Published: January 8th 2009December 19th 2008
As I gaze at our window, the green trees have turned bright yellow. Six months have past since our departure from Manila. Time flies so quickly like now leaves are falling from the trees. I have took sneak peaks of four states of America in the past few months. New York, Virginia, and Washington DC and not to forget New Jersey, our state that I have not yet fully ventured but visited Belmar & Bradley Beach part of the Monmouth County , Newark (former Capital of NJ). The events rapidly took place leaving me no time to organize my thoughts. Only my pictures could help me put things in chronological order. I will try to reminisce my insights.
June 25 - Tito Chito together with his daughter Katrina & friends came from their home in Edison, (a township of Middlesex County) to pick me up at Neptune City which was along the way to Six Flags. It is the largest theme park, water park and drive-through wild animal safari in the US with 3 parks in a 2,200 acres. Here, Tito Chito and I strolled through this huge park and tried some rides. I enjoyed the cable car ride
- being able to view the wide horizon of the green park. What I found hilariously sadistic and fun is the water blaster gun, wherein we waited for the people from the roller coaster survive the splash but gets squirted mercilessly by strategically located water beams just by inserting a quarter! That is money well spent!
June 28 - Federico’s at Belmar. I tasted my first deep dish fully loaded pizza with Val’s co-interns in Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Left to right: Guru, Deepa, Eva, Reut, Pauline, Val and I.
July 3 - Bamboo leaf, also near Belmar. Thai food taste closer to Filipino food having egg roll wraps and sweet and sour combinations. This became Val and my favorite. Seafood Pad thai and other meals range from $15 to $20 that would ideally serve 2 persons.
July 12 - Car Show at Long branch, still part of Monmouth county along the beach. Eugene’s (Val’s senior intern) apartment has a very good view. Here we enjoyed the vintage car parade and ate at a nearby Japanese restaurant.
Aug. 8 - Newark, NJ
Aug 9 - New York, Soho, Union Square, Magnolia Bakery
Aug. 23 - Washington DC
Sept 2 - Virginia - Mall
Sept 6 - Ganesh Feast day, Back at Neptune City
Sept 15- Enrollment at Advantage Career Institute, Eatontown
Oct 19 - Red Bank - Danielle ‘s Bday!
Nov. 19 - My Bday celebrated on 21 of November at Eatontown’s Chili’s
11 things that makes America amazing
1. Self-check out counters at grocery stores. They trust you a lot.
2.GPS - Global positioning Systems works efficiently driving across states. It can even find minor roads.
3. Postal system, Social Security Offices, Department of Motor vehicles departments are very efficient. Never over crowded. Having our International driver’s license enabled us to get a US license in an hour from application.
4. Libraries are superb. You could borrow up to 10 DVDs for free. They will even get it from other county libraries. Our Neptune town Library has very helpful staff. No wonder video piracy is not so prevalent.
5.Generally clean air and the smell of pine trees due to very strict car emission tests.
6.You could find useful items at the side roads. Dining tables, Couches, lamps etc.
We got our dining table in the dumpster neatly tucked with all its knots and bolts.
7. They have organized thrift shops. Like I got 20 meters of Christmas bulbs for $4.
8. Consumers are well protected. You could return almost everything within 30 days. We even had a comfort problem with the bed we bought after 60 days. We found it too soft. They had it replaced just for a minimal fee for reselling the slightly used bed.
9. Hot water is a standard
10. Roads are generally well established, cleaned and maintained.
11. Jobs pay is a lot like almost 5 to 8 times much in what we could earn for the same job description in our country (Philippines).
12. Very cool weather. As of now I still like it, average is 50 degrees Centigrade. I hope I don’t change my mind when snow arrives.
13. For New Jersey, gas is relatively cheaper compared to Maryland, Delaware & Virginia
14. I could drive to the beach in 10 mins and enjoy a jog at a miles length boardwalk. This is the best thing I love about our place. Also clean
toilets every so distance.
Things that make me wonder?
1. You have to be a smart shopper, you need to collect and cut coupons to have a reasonable buy. You need to be a member or you have to register to become a member or else you buy without discounts which makes things way too expensive like almost a $1 difference on most purchases. As a result of registering, you get bulk mail, you have to spend time to cut and organize coupons into coupon organizers.
2. America is so so huge. It’s like vast lands and things are quite far from each other. They have designated zones for everything like all towns have their own cluster for establishment for Home Depot, Target, Shoprite, Bank of America, Ihop. McDonald’s etc. The three states I visited like Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey in general have similar town cluster arrangements. So make sure you stay at a prominent area or else you would be burning a lot of gas.
3. Shopping On-line makes more sense than going to the mall. It seems a lot cheaper. I bought a LEXON printer on Target store for a bargain.
$40 - a 3 in one, Printer, Copier and Scanner. The catch is that the USB cable is sold separately. I visited RadioShack to find it. They were selling it for $20. That’s razy! I shopped online, got it for $8 with shipping.
4. Everything has to be insured. No wonder they have so many insurance commercials in television like Geico, All State, Progressive (Which by the way have weird commercials). Very expensive to get hospitalized without insurance. Also God forbid lawsuits and road car accidents if you don’t have enough insurance coverage. You would have to allocate at least $100 for a car per month. Back in the Philippines we don’t have to worry about this much. We could afford to pay comprehensive insurance in one payment back there.
5. Meals are usually good for two for a typical Asian. The serving size is too much for us. This is the land of Super Sized meals. This is not ideal for a good diet. To be practical, we end up bringing home takeaway bags. Also dining out and movies are quite expensive. Average meal in a fast food is $7 per person. Casual restaurants $25 person. Movie
tickets range from $8-12 per ticket and another $6 for a very huge bucket of popcorn.
6. The absence of maids make life so inconvenient as a contrast to our life back in our country wherein maids is the norm. We have started embracing disposable utensils, plates and cups just to take a break from dishwashing. Constant cleaning, cooking and laundry take up so much time. The thing that makes living here so difficult and time-consuming. But I guess, we could get accustomed to it and technology here makes up for it like pre-cooked meals, pre-cut ingredients we could conveniently buy.. an automatic dishwasher we have yet to save for….
There are more photos below