My Trip Back East

Categories Happiness, Reflections
Andrea and I about to cross the Brooklyn Bridge.

I apologize for not posting for awhile. I was traveling to visit Andrea and her family and writing a blog post was the last thing on my mind. Then I got back last week and could have posted at that time but traveling wears me out and so I rested instead. But here I am today ready to tell you all about my trip back east.

Massachusetts

I really like the state of Massachusetts. I have been to Boston once and fell in love with that city. I could absolutely see myself living there. I have visited Andrea a few times in Western Massachusetts. It reminds me a lot of Ohio (when comparing it between Southern California or Ohio, it is more like Ohio) but it is different in that there are so many trees. Where I grew up in Ohio is mostly farmland and it’s flat so you can see for miles when you are driving. Where Andrea lives, you can’t see that far because there are so many trees. Personally, I love trees so it’s like the ideal place in my mind. Andrea lives in a small town outside of Springfield, Massachusetts and you feel very isolated. I think all the trees make it even more isolating because you can’t see that far in front of you or behind you. Even though she has neighbors, most of the time it feels like you are alone in the middle of nowhere.

New York City

Andrea and I took a trip to New York City. We ran the Brooklyn Rock n Roll half marathon (more on that in a bit) on the Saturday of my trip, which was the entire reason for the trip into the city. This was my first time to New York City and I loved it. Although, I will comment that New York City smells and not in a nice way. I am sure you get used to it after awhile. Also, I have a very sensitive nose so maybe it doesn’t smell for everyone. We arrived on the train into Grand Central (!!!). Andrea asked me what I wanted to see in while we were in New York and I told her I wanted to see the library. As it so happens, it is close to Grand Central and we walked from there to see the New York Public Library. It was so gorgeous!! You can go in and look at the rooms (you have to be very quiet). The map room was absolutely stunning. I wish I lived closer just so I could keep going back to the library to explore it more as we didn’t see all of it.

New York City Public Library

From there we went to Rockefeller Center where ice skating had already started. It is much smaller than I anticipated. They really do make it look bigger on TV. While we were there I was secretly hoping that we would run into Jimmy Fallon as I love him and the Tonight Show. Next we went to Times Square which is just a sensory overload for everyone. I didn’t know where to look at any one time. We did get to see the naked cowboy and that was fun.

The naked cowboy posing for us.

Finally, we headed to the convention center to pick up our race bibs and then took the train into Brooklyn and found our hotel for the weekend. On Saturday, we ran in the morning (again, I’ll talk about that later) and then showered and walked across the street to a market to get lunch. I got the pirogi sampler and I am so glad I did. It was delicious!! My friend Justine had recommend we visit the transit museum in Brooklyn because it was close to our hotel. We are so glad we did because it is a very interesting museum. It shows how the subway system was built, how the transit system responded to various disasters, and how the system has changed throughout the years. There are old cars on the tracks (it is in an old subway station) and you can go in them. It was fascinating seeing all of the old advertisements that used to be in the cars. Andrea and I determined people must have really smelled and/or were very dirty back in the day – there were lots of advertisements for soaps.

Some of the advertisements I really liked.

We left the museum and decided to go to the Brooklyn Bridge because Justine had recommended walking across it and we were close to it. It is a very cool bridge to walk across. There were a lot of people and I wasn’t expecting that but the view was gorgeous. We ended up in lower Manhattan, fairly close to the 9/11 memorial. After a brief sitting break (my legs were dying by this point) we walked over to the memorial. It was beautiful and very heart-wrenching. Finally, we took the train back to Brooklyn and called it a night. On Sunday, we went to Greenwood Cemetery which was recommended by one of Andrea’s friends. It was gorgeous. My pictures don’t even come close to capturing the beauty that was there. At one point in history this cemetery was more popular than Niagara Falls. If you are in New York, definitely make a trip to this cemetery.

The different graves at Greenwood Cemetery

From there we made our final stop of the trip – Central Park. There is so much to see and we purposely choose a subway stop that would put us close to the Alice in Wonderland statue. It was absolutely stunning in person, minus all of the kids climbing on it.

Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.

From there we caught the train back to New Haven at Grand Central and headed home. It was a whirlwind tour of New York City and I can’t wait to go back and experience more of the sights there.

Brooklyn Rock n Roll Half Marathon

The race is why we went to New York in the first place. Andrea wanted to run a half marathon this year and we thought it would be fun to do it together. Honestly, I was disappointed in this race. The organizers of the race did a good job having plenty of water stations etc. and it was fun to run with Andrea (well, not really together as she was in a different corral than myself and runs faster than I do). But the course was boring. Also, there were very few bands along the course. I’m not sure if people didn’t show up or what, but it was kind of sad. I have run San Diego’s Rock n Roll half a few times and it is like a party. It’s a very fun race, an interesting course, many of the runners dress up in fun running costumes, lots of music throughout and the neighborhoods really get into it (offering you shots of liquor as you run by). This race was just okay. The important thing is that we both finished and had a good time with one another.

Ran past barefoot Elvis during the race.

Family Time

The rest of my time was spent with Andrea and her family. She has three very different kids and a wonderful husband. Jack is naturally curious. He asked about my teeth not being straight (my nephew Grant did the same thing when I was in Ohio) and he asked me if I was going to have kids some day. There is something about being directly asked questions that is refreshing. Maybe I wouldn’t think so if it was a strange adult asking these questions. But a cute kid can totally get away with it. If you have kids and they ask a direct question that you wish they wouldn’t have asked – like if someone is going to have kids, don’t cringe or worry about it. It is perfectly acceptable for kids to be curious and I am always happy to answer questions. If I am not comfortable asking a question, I will tell them that and maybe explain why. How else are they going to learn? Greta has an enormous imagination. We were playing games one morning and she just came up with a new game on her own. Later that day, we were making a Halloween card and she was telling me a story about the people on the card as she was drawing them. I hope she never loses that imagination. Charlotte is honestly the funniest kid I have ever encountered. She’s naturally funny. She doesn’t even try to be funny (which makes it funnier) and she says these things and I just have to laugh and then she laughs which makes me laugh harder. I hope she keeps this humor for the rest of her life and since she’s not even trying to be funny, I have a feeling she will.

I am lucky that I get to spend time with my friends and their children. While I don’t have kids of my own, I am able to get a little flavor of what it would be like if I did have kids. It’s exhausting and it’s loud. If I had kids, I would need noise cancelling headphones because I have sensitive ears. Plus, my introvert self needs quiet to recharge. I don’t think I would be as good of a parent as Andrea is. I know she worries that she isn’t good enough or doing enough. But she is. I hope one day she can see that.

Your fellow traveler,

Annie

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