I brought back a tan from New York

After a long 18 hour bus ride and a 10 minute cab ride, we finally got home yesterday afternoon. Witnessing my love of NYC, and witnessing my recent work induced meltdowns, a few hours before leaving the city, J asked me if I was happy at all to go back home. I was. Four days in NYC is definitely enough for me these days. I’ve been home for 24 hours and I still have a hard time walking at a normal pace for all the blisters and shin splints. My face still feels puffy and my feet still feet swollen from the long bus ride. I just drank an XL Tims coffee, and although I’m feeling overwhelmed and nervous by the amount of homework and reading I have to do before Sunday, I know that I would just fall asleep in my book right now if I tried. But thankfully, my boss agreed to grant my last minute request for an additional 2 days off, so that I can return to work next week all caught up from University, and fully refreshed for work.

I wasn’t supposed to shop in NYC. This trip wasn’t in the budget at all, but I won it, it was free. So I wasn’t going to shop. This was going to be a frugal vacation. I have unpacked our two big suitcases, our two backpacks, got my purse back to it’s normal size, but the Macy’s, Burlington Coat Factory, and DSW bags are still sitting on my kitchen table. Maybe if I look at them every time I pass in front of them, I will get more for my money’s worth? Those bags on the kitchen table also contain Julien’s family’s souvenirs that will go their way tomorrow, Robyn’s thank you gifts for taking care of Roxy while we were away, and random photos we purchased and playbills from Broadway plays. Next to those are my 5 pairs of shoes and 8 dresses that were unplanned. But I love them. I did not buy a single pair of heels. I didn’t even buy one handbag. Imagine that? I still have my rows of fake Canal St. designer bags in my closet, but I always wear my same favourite purse. It hangs cross body, leaving my hands free to do more practical things, and it has about a zillion pockets so I know exactly in which pocket any specific item is at all times. No need to search for anything. I love it. I don’t care about designer names anymore. I still love the marketing and advertising and brains behind designer operations, it’s fascinating to me. I still think designer bags can be beautiful and of greater quality. But I no longer care to own anything designer. I no longer care to impress anyone, really. If this is what being in your 30’s is like, then I’m excited to turn 35 this summer.

This was, by far, my favourite NYC vacation ever. I’m so thankful that I got to experience it with J. He really liked New York. I’m sure we’ll be back. I’m glad that we have really compatible travel styles and attitudes. I’m really glad that we were able to laugh it off together when right before going to see J’s most anticipated broadway play, when picking up his glass of water at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, J was drenched in water from his tall glass breaking. J, the server and I were all looking at each other for a couple of seconds, not fully comprehending what was happening with all the water. J was holding his now empty, tall glass in front of his face, with the last inch, the most important inch, the bottom inch of the glass sitting, unshattered, on the dining table. Huh! Then we all laughed and laughed. The server said that he had never seen that happen in the 7 years of his working there. The manager came to apologize, and gave us his personal business card to send any cleaning fees his way, and also gave us a 10$ gift card. J said no problem, it’s not their fault, and we laughed some more. We still laugh today when we talk about it hehe.

We also laugh when we recall the story of the woman pushing her kid in a stroller at a busy Times Square intersection. Moving along with the crowd right next to us, when we reached the other side of the street, their stroller hit a bump in the sidewalk and the kid went flying out! Poor kid!! Isn’t that why stroller straps exist? The kid wasn’t phased at all. He got up and sat himself back down while we tried to stiffle laughter, because it would be mean to laugh, right? haha! Are we mean? Probably not, we gave to a few causes while in NYC. We donated most to something we care a lot about – arts/music. We didn’t give huge amounts, but they say that every donation helps, so hopefully it does.

One evening we were sitting on a concrete ledge, next to the the New World Stages, killing time before going in for Avenue Q. At 7:28pm I announced that even though I knew for sure that the play started at 8pm, I was just going to appease my obsessive impulses by checking the tickets. I opened my enveloppe with the chronological post-it identified folded printed tickets, found the Avenue Q tickets, and opened them. OMG it starts at 7:30, not 8!! We sprung up and ran inside, down the stairs, to the washrooms, and in our seats with a couple of minutes to spare before the play started. PHEW!! So close! I would have cried if we missed it! We were sitting in the front row. Aaah knee room! We were alos in the first row for Chicago, and Velma Kelly threw a rose at me at the end! I hate tacky souvenirs, but I might hang on to this fake rose with it’s fake dew for a little while. It makes me smile when I look at it. And I pause, and I pop my hip, I throw my hands up, and sing-whisper: And all that jazzzz!

The border crossing on our way back went oh-so-smoothly!! I’ve never seen the process go so fast. It was amazing. We all got out of the bus and were all back on ready to go in about 15 minutes. I let Julien have the more comfortable window seat during the entire way back. He would argue with me about it, but I reminded him that he had to work yesterday afternoon right after we arrived home, while I got to relax. I am so physically exhausted. I requested 2 more days off work, and I slept in until 11 am this  morning. I do not understand how J could wake up at 9 to work today. I can’t. I’m so exhausted that my face is puffy.

But my soul, my heart and my mind? Breathing a contented sigh of relief. New York always recharges my fun batteries. Always. The smell of nuts roasting, meat smoking, spices tingling inside vendor carts all along the streets, the random ballerinas dancing in front of Bethesda fountain in Central Park, the wonderful wind breeze, refreshing us from the hot summer-like sun shining on us, while we’re enjoying a pedicab ride in the park, while making the trees attack us with their little flying tree things. (I have no idea what they were, just that the pedicab driver, J and I were laughing hysterically while being attacked by these little flying wood things (were they ‘helicopters’?), and the pedicab driver coughing for the rest of the ride because he had swallowed one. My cultural meter is also full.

Time to drag this exhausted body to my desk and read and do homework. Ideally, I would kick ass at this and finish with a day to spare to relax fully before returning to work. So, time to bust ass. Maybe right after I look at my new dresses and shoes one more time 😉

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So I won a trip to New York City!

We’re leaving Friday! THIS Friday! This sooo wasn’t planned in the budget, but how can I say no to a free trip? J has never been to NYC, and I haven’t been in at least 3 years. I’m a little nervous. I planned every single detail of the trip, bought tickets, and arranged for a car service to pick us up two nights in a row after a late night at the Cellar Comedy Club, and another late night at a jazz club in Manhattan. I am planning to take a few taxis. I don’t want to stress about this trip. Why am I stressing so much?

We’re going to see Of Mice and Men, Chicago and Avenue Q. We’re going on a harbour lights cruise around the island of Manhattan, we’re going on the Top of the Rock. We’re also going on a Brooklyn pizza and famous sights tour, and on a movie and TV tour. I hope to have time to pop into DSW shoes and Conway on 34th. It should be an awesome trip!