Friday, September 22, 2006

I've survived a week!

That's kind of an accomplishment or something, right?? We're not done training by a long shot, though - still another four or so days next week before we get Real Assignments. And from what I hear? There will be many, many Assignments since Litigation is ridiculously busy.

They put so much time and money into training us, and I sincerely appreciate the effort, but I think my brain was full at some point on Tuesday. There is just too much to take in - everything from witness interviews, to online research, to library orientation, to document production and management. We spent the entire day today on just document production and discovery techniques and it's just overwhelming - the main thrust of the matter is basically that we can get into deep, deep trouble for screwing this up, to the tune of billion dollar verdicts and big trouble from regulators. Mostly I'm alarmed at how no one else in training seems utterly terrified at the prospect of being in charge of litigation analysts, assistants, paralegals, secretaries and temps. I don't want this kind of responsibility...waaaah!

Of course, getting used to a full working day is tough. The commute to work is only about 45 minutes including walking to and from the subway since I take an express train most of the way, and of course working past 8pm means you can take a car home and charge it to the client. I foresee much of this! I've already been staffed on a pro bono death penalty case, at my own request, and the rest is totally up in the air. At least things are sweet on the home front - Josh has been absolutely amazing!! Not only has he been sweet and comforting, he's got the whole apartment straightened out, dishes done, laundry's incredible.

It could be a while before the next update because things are so up in the air, but I'll try to post even brief bits whenever I can.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday morning and I’m waiting for my Fresh Direct delivery to arrive. For you non-Noo Yawkers, Fresh Direct is how you order groceries online. It’s genius because you save time and the sheer physical exertion of dragging your groceries home, but there’s some serious sticker shock in going from Ontario grocery prices to this. New York is so weird like that – some stuff is surprisingly cheap, like cute little neighbourhood restaurants and decent takeout, while 16oz of strawberries are $5 and the good toilet paper is $10. I’m hoping to use Fresh Direct for the big stuff that we need delivered, like cases of water and Red Bull, and then to find a good place in the neighbourhood where we can grocery shop, although I’m not holding out for much better prices – it’s absolutely true when they say it’s actually cheaper to eat out for every meal in NYC than it is to cook for yourself.

Josh arrives tomorrow! I’m so excited that I’m a little sick with it – also probably because the day after that, I go to work. I have the added advantage of having worked at my firm last summer so I know what to expect, but my insides are still all twisted up with the anticipation. Imagine the first day of school jitters compounded with the fear of performing so badly that you’ll be kicked out. It’s times like this where my performance at law school means really nothing – you’re rewarded for doing well on the 100% exams but that doesn’t always necessarily translate into having the practical and social skills necessary to do well in an office environment. Or any common sense for that matter. I briefly worked on a matter last summer with a student from Yale Law School (the best law school in the United States) and she couldn’t figure out how to download publicly available documents about a company from the SEC’s website. Even after I had explained the concept to her. More than once.

It also doesn’t help that the ever-present fear of failure (to which I credit my first year grades!) is exacerbated by such little things as the $36,000 lease I’m accountable for now. Josh might be getting a job where he needs a car, which will cost us around $1200 a month alone when you take into account parking ($350 a month!), insurance, gas and the like. I’ve had many a shivering moment when I realize that if I fail at this I am up shit creek in a more substantial way than I’ve ever experienced before in my life. I'm also responsible for dragging my husband to a new country and starting afresh here. On a bright note - said husband has a job interview for Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When I said I moved to the U.S. for the shopping...

...I was only half kidding. I definitely wasn't kidding when I said this move has caused me to hemmorhage money, but let's not quibble over such minor matters. This shopping is Important. It's work-related. And the $50 per day I'm spending at Duane Reade is apartment-related. And the odd dinner delivery, manicure, pedicure and massage are just the little indulgences I need to get through each week in a strange, frightening city. Hee!

But I digress - the shopping! I went to Century 21 today first - breaking my own rule that I'll only go there obscenely early in the morning to avoid the crowds. I always intend to do that, but it never works, and then when I actually get there it's an absolute zoo. I got a cute soft leather wallet, interesting Calvin Klein tights and Nine West black pumps for around $70 altogether. On the way home I stopped in at Aldo for a bit of "home", where I purchased tan heels, and Banana Republic where I got some new black pants. And the absolute best part?? Vanity sizing! Holy shit, people...the Americans have turned it into a total debacle. I bought a size 0 and it is roomy. Hysterical.

