Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Introduction to New Hampshire

As I mentioned recently, I have the ability to see from where around the world people are reading this blog. And as there has been a fair number of readers from Guyana, I figured it would be a good idea to achieve one of Peace Corps goals: foster a better understanding of the US-or at least of where I am from in the US.

So for those of you who don't know, I'm from New Hampshire. Yes that's in the US. But no it's not in Queens, nor in NYC at all. Amazingly the United States is not comprised of only two boroughs. In fact, there are actually other baseball teams besides the Yankees too.
Image result for anti yankees

But to confuse matters more, people from the southern parts of the US, may consider all Northerners Yankees.
And while I may seem a little flippant. I have had many Guyanese people ask me where in New York City I was from after hearing I was from the States. They are shocked to hear that I live further from New York City than they are from Brazil, Venezuela or Suriname-none of which they most likely have ever been.

Side Note: I know it was JFK's hope that Peace Corps volunteers "live like the locals" and that's why we aren't paid and get a food stipend equivalent to their minimum wage. But our pseudo-poverty is disingenuous. Any one of us at any point can pack it in and head home, usually to fairly comfortable careers. We are not stuck here, so to speak. That totally changes the mentality of our time here and doesn't have the same gravitas as if we were really living in abject poverty where there was no way out. Nor are we really living at the same level as many our in-country counterparts. For example, while I may get a food allowance equivalent to locals, my housing is covered, as is US-quality health care and a safety net in the form of Peace Corps staff. While I gave away or sold most of my stuff before I came down here, I had savings that allows me to do all the traveling that I have-something locals often will never do solely because of the expense of it.

So while I may sound flippant about the lack of geographic knowledge, there is good reason for that. But just because you may never go somewhere doesn't mean you shouldn't learn about it. None of us(that I know of) will ever visit the past and yet the depth of knowledge and wisdom you can gain by learning about it is immense.

So here's a little about New Hampshire

And there's NH. pretty close to NYC but you have to drive through MA and CT to get there.

I love New Hampshire. It has a little of everything. It has mountains that are an easy bus ride away. Oh that's right we have buses that have reclining seats, air conditioning, distinct seats, and toilets on board! And a bus from New York City to Boston is about 5x cheaper than one from Georgetown to Lethem.

Ohhhhh did you know that NYC is actually only a very small part of the State of New York which reaches all the way up to Canada? It even has a big waterfall of its own: Niagara. Not nearly as high as Kaieteur, it is quite a bit more powerful.

So back to New Hampshire. It has mountains that you can hike in the summer and ski in the winter. Skiing involves something you've also never seen: snow. It's like rain but colder and accumulates on the ground-kinda like Georgetown's puddles before they cleaned out the gutters. But just because there's snow on the ground doesn't mean you cannot have fun and certainly doesn't mean it's frigid outside. 
See! Shorts and snow! 
And you can hike the mountains year round and they are all easy enough to get to so you can do them in a day and still have time for a beer. The trails of New Hampshire will probably always make my top five hikes of the year. And the running scene is good here. There are four marathons, a half Ironman and literally hundreds of shorter races both on road and trail. And the quality of runners puts Guyana to shame(at least at the longer distances). That probably has something to do with the awful humidity in Guyana making it fairly undesirable to be running for several hours at a time. 
One of my favorite hike-no matter what time of year
Oh did I mention beer? Well that's probably because we have the New Hampshire Beer trail which is a series of microbreweries throughout the state. I haven't found one that I haven't liked. 
On the Brew Trail

We have a very small slice of ocean and it's almost as dark as yours but a dark blue because of particles in the water absorbing light not because of the silt from the Essiquibo River. 

Like in Guyana you can camp, but unlike Guyana where you sleep in a hammock to keep the bugs and water away and to get a nice breeze, most of the year if you camp it'll be in a tent with a sleeping bag. 
A big reason why New Hampshire is so important though is because most of my family lives nearby. Seriously how could you not love an area with kids like this: 

With those cuties within an easy drive, there's no reason to be anywhere else. But if you need more reasons, how about one of the US's most historical cities?

Within an hour of where I live is Boston a fairly small city by US standards but offers anything that you may want(minus rum shops). There is even a museum similar to the Castellani House in Georgetown called the Isabella Stewart Gardner house. It has a professional baseball(Red Sox), basketball(Celtics), hockey(Bruins) teams all right in the city and an American football team(Patriots) that is within 40 minutes. 

The town I live in only has about 30,000 people in it, but there are more police officers, and stop lights than all of Guyana. This makes running feel a lot safer not having to worry about whether a mini-bus will hit me to avoid slowing for oncoming traffic. 

The state of New Hampshire actually has almost the exact amount of people as the country of Guyana and may actually be more diverse which is amazing because New Hampshire is one of the more homogeneous states in the country. But that's the thing about the United States, it's really hard to generalize about the US "people" because we all come from different backgrounds, immigrated from different nations(not just West Africa or India) and may live farther apart from each other than you from Peruvians. 

So those are just some of the reasons why I love New Hampshire. But this year has also got me loving Guyana too and I think that might be the most important thing. If you can't be where you love, love where you are. 

Until next time,


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