The Super Bowl XLVII or as here known as unofficial American holiday/super Sunday

There is an estimate that:

Over 160 million people will watch the game,

30 seconds advert during the game will cost 4 million Dollars,

400 millions litters of beer will be drunk and 10million kilograms of crisps will be eaten

1 billion will be eaten chicken wings and 7 million of US employees that will not come to work on Monday

And I am somewhere between these numbers….

Super Ball is an America football game and this year will be played between Baltimore Raven and San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, Louisiana.

49ers are in favourite to win and I kind of want them to win as I love San Francisco, but on the other hand Baltimore Ravens have Michael Oher.  I’m sure everyone who saw “The Blind Side” knows what I’m talking about….

I have to be honest, I have no idea about American football, it took me years to understand a game which I call football and here known and soccer.  The game here resembles more rugby than football, but like I said …no idea. I’m very much looking forward to see Alicia Keys performing National Anthem and Beyonce putting up a show during the half time .Not to mention the competition for the special adverts created only for that one, particular time …Should I be concerned that these might be a bit shallow reasons? Well sometimes you just need to say it!

5.45 pm EST, the kick of is at 6.30pm, I guess I need to order a pizza now and hope it will be delivered before the game is done. The streets are getting quieter now every news station comments about the game and I can almost feel all that excitement and anticipation in every American home. My house, well the TV is on I’m waiting, second laundry load –somewhere between washing and drying,  ironing board already out…I’m  trying to prioritise the agenda for the next week: work, dentist, vet and monthly shopping. Looks like regular super Sunday to me…

 

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Sandy, part 1

21.30, I sit in the kitchen and wait. Hurricane Sandy  is raging outside the windows. It’s raining horizontally, but I feel that the water doesn’t hit the ground. At this time the wind reaches speed of up to 60km per hour and is expected to increase over night, when Sandy will be passing South East Virginia. Sandy is the name for both a girls and a boys. I think this time it’s a woman, because women can be so unpleasant at times. (personal experience).  At night  the wind is expected to reach speed of up to 120 kilometers per hour….WIND! And it’s only a category 1 hurricane …. We are expecting more rain,  floods,  possibly a zero electricity, so freezer full of food won’t work, no cable TV, no Internet, end of the world  (joke). In fact, I have mixed feelings about this , maybe because it is my first time .. (another joke).

Of course some preparations have been made: batteries, flashlights, candles, 10L of water in big bottles plus two 24 packs, cans, and my small storage space under the stairs is waiting in case of emergency. We do not evacuate at the moment, as there is no need for now, but this is very reassuring given that the street in front of the house is slowly turning into a creek. American people move very often because of several reasons; work, family, so it is not important to them how the houses/apartments are build and this can be one of the reasons why my house seems to make very strange noises during wind storms, hurricanes, etc. In the hurricane time and read here, NOW … this is a different story. The house is shaking with  each wind blast, which sounds like a freight train that’s coming with a very high speed -literally!

I turned on the weather program and the news  indicates that Sandy will collide with two other weather fronts which will, as it is here called create a “PERFECT STORM” that will bring snow in West Virginia and New Jersey.

I turned on the weather program and the news indicate that Sandy will collide with two other weather fronts which will, as it is here called create a “PERFECT STORM” that will bring snow in West Virginia and New Jersey. Perfect Storm – reminded me of the movie, with George Clooney, incidentally in the Atlantic during hurricane Grace, three fronts- little input, because my imagination runs wild at the moment.
OK. Time for a glass of wine … to be continued.

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Newspaper

My Sunday newspaper, delivered at 5.30 in the morning, in a plastic bag, dropped on the front yard.

36 pieces, most of them are adverts, book of weekly coupons worth about $140, although I don’t recognise any of the products. Next we’ve got: magazine, living, market place, daily break, career connection, beacon etc and all for $2.

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Pharmacy

Going to a pharmacy in US is not an easy process, particularly if you need to pick up your medicine in the hospital pharmacy. After your appointment with the doctor you go to the pharmacy (usually located on the lower floor), take a ticket and wait…wait and wait…

What happened to just go, get you prescription get the medicine and walk out…

If you lucky and brought your book with you- 20 minutes is not so bad, but if you weren’t proactive… well good luck to you….unless you enjoy pretending that you’re not looking at the people next to you, or moreover you think you will get the clock go faster just by looking at it, and by the way; no point checking your phone yet again…nobody called!

The pharmacy itself is from out of space…15 windows/counters, big screen to inform you the B497 is being served. A, B, and E…don’t ask me what happened to C and D?  I guess who ever invented to number system, thought why not give people something to think about while they wait (forever).

My number is up: “Now serving B528 at window 9”

The lady in the window (with a face –I don’t really care!-) checks my ID, takes this very unsexy, plastic, orange bottle and magic starts….This “monster” aka sorting machine sits in the middle of the room, makes lots of noise, and as I can see my tablets are popping out of dispenser right into the bottle, followed by a label with my name and instructions. I hear, yet again:”Any allergies?”, “This is how you store your medications” Blah, blah, blah. Does anyone ever follow these instructions?

