10  Apr
The Brit in Me

The Spring morning weather in New York yesterday was very English.  I was listening to Mika, Kaiser Chiefs and Kate Nash on my iPod on the way to work, as their music suits this light rain mood.  One of my American co-workers got into the elevator with me and asked me what I was listening to, and upon my response, he goes “Don’t encourage this weather to stay”.  As it turns out, I do have a melancholic-yet-beautiful appreciation for rainy days I didn’t have before.  I welcome the serenity it brings – the “let’s sit at the pub with chips and beer and watch the football (soccer) on the telly”.


The time I spent in the UK was interesting, especially the times I spent in London.  But because the time I spent in Bristol was often boring and lonely, I tend to forget the things that got ingrained in me by living there.  I go make tea when someone is trying to wind me up, I put onion marmelade in most sandwiches, I say “wicked” and “brilliant” more than I should, and the cynicism has definitely stayed.


Working in an office full of Brits, words like cheeky, mufti, rugby and mate are an integral part of my vocabulary.  On most rainy days I can’t even tell I am in the US from nine till five.  When I’m out at a pub and Noel Gallagher’s voice plays, I can’t help but singing along.  With the World Cup approaching and the level of excitement in my office increasing everyday with the countdown, I long more and more to join avid soccer fans in the banter about their teams.  61 days till the first day in South Africa.    Brazil will play the first game on June 15th,  against Korea.  Then we will play Cote D’Ivoire and Portugal and come out victoriously as the top team in Group G.


So I may not miss the cricket, and I certainly don’t want the clouds to hang around forever… but in the meanwhile,  I’ll enjoy and Blighty Spring that has lingered over Gotham.



Posted by Kaz, filed under No tag for this post.. Date: April 10, 2010, 4:58 pm | No Comments »

Blighty Begginings
Decisions, decisions

I took the leap and moved to Blighty nearly two months ago. It was not an easy decision but the timing was right.
We all spend our days making choices. There is so much pride in freedom of choice. Five hundred channels on television… greeeaat! The illusion of choosing on-demand media content … awesome! The authority to call and adjourn meetings at work… intoxicating.
You can vote for your favorite candidates on reality television and find the same dress in seven different colors at a chain fashion brand store. You can order from a few dozen different versions of your coffee in the morning and choose whether to read The Economist or The Onion.
The right to make our political choices might be the one area where we are truthfully exercising the power to change. Some will choose not to vote or not to learn all the sides of policy on each issue of the candidate’s agenda before voting. Because that’s a lot of work and we have much more to worry about, what with Christmas just around the corner and all: what to buy for the boss or where to take the in-laws out to dinner when the “New and Noteworthy” list of restaurants makes you yawn.
The heart of the matter is that we still looooove to choose. Choosing is fun. I’m guilty as charged. And I get my choices right half the time, maybe, but I like to remind people that it is funny how picky and spoiled we get in life and how indecisive we can be about how to live our lives at the same time.

Choosing can be a burden unless you have a golden rule for making what I like to call “digital choices”. I call them digital choices because these are the choices where you can choose zero or one, yes or no, one end of the scale or the other et cetera. Analog choices are just impossible. I usually just ask a committee of advisors to help me come up with some sort of diplomatic middle-of-the-road hybrid solution for those questions. The Committee of Kaz’ Analog decisions is so eclectic. It includes Mom, trendy friends, party buddies, co-workers, a doctor, a lawyer, an intellectual politician and a personal trainer. Besides it can go like this… what would Carrie Bradshaw do? What would Holly Golightly do? What would Hillary do? What would AnaMaria wear as she thinks about what to do?

As for the digital ones here it goes:
Should I stay or should I go now? Go. Always.
Wearing this season’s trend or an old LBD? The classic LBD.
Should I move to the place on Thompson Street or on the one East 94th? Location, location, location… And downtown is “it”.
Red wine or white wine? Red for winter, white for summer.
Mountain or beach? Mountain, I snowboard better than I surf. And I enjoy Vermont Maple Syrup better than the bagels in Sag Harbour.
Jason Bourne or James Bond? Bourne! Sorry Bond, but Jason Bourne gets out of trouble by himself, and Bond sometimes gets rescued by the other guys.

If you’re thinking too long about a yes or no, the answer is no. When it’s a definitive yes you aren’t torn at all.
Should I have another piece of pie?
Should I buy the pair of Prada boots?
Should I tell my neighbor that her husband has suspicious female visitors over when she is away?
Should I accept a new job offer when I am kinda happy where I am?
Should I marry this guy even though he cheated on me once, like, six months ago?
No. No. No. Actually, it might be yes, but only if that is so clear to you that you don’t need to ask anyone for a second opinion.
If you have to consult a bunch of people before saying a loud yes, that’s probably because the answer is no.
We are always asking other people to justify our moves when we know we are either choosing the easy route or self-indulging. Obviously, there are the proverbial Sophie’s choices to which my reasoning does not apply.
New York or London? Uhm…
Tough one?
I have a friend who is now deciding between Sydney and London.
Woody Allen said he’d never be happy again. When in New York, he misses Paris. When in Paris, he misses New York.
I miss Rio. But London and New York are soooooooo good. London is right for Today. So maybe this is the Kaz & The Other City blog.
I read a self-help book that said that all unhappiness is generated by believing one set of attitudes and carrying out a contradictory set of behaviours. When your beliefs and actions are well aligned, all your energy gets channelled into happiness. Simple as that.
So I started implementing that with striving for “green living”. It’s tough to switch to all-organic products, and so expensive. Easy to recycle, easy to choose brands that carry the “fair trade” label, but hard to kick old old habits.
The greenest I have gotten recently was in switching my mid-afternoon pick-me-up from Diet Coke to Green Tea. This was after watching the “DISPATCHES” series on BBC which showed Coca-cola’s dubious business practices in third world countries.
But frankly, the ulterior motive is that I already know that Green Tea will do my body much better than any soda ever could. Any tea, really. See? England took its toll on me already.
I now have to choose between reading another chapter in a Chuck Pallahniuk book or to go to sleep, and wake up early and refreshed. Choosing sucks, but it’s addictive. I’m free, I do whatever my rice krispies tell me to do. Choice is awesome, but it doesn’t always make life easier.

Posted by Kaz, filed under No tag for this post.. Date: October 26, 2007, 1:25 pm | 1 Comment »