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Random thoughts

Monday, January 16, 2006

Couldn't resist

I think it's too big of a milestone for me to pass up the opportunity to recap my New York trip. If you're rolling your eyes, thinking, "Geez, how pathetic", then you don't understand. I have wanted to go to New York for years. Even before I moved here for good, I had been trying to make it out there, but things just kept coming up, and I've always had to postpone.

I remember where I was when I heard about what happened to the Twin Towers. I actually caught the breaking news because I was in my car, listening to the news on the radio. I was sitting in the car at the parking lot of CIS (my very first employer - this was back in the Philippines too), chatting with someone, half-listening to the radio. And when the full report came through, I was so affected that all other thoughts flew out of my head, and I drove home like mad, parked myself in front of the TV, and watched as they played and replayed the video of the Twin Towers collapsing.

I was scheduled to leave ten days after for the states. And what was on my list of places to visit? Yup, you guessed it. Thwarted again.

So I started working here in the US a few months after, and it turned out that Clark, who went to the same university as I did, got hired by the same guy who was hiring me. Before we started working full-time though, Clark said he had tickets to New York. And that his grandmother was no longer going. I was jumping at the chance.

Clark called the ticketing office to have the name changed....

....And because of 9/11, they weren't allowing name changes on tickets anymore. Whoopee.

The year after, I had no one to go with.

The year after, I was about to make plans to go, and those had to be abandoned, for personal reasons.

So you can imagine the buildup I've had to go through before this trip. If I could have skipped into the plane that Thursday without looking like an escaped mental patient, I would have. It was finally happening.

I flew into Newark just because it was easier, and the flight was cheaper. It was actually closer to Kia's place than JFK so that worked out well. The original plan was for Marc to meet me at the airport, but since it was just so damn easy to get on the bus that would take me to Port Authority, we decided that we'd just meet there.

That first night, since I was tired from the flight, Marc and I just grabbed some pizza at the corner of his sister's block, and then we went back home to rest.

The next day was beautiful. The sun was out, and it didn't rain a single drop - at least not from the time we woke up, which was pretty late. We grabbed some breakfast and then headed out to the Met. There weren't too many people there when we went in, but as time flew by, the crowds came. We finally finished our rounds of the paintings and decided to see the Van Gogh sketches but when we went out into the lobby to line up for it, the line snaked around so crazily that we decided it wasn't worth it (gasp! I hope Van Gogh's not turning in his grave!).

And then this is where everything turns hazy. I suppose we just crammed everything into the few days we were both there that I can't remember where we went on what day. I just know that we went running in Central Park, we walked around in the West Village, went shopping in Canal Street, visited the galleries in SoHo, went to the Empire State Building but decided that waiting three hours in line wasn't worth it (come to think of it, this was the first day because we were saying how perfect the weather was for looking out from the top of the Empire State). We ate at Mas, Marc's friend Thomas' hip French restaurant, went to Times Square, went to see the site of the World Trade Center ruins, went shopping (or tried to - the crowds were crazy) at Century 21, went on the Staten Island Ferry to get closer to the Statue of Liberty, went running along the Hudson River (and brought back some bagels from H&H).

We also ran into Marnie, a girl that went to the same university I did. We knew each other from the fencing team, although we weren't really friends. But when we saw each other and then belatedly realized that we knew each other, there was a forged warmth and we hugged and tried to catch up a little bit before moving on. It really was crazy how it happened - Marc and I just ducked into a coffee shop and voila! There she was. She was speaking in rapid French so I hesitated; I didn't remember her speaking French so fluently back then, and I figured it was just someone who looked like her but who actually grew up in France. I'm really glad that I took a chance anyway and spoke up.

Marc's sister and her family wasn't there for the first few days but they got back from France New Year's Day. It was great to finally meet them, although we never really got a chance to hang out, because they went right back to work the next day. What happened though was that when they got back, they picked up their cute little bulldog to bring home as well.

I like dogs, and Mugsy wasn't any different. So of course I played with him, petted him, scratched his belly. Less than an hour later, the sniffles came. A few minutes more, and my left eye started to water and swell up. Marc and I had to leave the apartment and walk around to let the swelling go down. I took some anti-allergy medicine and that helped a lot. Whew! So like I told Marc, that settles the question of whether I should get a dog or not.

I was sad to leave New York, as I always am at the tail-end of any vacation. There's the feeling of wanting to experience so much more of the place. Aside from that, when I take a break from work, I always have the inevitable daydream of what I really want to be doing. I really can't figure out the exact thing, but I know it's not sitting at a desk pecking away at a keyboard. Marc and I have come up with ideas, but there's so much more I have to accomplish before I can even begin to work towards achieving these goals. At least though, we've identified the potential and can start researching about it.

Anyway, I don't know if I can really live in New York, with the weather being like that. But what a fun, fun city. Maybe a year or two there wouldn't be so bad, but I don't think I can live there for the rest of my life. I'd either freeze to death or get depressed with the amount of rain they get.

On the plane to and from New York, I worked on my uncle's scarf. It wasn't finished by the time I got back because I'm pretty slow with needles, but I worked on it every night until I finally finished it. Now I'm working on a dark green scarf. I know I said I'd start the orange scarf - and I did - but I realized that I can't work with just that one yarn; I have to knit it with another yarn to make it look great. I'm almost done with this new scarf though, so I'll be moving on again soon.

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