Just please give me my medicine now….

 

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New York- we did it our way

Cars: 1(mine)

Hours:  7h 11min

Km: 519

Ferry Crossing: 1 (85min)

Bridges: 5(excluding Chesapeake)

People: 4 (total number of years 110)

Tool charge: $27.50 (including Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel)

Petrol: $237/262L

Coffees: 3, 5 cups+ Starbucks Frappucino

Suitcases: 3(+ countless amounts of plastic bags with sandwiches, sweets, drinks etc.)

GPS: 1 (not working properly anyway)

Maps: 4 (just in case, to avoid any arguments)

That’s how much it took us to get to New York Staten Island.

We started our journey in Virginia at 5.45 am, driving in my Chevy, which runs deep (inside joke) and we drove through 5 states in total: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York and we arrived on Staten Island located only 8 km from lower Manhattan. I was little bit disappointed driving through Maryland and Delaware as you can only see corn fields, potato fields, and occasional house close to the busy road and the only way you know you are a different state is that the cars registrations suddenly change. We’ve decided to cross the Delaware Bay on the ferry as this gave us a break from driving all the hours. Well, big boat, nothing fancy, lots of people. When we got to New Jersey, the view outside the window has changed…it was forest for miles! (Ha-ha), but as we got closer to the Staten Island the traffic became heavy, and I knew I am not far away. When we crossed the bridge to the island everything changed, it was like driving in a little suburbia with beautiful houses with even more beautiful front yards and people walking their dogs. When we arrived in our hotel we literately dumped our bags in our room and decided to catch a ferry to see Manhattan.  We took Staten Island Ferry that passes Statue of Liberty, a colossal woman sculpture given to Americans from people of France. The statue is an icon of freedom and it was a welcoming signal to all the immigrants arriving from other countries.

I got a little bit excited, I mean how many times do you get to go to New York, the city that never sleeps, the city where dreams are made of, the city that makes you feel like you are one in a million….in the streets of New York….If you can make it here you can make it anywhere, that’s what they say…

We had 3 days in NYC. The shopping was the must!, of course with some of the shops “window shopping” only …one day …We went nuts in Century 21 and got some serious bargains. After few hours of spending money, it was time to actually see the city and the best way to see it was from above. We‘ve decided to go to the “Top of the Rock”. The Rockefeller Centre provides much better view of the Central Park and you don’t have to queue for 3 hours! as oppose to Empire State Building, and you get great photo of the famous sky scraper itself.

Next on the list were:

Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge was open to the public in 1883 and now more than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge each day.

Central Park, provides a wonderful break to all New Yorkers during the day, that seeking a place to rest and recharge their “batteries”. At night, famous for its crimes, would not be a place that you would want to go and visit.

Grand Central Station, unfortunately without the cast of Madagascar, yet as impressive as in the film with 44 platforms and 67 train tracks.

City Hall where Carrie married Big. It had to be done.

Time Square full of lights, as a symbol of “The Crossroads of the world”, known for its New Year celebrations.

Public Library- not today and not tomorrow- the day after tomorrow.

Nothing can compare to this amazing city that is famous for being a film scenes, the constant noise of ambulance and fire engine. Rich and poor, good and bad, and we were amongst them…..

 

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Volunteering

It’s official now. I can proudly call myself a volunteer at SPSA Virginia Beach and I got my T-shirt too! I have been here now 4 months and I can’t believe it took me that long to move my “behind” and sign in to the program!

I am absolutely amazed how many Americans belong to non- profit organisations and volunteer their services and dedicate their free time to such organisations. In 2010 a study found that American nation was the fifth most willing to donate time and money in the world at 55%. Volunteer work is also a very frequent obligation when one breaks the law to help give back to the community instead of jail for lower scale crimes.

VBSPCA, Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an organisation that doesn’t receive any federal, state, or city funding. It is mostly volunteer-run organisation. They rely on the public’s generosity for the support. They also have fundraising events throughout the year. When people bring their pets to the shelter, because they can’t, or simply don’t want to carry for them anymore, they are asked to make contribution for the animals’ care. Amazingly, only 30 percent do so, isn’t that sad…

I’ll have my kennel training next week and hopefully I will be good to go.

I don’t want any reward for my volunteering, but I hope some of you who will read this post locate an establishment that will suit you and find some time (anything) to help them out. Believe me this, will be the best reward you will ever get.

Go and visit your nearest animal shelter, find one you like, spend some time playing with the animal, and fill out an adoption application. They’ll check things like whether your wife and kids want an animal, whether your current pets are up to date on their vaccines, and whether your landlord allows you to have pets. This usually takes no more than a day. Plus, most shelters will spay or neuter all animals before they leave the building, so you may have to wait an extra day or two before your new baby can come home. It’s a terrific deal financially, plus you’re saving a life!

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4th of July!

Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day, July 4th. The tradition had to be continued in American style i.e. hot dogs and fireworks. What a night!!

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