Over the last week, I traveled to New York. Okay, okay, I traveled to New Jersey with the intent of going into the city at least once. I have a love-hate relationship with New York City. Or maybe a hate-hate. I’m honestly still trying to work that one out. Basically long story short, I lived in NYC for about 3 months in the summer of 2015, and things did not end well. I found out quickly that I’m not meant to live in the city. At least not at this time in my life. More on that another time.
I think my love for my post-New York life postponed my return to the city that never sleeps. Our first big friendship reunion happened this February when everyone came down to visit me in W-S for a few days. We revisited all our old haunts and I was even able to show everyone a couple of new secrets I’d learned as a now-local. After the visit, friendship was kept alive once more through group texts, FaceTime, and social media. As the months went by, we all missed each other enough to want to reconvene again, but this time I was told it was my turn. “Come back!,” “You can always crash at my place,” or the ever so guilt-trippy “We already visited you!”
I’m not going to lie to you. I put this off for a while. Yes, I was busy with work, and yes, I was trying to save money, but the truth is I wasn’t ready to go back. Not in May when we first planned my visit, and definitely not in June, August or October when it was postponed time and time again. One day though, I woke up and just felt ready. So I booked my flight and told one person. Yes, admittedly, I didn’t really want to tell anyone. I’m pretty sure my friends thought I’d never go see them and I think that’s what fueled me. They thought I wasn’t ready? Well, I’d show them. Unfortunately, I definitely did need to crash somewhere, so somebody needed to know. I even made an elaborate plan: it just so happened to be Lisa’s birthday one of the days I’d be there and this was going to be a nice little birthday surprise! Eventually, I told everyone BUT Lisa for the fear of no one actually having time to see me. I know how incredibly busy everyone's lives are so I wanted to make sure they could actually fit me into their schedules.
Excitement bubbled up as the days got closer. Secret group texts without Lisa (sorry babe) and schemes to make sure everything went according to plan were making me nervous in all the right ways.
It was all so worth it! Spending a few chilled out days just outside the city wasn’t intimidating at all. I was scared of going back to the place that had made me feel so horrible, but it all turned out okay. Of course once the shock of the surprise was over, I told Lisa, “look, don’t worry about us trying to explore the city and do super fun touristy things. Been there, done that. I’m more than happy to just chill out, catch up, and work on the blog. I just want to see everyone!” And that’s exactly what we did! It was not only a little getaway, but it was also a mini mind vacation. Doing nothing with these people (okay nothing is defined as eating good food, catching up, and/or watching Netflix. Oh and BRUNCH) was everything I needed. The work Lisa and I would have gotten done over a two-hour long FaceTime was done in 20 minutes. But I also got to experience her everyday life! I spent a day nannying with her, which was something I had never done before. We got up early, took the baby to the zoo (honestly, I think we were more amazed than she was. Red pandas, snow leopards and wolves, oh my!), had a nice little lunch, worked on the blog, ordered Chinese Takeout (yummmm) and overall had a fun chilled out day.
Friday by far was the best night. It was Lisa’s birthday and everyone came out to party. We bought lots of food to grill, had a few drinks, and got a little loose. It definitely took me back to our days of college parties, minus the sloppiness. We’re adults now, okay!?
The next morning, there was no question about doing brunch. Brunch has been our little “treat yo self” routine since I can remember. Especially after a night of partying. I finally ventured into the city and we met up at a very trendy spot in Chelsea called Cafeteria. The food was heavenly. I had an avocado benedict that I regrettably did not get a photo of. Just imagine it: thick, crusty bread; tangy, creamy guac smothered with hollandaise; and two perfectly poached eggs. To finish things off, I had a soy nutella hot chocolate. It was the stuff of dreams! Later that night, we ate burritos and watched Bob’s Burgers. It was as if nothing had changed.
Sunday morning, it was an early flight back home and I was exhausted, but content. The trip could not have been more perfect. It was the ultimate mix of work and play, and just enough days so that it didn't go by too quickly, but also didn't play out too long. I'm already looking forward to our next reunion and simply cannot wait.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I want to say thank you to my friends. You’re an eclectic bunch, but you’re all amazing, supportive people. Thanks for making me feel welcome and loved. Even though we hadn’t seen each other for nine months, I swear it was as if we were all still living together.