Now that Thanksgiving is just behind us and Christmas is rapidly approaching, I find myself reminiscing about past holidays and where we have spent them. As much as we would love to spend every holiday visiting with family, that’s not quite an option most of the time; I mean, we barely get to spend that time together as our own family of 3. Regardless, we always make the most of our holidays, wherever we happen to be or whoever we are with. One of the most memorable Thanksgiving’s that I have been thinking a lot about happened when we moved to Connecticut in 2017, and I realized that I never had the chance to share it with all of you.
The 3 of us were together to enjoy the holiday for the first time in years, so we decided to do something that most people have on their bucket lists and/or never get to see in person- watch the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade from the streets of New York City! Probably like many of you, I grew up watching this parade every year. I remember sitting in my grandma’s living room and watching the enormous display of music, colorful floats, and dancing coming out of this tiny television. It was so surreal to feel the energy and holiday spirit of the massive crowds in real life, despite the cold.
We left Thanksgiving morning on a bus at 4:00am from Groton, getting us to New York City just past 6:00am. It left us with the morning and mid-day to enjoy the festivities and eat before leaving again at 14:00; a perfect amount of time and it got us back for dinner! We brought a small knapsack for the kiddo’s drink, snacks, and extra clothes. Of course if you know me at all, we had to hit up a cafe for coffee as soon as arriving! We grabbed a cup of joe and snagged a spot very close to the edge of the street. We waited for almost 3 hours for the parade to start, not wanting to lose our spot and not knowing exactly how crowded that area would be. By the time the parade started, we no longer realized how cold or how hungry we were, or the obnoxious gentlemen in front of us. We were just in awe and full of excitement as the gigantic balloons floated by, pointing at the ones we recognized or loved the most, and singing as the dancers and bands marched through the street.
After the parade had ended, we ducked into a small Japanese restaurant for some hot ramen and a glass of beer. We then had just enough time to explore a little of Central Park before hopping on the bus to head home. That was the first time that we had been to Central Park (and to date, the only time we have been there in the fall/winter season) and it was beautiful. The leaves still had their autumn colors, the grass was green, and the ice rink was up. The lake still hadn’t frozen over yet so the reflections of the city skyscrapers could be seen on the water.
It may have been a lot of excitement for such a short period of time, but it was well worth it! My son, who was 3 at the time, still talks about “the parade with the big balloons.”
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!