Lest you fear I've become all stomach and frivolity, however, I am spending the day at the Met on Thursday. Balance is key ;).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Surreal sounds about right.

My first week here is coming to a close and I'm still being alternatively pleasantly surprised and alarmed at my new life every day. Most of my waking hours are spent unpacking boxes now and realizing that this apartment will maybe fit 70% of our stuff. Something's going to have to go and my first vote is for Josh's ancient baseball card collection and this god-awful stereo from the late 70's that is quite frankly a fire hazard.

What is completely delightful right now, though, is my apartment building. I knew it was a "full service" building but this is crazy. I called the front desk to ask where I can take my empty boxes and paper out and they sent someone up to collect it - yesterday and today. That's how things are done around here. Also, when you call with a work order there's someone there within fifteen minutes. I know because I've already called about a suspected gas leak (which was confirmed) and a non-functioning fridge (which was not plugged in...yes, I am That Girl). There's a doorman who stands outside specifically to get us cabs. All in all, it's approaching a fair trade off for my $3000 a month and the paltry amount of cupboard space I've been given.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We take a break from our regularly scheduled NY updates... say a little hello to the WB folks who will be visiting! Thanks so much for your kind words, everyone! It's nice to feel that I'll be missed by at least some. I meant what I said, it was a lovely distraction for a bit, and obviously I met some great people, but it seemed like a natural break. Truth be told? It was getting a little weird for me because it felt like I was being flamed for completely ridiculous stuff on a regular basis. I don't mind a sincere, hotly contested debate about things like religion or politics because those things are inherently contentious, but a couple of weeks ago I got flamed for my opinion on skinny jeans. I shit you not. At that point it was like, mmm, yeah...time to move on! I seemed to be getting a reputation for being a very controversial poster as well, and I didn't like that - I'm fully aware that I'm very candid with my thoughts and that won't always endear you to people (!) but I hate that people think I'm looking for arguments or something. Anyway, that's the whole sordid tale that I didn't want to bring up in my final post because I truly hate those "Goodbye Cruel Forum" flounces.

One step closer to being settled!

My stuff arrives today!! Thank god...I've only spent two days in this place with nothing but an airbed and a laptop and I'm already a little nuts. I've also spent a small fortune on eating out and running down to the drug store every couple of hours so hopefully I can start that Special K "diet" I've been talking about for months tomorrow.

Last night my friend C visited after school to check out my new apartment. The original plan was to head down to Chinatown for cheap food and household goods but it was pouring rain and, being princesses, we just headed to the Indian restaurant next to my building for dinner. They have $20 bottles of wine on the menu. Granted it's not J. Lohr or anything spectacular but I don't think I've ever seen such a cheap bottle of wine on a restaurant menu since, well, ever. They have a loyal customer in me already!

After that I'm off to get a library and gym membership so I can squeeze into my suit on the first day of work.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Have news, must start spreading...

Wow, so - I've been an official Noo Yawker for about four days now and I'm oscillating between being deliriously happy and a little stunned too. It shouldn't be this overwhelming, really, seeing that I was here for three months last summer, but it's different when you start to feel like you actually belong here. It's not even like I'm from a small town or anything but it's hard not to feel a little, well, provincial. I honestly felt giddy with happiness when I discovered there is an exellent sushi restaurant literally across the street from my apartment. There's a drugstore downstairs and an Indian restaurant next door. Starbucks is a city block south and Blockbuster is a block north. The subway is a five minute walk for a local train, ten minutes for an express. For the rent I'm paying I frankly should be able to be beamed anywhere I need to go, but this will suffice for now.

I stayed with my friend A in Chelsea for a few days and she was just delightful (much much love to you A!) - she's a mid level associate at a large New York firm and has taken me under her wing a little with advice and introductions. Not only did she insist I stay with her for a few days, but she had set up a whole bunch of social activities for the long weekend as well as tours of where I needed to go to buy initial household items and the cool places to eat and just generally "be seen". On Friday we went out for Mexican in Chelsea; Saturday we had very swanky Italian dinner in Soho and then went to a cozy little wine bar after; Sunday we went for a dinner party in the East Village; and finally today I came home and tackled a whole bunch of household chores I'd been putting off.

I promise to keep you all updated from now on - it's probably more sensible than my former mass emails - and I hope you all keep in touch either here or via email. I'm so glad I got to see most of the Toronto people before I left but those of you I missed I hope to be back in the fall for at least a weekend!