I asked some questions about using guns in their homes to a group of American men this afternoon at a BBQ. The subject both fascinates and repels me, probably because it is so alien.
What I asked….
1. Do they have guns?
2. Why do you have them?
3. When would they feel the need to use them?
1. Yes, they do. Rifles and revolvers.
2. Because it’s in the constitution and ‘I want to be able to protect my family’.
3. ‘If someone was in my house’ and…
a) ‘I felt they were threatening me or my family’; or
b) ‘They were attacking me’; or
c) ‘If the intruder came up to the bedroom floor I would….i) ‘let them know I had a gun’ or ii) ‘I would shoot’.
Still mulling this all over in my head.
Are you ‘college-ready’ kindergarteners…?
Totally bemused by a recent piece of news doing the rounds….an annual year-end kindergarten show has been cancelled at a New York school because the kids have to keep working so they will be “college and career” ready. Really?! Really.
British chums in the USA
A lot of the my old school friends have come on over to the other side of the Pond, and gawd bless Facebook for hooking us up!
Karen Ayre, 41, (so a few school years above me!) is one such doll who works her arse/ass off in New York City.
She is Vice President, Counsel Private Real Estate Funds for a large, global asset manager in New York where she is the lead lawyer overseeing their private real estate investment funds. Karen studied at the University of London and was admitted to practice in New York since 2003.
Time in the USA: 13 years (arrived December 2001)
Reason you came to the USA: For my career
1. When you arrived as a British expat, what were your initial impressions of the USA? Has it changed much since you’ve been here?
I arrived just after September 11 (and lived close to Ground Zero) and was blown away by the sense of community. People are much friendlier here than London also and want to help strangers. That being said, it was bloody frustrating at first when I didn’t know the American names for things and people in stores (especially hardware stores) would look at me blankly despite in my mind it being obvious what I was looking for.
2. You live in NYC! Tell us all about it – the best bits and worst bits!
It’s the best city in the world for being single, but the worst if you’re trying to grow up!
Work stress and hours can be hard to cope with sometimes. As a lawyer for a global asset management company, I’m expected to be responsive 24/7 and no two days are alike, so it can be stressful not being able to ever fully unwind. Thankfully, everyone tries to make the most of the summer, however, and escaping to the beach is not a bad way to let off steam that’s for sure! Not something I had the luxury of when I was living in London.
3. You live like someone in Sex and the City or Cougar Town….is that how it feels? Tell us a bit about your social life!
Yes, I suppose it is at times. It’s certainly very different from my friends’ lives back home. As I said, the summers are especially fun in NY. Thursday nights are a big night out for me in the city and then we party in the Hamptons for the rest of the weekend. Mondays are TOUGH! I then hibernate throughout the winter to recover!
4. When you go back to the UK what things do you miss about the USA and what do you love seeing or experiencing about Britain?
I definitely miss the service and ease of getting around. For a start, is it really that hard to get some domestic flights up and running? It blows my mind that I would have to fly via Paris to go from London to Bristol! Get it together England!
5. Complete this sentence: NYC is……
…always making me believe I’m still 25, even though I know I should start acting my age.
6. What advice would you have for a woman coming to work in America/NYC?
Depending on your industry, be prepared to step back in time a little as far as being treated as an equal (especially when it comes to pay). Working in finance can be frustrating, as it feels there is still a glass ceiling women need to break through and being a strong woman can actually work against you at times! That being said, I do see these things changing.
Americans also pride themselves on working crazy hours and forget the notion of taking two weeks off at a time – it’s frowned upon to take more than a week at once! The work life balance is very, very different from Europe.
7. Tell me a bit about your work and what you do.
I’m in-house counsel for a global asset management company and oversee all our real estate private investment funds. This includes overseeing setting up new funds and the ongoing running of them once they’re capitalized, as well running deals where we are taking over an existing fund.
No day is the same as we invest globally and are a complicated organization, doing complicated deals; it’s incredibly interesting.
8. Tell me 3-5 things you would take back to the UK from the USA.
• Service, service, service
• Public transport (why on earth do people think no one is going to be traveling on Christmas Day for example?!!!)
• Decent live music
• Decent food outside London
• Tougher police
9. And 3-5 things you think the USA should have/implement from the UK.
• Increasing the speed limit. I feel I can run faster than most people drive!
• Stricter gun laws
• Less commercialized, more balanced news. And news that included what was going on outside of the US
• Tougher regulations on government lobbying
• Getting tougher with the labor unions.
Top bird, that Karen!