When I packed up to move across the country two years ago I knew I would miss my friends… heartbreakingly so. But I didn’t think I would miss New York and Connecticut as much as I did. Sex and The City used to call NYC the fifth lady of the group, and I realized that I had started to view NYC as my friend too.
So after two years of living it up in Hawaii I realized it was time to head back… for a visit anyway.
Emma was SOOOO excited. I had been talking up that we were going to NYC on Friday (a couple of weeks ago… I’m a little delayed in my post… we’ve been back for a couple of weeks) for so long that she burst into tears when I piled her into the car that Friday morning and said we were going to school/work. I apparently had forgotten to explain to her the wonders of a red-eye flight at the end of the day. Let me tell you, red-eye flights are amazing for toddlers! Amazing! Old enough to have a regular sleep schedule (a.k.a. she conked out for most of the flight) and also old enough to be super restless when we later traveled on non-bedtime flights.
Also, TSA gets a bad rap, and I definitely do more than my share of complaining about them (don’t get me started on how after 9/11 they pulled the only non-white people out of line (me and my Japanese and Chinese friends) for a “random” pat-down). But see that gold sticker on Emma’s shirt? It says something along the lines of “Junior TSA Officer”. They totally made her day and made getting through security such a breeze as Emma wanted to be as helpful as she could in her new “Officer” capacity.
I usually am totally on top of trips and bookings and itineraries, but this year has been rough, work-wise and I totally dropped the ball on buying us our tickets (for 4 people total) until all I could find was tickets for over $2K EACH. Ummmm yeah, no can do…. so we opted for using our companion / discounted flight coupons we get with our Alaska Airlines credit card (that we opened for the sole purpose of transporting the cats back to Hawaii). Airline tickets were now affordable…. err…. cheaper but each way came with a 12-hour layover in Seattle.
Seattle also comes with a Centurion Lounge however (free for Platinum card holders and a fee per person if you have any other Amex card). Now I don’t know if it was worth it for an hour or two (although there were showers, free food and free alcohol). But for a twelve-hour wait it was great – we ate three meals, took showers and Emma got in a 3-hour nap.
The coolest thing however (for Emma anyway… and to restore my faith in humanity – a needed restoration after today) was an older man who I only noticed when he started walking out of the Lounge carrying a dozen roses. He stopped all of a sudden, did a 180-degree turn, walked to Emma and handed her a rose. He said nothing, turned and walked away without saying a word.
I was always so hesitant to travel with Emma when she was first born. Then I got a crazy crash course when we moved her back home at eight months and had to pump in the airplane bathroom and spend the rest of the 11-hour flight standing and rocking her. But now that she is the biggest fan of travelling it is such a delight.
I have a friend that flew her 3-month old to Tokyo from New York and another friend who first took her 3-month old to Hawaii from New York and then several trips later when it was closer to his one-year-old birthday, flew with him to Paris. I’m not quite at that skilled parenting level yet, but I feel I certainly beat my coworker who is spending his week off of work just staying at home with his family, not to save money or to enjoy a staycation but because they are too freaked out to take their one-year-old to even a neighbor island (a 30-minute flight).
Waiting to board the return flight.