23rd November 2007

On Tuesday of this week we drove from Beacon to La Guardia to catch the flight to Atlanta. It was actually much easier than I thought it would be and took us about 1 hour 45 even with rush hour traffic.
Arrived in Atlanta and a car took us out to Paul and Robyn’s house, It is a lovely trip out there and the house is just amazing. We had a really great time on the Tuesday. Wednesday we drove to downtown Atlanta so that I could go to the Immigration and get my US status sorted at last I am officially here. We then had a look around and there is an area call Atlanta underground that has vintage cars like the one in the picture and lots of little stalls and gift shops. We also walked around centennial park which was built to celebrate the Olympics.
We went for a walk in the woods around the property when we got back and saw a family of deer and some eagles flying overhead. Nice to see come animals that are not just lying on the side of the roads as road kill.
The children arrived back with their grandparents and the boys went down to play pool in the basement. It has been a really relaxing day.
Woke up Thanksgiving morning and the food began! we had bagels and danish and french toast strata for breakfast. Appetizers all morning and then sat down to lunch at 1pm. There were 6 children and 10 adults. The food was fantastic and I had my first ever piece of pumpkin pie. After lunch the adults played word games and the children played outside. In the evening we moved down to the basement and played pool, video arcade games and just relaxed and chatted. Paul and Rob watched the “300” movie on a 60″ movie screen. Today has been a really great day, everyone has been friendly and relaxed and we have had so much fun. I really feel we are going to enjoy this move.
Today we have had a lazy morning we will be heading out for lunch later and then flying back to New York. Off to show Rob the new house tomorrow.

19th November 2007

View from my balcony, as you can see Winter has been slow to blow off the leaves this year. The colours are really lovely still. Sunday I went over to Newburgh to get Rob a book on plants and flowers that will grow in this region. Sat down to read it in the coffee shop in Barnes and Noble.
Rang my Mum, she was so pleased to speak to me – Thanks Mum!! even though she admits it’s illogical after all my travels around the globe she worries about me being based in US 🙂
Rob flew in to JFK landing about 1pm, caught a bus direct to Grand Central and then the train out to Beacon arriving at 4.17 very easy. We went out to a local diner for dinner. They are so reasonably priced and the quantity of food has to be seen to be believed.
Woke up this morning to be greeted with snowfall not enough to stick but enough to make everything look pretty. Talking to some of the people in the office today the sort of wildlife we can expect to see when out walking is deer, bear, possum, raccoon, eagles, hawks, owls, bats, giant turtles and coyote! can’t wait. Also found out today that customs made a mistake when I entered the country and so officially I am not here which is why it is taking so long to get my social security ID. I have to go to a local customs office and register again. Off to Atlanta tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving with Paul and his family. Happy holidays to all if I do not blog till afterwards XXX

17th November 2007

Wow it was cold here today, with a real bitter wind. Got up early to go over to Goshen and meet with a mortgage broker. Quite a nice town with some interesting looking buildings and lots of small cafes. It is about 25 minutes from Beacon.

Drove over to the new house, pictured left, to meet with a house inspector and the builders. It was really interesting experience. The builders are father and son from New York city. I think this is their first non city build. The inspector gave the house a very good report. There were very few snags for them to correct. They walked me round the perimeter of the property so that I could see where it extends to. They are also going to sell me their ride on mower. Rob will have lots of fun with that.

Went on to Fishkill to look at cars – this is one task that is very frustrating. I can’t get excited about any of the cars I have seen so far except the Acura with a load of techie things including voice activated GPS 🙂 it is a bit more than I was planning on paying so I need to think about it for a while. Rob is arriving here tomorrow and we are off to Atlanta for the Thanksgiving holiday on Tuesday.

15th November 2007

This week started well, My offer was accepted on the house and now I need to work my way through the US mortgage system. Not as easy as they all think, trying to get a mortgage as a non US citizen is fraught with loopholes. Not least because I do not yet have a social security ID. Hey Ho I am sure it will work out in the end. The other fun thing to try and do is transfer money to the US. There is International banking and then there is US banking.
Tuesday I travelled to New York on the train from Beacon – shame that it was so early in the morning. It was about 6.30am and the journey takes about 85 minutes. If you try it, you should make sure you sit on the left side of the train on the journey to Beacon and the right on the way back to New York. The train follows the Hudson river all the way up and the scenery is really lovely. Arrived in New York at 7.45, Grand central station (see the picture above) and then walked up to “Coach” one of our customers to join a meeting with my CEO. Meeting went well and I went out to La Guardia, stayed in a hotel near the airport ready to fly to Pittsburgh the next morning.
Flew to Pittsburgh and went to visit a second customer “American Eagle” this also went pretty well. Flight was delayed on the way back and then there was a shortage of taxi’s in La Guardia, one of the bridges into the city was shut which meant I didn’t get to Grand Central till 2 mins to 9 – It is a huge place and I had no clue where to go – luckily I found information pretty fast and managed to catch the 9.02 back out to Beacon and get back to the apartment.
Today started with an email proposal from Rob, when I asked him what prompted it, he said it was to get access to health care in the US!! who says romance is dead? Anyway I guess there will be more to follow on that story – watch this space ………

Saturday 10th November 2007

Weather is definatly getting colder, left the house at 8.30 to go get my nails done in Walden and when I pulled away at the lights my wheels spun!! Need to buy a 4 wheel drive very soon.

Arrived in Walden which is quite a pretty little town and got my nails done before driving off to Pine Bush. Did a little shopping in Hannafords and then had lunch at the “Cup and Saucer” diner. These diners are fantastic value for money. I had a huge plate of spaghetti pomodoro with coffee and some ice cream for less than 12$ (about £6).

Went to meet the Realtor and spent 4 hours trailing around houses. Most are right location or right house very difficult to find both but ………… I think I may have. Really nice new house about 3000sq ft with1600sq ft unfinished basement and plenty of space above garage to fit out a really nice bonus room. It sits in 4 acres at least half of which is wooded. It has decks both front and back and the master bedroom is on the ground floor with french windows out onto the deck. Will put in an offer tomorrow and see what happens. Above is a quick picture of the Mohonk mountains taken from the front deck.

Thursday 8th November 2007

Welcome to America – thanks to my very good freind Toni, I had company for the first 2 days while I tried to find my feet.

Who would have thought it would be so difficult to find a supermarket, after much driving around we managed to find one. Then realised it was geared totally toward the Latin American market (well it gave us something to giggle about) it made for a very interesting time just trying to find basic foods!! luckily I have since found something a little more “normal” and stocked the very large fridge with some decent food.

I spent last Sunday driving around looking at houses with my Realtor, I have shortlisted a few but will look some more next weekend. My apartment is fine and I have it booked till the end of January at the moment.

Drove into the office on Monday across the Hudson river, the journey takes about 20 minutes. The banks of the river still look very beautiful as the trees still have most of their Autumn leaves.

I have spent all day in back to back meetings for the past 3 days but at least the days go fast. It is starting to get quite cold and I will need to get some winter boots etc very soon.

Today (Thursday) was an eye opener drove to downtown Newburgh (a real US ghetto!) with Rosemary from HR and visited the Social Security office so that I could get my ID – took my number and waited one and a half hours to be seen!! Interesting people there. My number should be through in about 6 weeks which will then allow me to get a tax number and simplify my life a bit. Later drove over to open a bank account — thank goodness that was a lot easier than anticipated.