For the past year, Nathan has been going through the process of getting the title to his car transferred to his name in order to renew its registration. Since we moved to NY, he’s had a temporary permit, but that expired shortly after the new year, so the car has been in a sort of “time out” until we can legally drive it. Long story short, after Nathan’s second trip to the DMV last week, we replaced the old Texas license plates with some (hideous, but legal) NY ones!
To celebrate, we busted the car out of car jail (aka a lot off 54th street) and headed out of the city for the weekend.
For two suburban kids hightailing it out of the big city for the first time in months, we were downright giddy. We had loosely chosen New Haven as our destination because of it’s easy proximity from the City (around 2 hours drive), as well as the fact that Yale’s lacrosse team had its season opener scheduled midday on Saturday. I’m no die-hard lacrosse fan—that’s Nathan’s territory—but the thought of bundling up and sitting in some good old-fashioned bleachers in a quintessential New England setting sounded nostalgically fun to me. Not to mention, I had never been to Rory Gilmore’s alma mater and wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to glimpse some elusive Life and Death brigaders if given the chance.
Although sun was forecasted for the weekend, highs were in the 20s. No big deal, we thought, just throw in a couple extra sweaters and a blanket for good measure. Then I learned that the whole “wind chill” thing was no joke. It took a bearable 24 degrees in the sunshine to single digits with just one gust, instantly freezing any exposed skin (how are you supposed to keep your nose protected without a ski mask??). Despite this, we still made a point to visit the desolate Connecticut beach—I dipped my fingers into the Atlantic for the first time from this coast—before getting lunch at a diner on the water called Jimmies of Savin Rock (it’s exactly what you’re picturing). Nathan also found me a lighthouse (!), which we made it to just in time to catch the sunset. The awesome views narrowly outweighed the absolutely freezing wind that almost blew us over as we ran back to the car about 30 seconds after the sun had taken its final bow.
Frigid temps aside, Yale did not disappoint. The campus was the perfect embodiment of all of my romantic Ivy League imaginings with a dash of Hogwarts thrown in. That being said, Nathan and I both agreed that had we probably would not have enjoyed attending there for undergrad (pretending for a moment that either of us could have gotten in). Speaking for myself—though I doubt I’m alone here—I loved my college experience for more than the just academics. While I took courses seriously (my Dad once calculated how much money each individual class cost in attempt to guilt me into never skipping…it worked), I enjoyed college for much more than that. The undergrad-focused atmosphere in a true college town is something that can’t be replicated. I just didn’t get that vibe from Yale. I have no doubt the students there are super-smart (and probably better prepared for the Real World), but are they having any fun???
Apart from pondering the enjoyment of the kids on campus, we also spent a good amount just driving around the delightfully suburban neighborhoods of New Haven. Nathan and I have always enjoyed this pastime. It tends to open up an unencumbered dialogue about future homes: likes and dislikes about this screened in porch or that paint color, stand-out houses or streets, etc. It’s like it allows us to compile an image of everything we like in our minds: the perfect home in some yet-to-be-determined neighborhood. Somewhere close enough to a big-ish city with opportunities to continue growing in our professional fields, but removed enough that weekend trips to Target and carpools to soccer games on weekends are commonplace…
Speaking of Target, you can bet that our lazy Sunday drive back to the city meant stopping in three small towns along the way: first for a Target that was blissfully empty, where we filled our cart to the brim because we knew the trunk of the car was ready and willing to carry it back to our apartment (and our arms wouldn’t have to); second to a mall, because nothing makes Nathan happier than wandering and taking in the enticing commercial-ness of it all; and third to a Total Wines, where we bemoaned the cheapness of everything compared to the city, and stocked up on Chardonnays and whiskey.
While this might not sound like a particularly exciting trip to some, it was exactly what we had wanted. We spent the weekend quietly celebrating 3.5 years together, just driving around and doing things we probably took for granted in Texas and California. We came back to the city feeling refreshed, and a little more mentally prepared to blend back in with the masses, ready to be sardined onto the subway first thing Monday morning.