Thursday, November 30, 2006

So, How Was It? part 1

The habit of writing seems to be one that is hard to establish but so easy to loose. Having recovered from my organism’s complete refusal to accept its original time zone, from getting back to work, and from going through 3 CDs of New York photographs with every single person I know, it’s high time to return to my badly neglected blog.

It makes no sense anymore to recount in detail our activities during the trip, as I failed to do more than just scribble a few words in my notebook the whole time we were in the US. So I will try instead to write about my impressions and observations and make some comparisons between here and there (this might take some time).

Although most of it was tourism and pure fun, these two weeks were very important to us in a more substantial way. After we decided, due to a fortunate turn of events last year, to move (at least for a while) to NY, we needed, in a sense, to verify our decision, and see how feasible and realistic our choice was. So how does it all seem now? After all, America is supposed to be the land of opportunity.

And in my view, it is. I like America. A lot.

Before I elaborate, it is probably time for a little disclaimer: I understand New York is not America. The US is more than a country, it’s practically a continent. Even within smaller countries, differences between various parts are huge. London is quite unlike other parts of England I’ve seen. Belgrade has little in common with Serbia proper. Besides, how much can you really experience in two weeks? Tourism is not real life. It covers only the most pleasant a city/country has to offer.

On the other hand, I have to admit I’ve had some prejudice when it comes to America, especially as a potential residence. All our lives we are bombarded with stories of America as an inferior, wannabe Europe, a land of racist fat people who eat junk-food and drive to their own mailbox. I knew that was not true, and I’ve heard many wonderful things as well, but on some level I was burdened by it.

As I said, I really like America…

to be continued...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jet Lag

Back in Belgrade. Back at work. Back on the web.
Disoriented, late for work, exhausted and excited, happy and depressed.
New York was all I expected it to be and more. Big, fast and chaotic, but nevertheless warm, charming and friendly. The history of cinematography has really done it justice and I fully understand what makes this place the center of the world.
To the people who have been visiting this page, I apologize for not posting. The internet connection at our friend’s house in NY failed. Admittedly it was also a perfect excuse to not spend time in front of a computer without feeling guilty.
I’m glad to be able to see family and friends, but Belgrade looks so tiny and unimpressive. I realized the best whay to beat jet lag would have been not to stay.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

First Impressions

Running around these last few days I just couldn’t find time to sit down and organize my thoughts. It is a rainy midday in New York City and here’s a, hopefully, short recap the first few DKNY days.
I really love it here. I somehow knew I would. On Friday coming back from work, I stepped of a stranded trolleybus in the middle of Slavija circle. The first snow caused Belgrade’s traffic system to collapse, but as I headed home on foot, cold and wet, past angry, cursing drivers I nevertheless had a huge grin on my face. I just couldn’t wait to come.
Appropriately for traveling to the city that never sleeps, we didn't get any rest in the 30 hour day that took us from Belgrade to New York. After finishing packing very late and only a few hours of restless sleeping, we got up before dawn to get a cab to the airport. Appropriately, the Scissor Sisters were playing happily on the radio. A short delay, one aerial view of the Eiffel tower in the mist, several plastic-wrapped meals and an ocean later, we landed. Oh, again appropriately, the in-flight movie was the Devil wears Prada.
First impressions were a bit strange, though. After the architectural splendor of Charles De Gaulle, JFK seemed gray and drab. The long line of tired and nervous travelers waiting to give their fingerprints didn’t really improve the atmosphere. Our friend was waiting, fortunately, so we got in the car immediately and hit the roads. I knew America was the land of cars but I was still a bit shocked. First of all, the cars are huge, and they are everywhere. As we drove, for what seemed like hours in the awful traffic along this and that expressway, motorway, highway or parkway I wasn't all that impressed, but as we passed by the East River and saw the lights of Manhattan in all their glory I was bought.

We got off the highway into a whole different world. Brooklyn is lovely. Carroll Gardens is a nice quiet neighborhood with beautiful brick buildings, small shops, good restaurants, and friendly people who say hi in the streets. Walking around the city these last few days, I realized New York was like a series of small cozy towns hiding between the streets of the huge metropolis.
Not everything was great though. I managed to get my wallet stolen. I was terribly upset. I didn’t have too much money, but with no money and no Metro Card we had to walk for hours in the weak rain, through some not very representative neighborhoods to get home.
Despite that, I’m very happy that we’re here. We decided to first handle all the formalities and then let go and enjoy ourselves. So far, we finished all of Ivan’s paperwork, and visited most of the schools I’m interested in. Today we’ll brave the rain and finish the rest of the work.
Although we’ve been busy with other things, in the process we still got to walk around Manhattan’s avenues, see the Marathon runners in Central Park, and the flags fluttering at the UN, and go to Williamsburg where walking along one street you move back through time, from the hip artsy neighborhood to the orthodox Jewish community. We sat in Washington square park where a hard core band played and little girls in pink coats happily jumped around. There’s so much to feel and see and do and everywhere it is just bursting with life.
I think I could get used to this.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Start Spreading the News...
Reluctant Dragon is off to New York. As of this weekend, and for the next two weeks or so, under this heading, you will be able to read all about Ivan’s and my experiences from the big city.
The title is, if I do say so myself, cleverly coined from our surname initials.
This visit is mostly tourism, but also some sort of fact finding mission for great plans that lie in the future – getting the feel of the place and finishing up some business which could eventually take this blog over the Atlantic for a much longer time.
Wish us luck and stay tuned.