November 4th ish, 2015:
Chapter 1: What I learned on my trip to NYC (before I even landed)
The group text was blowing up for weeks.
“What shows are we seeing? Can I borrow your sweater? What time is flight? I’m so excited!!”
And finally, it was time. Wednesday, November 4th proved to be a crazy workday. Trying to get out of the office for a week long vacation during one of our busier times… let’s say lunch wasn’t exactly an option.
But, I made it.
As I wrapped up my work for the day, the group text continued.
The departure timeline:
3pm, Grandma text to Mom and me: Flight canceled to San Diego. Someone is shooting out of apartment at airport. Going to take a cab to San Jose and get new flight to Seattle.
3:03pm, Me text to Grandma and Mom: Uh… what?
5:05pm, My Twitter: NYC bound!! J
5:07pm, Airlines Complimentary Phone Call to Me: Your flight to NYC has been canceled.
Karma’s a b****.
Now, fast-forward, after one night and day stay in Seattle, to present time…
5:11pm, Thursday, November 5th: In the air en route to NYC (yes, I have anxiety… why do you think I’m writing this? #distraction).
So we had a rough start. But, I wouldn’t want to spend a day and a half of bumps in travel plans with anyone else. We (myself, my mom, and my grandma) are a lot of things, some good and some bad, but what we are not is easily disturbed.
Lesson 1: It’s all an adventure. If it rains, dance. If it doesn’t work out exactly how you planned, smile and get on with it. If you’re flights are all messed up….do what I’m about to talk about next.
So, we have just landed in Seattle on Wednesday, November 4th. Me from Nevada, my mom from Montana, and my grandma from California. We had some hiccups, but we have made it… half way to our destination. So, naturally, we dealt with it like this…
Group text, Wednesday, November 4th:
Me: Just landed in Seattle, my anxiety was through the roof—I’m going to the bar.
Mom: I will join you for wine! I did have my complimentary glass on the plane. Should we meet at bar?
Grandma: Which one
Me: PLEASE. I’ll find one near baggage claim.
Mom: Whoever gets luggage first pick a bar and let us know.
Me: You guys are awesome.
Lesson 2: Alcohol (specifically wine, but pick your poison).
So, let’s review. It is now Wednesday, November 4th and myself, my mom, and my grandma have been reunited at the Seattle airport, oh, and by the way, I’m drunk.
Four deep glasses of wine in, and I’m feeling good as we leave the Seattle airport around 11pm to go to our hotel before we travel to the Big Apple the next day. So, naturally, I don’t think it’s time for bed (intelligence at it’s finest).
But apparently, neither does my mom.
As soon as we drop our bags in the room, my mom says, “wine.”
So, my mom and I chugged down the stairs.
Me to the concierge: “Nearest bar?”
Concierge: “Uh, 30 feet in front of you.”
Mom: She was already there.
Long story short, the night turned into my mom and I drinking one, okay, definitely more than one, glasses of wine at a karaoke bar where the participants were oddly talented. Oh, and she made me dance with an old man who… introduced me to his parents…
You get it. We had fun.
Lesson 3: When your mom says, “wine” – go. The bigger lesson here is to follow, with reason, Bud Light’s advertising campaign “up for whatever,” especially when you’re with family.
Now, it’s Thursday, November 5th, 7am. The morning came, and my head was a mess. Literally though – my hair was crazy. But also, my head hurt, because again, wine.
But so did my mom’s, so I didn’t feel so bad.
As I lay in bed while my grandma and mom got ready and had like five “hot flashes,” I learned a great life lesson.
Lesson 4: Cherish your youth. Don’t take that for granted because, well, hot flashes and stuff.
We finally got to breakfast/brunch at which point my hangover was too real. We chatted, drank crappy coffee, and learned a little bit more about each others’ lives since we’d last seen each other. It was over this breakfast that my grandma taught me an invaluable lesson over the course of the conversation – based on personal experience of course.
