Home from Gotham
Ah, New York City. I am home, and have checked off one of the 100 things on my to do before age 50 list: Christmas shopping in New York. Fiance and I had planned for weeks. We had saved a little bit of money for months. We left the Madison Square Gardens train station into Times Square with full pockets and silly grins at the big bright lights in the total "we're not in Kansas anymore" moment.
My grandfather told me over the phone on the car ride back that New York was a town where no matter how poor you are, there is someone with less money, and no matter how rich, there is always someone with more. It made so much sense to hear on the return leg of the trip. I felt like we had gone to the city with wide open credit cards and American currency to unleash in a mad shopping frenzy. I thought we'd have so many bags weighing us down being tossed in the large weekend-before-Christmas crowds. Turns out our backpacks were pretty much big enough to haul our loot, and our credit card limits were closer to us than originally thought. It's true: in New York someone always has more than you. This is an easy enough equation to figure out walking down fifth avenue. We did get great gifts for people at home, but I couldn't help realizing what I didn't have. Its a mentality I guess.
We also saw angry people, stressed people, people who's only source of joy was Tiffany's jewelry. That would make me smile too, but then again, so does a good street hot dog. There was a new breed of homeless...people with crazy signs and stunts, I guess to win our pocket change over the slew of other homeless people competing for it. I saw sad people, people who looked miserable to be serving me and the bajillion other people to pass through the Times Square McDonald's. There are definitely people in New York with less than me.
I came home striking a balance. While my MasterCard is full, and my bank account empty, I had a wonderful time walking the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn with my baby. I loved seeing the beauty of Rodin sculptures in the Met, the architectural ingenuity of the flatiron building, the serene cityscape from the Statten Island ferry and the organized chaos of the million flashing bulbs and screens of Times Square. I came home happy and lucky to have had the chance, and to have taken it. I also liked snuggling into my own bed, looking at my own ceiling and listening to my own familiar nighttime sounds outside my window.
Next time won't you sing with me?
A- Available or single?Taken, boys
B- Best FriendK, A and fiancé
C- Cake or Pie? Chocolate cake
D- Drink of Choice? Vanilla chai
E- Essential Item? Strawberry lip smakcers and/or MAC Jellybaby lip gloss
F- Favorite Color? Pink
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Gummy worms
H- Hometown? Born in Edmonton Raised in Ottawa
I- Indulgence? Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender stuff
J- January or February? February
K- Kids and names? 0
L- Life is incomplete without? Fiancé and friends
M- Marriage Date? November 17/07
N- Number of Siblings? 2
O- Oranges or apples? Green apples
P- Phobias/Fears? The dark, the kind that’s so dark you can’t see anything
Q- Favorite Quote? Carpe diem
R- Reason to Smile? Today I smile because I’m excited to go to NYC tomorrow
S- Season? Summer! Tans and swimming make life better
T- Time of day? Right before bed
U- Unknown Fact about Me: Most flexible person you’ll ever meet.
V- Vegetable you hate? Cauliflower
W- Worst habit? Nail biting
X- X-Rays you've had? Arm (cheerleading breaks), Chest, Ankle
Y- Your favorite food? Cheese
Z- Zodiac? Libra
End of year top 10
Now that the end of the year is coming up, it is time for MuchMusic and Time magazine to start the end-of-year lists. I miss the grade 5 days when I had time to actually watch the top 100 videos of the year, or the top hottie girl music stars.
Now that I have finished my essays and exams, I have been given the gift of time, which inevitably turns into time spent on my behind. I’m glad to be able to turn off the right half of my brain (or whichever handles academia, I never took bio) and focus on Christmas, my shopping trip to New York City in Thursday, and my own end of 2006 lists. Yes, with my type-A personality comes lists.
In the spirit, here is my list of best memories from 2006, ones I have already filed into a special part of my brain’s rolodex that I can return to in other moments when I have time to stop, turn my brain off and reflect. (Though not for too long—I’ll save in-depth retrospection for when I’m too old to do anything else)
1. Sitting by the canal at sunset and laugh/crying so hard I couldn’t see through the tears as a beautiful ring was slipped on my third left finger.
2. Surfing in Maine during Hurricane Ernesto with my Dad, wearing our wet suits, and being the only crazies on the beach.
3. Crossing the finish line, sweaty, tired, thirsty and PROUD at my first race in May.
4. Hearing the Fray’s “I’ll Look After You” for the very first time (and realizing, on a new higher level, how much music can make you feel)
5. Swimming and tanning in Korea C’s backyard with water, smoothies and coconut oil.
6. Sliding out of the canoe and onto my floatie in the freezing cold water at K’s cottage, laughing and shivering so hard I could hardly keep myself afloat.
7. Climbing Bon Echo mountain
8. Trying on my veil.
9. Canoeing around Otter Lake singing ridiculous camp songs with my girls.
10. Feeling the sea water hit my face on a beautiful sunny day at sea in Halifax
Red carpet rolled out for two crazy kids in love
I arrived early to drop off my overnight bag and was led upstairs to the guest bedroom carefully, so as not to peek at the living room decorations. My eyes were covered with the twelve-year-old hands of my sister as I walked down the stairs, dressed and ready. When I opened my eyes, the best decoration was the anticipation and pride in my mum and sister’s faces.
There were white balloons, streams, engagement balloons, banners, lit candles everywhere, and a larger-than-life poster sized picture of fiancé and for party guests to sign.
“Oh my goodness, it’s beautiful, everything looks so good,” I told them without looking at them. My eyes were distracted with picking out all the detailed décor added onto the main floor of the house I grew up in. My sister’s cheekbones, that match mine, were smiling so big.
“I love your dress, you look gorgeous,” I told her. It was her first time wearing a dress after exiting her I’ll-never-wear-a-dress phase.
“Mum, this looks wonderful, I can’t believe it.” I asked her what I could do to help, and for once she told me to sit down and have some wine. It’s in my nature to put out platters and offer drinks, but it felt really nice to exhale, sit down and let them do this.
Grama and my Greek aunt were in the kitchen trading baking sheets with frozen cheese pies (spanakopita and saganaki) for warmed ones in the oven. My best fried and one of my maids of honour (there will be two) giggled with me and doted over my sister who was wearing a hint of makeup for the first time.
When fiancé arrived looking so handsome, in the way the word is supposed to mean, I melted and took is hand to show him all the work my family had been putting in to the night. From then on, the doorbell sang, the coat pile on my brother’s bed grew, and the decibel level of laughter soared out the rooftop. Our families got along really well. I’ll admit I’d bit my lip in the days leading up to it wondering how everyone would react to each other. Turns out in vino there is social flawlessness.
The speeches were wonderful and touching, thank the lord for waterproof mascara. There was enough food to keep platters full all night long and an impressive-sized care package for me to take home the next morning. The cleanup was quick, and I have a nice pile of gifts and cards that I can return to and go through again when I get home from work.
My dad had thought to put our engagement announcement in the paper Saturday (see link), so when I got to work, the celebrations continued. I‘m floating; I’m really just floating to heights from which I never want to descend.