Maybe don’t go to Albany in winter (but do go because it’s lovely)

It’s really cold in Albany in January. And snow.

My friends Heather and Nate moved to Albany. What a great excuse to see a new city and hang with one of my favorite couples.

I think a lot of Long Islanders think of the state of New York in 4 parts:

  1. Long Island
  2. The City
  3. Westchester
  4. And everything else is upstate

Yes, “upstate” refers to a ginormous piece of land. Yes, there’s a lot going on up there. But the general view from down here is that everything north of Westchester is just upstate.

New York City is where the stuff is, where the money is made, and where the people are, (really, so many people). But Albany is where the governing happens. I realize many people already know that, but I’ve met people who don’t know they’re going under water to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan, so I take nothing for granted.

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Albany isn’t as far north as I thought. I am from Long Island and I don’t know much about upstate. It was about 50 when I left the city (as a Long Islander, NYC is just the city). We woke up to snow and temperatures below 30 on Saturday. To be fair, 50 degrees was a fluke and everyone woke up to cold.

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How do you see a city and stay warm at the same time? Drink! I saw quite a bit of the city as we walked from place to place. There’s some beautiful architecture. The state capital and the department of education buildings are beautiful. And then you turn around and find a few buildings that look like they belong in the Soviet Union.

 

The Albany Distilling Company runs tours. If you find yourself in Albany go. The whiskey distilling process is really interesting, and the owner gives a great tour. I feel like I know enough now to start making my own. The distillery’s cats pull double duty as mice catchers and welcome party. And the liquor is really good too!

I don’t like beer. Finding a cidery, (Is that a word? It should be!) is very exciting. Nine Pine Cider Works is so so good. All they serve is hard cider. We had cider flights. 5 tastes of 5 different flavors. Early grey was my favorite, but I also always love lavender.

 

On Sunday Nate and I went to the New York State Museum. So in addition to drinking I learned stuff too. The building is…..kinda awful. It’s a concrete cube-shaped building. Not pretty and classical like the capital and some other buildings. It’s hard to look away though. So ugly it’s cool? There was an exhibit all about women’s suffrage because 2017 is the 100th anniversary of New York giving women the vote. Equality and representation: we’re still fighting for the same things 100 years later.

Albany seems like a cool little city. I’m planning to go back when the weather is nicer to take advantage of all of the beautiful nature up there. Hey Heather and Nate, let’s go hiking and camping!

I Wasn’t Prepared for Winter

When I left New York in May I packed for summer in Thailand. I was prepared for the year-round summer weather of southeast Asia.

In case you were not aware, the weather in Seoul is similar to the weather in New York. So at the end of December it’s really cold. This week the temperature has hovered in the high 30s and low 40s Fahrenheit. In Chiang Mai it’s been in the 80s.

So I’ve got shorts, tank tops, dresses, bathing suits, and sandals. You know what I do not have? A coat. A heavy sweater. A hat. The warmest shirt I have is a flannel, which I have come to realize is not very warm. Luckily I have good friends. I was able to borrow a heavy sweatshirt, a pea coat, and a hat. Also my brother brought me jeans in September, so yay for pants.

I’ve been wearing 6 layers a day. Yes, you read that right. Six layers. Here is what I am wearing today: a tank top, a cardigan, my flannel shirt, a t-shirt weight zip-up sweatshirt, a heavy zip-up sweatshirt, a pea coat, jeans, socks with turtles wearing shark fins, moccasins, and a big scarf wrapped around twice.

The bundling process is long. Everyone has to wait for me when we’re getting ready to go outside. I think I have an idea of how hard it was for knights to put on their armor back in the day.

I’m ready to downsize when I’m back in Chiang Mai. Seoul has been great, but I’ll be happy to go back to 1 or 2 layers a day instead of 6.