NEW YEAR'S EVE
I haven't been fortunate enough to spend NYE at home in the States for several years now. Most of the time it is a rather obnoxious holiday in the Big Apple and I prefer to take advantage of the time to frolic about in a new city. This year, however, I coerced some of my bestest besties into having a small party in Brooklyn. Well, first I coerced my piano-playing NYC bestie into offering her apartment for the rendezvous. In the end, her boyfriend had a gig and many mutual friends had previous engagements so it was mainly my friends partying at her house. Fortunately, most of my friends know and adore each other so it worked out well. We had some lovely cocktails and chatted the evening away in pretty dresses and festive props. I got to ring in the new year with some of my soul-mate friends and momentarily leave the past few months of limbo and indecision behind.
I often heckle my brother and sister-in-law about the fact that they are hardcore true-of-heart NYC pedestrians. They love a good leisurely walk around town, whether it be a short romp to the subway or a miles-long ramble on a beautiful weekend afternoon. This time, however, I hitched onto their bandwagon and took advantage of a gorgeous sunny day to see some of the local sights. Brooklyn is an amazing borough, filled with art and culture and diversity. Our ultimate destination was the Brooklyn Bridge and a quick lunch at the oh so yummy Shake Shack. En route we saw a variety of quirks ranging from the Morbid Anatomy Museum to an small out-door diorama of the the Brooklyn/Manhattan crossover to the very stunning city skyline itself. An unplanned wander through the world is one of the very best ways to stumble upon life in the moment.
My college theatre ladies are some of my best and most ridiculous friends of all time. When the four of us are together, we can't help but create endless absurdity both on and off camera. That being said, our obvious destination for a mini-reunion, now that two are married and one has a baby, was Poughkeepsie, NY, home to pretty much nothing other than a university and a culinary school. Upstate New York certainly has its beauties and if it wasn't January we may have been able to experience them. Instead, we had a hilarious overnight in a completely normal chain hotel. We spent our afternoon pillaging a local mall to find accessories and props we could use to take ridiculous photos at the one local treasure: "Walkway Over the Hudson." Of course, by the time we got there, it was already closed and we were privy to what looked like a police officer scoping out a potential drug scene. Awesome. We did, however, have an excellent dinner at a local inn slash farm across the river. More importantly, we laughed all the live long day via nostalgia, current events and wine. There's really nothing better than a good ole fashioned gossip with friends.
One of my good NYC friends from Ruth's Chris and Nespresso days recently moved to Philadelphia with her new husband. As I was unable to attend her wedding and don't always get to see her when I'm home anyway, I made sure to head down to Philly for a night and see what I could see. She and her new hubby took me around to all of the tops sights, from the Yards Brewery to the Liberty Bell to the Magic Gardens. It was a wonderful chance to see a city that is really up and coming, filled with art and culture and endless history. It was also nice to see my dear friend happy and healthy and enjoying a city that is so much more in line with her goals and dreams. Not being a fan of living in NYC myself, I could definitely picture Philadelphia as an intriguing option for living Stateside.
The final main attraction during my time at home was an outing with my sister and beloved nephew. We were in charge of his care for the day so that mama and papa could have a few hours on their own. Luckily, there just so happens to be an amazing mini-golf center nearby with a piratical theme. Kids are even encouraged to don pirate garb, resulting in a discount. It was a Sunday afternoon so the wait time was long, but our rambunctious wee lad was as patient as you could expect under the circumstances. When we finally got going, we are rewarded highly by all sorts of digital wonders, piratical scenes, and even a Brooklyn-themed ending. It was a bonny day at sea, swash swash buckle buckle! And a lovely lasting memory for adored nephew and two of his aunties. I headed back to Paris with a quick stop in London just a couple of days later, ready to take on the challenges to come. Aye and avast, till next time, America!!!