My family and I just recently returned from our first vacation since moving to New York City!
We were able to spend the week in beautiful Rhode Island -and let me tell you friends, it was pure bliss!
And here is why…
For one, we had a car!!!!!
And while I’m sure that doesn’t sound like a big deal to most of you reading, maybe it’s time you get a fresh perspective on why that hunk of metal you drive aimlessly from errand to errand, is a god-send that should have you on your knees daily thanking the Lord God Almighty for all the blessings he has bestowed upon you!
Because although I am honored ( ha! ) to ride public transportation every day (via the subway, train, and bus) it’s not that much different than taking your child on an airplane – only minus security!
Those same prayers you say to yourself as you enter the aircraft with your little one, are the exact same ones we manhattan mommy’s pray every. single. day. as we cram into an overpacked subway with some of America’s most over-worked and moody individuals!
(And I can assure you that even the most intimidating woman from Texas sitting next to you on the plane, – who rolls her eyes when your child makes even the most miniscule of sounds -has got NOTHING on nearly anyone you are going to sit by in NYC!)
That being said, the beauty of having a car while on vacation is that, not only can you let your child scream their head off without getting even the slightest look from someone else – except for the one you and your husband will give each other when out of the corner of your eyes, and without words, you will communicate, “who’s idea was it to pro-create?”
But having a car, also means your child will be perfectly confined to their car seat, all while being entertained as they look out the window until they peacefully doze off into oblivion!
On the contrary, in the city- if it keeps your child safe, keeps them entertained , and puts them to sleep, than its probably a nanny!
When on vacation, I thought I was in Heaven when I remembered that cars also hold your luggage for you, your coffee, even your sunglasses! And thanks to the AC and heat, I never had to worry about not being the perfect temperature at any given time!
In Manhattan the only equivalent would require a salary and would be called your personal Assistant!
Bet that hunk of metal is lookin’ a little better to yah now, isn’t it?
Another thing I loved about our stay in Rhode Island, was that although we were warned by locals how busy and hectic it would be, we found it be pleasant and slow paced compared to the intensity of NYC!
Only when Buddy from Cake Boss was in the local park giving away 10,0000 free cakes, did it look even remotely familiar to our life in the city!
During our stay, I also came to appreciate even the smallest of things:
- like not having to sleep with my head smashed in between two pillows- thanks to the trucks fighting it out in a honking war outside my window at 3 in the morning!
- And not having to turn every light on when I get up in the middle of the night- for fear that a mouse is going to jump out in front of me!
(Yes, you heard right! We have mice in our apartment!
Mice. as in plural!
And for the record, I do think God is punishing me!)
- I also enjoyed dining at half- empty restaurants with no wait
- and leisurely walking down streets where you don’t have to dodge people with your stroller
- I loved how people greeted each other kindly as they walked passed one another
- and how EVERYTHING was So. Dang. Cheap!
- I loved hearing the birds chirping, the waves crashing, and – secretly enjoyed even more – the sound of my husband calling out to my daughter in an attempt to get her to cooperate!Told yah! Sucker…
In the end though, Rhode Island proved to be nothing less than a peaceful getaway in which our family could reconnect.
I truly enjoyed our vacation! But if I’m honest, maybe too much!
Comparing my ‘real life’ to that of our vacation had me at one point, in tears in an empty parking garage, and filled with frustration! ( all of which helped me write last weeks post! )
Wishing my life in the city was easier…
Wishing to enjoy even the simplest of pleasures, like being able to roll down the windows of the car on a nice day,
Missing the convenience of putting items in the trunk of the car, and not have to lug them around myself- along with my feisty toddler!
Reminiscing back on the times where I was able to walk the aisles of Target, thumbing through the clearance rack, scoping out my next shade of nail polish. Oh, how I miss Target…
But most of all, I missed the amount of time that I used to spend with my husband!
There were so many things about Rhode Island that made me miss some of the most mundane things that my old – more simplistic – life back in the Northwest offered!
I realized my attitude needed a check, when one night, we met a group of the darn cutest old ladies -straight out of the YaYa Sisterhood – who were out on the town and had offered to take our family’s picture in front of the river.
