So I said I would post from NY and I didn't. Nicole, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on my trip, was right to be surprised about my intentions to post on vacation. I smiled and assured her I would at some point or another. I mean, I did the last time we were in New York, so why would it be different this time?
Oh, and then the camera thing happened. I still cringe and feel my insides turning as I write this: I accidentally left my beloved camera in the cab that took us into Manhattan from the airport. I never do that kind of stuff, I still don't know how it happened. Probably a mix of exhaustion after a two-hour delayed take off, flying with young children, a 5:00a.m. wake up, our driver dumping our luggage onto one of the busiest sidewalks of NY, our kids running around said sidewalk in a jet-lag-induced hyperactivity. Or the fact that I don't usually travel overseas with that camera because it is bulky hand luggage and I already have the kids and their backpacks to deal with but was pressured into bringing it by my other half. Whatever the reason, it took me until I was unpacking a few hours later to notice the camera bag with the beautiful SLR Canon F gave me last birthday, an important one, was gone. And my iPod nano, that he gave me a couple of years ago for another birthday, and the recharger for my Kindle (yet another present from my husband - by the way, do you notice a recurrent pattern in his gifts?).
I also immediately realized I had no way of tracing the driver. We should have had a credit card receipt on us but unfortunately his swipe did not work, so we ended up having to pay cash, and he did not have his meter running because it is a flat fare from the airport. I will not go into my endless phone calls and emails to the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission and the Police precincts in all the boroughs with a lost and found office. The camera never turned up, so I did my best to focus on what is really important, my family, our health, our friends, not material posessions, and was able to let it go although I did feel sad and frustrated everytime I saw a beautiful shot.
Now we are home and getting back into a routine after 3 weeks of vacation is tough. I will not pretend that I didn't already start waking up with a lump in my throat four days before leaving. I will not deny that when my son woke me in the middle of the first night back from a deep, dreamless sleep, I did not have the slightest idea where I was and that when I realized I was not in my light and noise-filled room in NY I literally felt like I had been punched in the stomach and proceeded to sob for a few minutes when I crawled back into bed.
They were wet and racking sobs, brief and intense and stopped as suddenly as they began, the way adults cry, not those easy rolling big tears of our childhood or the prolonged dramatic sobbing of young adulthood. It was unexpected, liberating and did me a world of good. I immediately felt better, like that cloud of heavy, black somberness had finally lifted after 36 hours. I was ready to fall back into the swing of things.
With the passing of years it gets harder to leave places and people we love, does it not? It must be a result of our awareness of how fleeting life is, how special moments with those you love are, how quickly children grow up and we in turn get older. How having to wait months, sometimes years, to feel so much at home and loved, is sometimes just too long. True, I have always been a nostalgic girl, the kind that gets melancholy about the good old days or listening to songs from my teenage years. I always feel that way at the end of something special like a family week end, a wedding, the summer. But when I leave NY, it is more accentuated. There is something about that city that touches my core: I feel great when I am there, I feel alive, I feel free, I feel like I could do anything. I love falling asleep cradled by the sound of cars, the loud sirens, people shouting. It always was that way, even when I was a child. Running in Central Park with throngs of people exercising around me gives me a hit of adrenaline that I do not feel running anywhere else in the world. Walking out in clothes I would not be caught dead in over here at 11:00pm to pick up stuff at Trader Joe's makes me happy. I don't agree that walking in the crowded streets of NY is lonely. People talk to me, people smile and yeah, sometimes they even yell at me, because it is New York after all, but I feel like I am part of something, a beating heart, when I walk around that city.
|On top of the Freedom Tower|
What remains of this vacation is a bunch of great memories and pictures. Watching my daughter learn how to dive, listening to my son formulate his first real sentences in English, seeing them delight in the same things I loved as a child. Roasting marshmallows (although they enjoyed the process much more than the marshmallow itself), taking them on their first swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Walking down the High Line, eating my first Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie, walking through Chelsea Market, grilling anything from lobsters to kobe beef dogs, chomping on Long Island butter and sugar corn, eating at our favorite spots, going to the MOMA. And just being with my many families: my true family, my family through marriage, my adopted families, my step family. Watching a member of this extended family at the NYC Fringe Festival, meeting a new "niece" and a brand new "nephew". A cousin offering us a once in a lifetime experience visiting the Freedom Tower, standing on the 104th floor overlooking the whole city only separated by mesh.
Here is a little look at my NY.
|The High Line|
|Hand-pulled noodles with roasted duck in Chinatown|
|Red wine and bitter sweet chocolate ganache|
|Toasted hazelnut filling|
|White chocolate and lime ganache|