Alright ladies and gentlemen, today was my first day of Orientation here in Tarrytown NY! I am, again, extreeeemely tired because it was a very long day so I’m gonna try and make this as coherent as possible but I don’t make any promises.
I started off the day at 06:20 when my alarm went off. That was 10 minutes before we got the wake up call but I wanted to have a little extra time to wake up and get ready. We had breakfast at 7, which is a real feat for me because I rarely eat breakfast at all. So I was pleased with myself for having a bowl of fruit and half a bagel. Which was yummy by the way. I do have to say that American bread is really dense. It’s not unlike the pre-baked bread that we have in The Netherlands that you have to finish off in the oven before you can eat it. But anyway, it was good.
Then at 7:45 the program started. Our Orientation course is given by a woman named Joan, who is brilliant and funny and should be teaching courses on how to do presentations. She is able to fill a several hour long program while still being to the point and funny and sharing true stories that make it all a bit more realistic. First we talked about the ‘three no’s’ (no’s? nos? noes? I don’t knows) and culture shock. The three no’s are pretty straight forward: don’t do drugs, don’t abuse alcohol and don’t abuse the children. No surprises there right? There were some warnings about being careful about realizing the amount of alcohol in a drink and the legal dangers of, for example, driving a drunk person who is under 21. It was all good to know.
Then we had lunch which was great. It was salad with beef tacos for me. Really really yummy. We had to be back in the conference hall by 1 with out tour things ready. So money, coat, gloves and everything. But before the tour left at 4, we first had a three hour program to get through about the difference in cultures and experiencing culture shock. Culture shock isn’t just the difference in our culture with the American culture though, and this was news to me. It’s also the phenomenon of the extreme homesickness and uneasiness you feel after you’ve been there for a week or 2. Apparently many people go through these steps: Honeymoon (everything is great and wonderful and lovely and awesome), Culture Shock (I want to go hooooommmeeeeeee), Cultural Adaptation (okay maybe it’s not so bad) and finally Acceptance (I’ve dubbed it this way because I can’t remember the actual term she used but it’s: I LOVE IT HERE AND I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE). She shared with us a letter she got from a girl she had had at an orientation a few years back who had a really really rough start. She had left her boyfriend and basically was miserable from day one. But with Joan’s help, she stuck it out through that initial period and went on to have the best year of her life. This was really good to hear. Helped me realize that even if it isn’t perfect in the beginning, you should give it a proper go before deciding to leave.
We talked a lot about different cultures and which events we’ll be missing. I named that I’ll be missing the first ‘King’s day’ in The Netherlands, when the King will come to my hometown and it’s basically one big party. We talked a lot and laughed a lot and it was really great.
Then, at four, we left for the Tour. And it was absolutely brilliant! We had 3 big stops: the Rockefeller Center where we were able to go to the roof and see over the city. And of course the tree was there! It was very very pretty and enchanting and I couldn’t quite believe I was actually there. There were Christmas carols playing and people skating and it was basically a scene straight from a movie. So good.
Next we went to Time Square! I wish we had had more time to walk around there because all the really good stuff was a bit beyond where we were able to go. It make it clear for me, though, that I definitely need to come back to NYC and see it all when I have the time to properly look around. We went to the M&M store, which is
ridiculous awesome. A whole, 3 story store for just M&M products. How amazing is that? And we saw Broadway, the big advertising screens and the New Year’s Eve Ball that will drop at midnight. When I saw all the musical posters and advertisements, I was basically in heaven. I loved it so much. I wish I could have seen a show. I did buy a NYFD t-shirt at one of the stores there. It will probably become one of those really comfy sleep shirts. I really like it.
Then after that we went to see the Statue of Liberty from a distance. It was really far away so unfortunately I couldn’t make any coherent pictures in the dark. It was mesmerizing though, to see the actual Statue of Liberty and the skyline and Ellis island and everything. I really really want to visit Ellis Island sometime.
After that, we went back to the hotel but nearly everyone fell asleep before we got there, including me. It was a very tiresome day. As will tomorrow, I’m guessing.
The tour between the stops was amazing as well. Doug, our tour guide, was really very good and funny and informative. I tried to take some pictures from the bus but me not being able to use flash and the bus moving all the time, I didn’t get really good pictures from that. So you’re just going to have to believe me that NY is awesome and you should visit it. So there. Spend your money on a ticket ASAP.
Well it’s time for me to go to bed now. G’night and we’ll talk tomorrow!