First Trip Back to NY

One thing I wasn’t prepared for when moving from New York to California was for people to be mad.  Sad, yeah, of course… I was sad to leave people I love, but mad?  No.  I’m not sure how that emotion came about.  It doesn’t really upset me that people are mad, just confuses me.  I feel like we are all living our lives with the goal to experience things and make ourselves happy.  And different things make different people happy.  I don’t think I’d be mad at anyone for a life decision unless it were specifically to hurt me.  I never really anticipated feeling the bit of guilt I feel, now living on the other side of the country.  Not because I feel like I’m doing something wrong, just because it’s clear that a couple of people I love are mad at me for pursuing what I wanted to do… my selfish dream.  I miss these people all… like crazy.  But didn’t plan on feeling guilty about it.

Carissa and I have been here for a little over 4 months and hadn’t had plans to go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year.  Flights are crazy expensive, we made a no-man-left-behind pact, and my parents decided to come out in early January to celebrate Christmas with us here.  Some minor guilt trips were laid out about not being around for the holidays, but that didn’t really affect me.  What did affect me was that I really started missing “home” and the people who were there.  Not because holiday season was approaching, but because I just genuinely missed them.  Sitting on my front porch one night with a glass of wine (the best ideas are sparked by a glass of wine), I asked Carissa if she’d be interested in coming home with me for a long weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She was.  We decided on going for our brother’s birthday weekend, booked the trip about 6 weeks in advance, and decided we would make it a surprise.  The only person we notified for coordination purposes was our “brother,” Courtney, who was planning birthday festivities.

We flew in separately last Thursday.  I took an early flight, and Carissa got one after her classes.  Since no one really knew we were coming, it was hard to coordinate sleeping arrangements for the first night.  I knew I had to go to Hoboken straight from JFK to pick up my snowboard from my condo’s basement to bring back with me, so I planned to stay with a friend there.  Carissa on the other hand, didn’t want her friends to know she was home until the following night, so her plan was to get home to Babylon around 2am, SNEAK INTO our parents’ house, and into her bed, and then meet me in the morning to surprise them at work.  FLAW FLAW … hole in the plan.

“Carissa, you CANNOT sneak into the house.  Dad’s going to shoot you when he hears someone creeping up the stairs in the middle of the night.”

“No… he only has a Louisville Slugger next to his bed… I’ll be fine.”

“He has a GUN.  He will shoot you.”

“Oh….really?…. hmmmm… okay I’ll figure something else out.”

She figured something else out.  I also had to figure something else out at the last-minute because my Hoboken sleeping arrangements fell through.  Planes trains and automobiles later, I arrived in Hoboken and met up with The Architect, who I had informed earlier that I’d be in town for the night.  The feeling being back there, but homeless, was eerie.  It felt so amazing to be back.  I’d missed the vibes of the town.  I had a fun random Thursday out, visited my favorite local watering hole, and saw a couple of friends.  The next morning as I walked to my old condo in the dark, cold, rain, I couldn’t help but feel happy anyway.  I was so excited to be back, and so excited to see my family over the next couple of days.  As I crossed the street near my building, dragging my luggage with a hood over my head, the crossing guard who looked like he was basically covered in plastic bags shouted, “Happy Friday!”  I beamed, and shouted back to him.  Even the nasty cold rain was making me happy.  I felt back at home.  Back home with all the miserable commuters I was used to.

If getting through public transportation on a Friday morning during rush hour isn’t complicated enough…. I challenge you to do it with a rolling suitcase, an oversized purse, a sweater, and a packed snowboard bag over your shoulder.  I can’t count how many times I said “I’m sorry,” and after the first leg of the trip, making it down to the PATH and then up into the city, I just couldn’t stop laughing.  As hard as I tried to control all of my things it was just impossible not to whack people either in front of me, behind me, or to either side.  As I fielded dirty looks, I felt it was necessary to explain what a nightmare it was to be pushing through turnstiles with the amount of odd-shaped things I had to carry.

I finally made it to Penn Station, got a real New York bagel, made my way down to the Long Island Railroad, got my snowboard up on the top shelf with a big sigh, and sat down.  The conductor collected my ticket and I asked him if he knew when the train would get to Babylon.  He told me, and then asked, “Do you know who I am?”

I did know who he was.  He was my mom’s friend’s husband, Frank.  Funny enough, he was one of the only OTHER people who knew I’d be in town, because his wife, Marie helped me get my mom half a day off of work that day in secret.  Frank asked where Carissa was, and if we were ready for the surprise, and chatted with me for the majority of the train ride.  Feeling at home already.

I get to Babylon and looked for Carissa who was supposed to be picking me up.  I called her.  She picked up and whispered, “Hey, I just found Dad’s keys in his jacket pocket.  I think he’s still home.  I’ll be there in 5.”

Okay, now she’s breaking into the house and stealing my dad’s car… while he’s home.  She pulls up a few minutes later with incessant horn honking, starts laughing at me struggling with my bags, and as I throw myself into the car says, “Ok, let’s go to mom’s school.”

“Carissa!  We need to get the car back to Dad before he notices and calls the cops!”

“Oh yeah.”

It’s so weird being back, homeless, and carless.  We hurried back home before our dad knew his car was missing, crept upstairs and freaked the crap out of him.  It took him a few minutes to understand what was going on.  We asked to borrow a car and then headed to my mom’s school… which was the highlight of the weekend.  To be honest I would have made the trip east JUST for these few minutes with T-Diddy, which thankfully we caught on video:

It took her a few minutes to process that this, in fact, was NOT a dream, and then we kidnapped her for the second half of the day for some quality girl time.

The rest of our time flew.  We got to see our brother and other brother for their birthdays, our sister Britt, and a bunch of other family and friends over the weekend.  There was obviously not enough time with each person, nor enough time to see as many people as I would have liked, but we did our best.  We spent the entire day on Saturday taking over Sixth Ward on the LES, rearranging their projector, Christmas decorations, TV channels and audio system to meet our sports watching and pool-playing needs.  We spent a solid 12 quality hours there, eating two meals and using the bathrooms a record-breaking amount of times.  At the end of the night, when Carissa and I gave our final hugs goodbye to Chase and Britt on the frigid street, and scurried into the closest cab, I turned to see her start to cry.  “I hate leaving my brother…” which of course started my waterworks as well.  Spending a whole day with people you love so much in the city you love so dearly was bittersweet.

The energy in NYC is un-matched by any other place.  Maybe it’s because it’s the one in which I feel most at home, but maybe it’s because it truly is the greatest city in the world.  When Monday night came around and it was time to go back home, the goodbyes were sad, but I had a peace about me, because I felt happy to be returning “home” to California.  It’s somewhere that you smile getting off the plane and feel welcomed by the palm trees and cheery people.  Will it be home forever?  Maybe not… but really…. who knows?  For now, my heart is split between coasts.  And that’s how I like it.

Peace out for now buttercups…

xoxo

Gossip Girl

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:04:14

    Just have to say I love you and thank you for the greatest surprise of my life!!!!!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Susan Selvaggio
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 22:55:44

    As a transplanted New Yorker myself, I enjoyed reading this Court! I can remember the feelings as well…back in 1978 when we moved here “for two years”! Remember… you DO have family here in your west coast home!

    Like

    Reply

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