Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July!  I'm excited to announce that my running program is, well, off and running!  We joined the gym on Sunday and we've been going ever since and I've logged 11 miles of running/walking. We decided to rejoin Planet Fitness instead of the gym at Yale as Planet Fitness is so close to the house and the convenience will help us maintain our consistency.

As we continue to adjust to life in Connecticut, there is so much to like: lush green, lots of parks and hiking opportunities, a rich history, proximity and easy commute to NYC for fun trips...but probably what I like most about this place is the friendliness of the people. People here actually make eye contact with you and greet you. I have had wonderful conversations with people in line at the grocery store, at the bank, at the garden store, etc. People are welcoming and friendly. I love that!  In Michigan that was the most difficult thing for me to deal with - unfriendly people. People here remind me more of how people are in Charlotte. I greeted a woman that was entering the grocery store as I was leaving and she was very pleasant in return. When I did that in Michigan after we first moved there - the woman I greeted stopped and glared at me and I never did it again.

With the good there are always difficult things to adjust to as well. The number one thing that I don't like about Connecticut is the driving manners (or lack there of) of the people here. Coming from Ann Arbor where the pedestrian rules, it has been a bit of an adjustment to realize that cars rule and the fastest car wins. Although the speed limit in our area is 25 miles an hour, we are easily traveling over 40 mph with a police car right beside us and we are not the fastest car driving. I think the driving motto is: if there's space, you may go. This is the motto regardless of the rules of the road. This is the motto regardless of the traffic signal or the stop sign, or the "No Turn On Red" sign. NO matter what the sign says, is there is space: GO! Since moving here, although my mouth drops open at the audacious acts of the drivers, I'm adjusting. And it has been reminding me of somewhere else I have driven and I have been trying to figure out where. What I realize is that they way I drive now is very reminiscent to how I drove in Haiti. Which is quite scary when you think about it. However, in Haiti, although people drove wherever they could and pedestrian beware, they were driving such poor decrepit vehicles that they really couldn't drive that fast. Here, people are driving much better and faster cars and they are driving like bats out of hell. You honestly believe that someone must be dying in the back seat for there to be any justification for how they drive. Driving through stop signs and red lights is so common that we have adjusted and now pause and look both ways before venturing out into the intersection. Be prepared that if you do slow down to stop at a yellow/orange light people will whip around you and drive through the orangy/red light. There is no "zoning out" while driving here. You drive assertively and defensively. Someone said to us that we have to remember that most people that live here either work in NYC or they have migrated from NYC and therefore, they drive like they do in NYC. That has certainly helped me gain some perspective into the driving mentality of CT. My advice if you are going to visit from out of town?  FLY!!!

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