Journey to the Center of the Bagel

Even though much of Florida could be considered Little New York (can you say Boca?), I admittedly did not grow up in the land of the bagel and did not know what I was missing until I moved to New York.  You just can’t know and, in fact, I don’t even know how to put into words what makes bagels in New York better than bagels anywhere else. They just are.

On a brief side-note, some people say it is the New York City water, but I don’t believe that because my favorite bagel shop of all time was my local Bagel Boss in Oceanside when I lived out on Long Island. And trust me, while 2 of the 5 NYC boroughs are technically on Long Island (Queens and Brooklyn), they are not Long Island. Learn this now or get severely berated by a New Yorker later. It is your choice. I learned the hard way and just thought I should pass that pearl of wisdom on to you.

But I digress. When we were deciding if the move to North Carolina was right for us, I did actually think about the fact that I would be giving up New York bagels. I’m a loser, I know, but I did think about it and accepted it as a cost of getting back a few things that, in the long run, are more valuable to me. (Sanity, financial security, central air – ya know, the little things.) 

And just as I knew I would be leaving the New York bagels, I knew there would come a time when I would be craving a bagel and I’d have to begin the journey to find an acceptable substitute. 

That journey has begun. 

I had my first non-New York bagel.

It was horrific.

I’m sad to say, my 8 years in New York made me more of a bagel snob than I ever could have imagined. 

I ordered an everything bagel with plain cream cheese:

First, the bagel was much smaller than any New York bagel I ever ate. Some shops do mini bagels and it was about that size – probably about the size of the palm of my hand. 

Second, who the hell puts oats on an everything bagel? Even Panera doesn’t do that. 

Third, the texture was sub-par. There should be some crispness to the outer shell of a bagel, but this one didn’t really have that.

Finally, the flavor overall was just lacking. 

I thought I was going to be prepared for my first bagel in North Carolina – I deliberately set my expectations to low – but sadly, it was even more underwhelming than I imagined it would be. 

So, the search will continue. Maybe I will do a little more research on my next bagel shop so that hopefully I can have a better outcome. (The one I went to was just a place I see on the way to Jason’s office.)

Stay tuned for the next installment of Journey to the Center of the Bagel.

After all this time? Always.

When I woke up this morning, I saw that one of my cousins had alerted me via Facebook to a very important anniversary:

Twenty (yes, 20) years ago today, the first Harry Potter book was published.

I know, half of you are probably rolling your eyes and getting ready to move on to the next website now (or possibly back to Facebook) because I mean, come on, it’s a book series about WIZARDS.

The other half of you, though, are nodding your heads very enthusiastically and in complete agreement with me that this is, in fact, an important anniversary. And on this very important day, I have a confession to make:

I was angry, nay furious, at my mom when she got me the first three Harry Potter books for my middle school graduation.

Continue reading “After all this time? Always.”

Re-adapting to the Norms of Human Contact in the South

One of the things the South is famous for is its hospitality. Going hand-in-hand with that, it is generally known that people are, on the whole, friendlier here. Random strangers on the street will smile and wave at you, whereas in New York City, if you are walking on the street, your primary goal is to not make eye contact with anyone. Put in your earbuds, even if you’re not listening to anything, and if someone approaches you, ignore, ignore, walk faster, ignore.

I have to say, in my almost 8 years of living in New York, I got pretty good at the eye-contact avoidance, but I could never bring myself to ignore someone who was very clearly talking directly to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t stop and strike up a conversation with them, but if they were trying to hand me a flier, I at least said, “No thank you.” (Still no eye-contact of course.) So, I guess I half-way adapted.

Honestly, I don’t think I knew how good I had gotten at public social avoidance until we moved here. The realization process began when I noticed I was avoiding looking people in the eye. This included both people around me – no eye contact with this person coming toward me in the grocery store aisle – and people who I had a brief contact with, like the guy who apologized for bumping into my cart at the grocery store. (Big social hub, that grocery store.)

