The first two weeks in the United States were spent well in DC with all the other fellows of Class 19th and a very warm welcoming reception by the Atlas Corps management and fellows from earlier classes. After 2 weeks of trainings, we all have to join our host organizations based in different states of the U.S. Community Options have 8 fellows serving around US offices and I am placed in regional office in Princeton. I arrived in this small colorful beautiful town in state of New Jersey at end of September, 2015. When I talk about Princeton words like education, culture, old style architecture, squirrels, running bunnies, beautiful trees, in order, silence and famous scientists (although I don’t know their names) pop up in my mind.
Yes, it was hard in the beginning and why not, moving to a new city is hard – to find out places you need and new contacts and feel the spirit of the town. Princeton is popular about its Ivy League Princeton University and good public schools system. When I walk in the University Campus I think how a few months ago back in Bulgaria I dreamed to see these old buildings and now I am staying here watching them as a prove that dreams are possible.
It’s worth to taste the life of Princetonian. When you come you will find out how good it is only to walk around seeing the beautiful old buildings, green alleys, trees and visiting few charmy small coffee shops and restaurants. What you don’t find in common like D.C and New York is the people walking on streets, here people have cars to travel within city and to surrounding counties. The malls and market areas are out of town and honestly, the public transportation for towns around Princeton is not the best thing here. However, you have train to NYC and Philly every half hour and you have free buses in the town and free Princeton university buses for some part out of town.
People leave their homes unlocked (at least in some parts of the town), parents and children leave the toys in the park, I walk to my office every day and I don’t need to meditate in the morning – it’s so quite and peaceful that I walk and meditate. It is a safe town, you feel safe when you walk and everywhere in the university campus and near to schools you have these poles with buttons to push in a case of emergency. You can join different cultural, religious and sports clubs which are part of Princeton university social life programs. If you like sports and nature you can go to a lake or a park near town.
Unlike the other cities where fellows attend events and festivals, we have a public library. The Princeton Public Library is the heart of a vibrant and civically engaged community; a place where people celebrate words, ideas and community every day. For more than 100 years, the Princeton Public Library has been changing the lives of Princeton residents. I have attended a few free classes and events there and met people from around the world.
With a few words – the life after the happy end in the movies ☺