I've been so busy lately it's been hard to keep up with the blog posts. I'm writing this while on the train to Brooklyn because I know it's the only time I will have.
New York City is very much like London, busy and fast paced. Deli's and mini marts and some coffee bars are open 24 hours and supermarkets, shopping centers and diners open early and close late at night. You're never stranded because you'll find something that is open. I like that because its very convenient, however I can't help but think about all the workers who have to wake up early in the morning before dawn and arrive home very late at night to keep these places running. We no longer live in a 9-5 working world.
I love how my hours vary. When we work out in the community, I am only required to work from 9.45am until 3pm. Then a day in the office is 10.30am to 5.30pm or 11am to 6pm and sometimes until 7pm. It allows me to be flexible in attending the different church services I attend during the week as well as doing things in the morning before I leave out or doing things after work.
I work in the City during the week but in the evenings and at the weekends I've had the luxury of chilling in the suburb, going to the beach or lake and experiencing the quieter life in Long Island. I would definitely prefer to live in the suburbs and just commute to work in the City. it's not that bad, it's only a 40 minute train journey.
I've been working in different areas in Brooklyn for the past few weeks and it's been great. Brooklyn is so diverse and ridiculously big. I love Brooklyn. There are so many different communities. I particularly like to observe the Jewish community. Yesterday, while I was walking down Franklin Avenue, I noticed that the area was quite hippy and vintage. As soon as I crossed the the road, still on Franklin Avenue, I entered the hood lol. I was like "wow"!
You see nice big beautiful townhouses and brownstone buildings and a few blocks down your in the projects! One extreme to the other, on the same avenue. The people in the area equally nice. As long as you keep yourself to yourself you're generally fine.
If you have a good job and source of income, you live comfortably but if you don't, you really struggle. Working on the legal clinics has given me an insight into this and for those who depend solely on government benefits or who earn what we would class as the minimum wage, you barely make ends meet. It makes me understand why people sell on the streets and do certain things. It also helps me understand why in certain areas like the projects, people appear cold and angry. They are in despair, dissatisfied with their situation and don't know what to do.
I've been alarmed at how many adults are illiterate and as a result cannot get a job that will not pay them pitons. Homelessness is on the rise and it breaks my heart seeing elderly women and men on the street begging for money to eat. I commend the UK government and its efforts to protect its citizens. We really are "spoilt" compared to the help that is offered here to disadvantaged here. Yes they do receive assistance but it's not as much as we do in the UK. Sometimes while sat with a client, I find myself saying to myself "if you were in England that would be illegal, the authorities wouldn't be allowed to do that or you would be allowed to claim this."