quarta-feira, março 19, 2008

CRÓNICAS DE NY by Elleonora

A foto pedi empresta(dada) ao blog oshkosh2007.blogspot.com/ onde podem ver outras tantas fotos de qualidade

sempre que possível vou deixar aqui aquilo que chamo de "crónicas de NY", estes textos são escritos por uma prima que nasce na Suécia, estuda em Paris e vive durante algum tempo em Bruxelas e agora foi viver para essa cidade "maravilha" que encanta tanta gente... nestas cartas ela relata um pouco do que vê - hábitos e costumes, tradições e sentimentos.

Uma observação feita por alguém de fora que tenta perceber os acontecimentos locais...

espero que gostem tanto como eu

Dear friends,

I thought I better send my Easter greetings before everyone disappears on holiday! I don't know how it is back in the old Continent but if it were not for the fact that we have switched to summer time already two weeks ago (so there is still sunlight at 6pm) one would never think that Easter - and supposedly spring - is here: it is freezing cold, boring weather and no buds on the trees. I don't know if you knew that summer time in the US since last year starts earlier than ever and ends earlier than ever because the retail trade lobbied for it. Lots of money has been put into studies showing that when the day is longer golfers buy more equipment and play more golf, families buy more meat to barbecue and generally people shop more because it is still "day time" and, hence, it is very lucrative with summer time and, hence, winter time is getting shorter and shorter.Since Christmas time has passed very quickly.

No surprises and you know what? There are routines even in New York! School started, we got our grades (that were better than last time so I guess there is some benefit to growing up....), there has been home work in the evening, cleaning, cooking, dog duties, snow, rain, snow again, rain, rain and then more snow. But it is New York which, I guess, has made it easier for me to mentally live through the winter. Because in the middle of all this there are still things to be amazed about. For example, half of all American women in NYC walks with high heels or ballerina shoes and NO STOCKINGS (read: barefoot) in the middle of the winter when there are minus degrees outside. I am not talking about the odd homeless person on the street but about about half of the women you see on Manhattan or in Brooklyn. They are well dressed business women or just normal casually dressed women but they walk around barefoot with open toe and heel shoes in the middle of the winter. They wear winter jackets, hats and scarfs but no socks.... It is amazing and I really wonder how they keep warm. Actually many Americans walk around with flip flops until December and they wear T-shirts when it is only around ten degrees outside so perhaps this people have a special thermostat built into their bodies. It is truly amazing.

For all of you who have been to New York the last years I am sure you appreciate how incredibly clean the city is and how safe it has actually become. At least major parts of the city. There are police everywhere which might be a sad thing but it works as a preventive measure and you do feel safe, even in the evening. I think that is a major achievement in a city of this size and with this background. I New York City there are also strict gun laws which I am very happy about. Especially now that the issue of the right to have a gun is up in front of the Supreme Court (which is full with, unfortunately, very conservative judges) and when there have been five school shootings around the country in the last three months. As you know, the gun lobby is incredibly strong and successful in this country and the majority thinks that it is good that people can own guns and defend themselves. Far from all people think that way, but the ruling majority does. It is shocking to see that in response to these school shootings some state politicians have come up with law proposals that would make it lawful for everyone in school - students and teachers - to wear arms. Actually not only in schools, one of the original proposals wanted everyone from kindergarten up to university level to be armed...but then it was thought the proposal would have more success if guns were restricted to college and universities only.... The idea being that if a crazy student or person starts shooting it is good if another student or teacher can intervene.... I am not sure how a society where everyone wears a gun could ever make me feel safe. Imagine putting guns in the hands of children and teenagers. In any event, as you know the US Constitution supports ownership of guns and now it is for the Court to interpret what the limits to that right are. This is a very sensitive and important case and the Court has avoided any such cases in several, several decades so it is exciting.

Andreas and I both think it is very interesting to be in the US now that there is an election ongoing. Even if, like all elections, it has its low moments it also has its high moments. We have so far been divided at home betting for Obama (Andreas) and Hillary (me and the dog), but I must say that Obama is an extremely interesting person and I have attached a speech he gave yesterday on the issue of race. I guess you can count this speech as one of the "high moments." For those of you who follow the news here you will know that this speech was given in response to some statements that Obama's pastor made many years ago about the issue of discrimination against blacks, and people here already labeled yesterday's speech as the best talk on race that any politician has given. It is indeed worth reading. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18text-obama.html?ref=politics

We have spring break here this week and I hope all of you will have a very Happy Easter! Andreas and I will celebrate it the Swedish way at the Swedish Church. You see one grabs every possible opportunity to eat some herring...To all of you who are soon coming to visit - we look very much forward to having you!!

All the best,


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