Before I Go, Let’s Party…

I’ve been asked a number of times what I’ll miss most about living in New York. I always answer, “the people,” meaning my friends and family. Genuinely good friends aren’t easy to come by. And I’ve met plenty of good people in every city I’ve lived in. But something special has happened since I’ve lived here, giving me the opportunity to meet and fall in love with so many people, all of whom I hope will remain life-long friends.

In celebration of these friendships, as well as, of course, my upcoming move, I decided to party hard during my last few weeks in NYC. Not too much packing or Rosetta Stone studying has been done during this time. But I’ve certainly been having a great time.

A few highlights:

My going away party was on December 30th, the day before New Year’s eve and just days after the snowstorm that mysteriously paralyzed NYC. So I worried that no one would be able to come to Brooklyn to celebrate my upcoming departure. Fortunately I was wrong. Unfortunately I was too drunk to remember if I thanked everyone for coming.

The evening started with a pretty light dinner and a pretty strong mojito. So I was already feeling free before I even arrived at the party venue. And speaking of the venue, it was perfect: a private little movie theater with a bar, and seats that were formerly bucket seats from old cars. We were able to drink what we wanted, watch the little movie I created about my family history research, and then dance to the playlist I put together for the occasion. It was delightful. I was both the drunkest and happiest person at the party. Well, until I realized I had to say goodbye to people…then I started to cry. But it was a happy cry. Oh, and then when I got sick on the way home. But it was a happy puke, trust me.

The following night was New Year’s Eve. Two friends had come up from DC to stay with me and help me celebrate through the weekend. And we met up with some more friends at the party, where I danced more and drank a little less than I had the night before. We ended the night around 5am, at which time on that particular holiday you will find vomit in every car of the train on your way home. The sad thing was that on our train, all of us were too drunk and tired to either notice or move.

Exactly a week later was my last day working. Although I didn’t know what was planned, I knew my friends/coworkers would plan something funny and/or fun for my send-off. And to be honest, since the ante has been upped each time a person leaves, I figured I might be the first one in awhile to get a lollipop and a pat on the back. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The office has two floors. So around 5pm on the big and final day, I noticed all of the staff heading upstairs. They were discreet. But it was obvious. Then I could hear things being said on the microphone, including my name one or two times. Around the same time, I was met in my office by the CEO holding a blindfold (trust me, not a typical Friday). I was blindfolded and led upstairs, all the while hearing my friend on the mic welcoming me to the party. With the blindfold off, I was looking at a sea of purple, with everyone seated as an audience and wearing at least one purple item. There was a large purple seat reserved in the middle, along with a purple fedora, a purple boa, and an open bottle of champagne with a long straw. My fantasy.

I turned around to see eight of the most wonderful people dressed to the nines, looking remarkably similar to Prince and the Revolution. That alone would have been enough. But it was followed by a scripted and carefully choreographed Prince medley, telling the story of my time there. If I hadn’t been having such a good time dancing and laughing, I would have been crying because it was all so lovely. The evening continued with more drinking and more dancing. But the performance was the highlight.

And now, with less than a week left, I don’t expect my remaining days to include much partying. Rather, I need to make up for lost time on the whole packing project. And perhaps I’ll be struggling with the new, nagging feeling that I’m actually going to miss New York. Who would have thought?

Firsts and Lasts in NYC

As I enter my last couple of months in New York, I need to commit myself to doing the things I should have done by now, and redoing the things I’ve enjoyed doing once or several times before. So I’m making time for a combination of NY firsts and lasts.

This is a starting list:

Brooklyn Bridge (First). I’ve wanted to walk over the bridge since I’ve been here. And for no good reason, I never have. I live in Brooklyn and work in downtown Manhattan. Seems like walking the bridge would come up more often than it has. But instead, the train and the car have been the only means of crossing boroughs thus far.

So last weekend I joined a friend for a pleasant walk over the bridge. The weather was perfect (if not a bit brisk), the mood was fun (we crossed paths with people in costume and trick or treaters on the Brooklyn side), and the updates discussed were significant (ranging from the death of a love interest to starting a new job and party planning). Once we were in Brooklyn, we had tasty savory crepes. If you haven’t previously enjoyed a crepe after walking over a bridge, I recommend it. Then we walked a bit more to a bakery to sum the whole thing up with sweet treats. Apparently it’s the bakery where the Real Housewives went when they once walked the bridge. Good choice, ladies. So it was a pleasant Sunday – and a good way to kick off my last couple of months in town.

Voting (Last). As you all know, election time just passed. And though I’ve begun to feel more and more disengaged from local politics – my whole “I don’t feel like a New Yorker” thing, both the local and national significance of this election have cried loudly enough for me participate in one more election as a New York voter. I have no clue what the future holds for me in terms of long-term residency. So although I can’t say I definitely won’t be voting in New York again, I’m fairly certain this will be the last time.

Voting was simple enough. And it was an opportunity to spend some quality time with my neighbors as we waited in line to carry out one of our civic duties. My bubble-filling skills were refreshed. And I can say I contributed to the good results, and earned my right to complain about the disappointing results. But overall, it’s a bit anti-climatic. The political optimism and excitement recently felt in 2008 feels so distant. I can’t say it doesn’t feel like a good time to take a break and experience the political woes of another country.

Doctors (Firsts and Lasts). The limited time left in the country also means limited time with my health insurance. I’m sure I’ll be covered in some way as a student in Amsterdam. But it’s in my best interest to make sure everything is in the right place and functioning properly before I have to learn how to say, “my tooth fell out” in Dutch. So I’m making appointments to see all of the relevant doctors, including the spine doctor, dentist, gyno, and vet (for my cat).

I’m embarrassed to say how long it’s been since I’ve been to the dentist – so I won’t. But I’ll leave it with the fact that I’m terrified. Absolutely and completely terrified. The terror has lived with me for years – though for a while it rented an apartment next door and began a relationship with my rage. But once rage moved out, terror moved back in with me. It aggressively reminded me that if I don’t face it now, it will also book a one-way ticket to the Netherlands. So to avoid the company on the plane, as well as the premature loss of my teeth, I made an appointment with a dentist. I’m counting this as a first.

The other doctors are no big deal. I’ve seen them enough to feel comfortable, if not agitated by the routine. But as long as they keep me healthy, I’ll put up with the paper robes, poking, prodding, and co-pays. And since she has no say in the matter, so will my cat.

Culture (Firsts). There are a number of shows, museums and/or exhibits that I have yet to see. In many ways I have wasted tons of time here. And now that I’m down to a limited number of days, I’m rushing to fit it all in. As any other procrastinator would believe, I think I can do it all in the time I have left. If it works out, I’ll let you know. But if I end up spending the next two months without experiencing anything of cultural significance, we’ll never speak of this again.