Spring break started rather inauspiciously on Wednesday morning. JO and I volunteered to chaperone the charter bus to New York City, where many of our students were meeting their parents. Originally, I felt a little bit of guilt of having school put us up for the night in the city, but my guilt diminished within five minutes of getting on the bus. Why? Well, of course, there was the usual whining: “We want to watch a movie.” “Okay, all we have is Up.” ” I don’t want to watch Up.” “Fine. No movie. ” “Nooo, that’s so unfair.” “Okay, then Up it is.” ”Why can’t I eat my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?” “Because Matt* is deathly allergic to them.” “So?” “So!?!? So, I’m not TAKING A TRIP to the ER. Therefore, you’re not eating those Reese’s. Fork them over. NOW.”
Beyond the usual whining, there was vomit, and, to quote an old nanny, “I don’t do vomit.” I’m a sympathetic puker, which means if I see or smell it, I puke. Within 20 minutes of departing school – so 20 minutes into a five hour trip – Nate*, a usually adorable 7th grader, started puking. Apparently, despite always getting motion-sickness, he decided to tempt fate and a) not take Dramamine and b) sit mid-way back the bus on a ridiculously windy section of road. The bus reeked of vomit, but I didn’t start dry heaving until, Ty*, who is easily the most spacey kid I’ve ever encountered, said, “Mmmm. Something smells like waffles.” Not only did Ty* not notice 30 of his classmates retching, he also found the smell appetizing. Insert: OPERATION CONTAINMENT. JO had to use brown lunch bags to sop up the vomit as it was running down the aisles and latching on to students’ backpacks. When we finally found a gas station and could use actual disinfectant, I thought the ride would be smooth-sailing.
I actually felt more nauseated watching Alvin*, who was sitting directly across from me, stuff his fists into a jar of nutella and smack each finger as he licked them. His face was covered in grease, and he had nutella underneath his finger nails, on the backs of his hands, and in his hair. I asked him to put away the nutella until he had proper utensils. He refused. I declared to JO that I would “never allow my children sugar and that was why”. My boss (who was along for the ride until Albany) told Alvin to put the nutella away. He said, “You don’t have a good reason.” After hestitating, she said, “It’s really disgusting.” When your boss, the queen of diplomacy, tells a kid he’s being “disgusting,” you know something’s seriously awry.
Five hours later, we reached NYC, and thoughts of gluttonous children and vomit melted away as soon as the last of my students was picked up. New York City was fabulous! We met one of my best friends, James, for dinner near Gramercy Park. JO and I elected to walk the 2.5 miles to the restaurant and enjoyed people watching.
Dinner was WONDERFUL. It was so good to see James – he was my “work spouse” for two years – and the food was delicious. I tried the Venezuelan national dish of shredded beef and plantains, while JO and James tried a bunch of arepas, a corn-based sandwich meal. JO and I enjoyed the 2.5 mile stroll back to the hotel. I live 7 miles outside of town, so it’s rare that I can really “walk” to a destination. Strolling in New York City reminded me of my semester in Paris. Note to self: must return soon!
We rounded off the night with a glass of wine at a restaurant right next to the Empire State Building and with a visit to PINKBERRY! I had been craving some frozen yogurt, and Pinkberry didn’t disappoint. I got a small blend of chocolate and original flavors topped with yogurt chips and coconut. JO had a small chocolate with raspberries, almonds, and coconut.
Yesterday, we departed bright and early from Penn Station to catch the Adirondack train.
After 7.5 hours on the train with few refreshments, I was ready to be home.
JO and I take off for ten days in CO tomorrow very early. So, I’m spending the day packing and tying up some loose ends. I can’t wait to be in Boulder!