When they asked us where we were from, they were completely taken aback when we said New York City!
“But you guys don’t live IN the city, right?” the leader of the clan said eeying my daughter in her stroller – and probably questioning the sanity of anyone who would choose to raise a family in such madness!
“Yep!” My husband said delighted that they asked, “We live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan!”
I probably rolled my eyes.
“Oh! How terribly exciting!!!!” one of the women squealed
Then turning to me, tightly gripping my arm, another one asked, “Do you absolutely LOVE your life there?”
“It’s different…” I would say, as if to dismiss her intrigue.
I doubt that’s the response she was looking to get out of me, but that truly is so often how I feel!
My tune desperately needed to change! And luckily it began to,over the course of the next few days….
Like when we decided to walk the half mile, it would take to get to a localdiner for breakfast one morning!
Why not walk right? I mean we do it ALL the time!
But something was different this time… it felt like the blocks never ended! And that we’d been walking for what seemed like forever and a half!
Later, we realized we were unable to recall nearly anything that we passed along the way!
We laughed to ourselves, as we passed the syrup and attempted to name off as many places that – were not only within just half a mile of us – but were both, connected and within a block of our apartment back home!
- A Jewish Deli
- Hungarian Bakery
- Piano Bar
- Bridal shoppe
- Animal Hospital
- An Italian Restaraunt
- A paint store
- A Mexican Bbq Restaurant
- Parking garage
- A Tailor
- And a French restaurant
Only then did we realize how awesome it was to be surrounded by so much in NYC! Not to mention, so much variety!
I thought to myself how much more fun it is to walk in Manhattan than anywhere else!
And seriously… I have a frickin’ McDonald’s attached to my apartment! Is it even possible for life to get more uh-mazing than that?
I think not.
Rhode Island: 9 NYC: 1
Then the quietness and slow pace of Rhode Island – which was at first so refreshing and peaceful – then began to ‘irk’ us!
We started complaining that there was less energy on a Friday night than when it’s 5 in the morning in the city! Which surprisingly, wasn’t as big of an exaggeration as it sounds!
There were also no amusing people to watch; only normal civilians and homeless people! – Which in NYC, its the people in between that are most fascinating!
Rhode Island 9 NYC:3
And then the night before we were to head back to the city, while laying in bed and scrolling through my friend’s pictures on Facebook.
I noticed my friends back in suburbia posting pictures of things like:
- the ginormous loot of produce they brought back from the farmer’s market that day
- the homemade butter they made
- Their kale, blackberry, and coconut oil smoothie
My friends in the city however posted these pictures:
I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud at the complete difference!
And to the farmers market phenom- please take no offense! I love the farmers market just as much as the next person!
And I am happy for you really! I mean seriously… you got 62 tomatoes, 4 watermelons, 43 peaches, and a onion for less than I could get a toothbrush in the city!
But what I realized that night, was that maybe I fit in better in the city than I sometimes give myself credit for!
That maybe I relate better to randomness, than to ‘pinterestish-ness’!
And the next afternoon after we had said our farewells to Rhode Island and headed back home, It was when we neared Manhattan and were able to see the city skyline peaking out of the fog up ahead, that I was surprised to find myself getting butterflies!
Partly I am sure, because deep down I still question whether I can make it in this unruly city, but also because something undeniably inside me truly missed it!
I thought back to the fun loving old ladies and about their remark about living In the city, and smiled to myself knowing how truly honored I should feel – not only to live near, or on the outskirts – but IN arguably one of the greatest cities in our country!
And upon returning to my apartment -and after double checking to make sure the mice hadn’t made babies in my couch while I was away- I indeed did feel like this was my home!
That night in honor of our homecoming, my husband and I planned a night on the town -in true NYC fashion- to go see Jay Z and Justin Timberlake in concert at Yankee Stadium.
And I attempted once again, to embrace this crazy city that God has led me to!
And the moment the beat to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” filled the air, I sang along with the other 20,000 voices
Because I get it now..
The only thing better than leaving the city, is coming back to it!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now that you’re in New York!
these streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you!
-Jay Z, Empire State of Mind