While Michael and Co. were off trekking around the tepuys of Venezuela, Graham and I had a very different Semana Santa. We spent ours in the Big Apple. What started as a visit to my sister Bekah turned into a full-fledged Ross Family Reunion as my mom, dad, other sister, and baby brother each procured tickets one-by-one to join us there.
Springtime in New York is many things. It is warm (we had 70-degree days in the beginning). It is cold (we had high 30s weather and freezing rain mid-week). It is crowded (in addition to the usual hustle and bustle of Manhattanites, there were plenty of other Spring Breakers visiting). Above all, it is beautiful. Everywhere we looked, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths were blooming in medians and the tiny landscaped plots in front of brownstones and high-rises. Central Park looked carpeted with emeralds and jade, the grass was so green. The avenues were lined with budding trees of pale green, pure white, and eager pink.
We had many enjoyable experiences throughout our week. These include (in no particular order): strolling The High Line, riding the subway every day, watching La Soiree, the orchid show at the Botanical Garden, seeing dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, researching castle interiors at The Met, sampling cuisine ranging from Spanish montaditos to Vietnamese bun bowls to Central Park pretzels to Turkish ispinak, a Staten Island Ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty, exploring Grand Central Station, watching my son play marbles and memory and superheroes with my parents, plus a little clothes shopping with my sis.
When asked what his favorite part of our NYC trip was, Graham answered, “Eating blueberries.” On the surface, this may seem like a cute, trite comment from a four-year-old, but to me it represents the very best part of visiting the New York — or any part of the States. In the States, we indulge in our comforts. We get to briefly re-encounter things we love and miss while living overseas. We realize what we’ve given up and learn to never take them for granted. For Graham, it’s blueberries. For me, it’s caramel lattes. It’s understanding snippets of strangers’ conversations as I pass by. It’s buying things in dollars and not having to do some complicated math in my head to understand the price — and then it’s paying by credit card. It’s walking down beautifully paved sidewalks and not having to worry about potholes or trash rats. It’s reading allergy warnings on food products and feeling confident that they’re complete and accurate. It’s feeling 100% comfortable about asking for directions or suggestions because I can do so in my native tongue. Heck, it’s even being able to flush toilet paper down the loo. It’s so much more than that, too, but these examples stand out from our trip to The Big Apple — although from now on I think our family will refer to the City as The Big Blueberry.