Lesson 5: Don’t drink and dial. More importantly, though, having liquid courage to call a boy doesn’t end when you’re 25, 30, or even 70. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but it did make me feel a little bit better about myself, so that’s cool?
Alright, now we’ve finally got ourselves together and we’re off to the Seattle Airport to catch our new flight to NYC (I’m still struggling but it’s not the first time I’ve had too much wine so I knew I’d live).
It’s Thursday, November 5th at 12pm. As we left the hotel, we befriended nearly four people just from our room to the door outside. Because that’s what we do. Why wouldn’t you tell the random woman in the lobby that her shoes are cute? Why wouldn’t you make jokes about the elevator to the random man in the hallway? Why wouldn’t you talk to everyone?
We would. We always do.
So, I decided to start counting how many people we befriended as we continued on our journey. I was up to nearly 15 by 3pm… I’m over counting now.
Lesson 6: Talk to people. Too often, we stay within our bubble. We don’t branch out and take the time to talk to people in different situations. Then, we wonder why we aren’t making new friends or our lives are bland. That’s why. Don’t be overbearing – but it’s okay to be open, kind, and chatty with people you don’t know. That’s all they are – people.
We got off the shuttle and arrived at the Seattle Airport. On our way to check-in, my mom was dragging her suitcases, attempting to roll them behind her as they wobbled from side to side.
The lack of efficiency was bad. I couldn’t take it.
Me to my mom: “Mom. Stop, get it together, and go on.”
So she laughed, and did.
She straightened out her suitcases and rolled ahead – no wobbling included.
Lesson 7: Stop, get it together, and go on. New life motto. Something created in the context of something so small, that can be applied to something so much larger.
We proceeded to the ticket counter and told the Alaska employee of our troubles. How we flew into Seattle yesterday from different states to meet up to go to NYC, but how our flight to NYC was canceled. How we already paid for our bags to go to NYC, but had to collect them in Seattle – so we wouldn’t be charged again, right? (Oh by the way, that’s basically the scenario I’ve been describing this entire time).
As we checked in, he asked question after question. Questions that, if our answers had simply been “yes,” would have made his life a lot easier (i.e. Are you all on the same reservation? Um… of course we aren’t, that would be too easy).
Me to the Alaska employee: “Whatever would make your life even a little bit easier, with us three, assume it’s a no.”
Lesson 8: Understand that your family and friends are the way that they are—and embrace it. In our case, we might not have it totally together. This applies to the three musketeers of this trip – myself, my mom and my Grandma specifically. We’ll complicate things as much as we can apparently, but we’ll have a good time while we do it.
And so, I am three pages of writing in and I have been gone just shy of 24 hours. I haven’t even touched down on the east coast yet and already I have come to appreciate my family and my experiences even more. I’m feeling #blessed (also not though because I’m still nervous about this plane).
Pour the wine NYC (actually let’s stick with coffee from now on)—we’re coming for ya.
As most vacations go, ours consisted of meal after meal out on the town (bring on the salt). On the second day we were in New York, my mom and grandma were set on McDonald’s breakfast (like… why?).
Me (out loud and in my mind, both multiple times): “Ew.”
So, we went first to a cute NYC bakery as per my request because, well, when in NYC I refuse to visit McDonald’s. Actually, when anywhere I refuse to visit McDonald’s.
Or so I thought.
As we waited in a ridiculously long line for a potentially mediocre bakery in NYC, I quickly got over it.
Me: “Let’s just go to McDonald’s…. said no one ever. Except I just did.”
*Queue man in line for said bakery judging me with his looks, and me, covering my face in disappointment.
Lesson 9: People make mistakes. I never planned on saying the words “Let’s just go to McDonald’s.” But it happened, and instead of basking in my mistake, I moved my hand from my face, and walked along. I chose to accept my mistake and move on (and ate a sh**ty cup of McDonald’s oatmeal).
