I left South Africa for Minnesota for a couple weeks for work. Besides the weather and being away from P and my puppy it’s lovely to be able to see my family, college friends, and high school friends and their babies. I’m going to use one or two of Minnesota’s 15,000+ lakes to do my running around. I brought a long sleeve mositure wicking shirt and fleece just for this purpose but I hope the cold air doesn’t make my lungs burn and turn my lake running dreams into a nightmare. My South Africanized lungs will have some adjusting to do, but I hope they think the cold weather is a fair trade for the lower altitude.
We went back to the States for a wedding of two dear friends and to see our friends and family. I know I said I’d be back on the 27th, but I lied- I took the entire too weeks to have a real vacation. But I’m back and ready to blog!
First things first, when my fam picked me up at the airport Neels (my mom) brought me my wedding and engagement rings, my earrings, and 2 bracelets, all stuff I got for my wedding that I leave behind so it doesn’t get stolen in Jozi. It was lovely to wear them again for 2 weeks. Priorities! =)
As you can see our lovely sisters flew back for the first weekend. A dinner party at P’s parents, then one at mine. My room at my parents’ house is one that I’ve never actually lived in, and it is FREEZING. My sister’s is spacious and warm so I always sleep with her when I’m home. I made P do it too. My mom (Neels) was going nuts with her iPhone camera as you can see.
P and I shuttled back and forth between our parents’ houses like we were kids of divorced parents. We mainly went out to dinner and hung out with our families for the first week.
Then it was time to head to NYC. I haven’t been since last July, and if enough time passes I forget how lovely it is and when we visit our resolve to move back strengthens.
True, on a normal weekend you don’t see EVERYONE that you know in 72 hours, which added tons of excitement/exhaustion to our visit. We stayed at our friends Jon and Katie’s apartment, it made me nostalgic for my tiny NYC apartment, there is something about living in a relatively small space that is a fun decorating challenge. We stopped by my cousin’s beautiful floor to ceiling windows Upper East Side place and I got to see one of my nephews (the other one was sleeping). He was adorable-y eating Cadbury eggs. He called us Nama Mausi and P Mausa (which is what you call your mom’s sister and husband) and it never fails to make my heart melt (in our culture, we do aunts and not second cousins).
Then, it was off to Brooklyn for drinks with our friends and the bride and groom. We did pickle-backs, which are all the rage right now- a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. Often the pickle juice is infused with different flavors. I loved it so much I shall I have a pickle-back party in Jozi! Stay tuned for that, friends and line up your Goodfellas.
Then Friday, glorious Friday. It was a lovely NY day, we walked all around lower Manhattan (a relief after sedentary-ish Jozi), shopping and eating. We stopped at The Spotted Pig and I had their glorious burger that had been all I could think about food-wise for the better part of a year. We got P fitted for his tux and we hopped over to Brooklyn for some of NYC’s best pizza and stop in THE BEST JEWELRY STORE OF ALL TIME, Catbird. I bought a few things that will be featured on this blog soon enough. The day ended with a rehearsal for John and CC’s wedding followed by a beautiful rehearsal dinner put on by John’s parents.
Saturday, the big day- John and Christine got married in a beautiful church (St. Vincent de Ferrer) on the UES. I successfully draped my sari (seedha pallu style) by myself and momsy lent me some jewelry so that I could be dripping in emeralds and diamonds. I was glad for my colorful sari amidst a sea of dark. In between the ceremony and the reception we had a silly time at a bar between the church and the hotel. We made a spectacle of ourselves, a rather large group in long gowns and tuxedos traipsing down Park Avenue. Walking even 10 blocks in 6 inch heels is NOT ADVISABLE, but I did it. The reception was at The Plaza and it was extravagant and wonderful. I probably had 8 oysters and then every bite of my filet mignon then danced my face off. Afterwards they bussed us to an old haunt, Jake’s Dilemma where we partied until dawn.
**Yes, that is Julie and me with the Pope and also this is the first time I’ve been referred to as Mr. and Mrs. P.
On Sunday, when I didn’t take any pictures, it was more friends and more activities trying to reunite with everyone we know in the city. My friend KJB who goes to law school at Yale even took a 2 hour train ride from there just to spend a couple hours with us and it was truly wonderful to see her. Our other friends came down from Boston for the weekend to see us whenever we were not busy with the wedding. BTW, these friends from Boston are teachers and had a class be invited to the White House to perform the “I have a dream” speech for President Obama. How lovely.
Then back to MN for me, for a week of hanging with out my parents and an endless stream of happy hours with old friends. Neels (my mom) would make golgapas (aka pani puri) and we would eat them and watch Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. We had to shovel the car out after a snow storm which took 2 hours one morning (and made me glad to live in Jozi) and I saw friends from high school (one of whom is pregnant, congrats Cai and Tom!) and two of my dearest friends from college, Anna and Mo. We had a great time getting silly drunk and talking about careers and men and the future(what else is there?).
I’m so thankful for all of our incredible friends and family all over the globe! Wherever we go, it feels like home.