Sorry for the absence folks, but this little thing called Christmas and family get together all got in the way of my blogging, so I know you’ll be dying to hear all about my latest adventures. For those of you that don’t stalk my Instagram account or have been living under a desert rock for the past month, you wont be aware that I had a very busy December and by the time I arrived back in the desert New Years Eve I had taken 12 flights in as little as 6 weeks! No wonder I was sick and exhausted, but do you know what I didn’t care, because in true nomadic expat style I finished the year with some fabulous travels. So at the start of 2018 I take a deep breath and reflect on the month that was.As I came out of the high of the Ed Sheeran Dubai weekend, my feet barely touched the ground when two days later I boarded for that long arduous trip to my little island home. It was a long day but I was so excited to be back on the rock and see my family, that was motivation enough, well and fueling myself with copious amounts of champagne! Of course my first impressions of being back was BLOODY HELL ITS FREEZING, it doesn’t matter how much I’ve prepared myself for it, I am so unaccustomed to European temperatures and to think I was once hard-core surviving Czech winters, I fail at the first hurdle. Anyway wrapped and thermals purchased I really didn’t let the grass grow under my feet, as within 3 days on being back on the rock I was jetting back to the UK…….wasn’t I just there!?
With an extreme sense of deja vu, I arrived in Gatwick and I soon forgot the travel fatigue when I saw my Auntie and Uncle and looked forward to a day of family catch ups. We are all used to the Jersey / UK divide when it comes to seeing each other, but my increased distance does make it harder but also more sweet when we do finally end up in the same location. A weekend of reminiscing on childhood days, seeing my two nephews (one of which is very new and squishy) and doing all things British. It couldn’t have been more of a contrast to my desert life, wandering our a National Trust 14th century Manor House, in the middle of the Kent country side, breathing in that fresh, if not cold, air. Finishing the first day with Fish & Chips at a proper chippy and starting the next with a full english fry up, I was in heaven, all those simple delights you miss, bookended with spending time with my special people, not knowing when we would manage it in 2018.
And so I was off again, back to the little isle and plane number 6, happily knowing I was staying put for the next 10 days and could actually so some socialising with the Jersey contingent and get into the Christmas vibe. Nope that wasn’t to be….wishful thinking on my part as I was struck down with my first cold of the trip and I guess plane 6 was too much for my back, as for the next 4 days I was suffering both with my old lady back and a snotty nose. This wasn’t the plan or much fun, so I was housebound and day nursed up, making the most of the warmth and endless Christmas movies. Once through this germ invested week, I knew I was under pressure. This meant less time but still the same amount of people to get round, plus the last minute bit of shopping that needed to be done and wrapped in the next 7 days. Why do I always end up chasing my tail on trips home? It’s so hard trying to find the balance between having time with the family, time with friends and ultimately time for myself without running out of steam, it’s that favourite expat conundrum.
I am happy to say, I just about managed it, unfortunately there were a few people I didn’t quite get round to and for that I can only apologise and hope that are in a forgiving mood when reading this. I will see you top of the list next time round if you are still talking to me!? So quick as a flash I was packing yet another suitcase and heading back to the airport, Gatwick was looking more and more familiar each time but I was on cloud nine, propped up by the knowledge that I was going to be reunited with Hubby on the other side of the doors. It was all I could do to not run into the arrivals hall to look around and not see him anywhere?…..he had forgotten that us Jersey folk have to come through a special exit and not with all other arrivals so he was tucked away focused on a totally different door to the one I had walked through, so what followed was me scanning the crowd frantically trying to find him. It was so good to see him and we had lots to catch up on, not to mention my off the scale excitement for plane number 8 tomorrow!
New York baby! Plane 8 was no big deal, champagne flowing, hubby in tow and my dream Christmas trip to New York was only 8 hours away. I was beside myself. I started 2017 with a bucket list trip to the Maldives and I was ending it with bucket list trip number 2. How was this even happening? Just like the Maldives, Hubby was slightly worried that my expectations were too high and wouldn’t match what I had in my head. I secretly knew it would and couldn’t wait to get going. This was a different trip for me, normally I have planned a trip within an inch of its life, the Virgo takes over, researches places for coffee, meals, cake, museums, points of interest but this time I had done nothing. This was Hubby taking me away, everything was in his court and I loved that (surprisingly as I am normally a control freak in these situations!?).
Hubby travels to NYC very frequently with his desert job, so has got to know and love the city. He was so excited to show me his favourite places and share with me things he had discovered over the past 3 years and I couldn’t wait to see them. Within 10 minutes of walking on our first day, I already loved it. This Christmas obsessed expat, was in heaven, even the residential areas where dressed with fir, red velvet bows and twinkle lights, it was simply gorgeous. We fuelled up on a proper diner breakfast, copious amounts of coffee and hit Manhattan, strolling down Madison Avenue, taking it all in as we approached The Plaza and Central Park. Seriously I was so excited, seeing the famous ice rink and the sky line was everything I hoped it would be, every Christmas movie moment all wrapped up right there.
5th Avenue didn’t disappoint, boy do they know how to do Christmas windows. I know London does a pretty good job, but this was off the scale, everywhere I turned I was snapping away with the camera and squealing like a child. My eyes were darting in every direction and I was overwhelmed. Then we turned a corner and almost unexpectedly there it was, Rockefeller Plaza and its world famous Christmas tree. Emotional point number 1 of this trip, it was a dream come true, I was there, after so long of dreaming about it, I was there! Obligatory photo of us at the perfect point was taken and I skipped around the corner thinking if nothing else happened, this trip was perfect.
The days that followed continued to be insanely good, even with a blister the size of a golf ball, I did not stop I wanted to see it all. We walked the High Line, explored Greenwich village, popped along to Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (Hubby didn’t really get this significance but he went with it and just smiled at my delight of stumbling across it) Time Square, Broadway and even two people scared of heights plucked up the courage to go up The Empire State. It was all phenomenal and everything I had imagined and the fact that I even found a vegan hot chocolate to drink as we explored the night time Christmas markets at Bryant Park was the angel on the Christmas tree. Emotional breakdown number 2.
Almost 70km walked later, we approached our final New York day, which would culminate in The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. This is the only thing I said I HAD to do on the trip as I have wanted to see it since I was 5 years old. I dreamed of being a Rockette when I saw them in Annie, but soon realised that being 5’3” was not the stuff of showgirl dreams. We found our seats and I was in awe of the famous auditorium and my heart was racing, when the opening number began and we saw the reindeer Rockettes rise to the stage, that was it, I was gone. What followed was 90 minutes of pure Christmas joy, a kick line extravaganza and my emotional breakdown number 3, 4, 5 and probably 6 if truth be told. Absolutely EPIC and worth waiting 32 years for.
Floating out of the theatre for one last snap shot of the Sachs light show, Rockefeller lit up and the smells of roasted chestnuts and New York nights, perfection. I think I would have happily floated back to Jersey the following day, but BA stepped in and jetted us back to a Christmas Eve with mulled wine, movies and family, still reliving every moment of the week that was.
So even after my final few Jersey days were struck by my annual chest infection and the entire house being bed ridden, I headed back to the desert with satisfaction. 2017 had been a fantastic year, one of milestones, incredible travels and true contentment. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings, but if it starts as well as the last one ended its gonna be a good one!
Oh and I am already asking to return to New York…….