So it’s now Saturday, November 7th— our second day in NYC. I have now posted my first blog featuring my mom and grandma and our trek to the city. My grandma and mom thought it was hilarious (duh, you were the main characters). So, as we go out into the city I tell them that I am yet again taking notes on the “funny” things that happen for another blog post.
Mom: “Yes! We’re so funny. I’m going to think of funny things to say all day.”
Me: “Well, that’s ruined.”
Lesson 10: Don’t give away your project before it’s over. Having told my mom especially, that I was now observing and writing about our adventures, she decided it was time to step up her game and “do it for the story.” No, no. That’s not the point. Authenticity is the point. Don’t worry though, she forgot about it within 15 minutes (attention span probs).
After a day of tourist-ing hard, we found ourselves back at the hotel, getting ready for my first trip to Broadway. I hadn’t been drinking much since the first night of the vacation (for obvious reasons), but I thought it was time.
Me: “I kind of want a glass of wine.”
Grandma: “You can get one at half-time.”
Me: “Do we get to take shots every time they score a touchdown, too?”
Lesson 11: Learn the lingo… or don’t. Half time definitely isn’t a theatre term. Before you dive into other cultures or social circles, consider reading up. Or don’t, I understood either way. Plus, who doesn’t love half-time drinks?
Our trip to NYC was eye opening, unforgettable, and fun. My favorite part was the (men in) suits on Park Avenue, but I’ll save that for another time. When I first arrived, I was a little bit underwhelmed. “Okay, Vegas,” was all I could think as we rolled into Times Square in the middle of the night. As you can imagine, that first judgment was completely wrong, which I figured out throughout the duration of the trip. It did however take me a few days to warm up to the big city. For someone completely in love with San Francisco and Boston, I was expecting fireworks. But it took me a little longer in NYC. I don’t know if it was the mass amount of people, the chain stores, or the size—but it took exploring for me to find my niche.
But don’t worry, I found it—along with a whole lot more.
As I stepped out of the hotel that night, into the lights on our way to An American in Paris, I felt it for the first time. Butterflies in my stomach, smile on my face, trench coat button to the top, palms up to the sky—I found my, at least initial, love for New York. A love I can only seeing growing in due time.
Now, New York City is a little different than Reno (just a little). Whether it was ordering pizza, or getting a reservation for a town car to the airport—it felt like we really didn’t know much of anything.
Me to any person trying to help our confused-selves: “Sorry, we don’t know anything—we’re tourists.”
And guess what? New Yorkers dug it.
Lesson 12: When in doubt, play the “tourist” card. It seemed to me that New Yorkers, though rough around the edges, are teddy bears at heart. Let them know that you aren’t intentionally being stupid—you really just don’t know any better, and they’ll be more receptive as you hold up the line for 99-cent pizza. Because, “how much is it? Where do I order? Can I pay with card or…?”
I’m someone that is used to loving every place I go, exploring neighborhoods and pretending to be a local for a day. When I realized that 4 full days in New York might only mean tourist attractions and slices of pizza, I got a little nervous. I texted my friend that lived here previously, telling her I wished I could see different residential areas and other parts of New York.
Her advice: “Enjoy what you do get to see, it will always be there for you.”
Lesson 13: Enjoy what you do get to experience with the time that you do have (rather than worrying about what you’re missing or the time that is running out. New York, or any place—will always be there for you, and it’s important to soak in every second, no matter what you do.
We had a short time in the city, and between taking as many cutesy pictures as my camera could hold, drinking as many cute coffees as possible, spending time with my mom and grandma, and exploring what is known as the greatest city in the world, I eventually lost track of keeping track.
So for now, that’s all I have for lessons from my trip to NYC. Many unhealthy meals, hundreds of photos, many memories with three generations, and a new perspective on the east coast and different ways of living later—I’m back to my hometown.
Time to re-set goals and go to work (because I’m psycho like that).
Oh, and overall lesson, do things like this when you can—spending time with three generations in a city that welcomes tourists like us, well, that is something I will cherish forever.