It is so great to be home with my kids. (Ok, great doesn’t even begin to describe the joy I feel at being surrounded by their smiley faces again). But I feel sad that my vacation is over. I did so much, met so many great people, made new forever friends, renewed old acquaintances and experienced new things. Going on a solo vacation was a total first for me. I have always (in my mind anyway) been a mom, and the kids have always been front and centre. So for me to take advantage of the time they were spending with their dad, to do something for myself, was a huge step. One I am so glad I took, and something I plan to do more often.
I was overwhelmed by the grand scope of things in NY. I think my catchphrase for this trip was “OMG it’s so big” – applied to everything!
Hadassah took NY by storm. I even learned to navigate the subway system, not bad for a person who feels directionally challenged all the time!! While there I attended a bris, an engagement and a wedding. (and yes I dressed to kill lol). I shopped the avenues in Brooklyn, and I totally hit the big name stores in Manhattan. Visa thinks I am their new best friend. Don’t tell them that I am also associating with MasterCard and Amex! Century 21 along with Syms has become my new Mecca. I am not used to being able to find such great selection of clothing in my size that’s not geared only toward teens. So I loaded up. Got a great Tahari suit for peanuts…what a thrill!! But sadly, shoes did not make it into my shopping bags. I would not have had room, so I bade them all a fond farewell. Sniff sniff. I was fortunate to see a Broadway show – Gypsy, and to have the experience of standing in line at TKTS to find out what we could see for cheaper. It’s a real experience. Patti LuPone starred in Gypsy and was more than phenomenal. I would totally see it again. I watched no TV this trip – who even had the time?
I did the touristy stuff too – walked along the Brooklyn bridge, visited the empire state building, ground zero, Central Park zoo, NY Aquarium, the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Word of warning – the Guggenheim sucks the juices out of certain cellphones, for some reason there is no signal inside the building so the phones are always searching and that kills them dead.
Culinarily, this vacation was a huge experience. I ate at kosher Dunkin Donuts (although have since been informed that having an egg n cheese croissant is Bishul Akum, so I am not too sure it’s an experience I shall repeat), I had a meatball sub at Subway in Flatbush (kosher) with Uncle Moishe’s “bang bang bang with a hammer” playing over the loudspeaker (talk about weird experiences…..whoa nelly!). I ate great sushi in a lovely restaurant, and had even better sushi at a picnic on the beach by candlelight. Eggplant parmesan at a local café with the most vilest drink I had ever tasted – a yogurt – mint milkshake. It was totally disgusterating. But we followed that with Carvel ice cream – a total treat for me, reminding me of my dad taking us to Carvel in Boro Park when I could have been no more than 9 years old. The Nine Days made me sick of fish, but I ate out at Café Renaissance who did the most miraculous dairy tiramisu. Almost orgasmic. I ate at a kosher Mexican place, at Kosher Deluxe with great company (you know who you are), Kosher Delight and a whole host of other fancy and not so fancy places. At one point I risked getting lost in Central Park in order to find a kosher place to eat. (Now, that park is HUGE). I have to say one of the best places I ate at was My Most Favourite Dessert in Manhattan (maybe it had to do with the company…..I was with one of my most favourite aunts).
I have to say that after the first 3 days of stuffing my face I was worried that I would pile on the pounds. But with no car at my disposal I walked on average 50 blocks a day, so all that tiramisu and pasta with cream sauce did not stick to my hips.
I was so blessed to stay with good friends, and I felt at home there. I made my chicken soup and kneidlach for both shabbatot and it was very well received. Shabbat without my boys is generally difficult for me, but being away and being with loving friends helped me through it.
I fasted Tisha B’av for the first time in a long time, and it was an experience I will never forget. Hearing the Rabbi read Eicha moved me so much. He cried as he read it, and for some reason, this year, Israel’s past suffering resonated deeply within me. I spent the day with my friends in a meaningful way and I am so much better for it.
I was blessed to meet up with my kids at the wedding I attended, and that was the biggest treat ever. To get their hugs and kisses and their love in the middle of my vacation was just the icing on the cake. And they put up with my kissing them in public too. I must cherish that memory.
All in all, it was a great vacation, with the potential for more to come of the friendships I have made. I am beat, overwhelmed with laundry, but I could not be happier. I have great memories, I have my boys around me, and life can continue on its merry way.