Beginning My J1: Travelling there, Changes and Future Plans


It hasn't quite hit me that I will be staying in this country for the next three months. I'm still not used to the American accents or seeing big flags wherever I go, but I suppose part of the J1 experience is learning to adapt. I'm still shy to speak loudly in case people notice I'm different or tell many people what my name is because it will be impossible for others to understand. I haven't explored much of the place yet but I wanted to document the journey from my little part of Ireland all the way to Bay Shore, NY.
I got up at 5.55am on the 2nd of June Irish time and staggered bleary eyed around the house collecting my belongings and then we left to travel to Shannon, Co Clare to get to the airport. For me, having Co Clare being my last sight of home was very interesting to me. The line for my flight was huge and I remember I was absolutely terrified. (Being in airports makes me anxious because I'm convinced I'll accidentally do something wrong). Clare looked beautiful from the air, everything looked miniscule and it was gorgeous to see the Aran Islands from above.  Thinking about it, I half think it's about time I let my love for Co Clare go. It wasn't long until we were soaring above the Atlantic ocean, leaving land far behind.

 Important documents you need to have going to the airport are: 

DS-2019 form
Insurance printout
SEVIS fee printout
Job offer form

We flew with Delta and I remember feeling distinctly scared when the plane took off down the runway just before ascending into the sky. Seeing the ground disappear below me was both scary and exciting. I then settled down and prepared to pass the time for the flight, the six hours ahead had to be filled. I know I was really in the mood to listen to Biffy Clyro but alas none of their albums were on the system. Instead I listened to Bloc Party, particularly "The Love Within", "Only He Can Heal Me" and "The Good News". A film I watched during the flight was "In The Heart Of The Sea", starring actors such as Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland. A film I found really interesting and I even jumped during the film because it starred a psychotic whale! 

We didn't really hit much turbulence, only once and my GOD did I get a fright. They fed us really well I have to say, serving us iced drinks and pretzels at different intervals. For dinner I was served parmesan risotto and chicken along vegetables with crackers. As we finally started flying over New York State I discovered that The Chainsmokers and I listened to "Roses". Then when I looked up to see the next song and it was a song called "New York City" and I felt it was so apt for my own situation. The lyrics read : "New York City, please go easy on me tonight, New York City, please go easy on this heart of mine" I have to admit, this past year I've had a very fragile heart. I do hope this experience in America will do me good because I am desperate for something good to happen.

To finish, I watched a little bit of a Ted Talk: Do animals talk? which was interesting and to top it all off, in the words of a Taylor Swift song the air hostess finished the flight with the words "Welcome to New York". I was both excited and apprehensive.

As I said it's my fourth full day here in America. So far I've learned a few things. Americans hate pedestrians, my friend and I used the pedestrian crossing, waited for the white man to light up and YET the cars keep coming. Why are American roads so busy? Why do they drive so fast? These are questions I need the answers to because I am terrified to cross the road. I genuinely feel anxious about it, four days in American food is totally different from Irish food. I am totally out of my depth and don't trust anything I eat. I don't know any of the brands. But I am hoping that I learn to adapt and I navigate my way through Target or King Kullen and try find food that I trust and tastes something like the food I'm used to. I did find Honey Nut Cheerios, Pringles and Dr Oetker pizza and for THAT I am so grateful. But I am craving Cadburys and Taytos terribly so I HOPE that I locate some soon. Dollars are just confusing. I am used to the Euro where there are coins and different colour notes. I bought a frozen yoghurt the other day in Roosevelt Field Mall and I had to examine each coin or note individually before I could figure what a "penny" was. I don't like change in terms of money, I feel like an idiot and find the word quarter hilarious. Again, this will be something I can adapt to as time goes on.

The house I'm staying is nice. I almost feel as though it is too posh for me. I adore the air conditioning however, I'm guessing this is a basic thing in America but I love the fact that I can cool down whenever I want. The area of Bay Shore is something I haven't explored much yet. Megan and I have to travel everywhere by foot so we have sourced our essentials first.

I hope to visit New York city sometime soon, hopefully this weekend. I start work as part of my J1 on Wednesday and this I hope will help pass the time. I want to visit the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero and many more. Obviously I want to shop too. I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I want to explore what New York city has to offer. I want to get presents for my friends if I can so I hope I can find both bargains and unique presents that suit my friends. I would like to buy a camera there, and take as many photos as possible. If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I take too many photos sometimes and share too many quotes. But if you're interested in that sort of thing, take a look.

On Wednesday the 8th of June Megan and I were brought to Fire Island which was absolutely lovely. There were an abundance of wildlife such as deer (including tiny fawns), foxes and lots of birds. Hurricane Sandy devastated the place in 2012 but it is still so beautiful. I captured many photos of the sunset. More photos can be seen on my Instagram, which you can get to by clicking the Instagram icon on the top of the blog. Just my luck that my phone died during the visit there.

I started work in Southward Ho on Wednesday and I have to admit starting out I was absolutely terrified and unsure whether I had made the right decision. But you learn best by doing, and before long I was really enjoying the bustle of the restaurant and assisting members of the public. Many people commented on my accent, my freckles and compared me to Saoirse Ronan which made me laugh. But I got a tip at the end of the day. Our co-workers were absolutely lovely, they went out of their way to make us feel welcome. They showed us the ropes and I know I can ask them any questions any time. I really can't wait to learn more and show Southward Ho what I can do. I always take pride in my work and I really hope I can produce work of a high standard there. 

I think change is good. I will tell myself that even though I have my doubts. I hope to reimburse my parents for as much money as I possibly can. I am human. I don't like change but I am learning to adapt to change, I am learning to be strong. It takes time and I hope that I continue to learn and grow. I can't wait to update you on what else I'm doing during my time here!


All pictures are merely decorative and belong to their respective owners.

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