  I would take taxis everywhere.

I actually stopped riding the subway when I lived in Manhattan. Growing up riding the efficient yet terrifying crime ridden NY subway daily has left me with a fear of subways. (Pre Mayor Guiliani who cleaned up the city). Commuting is a way of life for every New York kid. I was commuting to school from the time I was eleven years old. I saw muggings, heard gunshots, dealt with the tough kids, gropers and saw people drunk, violent or crazy on a daily basis.The bystander’s avoid eye contact indifference I have from growing up in NY is something I still work on. The street smarts I learned there help a lot when traveling in foreign countries.

But I love everything about Manhattan. I love crowded streets, vertical architecture, beautiful well dressed people, whistling obscenity yelling construction workers, downtown black uniforms, the pace, the lights, skyscrapers, pretzel carts, noise, Chinese food, coats, Sunday Times, different languages all talking simultaneously, unfriendliness, Broadway, cultural activities,  galleries, museums, coffee shops, not pristine streets and the anonymity.

Living in New York City is not an easy, comfortable life. You fight the elements daily – traffic, crime, crowds, weather and indifference. You do not have the sensation that you live in a protected bubble.  You are always aware of potential dangers out in the world. It is not for everyone.

You may not be able to keep the world out, but you get the entire world. You are exposed to people of every type, kind and ethnicity, who teach you about how many different ways there are to live this life. You have access to great opportunities as a result of your location. You never feel there is a place in the world where more exciting things are happening than where you are.

A place does not change your life. It is what you do with it and how you react to it which causes change. There are certain places where it is easier to find out who you really are and what your uniqueness is in the world. For me New York was such a place. I look back at it fondly because it was the place where I was so young and anything was possible.

Fly Safe,

JAZ