I think the first time I noticed something was a bit off I was at a Sheetz and a young gentleman held the door for me as I was leaving – he looked directly at me and smiled. I said, “Thank you,” of course, but as I was walking to my car, I all of a sudden had this feeling that I had just been rude to that man. It was a strange feeling considering I had engaged in the required niceties, but then I realized that I hadn’t looked at him when I said thank you. Do you have to stare people down when expressing thanks for a small gesture? Do you have to make eye contact every time? Are you socially deplorable if you don’t make the eye contact?!!! No, of course not. But when you really want to convey thanks to someone rather than just throwing it out as a formality, you make eye contact. Anyway, while I dragged this 2-second experience into a whole paragraph, the thought process about this experience didn’t take more than 5 minutes, and then I put the situation out of my mind.

That is until a few other things started happening. 

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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all the fantastic dads out there! Jason and I were blessed with some of the most awesome dads around. We have learned so much from the leadership, character, and kind-heartedness that both of you demonstrate. We are thankful for you both today and every day!

Love, Joey and Jason 

We Actually Live Here Now

A day or two after we arrived in North Carolina, Jason and I went out to get some household items from Bed, Bath, & Beyond and to pick up our cable and internet boxes. We had quiet a few items in the car, and as we started to head home, I had the gut reaction of, “Ugh, I hope parking isn’t bad and we can find a spot close to the house.” Then I remembered, “Wait that is a New York City problem that I don’t have to worry about that anymore!” What a moment. I think this is when it finally began to sink in that we really live here now.

The First 24 Hours in North Carolina

I am happy to report that we thankfully had a rather uneventful drive down from New York to North Carolina. We left Jason’s parents house on Sunday morning at about 3:15am, stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts for Jason, and got underway at 3:30am. I was thinking about making a post about the drive down, but it truly was so uneventful, there is not much to report. The most eventful thing was that we had no traffic in DC and got to drive by the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon, which was pretty cool. 

Anyway, we made it down to North Carolina in one straight shot, arriving at our apartment complex at 11:45am, 15 minutes before the management office was supposed to open. When we got to the office, we hit our first hiccup of the day. Even though we had confirmed in writing that the office would be opening at noon and someone would be there to give us our keys to move in, the office was closed and a sign was up saying they would return at 1:00pm. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but because we had our cat, Salem, in the car and he had been in his carrier for almost 9 hours, I was a bit anxious to get the keys and get him into an air-conditioned apartment. My mind also jumped to the worst-case scenario: What if the office was unexpectedly closed because it was Memorial Day weekend? What if we wouldn’t be able to access the apartment that day, or even the next day?

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Moving Day: The Journey Officially Begins

Well, we had been through it all. We had scoped out the Raleigh areasigned a lease for a new apartmentdecided on movers, said our “I’ll see you later”s (AKA our goodbyes) to everyone except Jason’s family, and (mostly) packed up our whole home

And now, the big day – moving day – had finally arrived. But let me tell you, it started out stressful. 

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It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Just I’ll See You Later

I think no blog about uprooting your life and moving from one area of the country to another would be complete without a post commemorating the goodbyes, even though I strongly believe that these send offs were not “goodbye”s, but just “I’ll see you later”s. (I think the fact that I myself took no photos at any of these get-togethers proves that sentiment – no pictures needed, I’ll see you soon! The one above is from the family get together, taken by a very nice employee at the restaurant at the request of Jason’s family.)

We were so blessed to have so many people from different areas of our life come together to wish us good luck. Unfortunately, we could not see everybody we wanted to before we left, which is something I feel bad about, but we will do our best see you guys on our next visit to NY! Below is a list of the great send offs that we did get to have and for which we are so thankful. 

My Jewish Community – What I Will Miss About New York – Part 1

I lived in New York for approximately 8 years, and there are plenty of things that began to grind on me over that time. But now that I won’t be living there anymore, I don’t want to focus on those things – I want to highlight the aspects of New York that I loved and I will miss. This is the first of a few posts I am hoping to do in this vein.

Now, here’s a fact that everybody already knows: New York is a mecca of Jewish life. The thing is, though, while you can know this fact, I don’t think you can truly understand this fact until you have lived in New York. When I first moved to New York, a guy I knew in law school who grew up on Long Island told me that for the longest time, he thought the entire world was 50% Catholic and 50% Jewish because that’s what he was surrounded by growing up. There are very few places in the world where you can say it feels like the population is 50% Jewish. 

And besides for just living in New York, to get the Jewish experience, I would even take it one step further and say you’re not getting the full experience unless you spend some time living close to an Orthodox Jewish population.

Continue reading “My Jewish Community – What I Will Miss About New York – Part 1”