So many people that come to know me – that is in the past 15 years – are SHOCKED to learn I am from New York. Except for being a fast talker, I don’t have much of a “New York” bone in my body…especially if you think the ONLY New York is NYC. I jokingly remind people that if that’s their version of New York, then I am practically Canadian!
I grew up about 5 hrs north of NYC near Syracuse, NY. Coming from a humble, blue collar family, we didn’t travel much when I was a kid, and if we did, we certainly wanted to get OUT of the snow and cold.
So, this left me with another magical moment to experience with the love of my life….we got to explore NYC for the first time TOGETHER.
I’d grown up, like most people, getting to know NYC through the eyes of a camera lens on TV and countless films. Now, I got to explore it with my own eyes, with my incredible man at my side.
As you can fathom, we were overwhelmed with the choices of what to do with the 16 hrs. we had in the city! However, one thing I especially love about Kim, is he’s incredibly spontaneous. Instead of planning out every hour, like I would typically do, Kim encouraged us to take on the adventure, get on the subway, explore the streets, and see where the day took us. My “planner” mind wanted to argue, but, part of what Kim and I aim to be intentional with in our relationship, is willingly embrace how we can help each other grow.
So, off we went – running through the streets of New Jersey (mostly to keep warm), to catch our train to take us into Manhattan. It was SO surreal for us both to see all of these iconic places come to life before our eyes.
Anyone who’s been there knows the moment you step outside the subway and take in all the tall skyscrapers for the first time. It is jaw dropping! We were simply amazed at the size of everything…the buildings, the streets, and the FOOD!
One of our favorite highlights from NYC was getting to experience Kim’s first EVER iconic American sandwich – the Philly cheesesteak, a classic NYC bagel AND his first American beer…a Budwizer! (Before you start judging me, I was SURE to get him better selections as the trip went on!) The cheesesteak was an instant hit…I realize now my new goal was to figure out how to make this for my man at home in Belgium – and healthier! Stay tuned for THAT challenge!
While in New York, we also knew we had to take a stop at Central Park. Kim and I both love the outdoors and wanted to experience the little bit of nature this crazy, busy city had to offer. On our way there, we also stopped at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral – which Kim had to admit – reminded him more at home! When exploring this gorgeous church, I couldn’t help but think it was a glimpse of what I’d soon me discovering in my new home just a few months down the road.
We spent all day exploring Times Square, dancing around Rockefeller Center, reveling at Madison Square Garden, taking loads of photos in Central Park, and even made the adventure to Brooklyn for my baseball loving husband to check out Yankee Stadium!
I think my FAVORITE part of spending the day in NYC with Kim – was just holding his hand and have him by my side. I’ve been so independent for so long…I’ve been used to cheering on couples from the sidelines. And now…sitting on the subway with his hand on my leg, walking through the busy streets of NYC and pulling me close, posing for kissing selfies by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree – these are the moments I will remember most.
After getting back to New Jersey at the end of our trip, it was time to make the 5 hr. drive to Syracuse to introduce Kim to all of my New York family. This was our first time in the car together since he drove me to the Brussels train station almost 4 months before. This was a great test for our 50+ hrs of driving ahead to travel the USA. Would be get annoyed with each other? Would there we awkward silence?
Kim was fighting jet lag and the emotions of the day – but you would never know it. My man kept me up the entire way to Syracuse with lots of laughter, singing, and wonderful conversation.
As we pulled into my grandma’s driveway around 11pm that night, we sat in the driveway for a moment and I had to just take it all in. I just did something I’d been waiting to do all my life…I brought my man HOME.
The man who would soon be my husband WOULD get to meet my grandma and all my New York family. After having lived away from this place for over 15 years, and all over the country, THIS was also a dream come true.
In the next post, I can’t wait to share how Kim connected with my family, how enchanted Grandma was by him, how ga ga my brother was over him and ultimately, how ridiculously perfect our time there was.
I’ll post again soon! XOXO!