In the shadows of Sinatra

As part of our first trip to the US, for my interview, we went on a day trip around the area to see what it looked like.  There are so many things you need to consider when moving your entire family across to another country; schools, houses, neighbourhoods, shopping, recreation, etc.  The list goes on.

On the Saturday morning we decided to look around New York State to see if there were any locations that might meet our requirements to becoming our new home and hood.

One of these spots was Monroe, in New York state, which as a little hike from my future office, but the schools and housing was meant to be great.  We couldn’t just travel across the Atlantic, not to see the areas!

The great thing about renting a car in the US is that they come standard with GPS.  Well, they are not called GPS in the US, but never-lost.  I wonder if I could sue the makers if I actually got lost?

It took me almost two days to learn the bloody never-lost unit, and it’s just as irritating as any other GPS system when the voice directs you.

But, as a foreigner these units are priceless, especially because you can focus on the roads and other cars, instead of which turn to make … and when.  The only slight problem was that I’m use to driving in the left-hand of the road, whereas the US is right-hand driving.  And, the steering wheel has moved too.

This obviously presents some challenges when placing myself on the road, checking mirrors, checking behind me, reversing, parking, roundabouts and T-junctions, just to mention a few.  That said, driving a car with automatic gears is deadly.

On our day-trip to Monroe, the GPS took us the scenic route over the mountains, which meant we discovered the local ski resort and the beautiful scenery we would soon be living near.

About an hour after taking off, we arrived to Monroe, just by the big lake.  Walton Lake I believe.  It was a beautiful location.

As it was coming up to lunch time, we decided to visit the local (village) restaurant, which just happened to be Bocci’s Italian Village.

We weren’t too sure if it was open or not, and it looked like there was a family party going on in there too.  Anyway, we opened the door and entered.

It was one of those local place where music and chatting stops, to see who came in.  We were therefor greeted by starring eyes from all the patrons, and it became slightly uncomfortable after the first minute of starring.  Thankfully our 1 year old daughter is a master at starring, so we won.

The waiter came across, greeting us with a strong Italian accent.  I swear that parts of Godfather and Sopranos was filmed in this restaurant, or they had at least borrowed the people from the restaurant.

Italian music was played in the background, or rather Italian musac, which made it feel even more Godfather-ish.

All staff were Italian.  I stand corrected, American-Italian.  The majority of them spoke just like in the mafia movies and you had a sense that they didn’t tolerate sarcasm or other kind of humorous attempts.  They just stared at me with a gloomy look.

I loved the place.  Frankie was super friendly and Joe Pesci’s double delivered hand-made baby food for our little angel.  The food was brilliant, real Italian with a mix of American fast food.  It’s not every day you get a burger in an Italian restaurant.

It was a great family restaurant, with patrons speaking with thick Philly accents mixed with Italian dialects and looking weird at strangers.

After spending an hour in Little Italy (in Monroe), the road-trip continued.  Because we were looking for an area to live, we needed to see schools, villages, shopping, etc.

I asked Frankie for directions to the various things, and was surprised that everything was “to milees dovn da rod” – how small was this village?

We checked the car-boot for corpses before heading off, just in case someone had taken out the trash.  it was all clear, and we sped off into the sunset … or at lest 2 miles down the road to inspect the village.

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