Sometimes you go away for the weekend, go to the beach, see tourist sites, pay too much for drinks and have a good time. This past weekend was not one of those times. I didn’t go to the beach, I only saw a tourist site in passing, I only paid for one drink, and I didn’t have a “good” time; I had a “freaking fantastic, can’t stop smiling, lets go back” time.
This past weekend I traveled to Washington D.C., the nation’s capital, probably the No. 2 tourist destination in the nation, and the only time I went into the city was for brunch. I saw the National Monument and some cool buildings, but that’s not what my trip was about. Instead, this trip was about family, the importance of relationships and the overwhelming feeling of love you receive even when you have done nothing to earn it.
My journey began as an innocent trip to my friend’s graduation party. She just graduated college (BFD), and I heard there was going to be a really good cake, so of course I was all in. I chose the cheapest bus ticket, which was $35 round trip, and I thought nothing could go wrong.
Well, let me tell you, if you choose the cheapest ticket, be prepared for an adventure. To get to my bus I walked from work into the heart of China town and then into the run-down, forgotten about, almost ghetto, China town. The bus was fully operational, complete with air conditioning, so I thought nothing could go wrong.
Well, when you get ON a bus in China town, you also get OFF the bus in the other city’s China town… So, when the bus dropped me off in the heart of Washington D.C.’s China town, a good few miles from Union Station where my friend Julia was picking me up, I had a moment of panic. Thank God for iPhones. With a dropped pin, I was shortly found
As a side note, Washington D.C. has the cleanest, calmest and most beautiful China Town I have seen. Actually, the whole city is clean and beautiful and calm. I was thoroughly surprised.
I walked through the door of Julia’s home and was immediately surrounded by hugs and, “I love you” whispers from Julia’s grandmother, who is one of my favorite people in the world. With a glass of wine in my hand, I sat back, relaxed, and just enjoyed being outside on a patio, something that rarely happens to me these days.
I could go on about the amazing brunch I had the next day, but that would take away from the purpose of this story (really, it was that good so check it out on Bite Sized Bites).
Flash-forward to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, me with a glass of wine in my hand, surrounded by my friends’ family and trying to keep up with all the conversations. I was overwhelmed with names and relations, but also with an immense feeling of love. This is what I have been missing out on since I moved to New York, and I really, REALLY didn’t want to lose it.
The night continued with too much wine, a little bit of embarrassment (because that goes hand-in-hand with too much wine) , a lot of cake and many hugs from my new adopted, New York grandma. With every hug and “I love you, I love you, I love you” a sense of home flooded my senses and forced me question the fact that I previously never wanted children.
As I sat back and watched all of the laughter surrounding me, I came to the conclusion that life without love is fruitless. Life without a family is pointless. Money without someone to share it with is worthless. I never thought I would think so highly of having a big family, but my trip to Washington D.C. made me realize just what I was missing out on by living alone, as a “loner”.
Thankfully, I realized ANOTHER important lesson; you don’t have to be with your biological family to feel a family’s love. Here I was, halfway across the country and thousands of miles away from my family; yet, I felt love, peace, joy and kindness.
We all have a biological family; those whom we cannot choose. But, as we grow older and move away we are provided with the amazing opportunity of choosing a family in our friends and relationships. That’s why “Friendsgiving” has become as much of a holiday to some as “Thanksgiving” and shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother speak to all of us. They reflect our lives and the families we spend every day with.
Being open and vulnerable is terrifying; that’s probably why so few people do it these days. But, we cannot feel true, unconditional love without putting ourselves out there, flaws and all.
Without my NYC family, I know these experiences would not be the same. Every day I am here, I realize just how important my friends and family are. Both of my families, biological and chosen, give what I am doing here a purpose; they give me peace; and, most importantly, they give me “I can’t stop smiling, let’s go back” times.