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This is just for perspective... I live on the East Coast of the U.S., in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. This is a "Southern" state, part of the American "South".
Fresh of the boat! My first day in the U.S. My first home is in the background - I was renting a room through Airbnb. I am leaning on my transport, a bicycle that my Airbnb host kindly lent to me so that I can get around (I was using Uber for greater distances).
Here I am crashing a Mexican wedding 🙂 Bride in the picture is a work colleague of my Airbnb host so I simply went along...
My second (temporary) home. Again, I was renting a room through Airbnb while I was looking for an apartment to rent.
My housemate - a dog that belongs to my Airbnb host (breed name is "Pug")
My (electric) bicycle has finally arrived! I am getting ready to put it together.
Downtown Charlotte. In the top left corner you can see the tallest building in North Carolina: Bank of America headquarters (60 stories and 265 meters high).
Another image from downtown Charlotte.
"Free worship this Sunday! Like us on Facebook." (see the sign in front of the church). Religion is big part of the American life.
View as I step out of the building where I work; what you see here is part of University campus (I work in the IT department at a university)
Another view as I step out of the building where I work;
Students studying hard (at the university where I work)...
Dog friendly environment in my workplace (people sometimes bring their dog to work with them). Pictured here is "Walker" (English Setter), dog that belongs to the coworker in my office.
Another dog at my workplace. This one is named "Artie" (Brittany Spaniel breed) - it was rescued from Serbia (how small is the world!), brought to the U.S. and adopted by my colleague.
Sad reality of the U.S. These are the guidelines posted all over the University where I work (what to do if you come across a mass-shooter). As I write this, all news channels here are flooded with the news of another mass shooting in the school in Florida.
Many universities (the one where I work as well) rely heavily on donations and would not be able to operate without them. When you are mega-rich in the U.S. you give away tons of money. And the more you give, the larger your name will be printed on the donor's list 🙂 🙂 🙂 And if you really give a lot, we will even name a building after you! What you see here are donations made for renovation of a single university building at my workplace.
Enjoying the perks of my workplace.
I've made some wrong assumptions about the weather in the American South. I was hoping to get South African weather here but I obviously did not go south enough...
Although it was enjoyable to ride around on an electric bicycle (up to 50km range on the full battery charge), this novelty was wearing off quickly as soon as temperatures dropped. Here I am about to start "car-hunting" on a cold Saturday morning (0 C degrees as per previous picture); about to go from one car dealer to another, test driving the cars that I have found online.
Drive Thru: engine oil change
Drive Thru: bank teller at the Bank of America
Drive Thru ATM
Drive Thru ATM for Marko; or "When in Rome, do as the Romans do";
Drive Thru: picking up groceries; you order online and someone will pack the items at your local supermarket, bring them to your car and even load it into your car... Either super lazy or super smart (e.g. time saving where you can)
You can buy just about anything online: from the Queens' size bed to the nail clippers. Shipping is usually free and items are simply left outside of your front door (as in this picture in front of my apartment). In some cases, I have bought items online that were delivered the very same day.
Still did not buy a car and the rain is about to start; So no bicycle today - waiting for a bus instead...
All buses in Charlotte have bicycle rack in front. At no extra cost, you can load your bicycle before you enter the bus. This is useful if you don't feel like paddling for long distances so you bike some small distance to the bus station, ride the big section on the bus and then bike the rest on the other side (instead of waiting for ever to change 2 or 3 buses).
I was surprised to see a lot of "normal size" cars driving around (I was expecting to see mostly big gas-guzzlers). However, this is America so sooner or later you see somebody that has a serious need to overcompensate for a thing or two. My car is not small (blue car on the right of the picture) but it is still tiny compared to this white monster.
North Carolina licence plate. Each state has a different slogan/tagline and this is normally printed on the car licence plate (e.g. "Sunshine State" for Florida). On this picture, you can see North Carolina's state slogan "First in Flight"; this is simply being proud of the fact that the first flight by Wright brothers was in North Carolina. INTERESTING TRIVIA: cars in North Carolina have only the licence/number plate at the back (front plates are not required). Some states require both plates, front & back. In principle, laws & traffic rules are slightly different in every U.S. state so you need to be prepared for that if you travel. For example, the law clearly defines the % of window tint you are allowed to put on your car windows; different % is allowed for front, side & rear windows and of course, rules are not the same for every state...
All right turns (e.g. merging into traffic coming from the left) are allowed, even if you are at the red light at the intersection. You are not allowed to do this only if it is explicitly forbidden to do so (as indicated in this picture). It took me a while to get used to this...
This is me taking a shot at living longer. Before the winter started, I've tried to make a Smoothie for breakfast every morning. Obviously, I am starving 2 hours later as my body is crying for something more substantial (for more than 4 decades, my body has been consuming Cholesterol bombs 3 times a day).
Balancing the healthy diet (e.g. wiping out the benefits of Smoothie drinking)
Watching a sport channel while waiting for a haircut
Trick or Treat for Halloween – kids showing up at my doorstep, asking for sweets
More kids doing the Trick or Treat for Halloween
Spirit of Halloween
Many houses get decorated long before Halloween - many people (especially kids) see it as lots of fun
Various inflatable creatures are available for sale as Halloween decorations
More toys in the spirit of Halloween
Some people take Halloween more seriously than others
Probably 1 in 100 houses in Charlotte has a fence in front of the house and if they do, its purpose is normally to keep the dogs in. That is why many households with dogs often use “invisible dog fence” where special sensors are placed at the edges of the property. Dog wears a special collar and as soon it crosses the invisible boundary, it gets zapped.
Autumn in full swing (parking lot at my workplace)
Beautiful autumn colors at the beginning of my street (the street where I live)
More autumn colors in Charlotte
But all those leaves have to fall somewhere. And when the wind picks up, it is literally raining leaves everywhere...
And then someone has to pick up all these leaves; And keep picking them up...
This is the only garden I plan to have - I was never into cutting grass and collecting billions of leaves...
My car covered with snow in front of the apartment building where I live. Snow does not fall often in Charlotte but when it does, most schools and some businesses are closed for a day or two. The city is not equipped for winter weather so it is much simpler to announce "snow day" and everyone stays home (day is counted as holiday so you still get paid 🙂 )
Creating a cozy atmosphere in the office during the cold days (aka the Epson Fireplace 🙂 )
Thanksgiving weekend: ice skating in Philadelphia with my cousin & her daughter
Ice skating back home in Charlotte (I am somewhere in this picture 🙂 )
One double fracture later, my ice skating career has come to an abrupt halt. I have never broken a single bone in my body before but one nasty fall on ice and I am wearing a cast up to my elbow.
Anti-Trump sentiments are still strong. Here you see the front of a yearly Trump calendar (this was a Christmas present - my work colleague has it on her desk).
More details on the Trump calendar.
More jokes aimed at Trump