With just a little over two weeks left in New York, I'm finding that every minute of my time is booked up, though I'm certainly not complaining. All of my free time is generally being spent with friends, running around, and having fun. I finally made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan and was delighted that they accepted my expired, phony ISIC student ID - but I must remember to try and get a new one before I leave the states again.
My father came down over the weekend to take a carload of photo albums, comic books, and a few other items that I don't want to permanently get rid of but I won't move overseas with me. My grandmother's beautiful silver coffee set, the coffee mug my old roommate made for me - all those items are packed up yet again in a box and will live in my father's attic for an undetermined amount of time. It is a little sad to see my apartment start to be emptied out of my things.
I received a wonderful gift in the mail from my friend Christine, the girl that I'll be staying with when I arrive in the Netherlands in April. She sent me Geert Mak's "Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City," which I've been devouring anytime I get a spare minute. There is nothing that will make me fall more in love with a city than learning its history, and this is a totally new subject for me to learn and obsess over. I fell for the author's writing style when, in the first chapter, he explains the early history of Amsterdam by saying "...the young city drew strength from the fact that it was situated close to so many important cities, at least by the standards of the day. Added to this were factors that so often lead to great success: 1) chance; 2) an invention that was to have momentous consequences; and 3) above all, the stupidity and short-sightedness of others."
In the next two weeks, my main focus has to be wrapping up my life here in New York. My co-workers and supervisors are being incredibly kind and supportive of my decision to leave, and while right now I'm still excited, I have a feeling that my last day at this job is going to be pretty hard. In addition to getting everything in order at work, I need to change my address in a million different places, try and see a doctor, donate all my furniture, and of course buy my tickets to Europe (which I'll do tomorrow after I get paid).
By the way, if anyone is looking for the best deal between New York City and Paris, Air India always has the best prices. There's a daily flight between the two cities, and I'm going to pay a total of $560 USD for roundtrip tickets. They also make it very easy to exchange tickets for a different date and only charge a $75 fee, which isn't actually that much compared to other airlines. Plus, the airline attendants don't think it's weird when you request a vegetarian meal. Being able to change the date for my return trip is important, since I really have no idea when I'll be able to go back to the states. I've randomly picked December 22 2008 as a return date, figuring it would be nice to be home for the holidays - then again, it might be nice to spend the holidays somewhere totally different. It is always cheaper to buy roundtrip tickets and change the return flight rather than buy one-way tickets between the states and Europe.
Though I have been having a great time in New York City lately, this weekend my neighbors were robbed (at knife point) and I had to step over two dead rats on the sidewalk outside my house. It comes with the territory of course, but it is nice to remember all the things I won't miss.