Gone Back to the States

Although I don’t regret moving by any means, I often say that Amsterdam would be 100x better if I could transplant all of my favorite people there.  Sadly, no one seems willing to support me on this mission.  At least not yet.  But one good thing about leaving a lot of people you love behind is having the opportunity to appreciate them even more when visiting.  My time in the States is quite short, with only two weeks split between nyc and chicago.  So on this visit, I have had to soak up as much love as I can as quickly as possible.  And not knowing when I will see many of them again makes this visit that much more critical.

This July visit was planned before my one-way ticket to Amsterdam was even purchased.  As soon as my dear friend knew the date of her wedding, I knew my return to the States would be planned around it.  Shortly after that, I found out my sister was expecting her third child, who would be born in March.  Two visits wouldn’t have been possible.  So the priorities of this July visit were baby, wedding, and friends.  And since my Mom is in Chicago, it only made sense to tack on an extra leg to the midwest. 

I arrived at JFK on Tuesday evening and was immediately greeted by a funky wave of humidity.  And having left behind a 70-something degree situation in Amsterdam, this was less than pleasant.  Then after about a 25 minute wait, I was on the A train headed for Manhattan.  As if no time away from the city had passed, the familiar smells of day-old piss and body odor made me feel right at home.  Five semi-talented boys attempted to entertain the car for a couple of stops by jumping around and dancing, a loud family of four shared with all of us the happenings of their day, and a stinky lady passed through only briefly, but left behind her odor for many stops to come.  I already missed the independence and odorlessness of my bike rides.

The reunions and couch surfing began immediately.  Late-night chats, lunches, dinners, drinks, desserts.  And somehow, I’ve managed to see most people I have on a priority list.  My niece made a special trip into the city from jersey to meet me, wearing the cutest little outfit and accompanied by my sister. We had most of a day together while my sister worked.  The following day my friend’s wedding was perfectly gorgeous and full of love, giving me my fill of good friends, tasty food, alcohol, and dancing (my favorite combination of things, by the way).  And it’s been nonstop since then.

The whirlwind tour will continue with some more family time before I head out to Chicago in a couple of days.  In the meantime, I’m sitting in union square park, waiting for my next date.  Almost every bench is filled, as the lawn is “temporarily closed.” An insane number of temperamental drunk people apparently use the area as a meeting spot at this time of day.  And the noise of the traffic is only slightly shielded by the fighting drunks and a little girl crying. Once I see all the people I love, I’m ready to get back to the parks and (my) lazy days in Amsterdam.

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